Super Schedule. Michigan takes on Oregon State in Corvalis this weekend. Times and channels of interest:
Saturday, 3 PM: ESPNU.
Sunday, 4 PM: ESPN.
Monday, 7 PM: ESPN (or ESPN2).
I do not get ESPNU, like everyone else in the universe, and will be taking in the game at the Arena. So, like, if your stalking is just so lame on the internet: 3 PM Saturday at the Arena.
Highlights. Reader Evan Sipple put together a double-montage of ESPN highlights from Michigan's Vandy victory:
The opponent. ... can be found in blog glory over at Building The Dam, which takes baseball seriously. I'm trying to set up a conversation to get the scoop on the (heh) Beavers.
The talkin'. Articles in the News...
"We don't have the luxury of getting more polished, experienced players from the South or out West. We get the in-state kids who play multiple sports. They're talented kids, but we have to groom and develop them," Maloney said.
"It's a much harder challenge to be a coach in the North because you can't make many mistakes (when recruiting) and be in the position we're in. We've had a lot of things fall in place and the kids really believe in the program."
...News, Ann Arbor variety...
"I told them they needed to enjoy it," coach Rich Maloney said. "That's something special they'll never forget. They'll be talking about it in 20, 30 years at alumni outings. You have to enjoy it now. They accomplished something special."
...and the Port Huron Times-Herald.
Also. There is a super-strong baby in Roosevelt Park. He's on the draft of the 2016 recruiting board.
Eh.The Capital Times asserts that Big Ten recruiting is down, though Lemming's phrasing is kind of weird:
on the whole, Lemming doesn't anticipate many state players attracting offers, at least not from BCS schools. And Wisconsin isn't alone. "The state of Iowa is down again,'' Lemming said. "Minnesota has been down, too. But there are some good players and a great player in Michael Floyd (Cretin-Derham High in St. Paul). Michigan is OK. It's a slightly above-average year for Ohio, not great. Chicago is much better after being horrible the past two years. And Indiana is OK for Indiana.''
Michigan is actually quite a bit better than OK with three Rivals 100 guys and four more in their top 250; other than last year's bumper crop (for universities other than Michigan) this is the best year for talent in the state since I've been paying attention. And how much talent is there in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin on a yearly basis? Very little that shows up on Michigan's radar. Sounds like it's more a problem for the mid-level schools than M -- already with more four-stars than they had a year ago -- and OSU, which is really cleaning up.
Um. I was cajoled into participating in Ladies Dot Dot Dot's, um, "hot blogger bracket." I know. I know. This can only end badly. And, probably, start badly. Also the middle is likely to be pretty bad as well. I am a nine-seed here (versus a 14 seed in this cracked-out 22-dudes-in-a-bracket system the Ladies have set up, go fig). Do what you will, and let us never speak of this again.
Etc.: Keith Jackson:
Remember when Cartman accused ginger kids of being soulless monsters capable of nothing but evil? Yeah... this appears to be the prevailing opinion in the UK.
Apex. Another youtube highlight package, this one of the '98 Rose Bowl. You may remember that game, yes?
I echo the sentiments of the video's first commenter: dynoguy88, who is the source of many of the clipreels featured in this space, is the man. Often these things are frenetic things set to hideous rap rock; dynoguy lets the key plays breathe and brings us Keith Jackson. And when the option to provide Keith Jackson is there, any other choice is the wrong one.
Vermont is known for many things. Ice cream, presidential primaries, hazing... and killer Michigan basketball recruits! Vermont freshman Joe Trapani, a 6-8 wing/forward, is transferring after one year at UVM. Eric Lacy says he thinks Michigan is a likely destination (no permalink, might have to scroll down):
Based on the conversation I had with Charles [Trapani's father -ed], I think Michigan has a great shot and landing his son.
"They have a tremendous tradition in both football and basketball," Charles Trapani said.
I wouldn't be surprised if Joe Trapani commits while on his visit - or while on the way back home.
(Apparently that one-sentence newspaper style is hard to let go of even when your text is internet only.) Lacy then throws this discouraging nugget in:
That's what Reed Baker apparently did after playing pickup with the team.
All right! Reed Baker 2.0! Well, not really. Trapani averaged 15 points per game before injuring his foot and struggling through the rest of the season, putting up 21 points on Michigan State and 13 and 8 boards on Boston College, Michigan's main competition for Trapani.
(Side note: interesting contrast between the blog entry and the brief blurb that made the paper, which omits any of Lacy's speculation based on the tenor of his conversation.)
Er-nest Sha-zor. Notre Dame running back Darius Walker entered the draft early and was passed over entirely. Whoops. His dad, who is actually named Jimmie Walker, says the situation is not dyn-o-mite:
"How does a guy that's fourth on the all-time rushing list for Notre Dame not get drafted?"
Unfortunately, the twelfth game, the increasing prevelance of freshman starters, and the decision to include bowl statistics has made career records virtually meaningless. Mike Hart and Chad Henne will leave Michigan the all time leaders in rushing and passing yardage, respectively, but are they the best to have ever played at Michigan? Probably not. Official Father of Walker then trod closely to making a pointed comment about Weis:
"If you look at the backs who were drafted on the first day, he had the same stats or better as guys drafted on the first day. The only difference is the guys had the height and the pushing, the backing and the pushing and promoting from their respective areas, whether that be the media or whoever else."
Asked if he didn't think Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis backed Darius enough in the draft process, Jimmy answered simply: "I have no comment on it."
Sounds like he already made his comment.
I would also note that Darius got off a bonafide zinger in the weeks leading up to the draft:
"You can't control what team you go to," Walker said that day, "unless you're one of the Mannings."
That's genuinely funny! Try broadcasting, kid.
Etc.: Infamous recruit-turned-LSU-Tiger Joseph Barksdale got jacked by a former Tiger DB and has a broken jaw; the Stanford Daily reports on the Forcier departure (link not just because the article references MGoBlog, I swear); chicks send (hopefully) unsolicited bikini shots to Rich Eisen, wife not amused; brief recap of yet another Beilein radio appearance at Varsity Blue; ABC Saturday Night schedule.
Light posting today.
I'll take "more players with W" for 600. Woodson yesterday, Wheatley today. What happened to the electric speed in the NFL? One of the perpetual mysteries.
Pay that lawyer! How on earth did John Beilein squeeze out of 40% of his buyout? The wording on the contract seemed clear enough to me, though it didn't specify a payment schedule: 500k per year remaining on the contract. Somehow, Beilein managed to hack that down:
As a result, Beilein, now at Michigan, will have to pay only $1.5 million over the next five years.
"After very productive discussions with Bob Fitzsimmons ... we are pleased to have finalized the details related to Coach Beilein's departure from the university," Dorer said in the media release.
"Obviously, from the fact we reached an agreement, both parties wanted to move on and amicably resolve any issues."
Beilein will pay installments of $300,000 over the next five years to the West Virginia University Foundation. The first installment is due in April 2008 and the final one in April 2012, WVU said.
...and since he doesn't have to start paying until next year and has spread it out over five years, the present value of the money he has to pay out is something even lower than the 1.5 million. Plus, the fact that the money is specifically being donated to the "West Virginia University Foundation" makes one think that it may be classified as a tax-deductible donation. That's some good law-talking right there.
Oh, snap. I'm terribly sorry about that bolded section header. I am, truly. Anyway, graduating long snapper Turner Booth is probably going to get an NFL job because he's awesome at it:
A dozen or so NFL teams have expressed an interest, Booth said. ESPN's draft guide rates Booth as the top long snapper available. And his agent, who represents three of the league's long snappers, said his client has what it takes.
"I saw him snap this year and last year and thought he did an excellent job,'' said Kevin Gold, Booth's Harrisburg, Pa.-based agent. "He's also got the size NFL teams like.''
This can only mean that Michigan will dominate long snapper recruiting for the forseeable future. Watch out, USC!
I am writing this extremely coherent and awesome text message to you. No more hilarious abbreviations when discussing text messaging, which has been officially officially banned for, like, the sixth time. Coaches, naturally, are displeased...
Most coaches have expressed dismay over the loss of text messaging. The American Football Coaches Association beseeched the Division I Board to delay action and find a compromise. The AFCA didn't know the game already had been decided.
...and those who converse with them regularly are jumping aboard. Ivan Maisel:
So score one for the Luddites. The NCAA may have become an old man at the beach, bucket in hand, intent on holding back the tide of technology that has washed over modern life. Said [UF OC Dan] Mullen, "I have had a couple of recruits ask, 'How are we going to communicate?'"
Florida must be recruiting the best and brightest if they can't figure out how to scroll down to "Urban Meyer" and push the green button on their phone. Recruits have always been able to voluntarily initiate conversations -- why do you think so many text are dead period CALL ME NOWs? -- and the NCAA isn't changing that, they're just preventing the unchecked spread of irritating behavior. College head coaches have proven time and again that without regulation they are psycho hose beasts...
...with no use for decorum. (French!) No one is hurt by the text messaging ban. Recruits will no longer be reminded to go to school. They will still communicate with the universities that are recruiting them whenever they want. Coaches can stop getting carpal tunnel texting inanities and
spend some time with the family review more film. I guess Verizon is pissed, but whatever.
Also, their game against NC State in the NIT:
Now would be a good time to mention that I spent a summer in Ireland and one night in some dance club or another -- don't ask, I was in a foreign country -- I heard some sort of vaguely familiar OONTS OONTS OONTS techno beat, then a vaguely familiar verse, and then the entire goddamn place burst out the chorus of "Country Roads," which had unbeknownst to me been repackaged as an ass-shaking dance groove.
I spent the next half hour giggling uncontrollably.
Frank Young, uh, makes it rain on dem hoes.
This is a bit old but I hadn't mentioned it here: Sims and Udoh dispel the transfer rumors surrounding them, at least for now.
I'm a sucker for old Michigan highlights, and when they feature Keith Jackson I'm doubly so. Anthony Carter versus ND, 1981:
Meanwhile, prolific YouTube clip assembler dynoguy has a set of ND highlights from years past:
And... uh... there's this from the era when Jim McMahon spawned a wave of football teams wearing sunglasses and "rapping":
The tenuous Michigan relevance herein is Husky quarterback Wilbur Odom, who spent two years on the bench at Michigan in the late 80s before transferring to "Angelo State," a school that seems to be desperately lacking a "San".
Coaching stuffs. The search continues apace; with everyone mentioned as a possible candidate currently done with their season except John Beilein, who has West Virginia in the NIT Final Four -- cue jokes from State fans about how he's a perfect fit. Michigan Sports Center has a comprehensive recap of recent developments. Villanova's Jay Wright and Memphis' John Calipari are two names getting more play recently. IMO, both are pipe dreams. I don't know what to make of Calipari's name getting mentioned, as I always had him associated with Shady Doings in my mind for what appears to be little cause. There was some trouble with Marcus Camby during Calipari's final season at UMass, but as I understand it the issue was more a Marcus Ray/Curtis Enis thing where Camby had impermissible contact with an agent. Everything else he's charged with is the usual mud flung at any improbably successful recruiter and basketball coach. See: Donovan, Matta, et al.
But it does bring up the question all basketball programs have to ask themselves in the AAU era: just how corrupt to we want to be? Frankly, after six years of being a 1 on the Huggins Scale* I'm a little tired of watching everyone with a dodgy hanger-on get redirected to other programs. The resulting Michigan fanbase is constantly lamenting the unpure state of college basketball mostly because our refusal to dip our toe into anything unpleasant -- not even inpermissible -- is the only thing we can cling to after a decade of futility.
*(an MGoBlog created measuring stick for coaching corruption. Not actually headed by Huggins:
11: Dave Bliss (yes, this one goes to 11)
10: Tarkanian -- full on cheaty cheaty all the time
9: Jim Harrick -- a consistent pattern of malfeasance that includes academic fraud
8: Clem Haskins -- Harrick except not slimy enough to get away with it for quite as long
7: Huggins -- as skeezy as you can be and still have a job
6: Steve Fisher -- classic don't ask, don't tell
5: Billy Donovan -- you just KNOW there's something fishy but can't actually prove it.
4: Kelvin Sampson -- persistent minor flouting of NCAA regulations to harrass recruits for personal aggrandizement
3: Rick Majerus -- persistent minor flouting of NCAA regulations because he thinks they're stupid
2: Izzo -- basically squeaky clean, will occasionally take flyers on dodgy characters
1: Amaker -- ick
0: Whoever the current sacrificial lamb at Northwestern is.)
Jalen! Fascinating article from last month's DIME magazine penned by Jalen Rose his ownself:
It ended up being bigger than we ever thought. You have to remember, this was the early '90s. Not only were five freshmen starting, but all five freshmen were also black. How many college programs in the entire country back then had five starting black kids, let alone five freshmen? We were making a statement on so many levels. Social, cultural, hip-hop - we repped the street, flavor, fashion and the love of the game. We were coming after teams like the UNLV Runnin' Rebels squad of the previous few years and John Thompson's classic G'Town teams that were right in the thick of Prop 48 debates - he had to walk off the court a few times with his teams because the environment was so bad. So it was important to us, maybe above all, for the Fab 5 to be strong black men.
We were extremely aware of what was going on. Yes, we were brash and talking trash and we created a distinct style and played with flair, but we also went to class. We never got credit for that. We should have.
I am totally onboard with the idea of bringing in Jalen as an assistant coach whenever he retires from the NBA, especially if we hire someone like Beilein.
Tea leaves. The media got their annual peek inside a Michigan spring practice; the Ann Arbor News reports back:
Given those considerations, here's what the first-team University of Michigan offense looked like across the front: Mark Ortmann at left tackle, Jeremy Ciulla at left guard, Justin Boren at center, Alex Mitchell at right guard and Cory Zirbel at right tackle.
Brandon Minor was the tailback, Chad Henne quarterbacked the offense, and Greg Mathews and LaTerryal Savoy were the wide receivers.
With Schilling still out after surgery -- he should be back in a week or two, that's not particularly enlightening. It does seem that Ciulla will be the first interior lineman off the bench in the case of an injury. Adam Kraus will probably slide over to center in that event, allowing Ciulla to play at guard. Should Jake Long miss any time (please, Angry Michigan Everything Hating God, let's not get any ideas), Ortmann is likely to be his replacement. The defense:
In its package with five defensive backs, the first team featured Tim Jamison and Shawn Crable at end, Brandon Graham and Will Johnson at tackle, Chris Graham and John Thompson at linebacker and Morgan Trent, Johnny Sears, Charles Stewart, Stevie Brown and Brandon Harrison in the secondary.
Adams and Taylor sat out, nursing injuries. Now, this is interesting. Brandon Graham is playing inside, at least in the nickel package inside. Graham saw a lot of time as a zero-technique* pass rusher in the 3-3-5 last year and may maintain that role into the fall. This look could either be a true 4-2-5 with Crable as a speed-rushing end or it could morph into the 3-3-5 is Crable drops back and Graham slides over. Stevie Brown and Stewart are going to battle for the starting spot opposite Adams; current projections have Brown with the lead but Stewart is reportedly doing well at his new, less speed-intensive position.
*( == lined up directly over the center)
Etc.: Hawkeye State > takes an entertaining, in-depth look at the Iowa coaching search; I find this article on SI.com with blogger Alex Belth interviewing new blogger Curt Schilling extremely interesting; Section Six has an update on the NCAA's actions against diploma-mill high schools.
YouDump: Awesome video from the 1927 dedication of Michigan Stadium complete with old-timey "Henry Tappan Hall hasn't cheered so loud in 20 years!" silent movie dialog. Highly recommended:
Some history of the MMB (check the "related videos: for a million performances including Thriller complete with Thrillerdance):
Six and a half minutes of owning Sparty. Perfect "go cry, emo kid" music for any Spartan fans wishing to self-flagellate:
Um... some sort of puppet NYSNC thing at Michigan Stadium that makes no sense.
Jack Johnson nearly kills BC goalie Cory Schnieder:
Snaps back. I mentioned the Scoop-Whitlock-Simmons throwdown over the All Star Weekend, yes? Well, Simmons responded like whoah:
Once upon a time, the late Ralph Wiley repeatedly proved an African-American sports columnist could write intelligently about racial issues without using his skin color as a crutch. After Ralph passed away three years ago, Scoop Jackson vowed to carry Ralph's torch on Page 2.
I just wish he'd brought that torch to Vegas.
This is worth mentioning: Simmons has been very good of late. He's still Bill Simmons and that comes with some baggage (most notably from my perspective: a seething hatred for the Pistons), but he seem to have recaptured a portion of whatever he lost recently when the backlash began in earnest.
Moose loose, hide the paella. Or whatever the Portuguese equivalent is. Graham Brown is currently wrecking fools in the Portuguese basketball league. Two recent game reports:
The MVP of the round goes to Graham Brown (206-F/C-84, college: Michigan) of Lusitania, who made 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. A strong center in this LIga, performing a great season so far.
(All of that is very, very [sic], and "Round," as best I can tell, refers to a particular game date during which all teams play.) But wait, there's more:
The MVP of the round goes to LusitaniaÂ´s Graham Brown (206-F/C-84, college: Michigan), a "deja vu" situation. For the second time ina row Brown heÂ´s the best, this time he scores 19 points and grabs 11 boards.
Brown's "Lusitania" team (maybe Amaker can coach them next year... ZING!) appears to be third in the league at the moment.
Etc.: The NYT on NCAA
enforcement, which is increasingly outsourced to highly paid law firms.
Update: I've been notified that this is our punting Space Emperor's birthday. Two decades ago, Zoltan Mesko burst from Zeus's head fully formed, but his real age is as unfathomable as the stars. Congratulations to us all for not dying before this transpired.