"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
MGoBlog's community is like a bear crossed with a piranha crossed with, naturally, a wolverine: noble, powerful, mean, vicious, and capable of turning an unwise traveler into bone within 15 seconds. Perhaps the most common interaction on the message board is this:
n00b: I say something n00by. Maybe I've been infected by Rome or Bayless or whatever and I have a "take" which I "bring strong", i.e. overreact to something.
Old Guard: You are wrong in these seven ways, which I will explain to you in a fashion 150% as condescending as you deserve.
At this point there's a fork. Some people take it personally and resolve to hate the "cool kids" or whatever. Other demonstrate coachability.
Examples of this process often concern recruiting, because recruiting is something you can get really worked up about without having any information whatsoever. The latest came in the aftermath of LA WR Drew Dileo's commitment, about which I was lukewarm. Others were somewhere between lukewarm and hysterical, which annoyed people less prone to questioning, which caused arguments to erupt, which caused everyone slightly on one side to become very much on one side or the other for purposes of the argument, which led to this diary from ShockFX…
Question 1: How do I deal with Michigan recruits dropping places in the rankings?
A) Bitch about them dropping for being already committed.
B) Fret about not having any top 100 recruits in May.
C) Get enraged that Rivals sucks at ranking players and isn't fair, then shamefully realize my last post was demeaning Rich Rod for offering 'middle of road' WRs, where middle of the road is determined using rankings like Rivals. Oops.
D) Point out RR track record in excelling with recruits that are low ranked, and hell, it's only fucking May, these kids are juniors in high school and this addiction is borderline pedophilia even to the greeks/spartans (the ancient ones, not the rollerbladin' brahs in the EL).
E) Just D.
…which led to this message board thread…
so I wonder, in light of the diary that is the self test, what is okay for us fans to pay attention to recruiting wise that isnt crossing "The Line?" What do you consider crossing the line?
But how much is too much? Because when I read things like this, a WLA post from our friend ShockFX, and others like it, it's clear that people think a line exists. This is a recent mgoblog thread about recruiting and "the line."
…which led to this post you are reading right now. Here we are. I liked the bear/piranha/wolverine metaphor. Did you?
There are two separate lines of questioning I'd like to address and will do so separately. Line one:
At what point do you cross the line from being a passionate fan who follows recruiting to being a creepy guy?
A hilariously/awfully outdated post on the general ethics of following recruiting still holds true even if it chose literally the worst possible example:
2. Do not disparage recruits except in extraordinary circumstances.
This goes quadruple for uncommitted recruits--a recent flagrant example on Rivals occurred when someone posted some idiocy about how he doubted Justin Boren's "love for Michigan" because he hadn't committed yet. Boren committed soon after and then expressed his love for Michigan. How do you feel now, anonymous internet moron?
Except for that, though, the post stands up remarkably well for something I wrote four years ago. Just don't do anything that you wouldn't do if the 300 pound heaving mass of mobile death was standing in front of you. I don't think many people come anywhere near that, but there are some.
Speaking of Facebook: whenever a recruit or player post something that seems newsworthy as his status, people immediately report it on message boards across the internet. This is followed by a round of recriminations by people who don't like the idea because it's a violation of privacy or something*. The above-cited thread has an example of this:
I refuse to look up recruits on facebook/myspace because that is just over the top, i do wonder sometimes why we are allowing for so many wr recruits to commit, and i do pay attention to the stars on rivals but i dont complain about it here at mgoblog.
Which… uh. Either you're the kind of person who has 2000 friends because you're a football player (or blogger) and auto-approves anyone who adds you, or you're the kind of person who has 200 friends because you add that guy you met at that party one time. Either way, you don't have an expectation of privacy when you post "GOING TO COMMIT TO MICHIGAN WOO" as your status, or when you trash talk a goat.
If it's on the internet, it's public. There is undoubtedly someone employed by the Michigan athletic department right now whose main task is to beat this fact into athlete's heads.
What you absolutely should not do is annoy someone. Back to Maize 'n' Brew:
Some people obviously think it's not crossing any line to post on a recruit's facebook page. A recent post on Anthony Lalota's page says "Good luck tomorrow - from Tony in Columbus - Go Blue." Does this seemingly innocent wall-post cross this mythical line? What if that wall post had said "Yer gonna suck for 4 years, go blow - ha. buckeyes4lyfe"?
Wall Post A: No. I think it's a little weird that you're seeking out the ability to toss meaningless yay go yay words at someone you don't know, but whatever. That's probably the kind of interaction you'd have with LaLota if you met him IRL. Wall Post B: Yes. Obviously.
From a media standpoint, I regard anything directly relevant to a player's football career as fair game but won't report on irrelevant things unless they're harmlessly awesome like the above goat trash-talk. I like Facebook's ability to humanize football players like that. Johnny's posts at RBUAS were greatly improved by the addition of various slice-of-life photos gathered from Facebook. It's a delicate balance best undertaken with a sense of respect for the subject, and I'm sure there will be various incidents that make it seem like a bad thing. It can be a powerfully good one, too.
*(This is mostly a feature of premium message boards, since people on those message boards take their cues from the moderators and the moderators want to discourage people getting information straight from the source for obvious reasons.)
Why do people keep crushing my face on the message board?
Because you're annoying. (Not you, specifically, guy who posted the thread.) In an information surplus economy people want things that are clear, to the point, informative, original, and/or entertaining. If you're posting in a near-illiterate pidgin or continually overreacting to minor news events people are going to get their dander up. You're wasting their time, and on the internet that time could be spent watching keyboard cat play someone off.
This is valuable time.
I get the frustration when someone posts something that has none of the above positive qualities, but I also get the frustration of the n00b when everything that does not meet exacting standards of netiquette gets the piranha treatment.
The answer is probably for everyone to just take it easy, man. This will probably not happen.
APR. The NCAA has released all the APR information for this year and Michigan's doing quite well, thanks. HOWEVA, I am a bit concerned Michigan's football numbers will dip over the next few years. The four-year rolling numbers:
That's a steady decline as the Carr years waned and attrition increased. The APR issues two points per student per year, one for being academically eligible and one for not leaving, and Michigan's suffered a lot of premature departures.
Boren, Mallett, Manningham, and Arrington are in those 2008 numbers, but many others aren't accounted for yet: Threet, Clemons, McGuffie, Babb, Horn, Chambers, and Kates all left the team after the 2008-09 school year started. I'm not sure if Slocum and Patilla, who left over the summer, are counted, and I don't know if Taylor Hill's extremely brief tenure as a Wolverine—a couple weeks at most—will be held against Michigan. And if I had to bet I'd put my money on Carson Butler coming up a few credits short of his bachelor's in Nerd Massacre Engineering. (Andre Criswell left the team but not the school, and I'd bet he's got a degree, so he shouldn't count.)
Upshot: the transition period is going to hurt Michigan's APR standing just because of the sheer quantity of transfers, and we can expect that 947 to dip considerably next year. I don't think it'll get into the range where Michigan is seriously flirting with sanctions… but I'm not 100% sure or anything.
Another team to watch is Tennessee, which has an APR a point higher than Michigan's and has just suffered ten Kiffin-induced departures.
Meanwhile, penalties are now in full effect and have clubbed basketball teams at OSU, Purdue, and Indiana with scholarship reductions. Indiana is obvious and OSU's addiction to one-and-dones makes them a logical candidate, but Purdue? I guess they just went through a transition period. Ohio State is probably going get to hit next year, too, with Anthony Crater's transfer and the departure of caveman BJ Mullens for the NBA draft.
Can complaints about this thing being a paper tiger stop now? That's one traditional power and two teams that were in the NCAA tournament last year getting hit with the meanstick. Yes, small schools get punished more heavily but that's because they don't have the resources to support the high-risk players they're recruiting. They should concentrate on kids they can graduate. Myles Brand:
"The truth of the matter," Brand said, "is that if you're going to participate in high-level intercollegiate athletics, you have to provide for academic opportunities for the students. And that's not inexpensive."
Word. Anything that diverts more money, Lebowski, to the people actually on the field instead of the people on the periphery is good.
One downer is the ability to absorb penalties into your year of suck. Indiana lost two scholarships but got the NCAA to agree to these hijinks:
IU anticipated the two-scholarship penalty announced today and took it last season. Purdue did the same with a one-scholarship penalty.
Michigan did something similar under Amaker: hit with a one-scholarship reduction for four years, they crammed three of those into the first year and got out of the last two. Schools shouldn't be allowed to take their penalty whenever it's convenient for them; they should have to take it at a uniform time, convenient or no. Allowing IU to put their two-scholarship penalty towards a year when they already knew they'd be terrible is no punishment at all; the same goes for Michigan conveniently backdating their penalties into a year where they were three scholarships short anyway.
One inexplicable horrible thing though. The good doctor highlights the strangest APR case of the year:
The worst APR score in the country belonged to South Florida, which was also below par in basketball and baseball, but the Bulls avoided scholarship penalties in football by applying for a waiver ... which they received for the second straight season despite an eight-point drop (909, down from 917) from a score that was already eight points below the mandated 925 last year.
WTF? How can a team get a waiver one year, fail to improve their score, and get another waiver? I have an email in to the NCAA's website; we'll see if they respond.
Clarification. A few UV's back I asked whether Pryor was actually booted from OSU's spring game for talking trash. I didn't think he did but wasn't 100% sure; since then several emailers have confirmed that answer is "no."
Sherman-Williams will be crushed. I'm sure I've bitched endlessly about the horrific charging calls that floppy white guys get all the time in college—unless it's Zach Novak, for some reason. It turns out I'm not crazy and the NCAA wants to do something about kids showing up directly under the basket with the opponent already in the air… sort of:
The recommendation on play under the basket won't call for a restricted-area arc painted in the lane as the NBA has, but it prohibits a secondary defender from establishing position in the area from the front of the rim to the front of the backboard. A defender must establish position outside that area to draw a charge or player-control foul.
This sounds frustrating in practice, albeit less frustrating than the current setup. Basketball refereeing suffers from a lack of clarity already and, when possible, rules should be adjusted to be black and white. That goes double for college. An NBA-style no charge circle is black and white. This is pretty vague.
Also, one of the guys quoted in the story is named Dick Hack. He's chair of the men's committee and athletics director at New York-Maritime and sounds like he either leapt out of noir novel or Idiocracy. Various cocktails to you, sir.
Then we'll build this awesome hotel. The coaches poll took a look at the criticisms leveled at it and is considering two bold steps:
- Not releasing the votes in the final poll.
- Keeping the identities of the voters secret.
Wait… what? Is Kim Jong-Il in charge of this thing? These are bold steps in exactly the wrong direction. Over The Pylon's already pulled out the flamethrower so I'll just quote them:
So for the coaches poll to have any "credibility" to begin with, we, as fans, are asked to assume that coaches will be informed, participatory, and non-biased. And the only way to ensure that's happening is to ensure that the public can see exactly how these non-biased informed voters are voting. More transparency is the answer.
Context provides heavy sarcasm on "non-biased" and "informed," BTW. The BCS should step in and declare those moves unacceptable if the coaches' poll wants to remain part of the BCS formula. The only thing worse than having biased voters participate in the critically important selection process is having secret biased voters.
Etc.: Sam Keller's suing EA and the NCAA for copying the likenesses of players without paying them. I hope he wins as long as the solution is to pay the players a little bit and not randomization, but if he wins I bet they go with randomization. I don't have a strong opinion on this Daniel Hood thing—he was convicted of rape at 14 and now a Tennessee football recruit—but lean towards think it's okay.
note: all email addresses below are intended to be fake, but I didn't test them or anything. suggest you don't use them.
Extremely sane and not at all prone to crying on the bench after tragic loss Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor told extremely impartial and totally tough-as-nails interviewer Kirk Herbstreit something obviously true yesterday:
Pryor: "I really want to be like a great quarterback. People tell me I can't throw and this and that, and I'm not that good and I'm overrated and all that."
Pryor: "A bunch of people. Michigan players e-mail me and stuff."
Herbstreit: "Come on, are you serious?"
Pryor: "Yeah man."
Video if you want it. This is obviously true. But who is the culprit? MGoBlog's three primary suspects:
Motive: Michigan's lone player in the business school is marketing a TOTALLY LEGITIMATE scheme which isn't even a scheme at all, really, but just a sure 100% foolproof ways to make the moneys.
Subject: "l@@k! 1mpr0ve yr threwing motion no foolsies"
I am Mr. Boltan Tesko, Accounts Manager, of Abbey National PLC Bromley Rd Branch. I have an important business proposition for you.
On December 12th, 2008, a contractor with the National Fotoball Legue, United States, Bill Parcells, made a limited time (Fixed) offer for twelve calendar months, valued at US$ 17,350,000.00 (Seventeen Million Three Hundred Hundred and fifty Thousand Dollars only) in contracts for any quarteback to throw
Upon maturity,I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers, that there is no throw. TO throw we teach you throw for sum of US$ 3,500,000.00 which is leave you profit of US$14,000,000.00.
There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this transaction will be done by the attorney and with my position as the Manager with my bank will guarantees the successful execution of this transaction.
Awaiting your urgent reply.
Thanks and regards.
Motive: Exploring a transfer.
Subject: So I hear you can't throw.
Body: Here's the deal: as soon as I completed my paperwork to transfer to Arizona State, Dennis Erickson drove into a volcano.
They've replaced him with Tom Osborne and moved me to fullback. I hear you can't throw and have emotional problems. Is this true? If so, do you want to be roommates?
PS: Please don't say yes and then throw Tressel into the sun.
Subject: prepare to get dropped
yo yo yo yo, check it:
pryor you ain't nothing
you at a place where there's no one to compete
i shake steve brown like he was concrete
bauserman, boeckman, guiton who dat
you get hurt they put in the wildcat
me? stuck behind sheridan, yeah, you lucky
otherwise mich gets rid of the monkey
white like mcguffie but with mad skillz
one more concussion i give him frog pills
my head's fine, clear like cristal
five yard ropes when i get the ball
THAT'S FEBREZE PEOPLE
Previously: S Vlad Emilien, S Thomas Gordon, CB Justin Turner, CB Adrian Witty, LB Isaiah Bell, LB Mike Jones, LB Brandin Hawthorne, DT Will Campbell, DE Anthony LaLota, DE Craig Roh, OL Michael Schofield, OL Taylor Lewan, and OL Quinton Washington.
|Inkster, Michigan - 6'2" 211
|Scout||3*, #82 WR|
|Rivals||4*, #36 WR, #233 overall|
|ESPN||78, #63 ATH|
|Other Suitors||Michigan State, Iowa|
|YMRMFSPA||Jason Avant, or maybe Prescott Burgess|
|Hello: Cameron Gordon|
|Notes||Teammate of 2010 QB commit Devin Gardner|
Of all the recruits in Michigan's 2009 class, Cameron Gordon is the one with the most uncertain position. You'll note he's been filed under the skill recruits here and that both Rivals and Scout have him listed at wide receiver. However, Gordon's rangy linebacker frame brings the conversation back to his potential on defense time and again.
Here's an example:
Moving down to Nos. 8 and 9, Inkster's Cameron Gordon flip-flopped positions with Grosse Pointe South tight end Reid Fragel thanks to his impressive defense for the Vikings. At 6-2 and 215 pounds, he has impacted a number of games with bone-jarring hits while playing linebacker or strong safety.
ESPN says coaches on both sides of the ball will "fight for him" but spends most of its scouting report focusing on his defensive talents:
Could potentially tip the scales at the 215-range making defense a strong possibility. You would never now he was a flashy wide receiver when watching him pursue the football as a hybrid safety/outside linebacker. He chases plays down with good range, burst and intensity. A strong tackler who displays good upper-body strength dragging down ball carriers from behind. Covers a ton of ground quickly with little wasted motion. Has a long stride and can make plays sideline-to-sideline.
They do mention the one consistent complaint about Gordon's skillset, saying top-end speed is a "question mark" and he lacks "great initial burst with the ball." He's the opposite of Jeremy Gallon.
"Cameron has great tools," said Trieu. "On offense, his size and strength create matchup problems, plus he has good hands. On defense, he finds the ball well and is a big hitter. His only drawback would be that he isn't a true burner as far as the receiver position goes. That would limit his potential on offense. I think he could play either position well in college, but it will likely come down to what a particular school needs. If I had the luxury of choosing, I'd want him at linebacker."
Cameron Gordon, Inkster- had a quiet day but was still efficient because he opened the field up for other receivers by drawing double coverage every play. He's so big and fast but I was most impressed by how hard he runs every possible route.
More from NGS:
Cameron Gordon, Inkster- Gordon is just too physically gifted for the high school level and he's just as good of a OLB/safety as he is a receiver. He gave Gardner a huge block 40 yards down field on the long TD run, he made a heck of a play on his INT, and his 42-yard catch displayed great hand-eye coordination.
Gordon's stats were nice on offense (49 catches for 863 yards, almost 18 per) but eyepopping on D: 126 tackles, five sacks, and five interceptions. Judge for yourself in this highlight reel featuring plays from both sides of the ball:
(Yes, that's Devin Gardner doing the throwing.)
This correspondent's opinion: the rumor was that Michigan's offer came late because Gordon was insistent he was a wide receiver, and once he started opening up like so…
"I feel I am a football player, so it really wouldn't stop me from going to a school if I had to play defense,” Gordon said. “This is my first year playing safety and I really like that position, too. I still am a receiver, but it's not something that will hold me back from going to a college.”
…Michigan promptly sent him a letter. Or once Michigan sent him a letter, he started opening up. Though neither linebacker or wide receiver is particularly deep right now, a quick glance at the recruiting board shows five WR and zero LB commits. Most analysts think his potential is higher on defense, where a lack of hot burning speed won't hold him back as much.
When Gordon committed I thought he had a 75% chance of remaining on offense, but the WR recruit flood has changed my mind. I think Gordon's headed for linebacker in six months or a year. In a futile attempt to forestall RCMB posters from posting things like "Rodriguez LIED, Cam Gordon DIED lol I'd hit it" let's point out that Michigan was explicit that they were bringing him in as an athlete (link ibid):
“(Michigan) offered me,” Gordon said. “They mostly said how they want to sign me and that I’ll be able to play both sides, just depending on what side is best for me to play for their team."
Right now that side appears to be defense; Michigan has a couple of possession receivers in the works and should be fine until the wide receiver cavalry shows up next year.
Why Avant or Burgess? Bulky 6'2" wide receiver who will push 215 and lacks deep speed == Avant. Rangy linebacker who needs to put on 20 pounds, switch positions (sort of) and probably struggle with the mental part of being a college linebacker for a while == Burgess.
Guru Reliability: Low. One major outlier amongst three votes and it appears that the sites have rated him at a position he's probably not going to play in college.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Two of three services say "eh," and the position uncertainty strikes me as a guaranteed waste of a year at WR.
Projection: Moves to linebacker halfway through his freshman season and hopefully hasn't burned his redshirt by then. Then he'll have one more year to wait behind Mouton before challenging for that OLB spot. Tough to say whether he'll be better than Jones or Hawthorne or Demens by then.
Yeah, it's him. At least some of the coach twitter feeds are written by low-level marketing flacks, but Charlie Weis' is legit:
I, personally, am working on Nevada, our first opponent, this week; Michigan, our second opponent, next week; and Michigan State, our third opponent, the week prior to Memorial Day. Go Irish!
(FTR: That's two tweets conjoined.) Charlie Weis, personally, is on the case. Unlike all those other times people use the word "I".
Coach Cobra Kai. Hopefully Michigan will get to the point where this isn't a hypothetical situation:
That's part of the locker room door; as Michigan Football Saturdays points out it's not too far from that to "sweep the leg." Maybe we can be Bill Simmons' favorite college football team now.
Also, I'm pretty sure I know exactly which default photoshop gradient was used to do the effect there.
Kickin' up dirt. JoePa broached the topic of Big Ten expansion—he's in favor of it and name-dropped Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers as possibilities—sending everyone into the usual tizzy. Jim Delany said "eh, not so much" and life continues on. There's not much more to add than the usual, but I would like to address this:
Adding a twelfth team to the conference implies, in the minds of most, a move to a two-division structure not unlike that of Big 12, ACC, and SEC, all of which hold
moneymoneymoneygrabchampionship games before declaring a champion. So what would the divisions look like?
That's We Will Always Have Tempe, which is frequent OSU gadfly poguemahone's new joint. WWAHT then goes through a bunch of scenarios that all point to the same thing: there's no division that makes geographical sense and hardly one that makes competitive sense.
Q: why do we have to have divisions? As we've seen in the Big 12 of late, sometimes you get the second-best team in the conference sitting at home crocheting asterisks to put everywhere as a far worse team shows up to get blown out.
If you add another team you can then add another conference game without running up against the horrible realities of math, and then you can just play everyone except two other teams and have a championship game between the top two. It would basically be like what we've got now except with a championship game on the end of everything. Sometimes this would be pointless, but I think it's better than the alternative of having the Michigan-OSU division and then a Penn State-someone else division unless that someone else is Notre Dame, which is not happening.
Score. The Daily scores an exclusive interview with Threet with a bunch of interesting stuff and one major typo: a "Feagin" where a "Mr. Plow" should go. For the record: Justin Feagin has not left the team or transferred. The rumor persists because the Free Press quoted from it on their blog*, linking to a Yahoo reproduction of the interview that hasn't been corrected like the original has.
Items of media interest:
- The Free Press "blog" is, ironically, the exact sort of blog media people always complain about: it adds exactly zero to the content it lifts and doesn't even have the decency to blockquote the material so it's obvious the content is not Free Press content.
- The Daily killed the Threet transfer story, absolutely wasting every other media organization out there, and the interview is the cherry on top.
- …and they're pissing away a good chunk of the linkjuice and hits by allowing the syndication of it to UWire and therefore Yahoo.
To the interview itself: Threet directly addresses the "inconsistent like always" comment, downplaying it, and says point blank that he didn't think he'd keep the starting job with "the way they run the offense" but that it's hard to say for sure. Here's the kicker:
S: What does Michigan need to do to make sure last year doesn’t happen again?
T: They need to make sure that everyone is putting the work in to getting better at executing their job. There were a lot of times last year where maybe one guy didn’t do his job at 100 percent, and that’s the difference between a touchdown and a three-yard loss. Working together like that is especially important offensively. Defensively, you can get bailed out sometimes, but offensively it really does take all 11 guys.
The whole thing is well worth reading.
Zoom! More to file under "Denard Robinson is made of dilithium":
Dauntia Dotson, Adrian Witty, Cassius McDowell and Denard Robinson sent the crowd home contented by running a school-record 40.82 -- the second-fastest time in the country this year, to win the Region 3-4A title.
''I think we can go 40.50, maybe even faster,'' Witty said. ``Who knows? It's our work ethic. We don't want to lose. This means a lot because we broke our own state record twice this year.''
You'll note that Witty is also on this blazing fast relay—good news for his prospects at M—as is Deerfield Beach junior running back Cassius McDowell, who says Michigan leads.
Update 5/2: Linked to articles on FL WR DeJoshua Johnson(second), FL RB Roy Finch, SC RB Marcus Lattimore (second, third), FL S Daunte Carr(second), OH DE Jibreel Black, LA S Ronnie Vinson, MD LB Troy Gloster($), FL QB Christian Green, FL CB Travis Williams, FL WR Chris Dunkley, MD LB Josh Furman (and PA QB Malik Stokes). Video of PA DE Dakota Royer, MI QB Devin Gardner, MN OL Seantrel Henderson, IA QB AJ Derby, TX LB Corey Nelson. Moved LA WR Drew Dileo to committed.
Removed MD WR Adrian Coxson(PSU), FL WR DeJoshua Johnson.
Added PA WR Andrew Carswell, FL CB Rashad Knight, GA CB Jonathan Mincy, PA LB Jordan Paskorz, MD S Lorenzo Waters, NJ RB Tony Jones, UT DT Ricky Heimuli($), MD S Michael Coley, MD S Lorenzo Waters.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
MD WR Adrian Coxson committed to Penn State, which is obviously not a big deal since he is an outside WR and Michigan has four of those in the class already.
I wasn't going to take FL WR DeJoshua Johnson (of Pahokee!) off the board just yet since this report comes from a source I'm unfamiliar with…
Pahokee H.S. (Florida) wide receiver and Gridironstuds.com member DeJoshua Johnson has narrowed his choices down to three: Florida St., Alabama and Oklahoma St. in no particular order. Johnson eliminated Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and any other team running a spread offense after watching this past weekend’s NFL draft.
…but I pretty much believe these guys since a recruit getting down to a top three is a crazy thing to lie about and the conventional wisdom on Johnson matches up with those final three schools. (Also, Johnson might want to check on what Oklahoma State runs before making any rash decisions.) Then came this article and this interview that confirmed, so he's gone.
Also destined to leave the board at some point in the future is PA DE Dakota Royer. He's made a number of visits to schools across the Midwest but hasn't stopped by Michigan. In this Rivals AMP video it's clear that Penn State is a considerable favorite:
Unless Royer makes it to campus in the near future—there are no plans to do so at the moment—he'll probably drop Michigan whenever he comes out with a shortlist.
Um, no seriously
MI QB commit Devin Gardner put in an appearance at a camp and, uh, had an interesting go of it:
But Gardner didn’t come looking to impress with his quarterback skills. Instead the super athlete stressed he was looking to impress everyone with his ability as a wide receiver and overall player.
Gardner would take a few snaps as a quarterback but he also took part in all the testing and had one of the top forty times by posting a 4.57 electronic timed forty. Gardner didn’t disappoint anyone and took home overall combine MVP honors.
Uh, I guess it's good Gardner's such a kickin' athlete he can crush a combine at any number of different positions, but no thanks on the position switch. Though that 4.57 isn't in the realm of Florida's FAKE (FAKE! FAKE!) 40 board, these things take place under highly variable conditions. An electronic 4.57 in a 6'4" beast QB is plenty fast. All you need to know about his athleticism is this: showed up at a combine, screwed around at a variety of positions, got overall combine MVP. The end.
Throwing motion? What throwing motion?
Elsewhere in combines, both PA CB Cullen Christian and PA CB Brandon Ifill had good days at the Penn State combine:
Defensive back Cullen Christian (Pittsburgh/Penn Hills) may not get as much publicity as his teammate, wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Ifill, but it was Christian who came away from the camp with honors. Ifill did a nice job Saturday and showed why he has scholarship offers from multiple BCS schools. But Christian was even better and was named the camp's defensive back MVP.
I was under the impression Christian was a solid four star sort, but a couple reports like this indicate he was trending towards anonymous three star and is now moving up into the four-star range.
Dual freak linebackers
MD LB Josh Furman did this:
Josh Furman (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) may have had the single best outing out of any prospect on this year's Under Armour combine tour. He posted a wind-aided 4.39 40-yard dash, a 42 inch vertical jump, a 4.12 short shuttle and a modest broad jump of 9 feet, 8 inches. His 16 reps of 185 pounds were also very impressive and a bit surprising given his longer, rangier frame (6-foot-2, 192 pounds).
Daaaang. You can commence the feeding frenzy. A teams are about to make it rain offers. Furman maintains not even the hint of a leader and has been backed off from green to yellow as the initial excitement of the Michigan offer fades and Furman realizes he can go just about anywhere.
Meanwhile, DC LB Javarie Johnson, he of the erroneous post-visit commitment report, also appears to be a guy who's using the combine circuit to shoot his stock through the roof:
…on the hoof, there might not have been a better-looking prospect. Johnson is tall (almost 6-foot-4) with a frame that looks like it was carved out of clay for an outside linebacker. He is long and lean but is also layered with chiseled muscle and looks far thicker than the 210 pounds he weighed in at.
ESPN says Johnson "could be the next big star to come out of Dunbar." Too bad that commit report was erroneous.
PA QB Malik Stokes—the younger brother of incoming WR Je'Ron Stokes—also gets a mention:
During seven-on-seven, offenses were run out of the spread, allowing quarterbacks to display their passing skills in the short-to-intermediate range. Stokes did not disappoint. He started off a bit rusty -- showing inconsistent accuracy -- but warmed up quickly, hitting receivers in stride and making sound decisions. His touch was very good.
He's switching high schools so he can throw a bit more. Pitt's offered and Stokes claims interest from a number of BCS programs, so a Michigan offer isn't out of the question down the road. Buuut:
He completed a few downfield throws but we do not see pocket-passing arm strength or the requisite size for the next level.
Another Scout report says he could be a really really good… CUSA or MAC QB. Stokes is going to need a big senior year to get a Michigan offer.
Long fluffy-style article on MN OL Seantrel Henderson doesn't have a lot of news—he plans on deciding on or near Signing Day—but does have this tantalizing quote:
"The only way for Seantrel to lose that No. 1 spot is if he decides to not play football," said Barry Every, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals based in Athens, Ga. "We haven't seen anybody better to make a change. He's definitely a five-star player who will make a major impact in college."
Michigan figures to be in the top five when that time comes.
Excitement about TX LB Corey Nelson, the teammate of TX RB commit Tony Drake who named Michigan his leader a couple weeks ago, should deflate:
"I don't really have a top five but A&M is my top school right now." However, Nelson does plan to make official visits.
Nelson appears to be one of those guys like Sam Montgomery who has a new leader every day, so Michigan's not out of it. The thing to watch for now is potential visit plans.
Okay, so there's this article about FL S commit Marvin Robinson title "Michigan commit considering Canes"($); commence swine-flu-level unnecessary panic. Unfortunately, after the events of last year we can't just laugh it off, but all the insiders remain extremely confident. I'm choosing to spend my time running around screaming "AAAAAAAARRRGH AAAAAARGH DEATH" worrying about Michigan's safety situation this fall. Will inform if my fear increases beyond miniscule here.
Etc.: CA RB Brennan Clay picks up an Oklahoma offer. Freep thing on LA WR commit Drew Dileo has one thing of note, this quote from his coach: "He can turn punts into long gains." Webb article on FL QB Christian Green for some reason; he's almost definitely ticketed for FSU. Michigan is in LA S Ronnie Vinson's top six.
More fixening. So I'm starting to make small tweaks to the website—you'll notice that mgolicious is less ugly—with an eye on implementing a couple features for fall. On the list:
- Some variety of mobile support.
- Adding subscriptions. (No content will go premium, but a few people have inquired about murdering the ads while still supporting the blog. Subscriptions would basically be no ads + increased power to moderate things. Speaking of…)
- Implementing some form of user moderation to cut down on things the majority of people think are wastes of time.
There might be some other things but they're not new features, they'd be new ways of dealing with things on my end that would cut out some of the annoying robotic tasks I have to do. Upshot: over the next couple months you may get a friendly Drupal maintenance screen if you visit after 10PM. There's no reason to be alarmed.
Now we need Javon Ringer to get a Leonidas tattoo so large and realistic he ceases to be Javon Ringer. EDSBS posts some picture of Terrelle Pryor showing off an extremely complicated hand sign and his massive Ohio State forearm tattoo, but Lamarr Woodley sees that and raises:
I think Lamarr Woodley's arm is bigger than my leg. I think his tattoo is bigger than Hugh Jackman. It is definitely bigger than Hugh Grant. Lamarr Woodley's watch could cover Andorra in eternal night if placed in the appropriate geosynchronous orbit.
Also, I ask about the Pryor picture again: what's with the fey lumberjack shirts?
Blowin' up. Basketball recruiting again, but not Evan Smotrycz this time. It's someone sporting a name familiar to Michigan fans:
The hottest player in the state of Michigan right now is Patrick Lucas-Perry, from Flint Powers. The 5'10 PG has blew up to the point, where he is a legit candidate for the #1 player in 2011 in Michigan. Lucas-Perry was the #1 ranked PG in Michigan in my updated rankings for college coaches and subscribers.
Yes, that's LLP's kid brother. Lucas-Perry the younger joins a crowded field of 2011 Michigan guards with significant recruiting hype; Brandan Kearney and Carlton Brundidge are the other big names. Michigan has strong interest in all of them, but only Kearney has the sort of height (6'4") usually associated with Beilein guards. (Brundidge is listed around six foot.) Though it's too early to tell which of the three will be the top priority and which Michigan State will target, the 2011 basketball class is looking a lot like this year's instate quarterback crop: there's enough talent to go around.
We still noticed. Someone in the Minnesota AD must have worked in a senate office before, because the Gohers released this information Friday at 5 PM hoping to mitigate whatever TRY FIGHT BEST damage it might WIN DO TRY TEETH do to Tim Brewster's reputation:
Minnesota's football team lost three scholarships after its Academic Progress Rate dropped during the 2007-08 reporting period. The Gophers' APR fell from 927 to 887, and their multiyear APR dropped to 915, which is below the scholarship-reduction cutline of 925.
Whee! Minnesota will be operating with 82 scholarships next year. This is another BCS program, albeit a second-tier one, struck down by the APR and is further evidence it's not completely useless.
I was momentarily taken aback by the timing of this—May is pretty late to find out you don't get three scholarships, especially if you've signed a Minnesota LOI—but it appears the Gophers knew about this for a while:
Football factored in its penalty by signing three fewer players to scholarships this spring, meaning the program will have a maximum of 82 players on scholarship this season. If the Gophers are above 925 next year, which appears likely based on the fall semester team APR of 957, the scholarships will be restored.
(Thanks to the Daily Gopher for the link.) There's no kid out there who just found out he's getting a grayshirt, sparing me a somewhat self-important gavel-pounding rant.
Minnesota's APR troubles are likely to be mirrored by Michigan over the next couple falls, as the Gophers suffered from a lot of attrition when Brewster came in. The APR deducts one point for anyone leaving your program, no matter their academic status, so Michigan's array of transfers will see their gaudy numbers fall to meh levels. Michigan's starting out from a much higher spot than Minnesota was, though, and scholarship reductions are unlikely.
A lack of communication could have something to do with the Cameron Wright decommit though another school of thought says Matta and company grew disinterested.
…when there is a quote from Cameron Wright saying this…
"I was definitely going to stick with Ohio State," said Wright.
…because then you look like a stupid fanboi attempting to downplay the 100% fact that Wright's scholarship was yanked. Cameron Wright did not "decommit." The internet has links, and you're chucking credibility out the window when you blatantly misrepresent reality.
Etc.: The JCCW on Deadspin and how it's pretty much the ESPN of sports blogs: "You want clutter? You want something that is not, in fact, about sports, but is about the useless, "funny" sideshows that surround sports? I give you Deadspin."
A long email about scheduling in parts:
1. Martin maintains that they need the revenue from the home games to help out with the budget. Seems to me Martin is running the department like a business. That being the case, if you own a business that has a number of different departments and some of those departments are not producing revenue, aren't there three options? 1. Try to increase revenue in the revenue producing departments, which he's trying to do. 2. Try to increase revenue/cut costs in those departments that are not producing revenue. 3. Ax those departments that are not producing revenue.
The third option is rather severe since it is college athletics we're talking about. So I'd be interested to see/know what Martin is doing to try and increase revenues in the other sports as well as reduce costs in the other sports. Hopefully, if Beilien keeps the basketball moving in the right direction that will help the revenue stream coming in from bball.
Michigan doesn't have much leverage via which to increase revenues in other sports. When you're trying to fill Crisler by selling five-dollar seats to nonconference games there's not much you can do to milk the season ticket holders without risking rebellion. And those home nonconference games aren't raking it in like a football game would. Hockey's about break-even now and stuck there; everything else, well… revenue is sparse.
As far as reducing costs in other sports: Michigan fancies itself to be Stanford of the East when it comes to its athletic department and wants each and every one of its programs to be competitive, many of them nationally. Mike Bottom, the swim coach, is probably making bank relative to his peers. Same with the women's soccer coach, who is late of the national team. For most Michigan fans the only benefit this produces is a ceremony wherein a bunch of teams you've never seen walk across the Michigan Stadium turf after winning the conference.
But they're not really the problem. This is a situation analogous to pro sports, where people complain about how much money the players are making as if it has an impact on ticket prices when in reality the relationship is reversed. Michigan has been very good at extracting revenue and that money goes somewhere. In 2003, Michigan paid athletic department employees a total of 19 million dollars. They budgeted 27 million for 2008. That's twice the revenue of one home game.
Would life be vastly different at major college athletic programs without the 12th game? No. Coaches would have slightly less spectacular salaries. The end.
2. The thing that gets me with the scheduling is why does he feel the need to schedule 1-AA schools? If he'd do the schedule a few years in advance, he probably wouldn't have to. With the ND contract, ND will be on the schedule for a while as well as a couple MAC schools. Why not look to the some of the other lower level D1 conferences for games? The lower level Conference USA schools, some lower level WAC schools and maybe some Sunbelt schools. I'm guessing a good amount of those schools wouldn't mind having a visit to Ann Arbor on their schedule to use it as a recruiting tool.
I understand the reasoning for wanting as many home games as possible, but waiting until there's less then a year away from the start of the season to finalize your schedule really leaves you with limited options. It's poor planning on Martin's part imo.
To the average fan there isn't much difference between UMass and Middle Tennessee or Memphis or San Jose State, and, honestly there isn't much of one to me. They're just teams Michigan should crush no matter what. They'll have a tepid crowd with plenty of no-shows, be televised on the BTN, and be immediately forgotten unless something terrible happens.
In that context, I understand reaching for I-AA teams. They're cheaper and the chance you get upset is lower. The issue here isn't really which overmatched team you bring in, it's the entire concept. People would be rolling their eyes just as fervently if it was Louisiana-Monroe or Idaho being kicked around as a potential opponent.
I can't speak to the poor planning, as I don't know the specifics of what's going on.
p.s. - If RR continues to be successful in promoting the spring game, could that help with freeing up money for home and homes? Even if you're only charging $10, if you get 60-70,000 people through the gate by the time you add on concessions, parking, etc. that's probably over a million dollars in revenue.
Probably not. Michigan got 50k this year for free… how many would they get if they ticked people off by charging?
I thought the big fix to the nonconference problem would come from television revenues, but Bruce Madej says that all revenues, including nonconference ones, are split evenly with conference members. So Indiana is making just as much from Texas-OSU as Ohio State. This is obviously a huge disincentive to schedule a real opponent.
This question is another question and not an insane leap from Scott above:
First, what differentiates an OL recruit/player from tackle/guard/center? Right or left side? Certainly some players can handle multiple positions, but how is their ideal position determined?
Second, why are slot receivers typically short? Isn't the key attribute being fast? Would an equally fast but tall player work just as well or better?
One: Mostly height. Ideal tackle height is from 6'6" to 6'9". Interior linemen can be much shorter: David Molk is listed at 6'2" and may be even smaller.
Why should tackles be so tall? Height usually brings long arms with it, and long arms help contain outside pass rushers and generally do wonders in pass protection. Michael Lewis tackles (ha!) the subject in The Blind Side:
The ideal left tackle was big, but a lot of people were big. What set him apart was his more subtle specifications. He was wide in the ass and massive in the thighs: the girth of his lower body lessened the likelihood that Lawrence Taylor, or his successors, would run right over him. He had long arms: pass rushers tried to get in tight to the blocker's body, then spin off of it, and long arms helped to keep them at bay. He had giant hands, so that when he grabbed ahold of you, it meant something.
But size along couldn't cope with the threat to the quarterback's blind side, because that threat was also fast. The ideal left tackle also had great feet. Incredibly nimble and quick feet. Quick enough feet, ideally, that the the idea of racing him in a five-yard dash made the team's running backs uneasy. He had the body control of a ballerina and the agility of a basketball player. The combination was incredibly rare. And so, ultimately, very expensive.
I've seen Jake Long, perhaps the ideal left tackle, in action and at no point did he remind me of a ballerina but set aside that bit of fluffery and there you go.
On the other hand, in the interior space is restricted. Unless something strange happens no one is going to run right by you, and therefore you can put guys who are just about as nimble but squatter and more powerful there. In a traditional running game* guards and centers would like very much to take a defensive lineman and blow him off the ball. That requires leverage: the #1 line cliché of all time is "low man wins". Being (sort of) short is a head start on being low. Think of Pat Massey, and then think of Terrance Taylor.
As far as right or left side: at tackle the guy on the left is the star because he's protecting the quarterback's blindside (unless that QB is left handed). So the best pass protection guys go there, the guys with the most experience and most ideal tackle physique. The guy on the right has a lot of responsibility there too but usually ends up being less slanted towards pass protection just because most teams don't have two Jake Longs.
*(What about Michigan? Michigan's more about cutting linemen off and getting guys in space against one guy who's not quick enough to cut up with you. Rather than driving the defender backwards your main priority is to either 1) get on the right side of him and prevent yourself from getting plowed into the tailback or 2) take your man's existing motion to the ball and shove him right past the action. Guards are still shorter because it's a lot easier to find a 6'3" guy with the requisite agility than a 6'6" guy.)
Two: The key attribute in a slot receiver is not raw speed but quickness. While a slot receiver is rarely going to get his tiny little legs moving at full cartoon speed, he is going to have 210-pound linebackers attempting to put their helmets through his ribcage plenty. Once you catch that swing pass or bubble screen, the ability to juke the first guy out of his jock is way more important than what your velocity is after ten yards in a straight line.
I'm sure Rodriguez wouldn't mind a 6-foot slot a la Peter Warrick, but those guys are rare. 5'8" guys with dreads who can teleport short distances are in better supply and less demand. So it's considerably easier to get the best or second-best 5'8" guy in the country, as Michigan did with Jeremy Gallon, than the best 6-foot one.
Some time ago I mentioned that the site's ability to email you registration information was erratic. It turns out there was some population behind aggressive ISP-level spam filtering that would scythe down MGoEmails before they reached people in this group.
An effort was made to fix this, and given the results of a group of test cases it appears to have succeeded. So: if you tried to register at any point in the past and were unable to get login information you can try again and this time it should work. If it doesn't, please email me.
The re-rank. More on Evan Smotrycz and the hype train a-buildin':
"I was pretty impressed with him; he's pretty tough," Daniels said. "I heard the rumblings about him. He was known as a guy that can really shoot the ball, and I hadn't seen him before so he was a priority guy for us." …
"I expected him to be able to shoot the ball well from deep," Daniels said. "I was surprised with how he attacked the rim and surprised with his toughness. Against Jayvaughn Pinkston, one of the tougher guys in the class, Evan more than held his own. He mixed it up inside, and I was thoroughly impressed with him."
It's getting to be that time when the scouting sites put their rankings where their mouths are, and the first vote is in. Scout has slid Smotrycz up to #17 amongst power forwards. He still a three star, but he's right on the verge of a fourth. The #16 guy, Melvin Tabb, is #73 on Scout's preliminary list of 75 kids, so Smotrycz is probably around #80. That's a big step forward from unranked and virtually unknown.
(Side note: one of the Rivals mods posted that Prep Spotlight shot Smotrycz all the way to #46 in their latest rankings, but there's no way to link—Prep Spotlight's website is defunct and it exists only as a magazine.)
The flameout. The Free Press considers Michigan's 2005 recruiting class, which turned into Mario Manningham, Terrance Taylor, and not much else. This is territory this blog has gone over in detail. The 2004 and 2005 classes, in summary:
Michigan got killed by back-to-back classes that saw a ton of attrition at key spots. Basically the only thing Michigan has to show from the 2004 and 2005 classes is the defensive line, which was Big Ten championship caliber.
The rest of the team? Is not.
By the time Rodriguez arrived at Michigan the excellent recruiting classes of the late Carr era had already been decimated, and few of the departures afterward were unusual. The attrition was worst on the offensive line, which was terrible early until finding some sort of footing as the season approached its merciful end. Speaking of…
The WTF. The Wall Street Journal puts together a piece on offensive line experience and its correlation with football success—strong—and just as you're bracing for Michigan to find itself on the face-punched list you get this shocking table:
|TEAMS TO WATCH||O-LINE STARTS||TEAMS TO WORRY ABOUT||O-LINE STARTS|
|Virginia Tech||100||West Virginia||25|
|Florida St.||86||Penn State||39|
Holy hotpants. I guess that's what happens when you return every single player on the line. A small caveat for the hope implied here: a number of those starts won't see the field as Ferrara and McAvoy get booted to the bench in favor of Huyge or Omameh.
Other bits of interest:
- If Penn State's offense undergoes an inexplicable collapse after returning Royster and Clark, the line might be why. Or the vast talent deficit at WR.
- If Notre Dame can't run the ball this year they never will.
- Remember how everyone was predicting one last bash for West Virginia followed by a swift, Bill Stewart-spurred immolation? Yeah.
The confession. File this under "things you already knew":
“Last year all I did was supervise. I was more of an observer,” Paterno said of his 11-2 team that lost to Southern California in the Rose Bowl. “I have a heck of a staff. Those two years I didn’t do much. Last year we had a pretty good football team, and I didn’t do much.”
So all those shots of Paterno sitting in the press box never talking into his for-show headset meant what we thought they meant: Tom Bradley is Penn State's head coach, and a pretty good one from appearances. (HT: EDSBS.)
The mocking. This goofy video put together by a bunch of kids is more entertaining than it has any right to be:
They also listed it as a reply to 'Jimmy Clausen for Heisman,' which never fails to rope me in for the whole 2:16.
The enemy. Sunday Morning Quarterback surveys the great gray menace:
This is definitely a "rebuilding" year with a lot of uncertainty on paper, destined for the fringe of the top-10 in all the preseason magazines -- and still, Ohio State is likely to be favored in every game except USC, with Penn State serving as the toss-up for the auto bid to the Rose Bowl (where OSU, for all its success, hasn't been in more than a decade). I'm willing to project a conference loss, although I don't know where it will come from if not the Nittany Lions, and another 10-2 effort will be hard for the BCS to ignore.
The whole thing is, as always, a good thing to spend your time reading.