this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Programming note: the first-string laptop is currently undergoing repairs, so content might be a little limited over the next couple days. There is a timeshare going on with the second-string laptop.
Sigh. Most of the pain caused by the Horror has been dulled by the passage of time. You could even make a case that since it precipitated a chain of events that saw Rich Rodriguez hired as head coach, the damn thing was actually a net benefit. But the wound is still raw enough for this to sting:
(Big here if you want to see the thing in all its damnable glory.) At least it's not on the top of the ring, I guess. Also, #$&*.
Convenient. Just as the more excitable variety of Ohio State fan was ready to bring forth the proclamations of a Great Fall for Michigan's ethics under Rich Rodriguez, who held a gun to Kevin Grady's head as Grady feebly protested his 35th jagerbomb of the night, comes another disciplinary incident for wayward son Eugene Clifford:
According to police, Clifford hit two Holy Grail employees who were trying to break up a fight early Friday at the Corryville tavern.
He's got two misdemeanor assault charges pending and has in all likelihood seen his last day at Ohio State. (Clifford has a number of other disciplinary incidents on his record.) Glass houses and all that.
But... right. I linked this on the sidebar earlier, but it deserves some additional discussion: holy crap, Grady was loaded. Wikipedia says the .281 he blew was somewhere between "confusion" and "stupor" and just a few beers away from "coma"; this is not a garden variety DUI. Drew Sharp, of course, says "off with his head" so he can later write a column about lawlessness when Rodriguez shows a shred of common sense and doesn't boot a guy with no previous incidents of misbehavior aside from minor traffic violations. Mmmm: cheap hits.
What to do? A .281 is beyond the point at which you can reasonably claim a lack of judgment... or it's beyond the point where you can reasonably claim anything but a lack of judgment since, you know, all he could do when presented with the charges was drool. There has been plenty of internet speculation about a drinking problem since .281 is the kind of BAC that knocks out mortal livers, though wags have pointed out that if Grady was binging like this on a regular basis and getting through Barwis workouts he's some sort of superhero, probably Duffman. In any case, Grady should be put on notice and forced to Barwis his way back onto the team a la Adrian Arrington; I'd be disappointed to see him before the Big Ten schedule.
(Side note: yes, Grady drives a 2007 Denali. Yes, his father is loaded. He got in trouble with the MSHAA for offering free housing to high school athletes so they could transfer to East Grand Rapids; he can afford a nice car for his kid.)
Gratuitous-tube. 1991 MSU-Michigan from WolverineHistorian:
EEEEE. Speaking of Barwis:
Taylor has made a number of adjustments in the off-season, including his training. He claimed he returned from the Capital One Bowl in January weighing 327 pounds. Now, thanks to Michigan's intense workout regime, he's below 304 and plans to be at 295 by Aug. 4 when twice-a-day practices begin.
The last time he recalls weighing 295? Sometime early in his days at Muskegon.
Asked if he'll be "cut," Taylor relented.
"I'm going to be lean," he said, laughing, knowing what his 6-foot frame can handle. "I know doing that, being more flexible, doing the things they want and improving in the areas I can improve in, all working together, it's a blessing I stayed here and we got (strength coach) Mike Barwis."
Taylor was heavily rumoured to be a reluctant participant in the new conditioning regime, spending most of the spring behind John Ferrara. If this fluffy nougat piece is an accurate representation of the current situation, that would be a major boost. There's a diary with some Barwis links for your edification.
Jerseybits. The big reveal of the home jerseys drifted through the internet a few days ago, but I misinterpreted the results. Readers point out that what Phil Callihan and myself thought were block Ms on the sleeves are numbers. The angle of the shot was deceptive; MPride08 provides another angle:
This is a replica, FWIW. There has been some worry that the names have been taken off the jerseys because none of the example shots have nameplates, but since these are for sale they can't have player names on them.
Your war what? Braylon:
The 25-year-old Browns receiver's ensemble was carefully designed, he says, to show he's professional and fun. Even his fragrance, Bond No. 9, serves a higher purpose. "It's my war cologne," he says. "It's a strong, masculine scent. I wear it when I'm trying to show confidence or be dominant."
Do what you will with this information. I plan on sitting in a chair with my mouth agape for 23 minutes and 16 seconds.
Etc.: Free Press article interviews Tony Dews, clarifies that James Rogers is indeed a wide receiver.
Well... it was a disappointing end but given the expectations at the beginning of the year -- picked fourth in the conference, some concern over extending the tournament streak -- the results -- CCHA double, GLI title, Frozen Four -- are outstanding. Probably the only Michigan revenue sport to exceed expectations since... uh, 2006 football. Never mind.
Highlights from the year that was:
The Hoover Street Rag says next year in DC, and got even more jerseys than we did.
Now that's a lot of trouble. I wonder what a Michigan list the equivalent of this soaring, majestic dossier of Penn State malfeasance would look like? A brief, representative snippet:
17. Tony Johnson - Arrest, DUI - Guilty
18. Richard Cheek - Arrest, Stolen Credit Card - Guilty
19. Yaacov Yisreal - DUI, - Guilty
20. Dan Drogan - DUI Leaving Accident, - Guilty
21. Dethrell Garcia - DUI, - Guilty
22. Scott Paxson - Criminal Mischief, Summary Charge - Guilty
23. E.Z. Smith - Drunk in public - Summary Charge - Guilty
24. R.J. Luke - Arrest Assault, - Acquitted
25. Damone Jones - Unknown Charges - Dismissed From School
26. Mike Sothern - Terroristic Disorderly Criminal Mischief - Guilty
27. Mike Sothern - Criminal Mischief Expelled - Guilty
"Terroristic Disorderly Criminal Mischief" is the best charge ever. The list, which dates back to 1999 or thereabouts, comprises 57 separate incidents including JoePa's road rage and generally paints the picture of a team that no longer fears or respects their coach, possibly because he works from home. And is one billion. And tries to eat their brains.
While I don't think Michigan could match Penn State's achievement in this category, if you took just the last few years the schools would be pretty close: Sears, Arrington, Richards, Butler, Germany and so forth and so on. Moral of the story: once you lose your "I'm gonna kill you" fastball, discipline and performance starts slipping as your guys start getting frisky. Thus Penn State -- .500 in the Big Ten over the past eight years -- and Michigan's uneven performance in the last years of the Carr era. Is it a coincidence that West Virginia started racking up Fulmer Cup points in earnest as soon as mean ol' Rich Rodriguez left and nice ol' Bill Stewart was promoted from teaching European History to tenth graders?
Mean is good.
Seriously? Is this "OMG Tressel" tiff still "going on"? Rodriguez was asked (yet again) about whether he was a Rumpelstiltskin-style* child kidnapping fetish after Jim Tressel made a joke that probably wasn't directed at Rodriguez at all. A recap:
What would you describe this as? I would go with "patient explanation to child with a tape recorder." The Free Press went with:
Rich Rodriguez fires back after Jim Tressel's jab at his recruiting tactics
The thing they cited first as "firing back":
"If not being a gentleman is recruiting guys until the end, until signing day, particularly after all visits â€” guilty as charged."
Can you fire back by agreeing with someone?
Of course, someone scurried off to the next Tressel press conference with Rodriguez's stunning riposte and asked for a riposte riposte:
Asked if he had a beef with Rodriguez, Tressel said, "I've known Rich for a long time; no beefs at all. He'll do a good job. I've said that all along."
This is exactly why I never begrudged Carr his churlish relationship with the media. What a waste of time.
I was flicking through the spring practice pictures on the Free Press' website when I hit this one...
Probably not. I bet Derek Tinkle's work is in need of some copyediting but no more or less informative than your average newspaper piece.
This might also be the place to relate that when Michigan was in Denver preparing for their semifinal against Notre Dame, they made it clear Billy Sauer didn't really want to talk about the North Dakota game last year. The first question (from a knob at the Denver Post) was basically "how do you feel about being such a goddamn failure in the North Dakota game last year?"
It's one thing to ask a "tough question" when there is the possibility of an enlightening response or someone has undertaken ethically questionable activities. Tough questions in the context of the Ann Arbor News' investigation into independent study and the like are fine. (That the Ann Arbor news passed on the opportunity to ask those questions because they didn't want an email interview is another matter entirely.) A "tough question" to a 20-year-old kid when the answer to that question is going to be the standard athlete cliche boilerplate about taking it one game at at time is just being a dick.
But journalism has this weird machismo thing going on where that's prized: see any anti-blogging screed that claims the basement-dwellers inferior because they don't say rude things directly to the players themselves. I've always found it interesting that said screeds contain the implication that bloggers are wantonly negative because they don't have to face repercussions. Newspapers, meanwhile, are full of people who are wantonly negative because they like being wantonly negative even in the face of social approbation.
Which group sounds more maladjusted?
*(apparently the Firefox dictionary has "Rumpelstiltskin" in it, which... like -- gnome (yes) griffin (yes) hippogriff (no) sphinx (yes) mindflayer (no) gorgon (yes) Perseus (yes) Icarus (yes) -- is apparently only the tip of a nerd iceberg. It figures: open source.)
Reverse. Of course, it's not all bad. See this informative piece on NCAA, Big Ten and Michigan drug testing regimes by Mark Snyder that explains just how Manningham could play despite testing positive for weed. Operative area:
As for punishment, a Michigan athlete who fail
s a first test will be referred for counseling and attend an assessment with the athletic department doctor. If the athlete does not participate in the counseling, "additional disciplinary action will be taken by the athletic director and/or head coach and may include, but not be limited to, suspension from practice/games," according to the policy.
A second positive test -- at least 90 days later -- results in suspension from competition for 10% of the maximum allowable contests in the traditional season and must be served immediately. The coach may enhance the penalty.
Manningham was suspended for the Eastern game this year but no others. Question: I recall Arrington being suspended for large chunks of his career, and he was one of the three guys -- Eugene Germany and Carson Butler the others -- in serious trouble after the Rose Bowl for an incident widely rumored to be getting crunk in the hotel days before the game (WHAT?). I bet one of his one-off suspensions was for a second positive test and the Rose Bowl incident was his third; Butler also got a one-off suspension during his redshirt freshman year, IIRC. Both nearly got the boot.
Speaking of weed, man.
1) At Copper Mountain on Saturday they were having some sort of season-closing music fest. When I got off the hill, George Clinton was playing and man... freaky, man.
2) Ohio State's having their own problems with the marijuana:
That 2008 Buckeye defense we've all been daydreaming about just took a bit of a hit. The rumors from earlier in the day proved to be correct and Donald Washington, Jamario O'Neal and Eugene Clifford are in a bit of trouble.
Eleven Warriors says the message-board buzz is that Eugene Clifford is gonzo -- hello, Cincinatti -- and Washington may follow him out the door, while O'Neal is in trouble but safe. That's probably in inverse order from what Buckeye fans would like (other than "no pot issues at all"), as Jamario "Toast" O'Neal is a backup as a senior and has been a bust whereas Washington is a useful nickelback and Clifford was the highest rated recruit in OSU's 2007 class.
3) Ladies and gentlemen... Ohio State fans!
What are the chances this guy didn't smoke a bowl ten seconds before this? Zero. What are the chances this guy really likes Chappelle's Show for all the reasons that drove Dave Chappelle crazy? 100%.
Etc: Stuff Golden Domed People like from MNB... MNB's wife is a Domer so this one's authentic; some sort of Fan Day will happen in August; we're slow but smart; Russ Levine drops a Tacopants reference in this FO article; MVictors digs up a bit of M history on Will Johnson's Meyer Morton award; Ekpe do you not know the pathways of my heart?
Pryor. It's been quiet on the Pryor front of late, mostly because everyone's given up and assumes he's headed to OSU. A Mike Farrell story provides a glimmer of optimism in the form of a potential visit...
"I'd like my mom to see both places and Penn State," he said. "So we're talking about a day trip to both Ohio State and Michigan, and she'd come along with me on my Penn State trip."
...but not much of one. Pryor says he'll decide by April 1st.
I get this question a lot: "when does Pryor have to sign by?" The answer is "never." If Pryor is going to sign a LOI, he has to do it by the end of the month, but the LOI doesn't actually do anything for the player. If Pryor doesn't sign he can still show up on a college campus this fall and get an athletic scholarship.
In other Pryor news: weird guys make figurines, and there's no way to say it that doesn't sound like sour grapes, but... uh... I don't know if Pryor's much of a warrior-poet. You've probably seen the Bleacher Report thing about that near-riot at a basketball game, which was at least partially substantiated by a newspaper columnist:
That's when a Jeannette assistant exited the Jayhawks' locker and complained about the conduct of the South Fayette students. That's something he had a right to do.
One officer, however, did not appreciate the direction of the conversation. He was present when Pryor accosted the South Fayette fans.
"You're lucky we didn't take your kid (Pryor) in," the officer said. "He threatened to go into the crowd."
A Penn State friend mentioned that there was a pretty horrifying account of Pryor's behavior posted on one of the PSU premium boards by someone who was at the game, and sent it along. It's pretty convincing, especially because at the time Penn State fans were hopeful Pryor would pick them.
Then there's this Plain-Dealer piece Run Up The Score noted:
Sharon, Pa. â€” Day 28 since the Day of No Decision. Subject No. 1 â€” Pryor, Terrelle â€” seems aloof Wednesday night, at times disinterested. He applies himself only when necessary â€” and when a fast-break dunk appears possible.
"He plays as well as he needs to play," says his basketball coach at Jeannette High School, Jim Nesser. "I don't know if that sounds good, but if he needs to take it to another level, he can do that."
And then, like, uh...
"I'm a Pryor," he says. "My dad used to hit me when I lost at anything, at fights, anything. I mean, your dad is supposed to make you a man, right? That's what he did."
Not that this last quote reflects poorly on Pryor himself. It's just weird.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh... Iowa says CYA to a couple of the infamous Facebook guys, and others are pointedly not on the roster. It looks unlikely that any of the guys we've all seen 1) displaying lots of money, 2) putting lots of money on their head, or 3) eating lots of money will ever see the field at Iowa again. BHGP is, of course, crushed:
In other suspension-tastic news, Penn State tight end Andrew Quarless is probably hanging by a thread after a DUI charge, his second alcohol related run-in with the law in a year, and Indiana's Kellen Lewis has violated some team rules.
BONUS speculation on the Quarless incident can be found over at Black Shoe Diaries:
An insider on a message board has just indicated there is more to this story which will come out in time. And it's not good. He didn't give details so don't ask me what it is.
Begin rampant speculation now.
This might have something to do with the car Quarless was pulled over in: a white BMW.
Updated. Made a couple fixes to the depth chart by class: I miscounted the OL (there are 15, not 14) and erroneously asserted that Troy Woolfolk redshirted last year. He did not. Other assertion made that I believe is incorrect: Moosman, Zirbel, and Stewart are in their final years of eligibility. IIRC, all redshirted. Other assertion made that I can't confirm: Marell Evans didn't redshirt. Which would be, like, WTF.
OFFENSE DATE: 12/08/07 740 PM
....COUNT 1 C/M/F: C 1320 ORD#10:1A/257.625A(2)PBT REFUSAL IN NON-CMV, 21 AND OVER
(Source: search for "Moeller" here.) At 7:40 PM on Saturday, Michigan offensive line coach Andy Moeller got pulled over for DUI. He refused a breathalyzer test.
Come on, you've got to be kidding me:
Two University of Michigan football players are facing trial next month, one of them for allegedly exposing himself to a female acquaintance inside Michigan Stadium.
Wide receiver LaTerryal Savoy was arraigned Wednesday on one count of indecent exposure, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. His pretrial hearing was held today in Ann Arbor's 15th District Court, where a trial date was set for Sept. 21.
I... just keep your pants on. Meanwhile, we have a DUI:
Another player, linebacker Obi Ezeh, is charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine and/or 360 hours of community service.
Savoy, a redshirt sophomore, is at best the fourth wide receiver depending on how well the freshmen play, but Ezeh had been impressing many after a freshman year when he redshirted and had been moved to middle linebacker to compete for the starting job. Assuming Savoy hasn't made a Larry Harrison-esque habit of displaying his package, both are likely to receiver minor suspensions. The main on-field effect: Ezeh's chances of overtaking Johnny Thompson take a hit.
Postmortem. Game two against Oregon State, for anyone perusing the carnage below, was just as frustrating as game one but in the exact opposite way. As a result, Michigan's baseball season is over. But if you can get past the frustration of watching the flurry of walks, wild pitches, balks that put the season to the sword, the baseball team still appears to be on the upswing.
Most of the team returns next year. Gone are centerfielder Eric Rose, the #9 hitter, rightfielder Brad Roblin, and #3-4 starter Andrew Hess. Juniors Nate Recknagel, Doug Pickens, and Derek Van Buskirk are probably going to return. Only Pickens was drafted, and that was in the 50th round. Without question they'll be the favorites in the Big Ten and should make their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament. Rich Maloney, pictured at right with the late Faz of Hello Faz Pizza for some reason (ask the Daily), has recruiting and onfield momentum, an $11 million stadium renovation on the verge of completion, and his top players returning. Onward and upward. Hopefully someday in the near future we can say hello to Omaha.
Back and probably not gone. Adrian Arrington's, um, "rehabilitation" assignment, as noted on the sidebar a few days ago, has been completed and Arrington has returned to the team. He's definitely on double secret probation now -- any extracurricular mention of him in the paper more nefarious than a picture of him huggling puppies means he's gone-gone -- but that's better than the triple secret, stairs-running probation he's been on for the past few months. So bully for all that. Odd that the one guy of the three -- Arrington, Eugene Germany, and Carson Butler -- Carr mumbled into oblivion before spring practice everyone assumed was gonzo is the one guy who made it back to the field. Knock on wood. He sounds like he's learned his lesson:
"I just put myself in bad situations sometimes,'' the receiver said. "I don't know why. Now, I've got to deal with it. My head is in a whole different place right now, going through this. I let a lot of people down. I just have a whole different mind-set right now. I'm packing it in a lot earlier these days."
One thing: if you find a guy named "AAirlines16" on whatever the PS3 equivalent of XBox Live is...
"I just hang out and play some PS3 instead of going out.''
...for God's sake, let him win.
Also on the wide receiver suspension tip: a couple days ago Rob Parker hinted that Mario Manningham was in serious trouble and could miss the season(!!!) on the TV. I can neither confirm nor deny this, having received no inside info on the matter, but immediately after Parker made his assertion, the program had their annual Carr's Wash for Kids charity event and this was the only piece of information dropped on Manningham:
Carr said receiver Mario Manningham's knee "is in excellent shape," but he needs to improve his "football shape."
Given Carr's history of grumbling about pages and such, it's doubtful he's aware of any issues that would keep him from the field. Chances are Parker is way overreacting to some third hand info about that traffic stop a month ago; given his track record with his insider info I don't think anyone should be concerned. You can insert the standard muttering about the media's standard muttering about the trustworthiness of "internet rumors" when they throw out all kinds of unconfirmed, plain wrong stuff every day of the year. Parker's continued employment should tell you all you need to know about how dedicated the local gatekeepers are to having solid information behind the stuff they throw out: not at all.
(Also there is this:
Carr also confirmed that Carlos Brown is comfortable staying in the program at running back and everyone who missed spring practice with an injury should be ready for fall camp.
I am still jumpy about his return.)
On campus! I was flipping through the pictures from the car wash and ran across this one:
Sam McGuffie on an unofficial visit? You make the call. (Obligatory McGuffie youtube link.)
Also there is this one in which Ryan Mallett looks like an extra from Top Gun with the callsign "Stork":
*(You're probably asking "what?" at the moment. Long story short: I was seven, I was living in Denver, the Broncos were in the 1987 AFC Championship game against the Browns, they were traveling to Cleveland, and for some reason one of the enduring memories of my childhood is the local news station closing the week with a highlight montage set to the (in?)famous Kenny Loggins song. Two days and one iconic Drive later, the Broncos were going to the Super Bowl to lose it (and two more), thus establishing both the song and the idea that reaching the ultimate reward only brings you pain -- something Michigan is working on with gusto -- in my head for all time.
We're gonna take it... RIGHT IN TOOOOOOO...
THE DANGER ZONE!)
Also also, this one...
... made me think Jim Tressel had infiltrated us and was sabotaging Shawn Crable with hydrochloric acid until I realized it was Steve Szabo. I don't think he should walk around campus in sunglasses unless he wants to get tackled and locked in a basement until November.
Also also also, I think Johnny Sears wants to be Andre 3000 a little bit.