that's unfortunate, but at least the interest is there on both sides
Programming note: I'm moving, which is going to seriously cut into posting time today and possibly the next couple days. It also was not accounted for in my estimates of what I could get done re: other Big Ten teams before the season. Monday the weeklong Michigan preview extravaganza starts; prepare thyselves.
I have the powerful desire to sex you on the puce shag carpet. One thousand cocktails to whoever gave Michael Phelps the sexbomb Spitz mustache he's sporting on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (It's Wednesday, Swindle, get to it.)
If you're not tingling, I don't want to know you.
Phelps, by the way, will be honored at the Wisconsin game. Insert hacky "can he play quarterback?" joke here.
Vote for Marques. Dude's never going to play for Michigan but he can make the Deadspin Hall of Fame. Vote or die. Slocum is currently just above the 75% cutoff line.
R. Lee Emery is wearing JoePa's skin. No, seriously.
The Big Ten Network needs to start running this during every commercial break instead of their current annoying university promo stuff.
All Hail Dan Feldman. When it comes to Michigan beat writing, the Daily's Dan Feldman is killing all comers. He was the guy who uncovered all sorts of useful information during the Women's Football Academy while the Free Press was concerned with Tae Bo. Just a couple days ago he clarified the George Morales situation that's had everyone confused since February; he wrote two other interesting articles on the same day and then dumped some useful bullets in a blog post. Excerpts:
- Redshirt freshman guard Mark Huyge was in crutches. With redshirt junior Corey Zirbel out with an injury, Huyge started last Tuesday’s walk-through at right guard. Redshirt junior David Moosman started the walk-through at center. He moved to right guard after a few plays, and redshirt freshman David Molk played center.
- J.B. Fitzgerald stood out to Jay Hopson as the best freshman linebacker.
- Freshman safety Brandon Smith, who Rodriguez said could see significant playing time, said the talk of moving to linebacker was just a rumor, and it was never seriously discussed.
It the starting line for Utah appears to be Ortmann-McAvoy-Molk-Moosman-Schilling, with Perry Dorrestein the first guy off the bench and Hold Me I Feel Like Dying the second. (He's foreign.)
Moose and squirrel? Actually, the second guy off the bench may be true freshman Rocko Khoury, who's been impressing at center:
“Rocko is working in there [at center] and he’s willing to put his face on somebody,” Frey said, when asked about redshirt freshman David Molk.
“He’s getting consistent with his snaps,” redshirt junior lineman David Moosman said. “When you’re as young as he is, and he hasn’t played center before, it can be tough making sure every snap is good. But he’s doing really well and becoming more consistent.
There is the possibility that Rocko will play next to Moosman at some point, at which point the band has to play "Rocky and Bullwinkle" after every play. There will be no discussion.
There are additional interesting quotes in that article, like this on the slot electrons:
Clemons, working out of the slot position, has spent a good amount of practice time with Martavious Odoms and Terrence Robinson and isn’t ashamed to admit they have something on him.
“They’re quicker than me. Faster? We can always line up and race,” Clemons said, laughing. “They’re real explosive and they’re tough guys too. You look at them and you think they’re undersized but they don’t play like they’re small. They play like their 6-2 even though they’re both 5-9. It’s exciting to watch them work because they work real hard. They’re very explosive, very quick and fast.”
We should place bets on which freshman skill player is has the most buzz after Utah. I'm going with Odoms.
|2||Ohio State (17)||22.9||2.0||24|
|3||Southern Cal (15)||22.9||3.0||23|
Total Ballots: 78
Hurray that's the poll hurray. And it's a little meh, with a swap of WVU and Clemson the only difference between the AP and the blogpoll until you reach #14. From there there are some multiple-spot differences. The blogpoll is
- bullish on VT (14 BP, 17 AP), Oregon (18 BP, 21 AP)
- down on BYU (20 BP, 16 AP), and Illinois (22 BP, 20 AP)
I blame myself for not providing more organization in the run-up to the season. Details after the jump.
<span style="font-style: italic;">Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.</span>
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
The most interesting thing here is West Virginia's extremely high standard deviation, unusual for a top-ten team.
First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Normally I come down hard on these folks because when we get deep into the season they're defying poll guidelines, reason, and justice by placing Hawaii in the top ten or something. In the preseason everyone's entitled to their stupid opinion (again: all opinions expressed here are stupid) so, like, whatever.
Saurian Sagacity takes the first Mr. Bold of the year for such oddities as QB-less LSU #2, QB-less and OL-less Michigan #8(!?!?!?!?!?!), Florida State #10(!?), Miami #15, Notre Dame #16... is this poll from 1988?
Mr. Numb Existence goes to newcomer Michigan Sports Center. There's nothing interesting to say about this category ever because the ballots in question are pretty much like the poll you see above.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award is a dire one; last season only the overwhelming black hole of suck that is Notre Dame could forestall the inevitable humiliating loss suffered by the team supported by the unlucky doof who overrated his team more than anyone else.
So, good news Cal fans: the "Enlightened Spartan" ranks Michigan State #10 and clocks a massive 15.65 bias rating; a total of six other blogs (in 78!) bothered to vote for MSU; this ballot provides well over half of MSU's 27 points. This is a truly egregious violation of poll ethics and will no doubt be severely punished.
Also note that Tennessee blogs are far more enthusiastic about the Vols than the poll at large. Sort of...
College Game Balls is your victor here for placing VT #21. Another Tennessee blog futilely attempts to divert the wrath of the CK Award by slightly underrating the Vols, and Bruce Ciskie's probably right about Wisconsin.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Swing doesn't exist in the preseason poll, obviously.
Aw, hell. Rivals has an article titled "Kevin Newsome back on the market" and he's not looking to scoop up foreclosed houses (topical ZING!): the rampant rumors from a month or so ago have come to fruition and he's decommitted. No schools have been mentioned yet; the scuttlebutt before was that Virginia Tech and Penn State were the main suitors. Michigan remains explicitly in the running, but it's extremely rare for a kid to re-commit to the school he decommitted from.
Some comments from on high about the reaction:
- Please check to see if there's already a thread about it on the message board before posting the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th thread.
- Don't be that asshat who posts something misleading in the subject line only to say "ha ha not really" in the text. This is never funny and makes people think you are mildly retarded.
- Criticizing kids who decommit is always tiresome; skip it.
- Not quite as tiresome but nearly so is the sarcastic overreaction post.
I'm bummed because I thought Newsome had enormous upside and the kind of dedication required to reach it. Tate Forcier is visiting for the Utah game, and a consolation prize that completes more than 70% of his passes ain't shabby. We'll see if the rumored Michigan love is for real; Forcier now has a powerful incentive to jump ASAP.
Update 8/19: Linked to articles on AR CB Darius Winston, FL S Angelo Hadley (video, fluff), FL CB Josh Robinson, MA OL Brennan Williams, VA OL Morgan Moses, TX QB Shavodrick Beaver. Did Marcus Hall drop us or not drop us (and does it matter)? (As per usual, some links from VB.)
Removed GA WR Braxton Lane (chose baseball).
Fluff on the Pahokee kids.
Moved TX K Anthony Fera to committed.
Winston probably to Mississippi, for some reason
This got asked a thousand times in the chat yesterday despite it getting answered twice: it appears AR CB Darius Winston is staying in the south. He suddenly moved up his announcement date to September 5th and has canceled his scheduled official visits except for one. He wasn’t shy about letting the cat out of the bag in this SuperPrep article:
What stands out about Ole Miss?
"I just love that whole coaching staff. I feel like they are going to turn it around at Ole Miss. I would love to be a part of that. I plan on taking an official visit to Ole Miss on Labor day weekend, when they play Memphis."
Anymore official visits on tap?
"That is it."
Should people read anything into that?
"I guess you could say that, yes sir (laugh)."
Frustratingly, Ole Miss appears to be the destination. Someone in Winston’s camp must be super best friends with Houston Nutt.
So that’s lame. Not lame: the commitment of Texas kicker Anthony Fera. If you remember the zen peace you achieved watching Zoltan the Inconceivable sky punts on youtube, you will want to watch this practice video of Fera:
I am the world’s greatest expert on these matters and declare him a future first-round pick. Others agree: Fera is one of only a few kickers to pick up a third star from Rivals and is their #2 rated kicker overall. ESPN gives him an 80—a better score than Will Campbell received—and says thusly:
Good leg extension and follow through on kickoffs. Consistent field goal kicker that demonstrates the ability to make field goals well into the 40's distance wise; longest is 58 yards.
Also there is this from their ticker:
"Fera gets all 230 pounds into his kicks. He has an extremely strong leg and powers his kickoffs into the endzone and has made several field goals of forty plus yards including a 58 yarder in competition. The Under Armor All-American kicker also is a decent punter and can be used as a back-up if needed at the collegiate level."
The 230-pound kicker was 15 for 16 on field goal attempts as a junior and had a long of 58 yards.
That guy said Rodriguez would “get a kick” out of Fera, though, so you might want to ignore him. Or kick him in the giblets. Either way.
Specialist offers are relatively rare, so Fera’s collection of Michigan, Penn State, Kansas State, and Ohio State (grayshirt) is impressive, especially because Ohio State just took a kicker last year. He’s one of the top kicking prospects out there this year and has to be the favorite to start when Kicking Competency Lopata’s graduates. Bryan Wright appears to have washed out; Michigan will probably carry two kickers in 2009 and not extend him a fifth year.
Beaver enrolling early
This Free Press article on TX QB commit Shavodrick Beaver has quotes like this…
“It’s not about getting a shot as soon as I get there, it’s about going in there, lifting weights and getting stronger and faster with the team,” Beaver said. “Then my shot will come with the competition and everything. I’m just going to be competing everyday, working hard and going in to lead the team.”
…and one piece of what I believe is new information: Beaver will join Kevin Newsome and enroll early.
Guy who’s probably not coming here prolongs the tease
Conflicting information on OH OL Marcus Hall. TSN says we got dropped:
Hall, rated the No. 7 offensive tackle prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, has whittled it down to Ohio State, Illinois and Southern Cal, he revealed to Sporting News Today.
Bucknuts says we didn’t get dropped and that USC never even offered:
"I want to say it's down to three (schools). It's somewhat down to three. It's Illinois, Ohio State and Michigan. But I still have my eyes open."
Hall added that LSU and Miami-FL sit behind his three favorites. Additionally, the Trojans now seem out on contention, after not extending an offer.
The ESPN article is from two days later so it’s likely to be the accurate one. Probably moot given Hall’s presence at OSU feeder Glenville.
Guy who doesn’t know what conference UCF is in has Michigan offer
Keep an eye on FL CB Josh Robinson from inappropriately-named powerhouse Plantation. He’s moving up the Rivals rankings and reports a Michigan offer. I don’t think this report of a Florida offer…
Robinson’s top two schools are UCF and USF right now, but he could generate more interest during his senior season. Florida and Michigan have also offered Robinson.
… is accurate but he’s at least got serious interest. Oh, and apparently favors USF and a CUSA school over, like, Michigan. Hopefully that changes if/when Michigan can get him on campus.
Expert spelunking by the Daily resolves the bizarre George Morales story:
About two weeks ago, Rodriguez said Morales signed in February. But Morales said he hasn’t signed yet and plans to after fall camp wraps up in a couple weeks.
Carr offered him a one-year scholarship with the possibility it will be renewed. Morales hasn’t decided what he will do if he’s not offered a scholarship next year. For now, he’s just enjoying his experience in Ann Arbor.
“I love it,” Morales said. “It’s tough and everything. Practice is fast-tempo, but I love it out here.”
This still seems weird given my interpretation of a LOI; I think what Morales means is he'll sign scholarship papers in a couple weeks. There's no point to a LOI once you've enrolled in school.
In any case, the upshot: Morales is explicitly not guaranteed a scholarship slot in future years and knows that there's a possibility it won't get renewed, sort of like Reed Baker minus the peanut allergy. I'm not adjusting the scholarship count.
Is this sad? Eh... maybe.
Liveblog/chat event! The Big Ten Network is going to cover a Michigan practice tonight at 9PM EST, with a replay of last year's "Little Brother" game preceding the festivities at 7. MGoBlog will take the opportunity to spin out the Cover It Live software as a test run for a new feature this season. The tentative plan: have members of the Wolverine Liberation Army and some select others moderate CIL chats that will replace the chaotic free-for-all of the haloscan open threads. (If you've got a Michigan blog and will be available for home games there might be a spot or two open; drop me an email.) I won't be around since I'm going to 8 to 10 games this year and prefer my Ohio State games to be consumed in an atmosphere of solitary panic, but the WLA guys are pretty all right.
As far as tonight goes, we tried this once before when Sam McGuffie had his national TV debut and discussion quickly shifted from McGuffie to any and all things, which is fine. There will probably be some trenchant commentary on the event itself, but this will end up being more of a Q&A session with some good jokes/answers from the peanut gallery sprinkled in. A reminder: these are moderated chats so I have to approve anything that gets posted before it'll show up.
ESPN’s helmet clash was a stupid exercise designed to garner cheap hits and was unworthy of anyone’s attention. But this is pretty cool:
I think we know who the true winner is.
Cut like a razor blade so fast other DJs go damn. The Morgan Trent 4.13 forty is sadly, dead. Varsity Blue got some pictures from Media Day:
You can clearly see that "40" has no winners and the 413 was put up in the pro agility drill. You can also see that the fastest quarterback in that drill was... aww... goddammit... David Cone.
Moooooooo. Yeah, you know those enormous metal girders? You can’t walk through them. As a result, moooooving (ha! I kill me!) around Michigan Stadium this fall is going to be even more of a fiasco than it usually is:
Officials thought about opening the gates more than two hours before kickoff, but a review of scanned tickets shows the majority of fans wait until the last hour to enter anyway.
"Nobody likes to miss kick-off," Rademacher said. "If they don't get here early, there's a good chance they'll miss it."
Get to the stadium early and use the gate closest to your seat and avoid Main Street. If you show up late-ish things will be even more difficult than they've been in the past:
To help funnel fans who approach the stadium from the south around to the northern side of the stadium, one of the northbound lanes of South Main Street, from Stadium Boulevard to Keech Avenue, will be closed to vehicular traffic and open only to pedestrians.
A barrier closing off that lane to vehicular traffic will be installed before game day, said Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Brad Hill. "Officers there will be encouraging people to use that," Hill said.
Rademacher says it'll be quicker to walk around the stadium to the correct gate than to enter the stadium and fight the crowds through the concourses.
The traffic issues should be resolved by 2010, when a second concourse will be added for the plebes in the nosebleeds.
Sad? Funny? Both! Details of Kevin Grady's DUI arrest have been released. Going over them is sad and horrible and all that, but also... well... kind of funny. I'm sorry if this makes me a horrible person, but:
Thompson said he asked for a number between 12 and 14, and Grady answered "15." And when asked whether Mickey Mouse is a dog or a cat, he answered "dog."
That's comedy. Not comedy: the officer finding Grady passed out with the car running but his foot miraculously pressing the brake. Grady, BTW, has been seeing scanty first-team snaps even in the absence of Minor and Brown.
Sidenote: during my brief dalliance with college-level quiz bowl I attended a "trash tournament," in which the questions are all pop culture blah blah. At one point one of the bonus questions asked a player on the other team to execute a number of sobriety tests, one of which he failed. It was not "is Mickey Mouse a dog or a cat?"
Best Porn Name - For a Woman
Foxy Foxworth, South Carolina TE
This is strictly a soft-core porn name, since hardcore would be something like "Honey Titsworth."
Also, there is a man named "T-Bob" who is the son of a former NFL quarterback. If you guessed "Louisiana," give yourself a nickel.
Etc.: Carty relates Fred Jackson's insane ravings about the two freshman backs; Adam Rittenberg takes a look at Rodriguez's history with two quarterbacks. The first Blogpoll Roundtable is up and kicking at Hey Jenny Slater.
Houston, Texas, kicker Anthony Fera -- not actually foreign, but "I keeck a touchdown" is something you say whenever you can -- has committed to Michigan. Informative update coming tomorrow as a part of Tuesday Recruitin', but first a brief summary: he's a kicker.
For now the inexplicable first hit when you type "I keeck a touchdown" into Google Images:
Funny old world.
Ugh. Michigan’s offensive line, already paper thin after a wide variety of departures, is the last place Michigan can afford an injury. So this is lame: reports from Fan Day indicate that Mark Huyge has a high ankle sprain and the injury that held Corey Zirbel out of the last week of camp is going to last into the season. A high ankle sprain can linger a long time, so Huyge might not be heard from until midseason. He wasn’t being mentioned as a potential starter, but he’s one of the few non-freshman (of the true variety) available past the starters. Zirbel’s issue is apparently less severe but there’s talk of minor knee surgery and he will miss at least the Utah game. If you’ve got a Rivals subscription you can hear him say it sucks about 30 times in four minutes. Zirbel had locked down a starting guard spot. His loss presses Dave Molk into the lineup at center; David Moosman slides over to guard.
In the absence of the two injured linemen, Michigan now has one backup who’s not a true freshman: redshirt sophomore tackle Perry Dorrestein. Hopefully Zirbel returns ASAP.
How have you been in the last 30 seconds? Rodriguez’s press conferences are coming so fast and furious that they are now largely devoid of information that hasn’t already been relayed. The latest was Media Day, and it was mostly been there, done that. (The injury information above was pried out of the players themselves by inquisitive fans.) A few points of interest, though:
- “It's pretty exciting, but at the same time, pretty nerve-wracking, when you're going to have upwards of eight, nine, 10 true freshmen that may play significant time in your first ball game.”
- This was followed by the usual list of players: Odoms and Robinson—mentioned as a slot unit—, McGuffie and Shaw—also mentioned as a unit. Stonum and then a surprising mention for stick-thin Roy Roundtree. On defense: Floyd, Cissoko, safety Brandon Smith, and DT Mike Martin.
- Rodriguez was really noncommittal about who’s going to start at running back. Brown and Minor, the two presumed leaders, “will play” because they are “good players” but there was no indication anyone had any sort of hold on the job.
- Fast guys will return kicks. Greg Mathews was mentioned at punt returner but that was after Donovan Warren and along with the two slot electrons; kick returns will fall to Shaw, McGuffie, Trent, and Harrison.
- Feagin is suffering from “information overload” and a shoulder injury; he is not in the mix to start: “He's not close to being ready, but I wasn't overly optimistic he would be because there's so much you have to learn here in the first year.”
- Cheery: “There will be some anxious moments in a couple weeks.”
- Also cheery: “Offensively, we still have depth issues, all across the board at every position, and particularly up front.” More on the offensive linemen: “Some of the offensive linemen, the true freshmen, they're not quite ready, but some of them are in the two deep by default. It's a little nerve wracking, but they're working really hard. I like that class. It's a really good class.”
So there you go. Very little in the way of actual news outside of kick returners, but a totally awesome sense of foreboding that I am digging right now.
One thing you can glean by reading between the lines: Shaw’s position has been in doubt ever since he signed with Michigan, but it’s clear now he’s a tailback first despite the fall roster listing him at wide receiver. Rodriguez talked about him as a running back several times usually in concert with McGuffie. Also, that “Michigan drill” thing in which Shaw was so impressive is a RB drill. Running backs can line up all over the field in Rodriguez’s offense, so we’ll probably see him in the slot from time to time.
Terrence Robinson looks pensive. And short, short, short.
“Camp Confidential” comes to you courtesy Carlos Brown. Mostly fluff, but further confirmation that Odoms, Robinson, and McGuffie are looking good. Also this:
We'll have a Gong Show next week, which will be interesting because I've never been a part of something like that before.
Some bullets from MGoBlue indicate that freshmen are getting the opportunities they are because minor dings are holding certain players out of the lineup. Reports are Minor has a hamstring issue—nasty, as those can linger—and Brown has yet another undisclosed minor ding. Given the current trajectory of his injuries (broken hand last fall, finger injury from “freak weightlifting accident” this spring), I assume he had the tip of his pinky finger bitten off by a grue.
Senior/junior punter Zoltan Mesko has continued to impress in camp.
Space aficionados will enjoy this minute and a half of Zoltan punts:
Why? I don’t know. I don’t care.
Eroc has some interesting stuff at his site, including an extended discussion of quarterbacks. Some items that jumped out:
Regarding Chambers playing this weekend, it seems that Coach Shafer and Defensive staff have put in a dime package off the nickel look.
So Chambers is playing some WLB/safety hybrid thing. Interesting. Michigan had high hopes for him before a Big Ten eligibility snafu booted him from the field, but that says to me that Michigan’s linebackers aren’t impressing. Also, Babb and Herron are mentioned as guys who might end up transferring for more playing time. FWIW.
Other stuff: more stuff on quarterbacks from Mark Snyder; Rivals has a freebie interview with JT Floyd; Carty picks out ten things we don’t have to worry about and starts the list with Fred Jackson and Zoltan, which, like, no offense to either of those guys but shit.
Big East what? I appear to have half of the Big East in the top twenty five. This is… odd. West Virginia is a given, but maybe I’m being too kind to Cinci, USF, or Rutgers?
I’m tempted to throw Texas Tech way up high but that seems a typical case of overrating a couple of skill position players and ignoring the general lack of talent elsewhere. It’ll be hard to tell given Tech’s early schedule.
No Michigan. I mean, obviously.