i would find this more credible if it was about Tom Crean
|13 hours 22 min ago||TE University||
I think there's a potential for Jake Butt to be one of the stars of this team. I realize that's hard for a TE to do, even the best ones, but I think if he pairs with whatever young/unproven QB wins the job and starts catching some TDs that there is potential there.
I love Lewis and think he's going to be a star.
Finally, I think the stage will be set for a RB to make a name for himself. I am less optimistic than the other two guys, but I do think the strategy, coaching, experience, and OL improvements will set the stage for someone to step forward if they really are as talented as their recruiting ratings once suggested.
|4 days 14 hours ago||If Levert leaves.....||
Here's my list for that scenario:
I might be too optimistic on Wilson (he was awful in his cameo this year) and too pessimistic on Donnal (he was still a young freshman).
|4 days 14 hours ago||Player rankings....||
Something that might be interesting to do this off-season is a piece like Brian does for football where he picks 27 tickets for the next season. If I had to rank the basketball players mostly likely to be a significant contributor next season, here's my list:
This team's success will be determined by the progress everyone taller than 6'7" makes this offseason. Robinson, Chatman, Wilson, Doyle, and Donnal are the key to next year. Any of those guys could end up starting and playing 20+ minutes and any of those guys (except Doyle) could fade into the end of the bench.
What Michigan probably would most want is for one of Robinson/Chatman to establish themseles as a solid contributor at forward while one of WIlson/Donnal pushes Doyle for playing time and isn't just a foul magnet. I would like to see a 9 man rotation with a couple of guys told to play their butts off for 10 minutes per game on D (MAAR, Wilson) or O (Robinson). I love the idea of how flexible this team is, the defensive lineup we could throw out there, or even being more willing to play physical since fouls won't kill us at any position.
|5 days 18 hours ago||Suggestion for future posts||
I definitely think there is a need for more regular updates on former players on this blog. Some other sites (TTB, M&B) do a good job with football alums, but even UMHoops is erratic with coverage of former bball players.
My suggestion to you, however, is to back up your generic summary with specifics about their performance or at least links to their player profiles. Otherwise I appreciate the post.
|5 days 19 hours ago||4 and 5||
I agree with some of your points. I think that Irvin is a 3 who will sometimes play the 2 if Levert leaves or the 4 in some cases. I also think Robinson plays mostly at the 4 initially and Wilson is 100% a center.
What will determine how far the team goes next year is the development of the players taller than 6'7". Chatman, Robinson, Donnal, Doyle, and Wilson. The rest of the roster has proven they can play at a B10 level and will be working to refine their game. We haven't seen more than flashed or practice hype for those big guys.
|6 days 12 hours ago||Irvin position||
I realize it is not picking and irrelevant for the most part, but Brian's insistence on listing Irvin at the 4 and Dawkins at the 3 continues to confuse me. When I picture the Beilein positions I reference the national title team. GR3 played the 4 and did exactly what Brian describes Dawkins doing. Stauskas played the 3 and did exactly what Brian describes Irvin doing late this season plus some rebounding. Even if you go back to the Morris teams you had Hard a way at the 3 and Novak at the 4.
Whatever....semantics I guess. I think the forward spots are Irvin and Dawkins barring a massive improvement from Chatman or Robinson.
Speaking of Robinson, until I see him dribble I am picturing his 6'8" frame playing one of the forward spots as a spark off the bench. I also think Wilson is only a C next year and looks perfect in a zone D.
|1 week 3 days ago||Interesting thoughts....||
Let me reply to some of your interesting suggestions. Keep in mind that I was trying to find a similar player who had traits that the current player could learn from. It wasn't necessarily to say "this is the guy he is most like" it was more along the lines of "this is a guy with similar skills but who had a trait that our current player needs to mimic and improve upon".
Here are my responses:
|1 week 4 days ago||Walton vs. Burke||
Seth - I'm curious if you would have used a different comparable for Walton to research this offseason. Any suggestions?
I chose Burke because of Walton's need to develop some of those skills that he was lacking. I tried to acknowledge that it was a bit unfair in terms of expectations, but the types of things Burke improved upon were what Walton could use work with. Nearly everyone in that piece is probably a 'reach' for the existing player with the exception perhaps of Doyle (Graham Brown) and Dawkins (GR3). I was tempted to use Gary Grant since he was of similar size and a tenacious defender like Walton aspires to be without necessarily being the offensive player Burke was at this age.
|1 week 5 days ago||Lewis over Peppers||
I would always pick a lockdown corner high in a draft and thats what Lewis is. He is also proven. He would be at the top of my list along with OL and Jake Butt because those are positions without much depth. You can wait on LB, RB, and DL because of depth.
|1 week 5 days ago||DB depth chart??||
I think the DL and LB will be similar to recent years where we have plenty of depth and competence but are lacking a big play guy at any position. That is okay, just not elite.
As for the secondary, I definitely like the starters and love Lewis. But who comes off the bench? Who plays Nickel? Do they move Peppers down and bring in a safety? Does Terry Richardson still exist? Will the promise of Dmonte Thomas ever be realized in meaningful snaps? Can Stribling build on early promise and his height?
|1 week 6 days ago||Other lists of "disappointments"||
In addition to what was said, here are some more disappointments (not going to say failures):
-- Levert & Walton - While I love these guys and agree that the season turned with their injuries, the fact was that neither had progressed as much as we hoped before they were lost. Levert had some solid stats, but didn't pass the eye test. Too much hero ball, too many off balance long twos, no ball screen improvement, slow to adjust to being the primary target, etc. Walton also had not progressed. The young big men and struggles of Irvin made it harder, but still....let's not pretend the season was going smoothly before they were hurt.
-- Beilein rotation - while it totally seemed justified at the time, think about the progress that Dawkins, Doyle, Max, and MAAR made late in the season. Why did it take so long for them to get more minutes? Why were Chatman and Donnal getting so many minutes for so long?
-- Late game performance - this team went just 3-7 in games that were decided by 3 points at the end of regulation and 0-5 late in the year. Again, there are reasons, but flip that record and we are on the bubble.
-- Camp Sanderson & practice hype - I don't want to come across more than mildly critical here, but I was expecting more. Donnal was not in shape for what he was asked to be. Irvin struggled all year to make layups or elevate. Chatman got rave reviews and was lost. This off season is critical for all three big guys to get in much better shape and for Chatman also....let us hope they are able to.
|2 weeks 10 hours ago||Scoring in basketball...||
Brian made a compelling argument that there isn't anything that has gotten worse with basketball scoring between 2002 and 2015 yesterday. But on the train this morning I was debating the Fab Five era with a buddy who argued that basketball was so much better back then because so many talented players stayed in school longer.
I looked up the "possessions per game" for every team in 2015 versus 1997 (as far back as the site went). In 97 there were a whopping 207 teams that averaged >70 possessions per game while that number drops just to 54 teams this season. So about twenty years ago the game was played at a much higher pace with more veteran stars..... I think THAT is what the main stream media is saying when they want to tinker with the current rules.
|2 weeks 13 hours ago||Revisiting my picks....||
After reading some of the comments so far I think my biggest miss was with the MAAR-Jimmy King comparison. In hindsight I agree that it was forced. I think Stu Douglas is a better name to have included on the list due to his situational offense, ball handling, and defense.
I also agree that Doyle is close to passing Brown already in terms of skill. I was surprised when I looked up all of these players on mgoblue.com that Brown's stats were so pedestrian. I do think he had better hands and more consistent work ethic on the boards, but Doyle doesn't have far to go in order to pass him. The lack of viable big-men in Michigan's past was startling.
I will defend the Novak/Robinson comparison a little. First, we don't know much about Duncan Robinson yet. He's listed at 6'8" but that doesn't mean much. Novak never played like he was 6'4" (which would have made him the shortest guy on the court at times this season if MAAR was at PG). Novak was a good shooter who did far more to help his team by getting the most out of his size and athleticism. THAT is what Duncan should emulate - not settling for being "just a shooter". Robinson is big enough that he could play the 4 on this team and they need someone to do so. Embrace the dirty work like Novak and earn your minutes. (Also, while he might be a great shooter, I tend to downplay practice reports since they are often misleading - see "Donnal, Mark" or "Chatman, Kam" or "Hoke, Brady".)
|2 weeks 17 hours ago||MAAR is too different from Burke||
As much as I love Burke, I don't think they are similar enough for this example. Maybe Darius Morris is a better example. Morris attacked the rim, was about 6'4", was able to lead an efficient offense without being a great shooter, and was a solid defender.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Agree....||
I like your descriptions a little better than mine, but you ultimately made my point for me:
The other thing that this versatility does would be match-ups. I know that Beilein likes a relatively short bench and our thoughts of seeing a deeper rotation this year were dashed by foot injuries, but next year they can play the hot hand or play match-ups. Think about a 1-3-1 defense with this lineup:
Then you switch that up for some instant offense:
|2 weeks 4 days ago||The turning point...||
I'm tempted to throw some blame the refs way for the sequence in the first half where I thought they swallowed their whistles on three straight Wisconsin infractions, but I'm going to point to a different situation that I think turned the game.Late in the game with the score close there were THREE 50/50 plays that all went Wisconsin's way.
I can't bear to rewatch those plays, but I think it was like a 5-7 point swing for them and that is right when they started pulling away.
We lost because of youth, size, crappy refs, and Wisconsin being great.....but those three toss up plays could have been huge. It sort of matches the symbolism with the four OT losses that could have gone either way.
Bring on the NIT!!!
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Wagner||
Also, while i would love for Wagner to be a top-40 recruit, I think that is optimistic. There was another scouting report floating around that was giving him very generic compliments and said that he was a fringe prospect that needed work. I would have guessed him to be more like 75-100 at best.
Either way - he'd be a nice addition.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Positions in Beilein offense....||
I am absolutely not an expert, but my understanding of the positions in Beilein's system seem to be different than Brian's. Specifically, why on earth would Irvin be shown at PF after a paragraph describing his ball-screen improvement? (Obviously Brian qualified his list with the interchangeable nature of the 2-4 spots.)
Here is how I would describe the positions:
PG - Primary ball handler, set up ball-screens, attack the rim (Morris, Burke, Stauskas-So)
SG - Secondary ball handler, runs a lot of screens too, also a shooter (Douglas, Hardaway, Walton-Fr., Levert-So)
SF - Lots of time parked in the corner for 3s, occassionally attacks/handles (Stauskas-Fr., Irvin-Fr., Levert-Fr.)
PF - Parked in the corner, rarely on-ball, attacks baseline (Novak, GR3, Dawkins)
C - Rebound, play D, set screens, make easy shots (Morgan, Doyle)
I see Dawkins at PF for sure since he still lacks ball-handling skills and will attack baseline a lot. Irvin seems like he's getting closer to the SG than the PF and thus I think he's a 2/3 next year. Robinson is a wildcard, but could even spend time at PF with his height. Wilson is a C.
Just my 2-cents.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Luck factor played a role too.....||
Michigan was 3-7 this season in games decided by 3 points or fewer at the end of regulation. If they go 7-3 in those games then we're sitting firmly on the NCAA bubble instead of the NIT bubble.
Before the season I felt like this was a "right side of the bubble" team but still a fringe NCAA tournament team since they had to replace 5 rotatoin players (4 in the NBA) with freshmen. Losing their next two best players such that 7 of the top 9 players from last year were gone meant that they should have fallen apart. Seeing how close those 10 games were throughout the season gives me hope for next year since only 1-2 players are expected to leave and will be replaced by a transfer and redshirt player instead of true freshmen.
|3 weeks 14 hours ago||Wilson = 5||
I feel that Wilson is purely a 5 on this team for the foreseable future. Maybe once his knowledge of the game improves (he was really rough in the pre-season games) there's hope for a lanky 6'9" PF but right now I think Beilein will mostly roll with him at the 5. I say that because there's obviously a need on this team for three players to play that position and because Donnal and Doyle still have work to do and I also see Wilson's skill set (shot-blocking, athleticism, height) a better fit for needs there than at PF. You could almost argue that Donnal is almost just as likely to fit at stretch-4 than Wilson based on his size and skill set.
I think the 5 is an easy way to work Wilson in slowly. I think Chatman, Robinson, and Dawkins are going to push for time at the 4. I love the idea of Wilson playing the middle of a 2-3 or 1-3-1 zone to use his long arms and athleticism to disrupt things. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'll believe that Beilein will role with a 2-man center position and Wilson will play the 4 as his primary position when I see it.
|3 weeks 2 days ago||THE ANSWERS:||
Player #1 = Nik Stauskas
Player #2 = Aubrey Dawkins
Player #3 = Zak Irvin
The shooting percentages were all very similar and it still is amazing that Nik and Zak were top 100 players and Dawkins had no interest. Dawkins isn't able to create his own offense like Stauskas was (as evident by the FTp40), but he was ahead of Irvin in that area and dwarfed him with rebounding. The stats are even more compelling if you look at the last 12 games when Dawkins was asked to play more minutes. Dawkins and Irvin played about the exact same minutes as freshmen while Stauskas doubled them.
It will be interesting next year to see what his role is. We projected those Irvin stats into him being a borderline-star this year while we're thinking about Dawkins as being a good rotational player next year. I could see Dawkins starting at the 3 if Levert leaves (while Irvin is at the 2), I could see him keep his spot at the 4, or I could see him come off the bench as a microwave type player who dunks and bombs threes.
(I considered Burke, Hardaway, and Levert for this comparison too. Burke and Hardaway both played a ton of minutes and were very successful as freshmen. Levert's stats were actually pretty lousy as a freshmen and he didn't play much.)
|3 weeks 3 days ago||Teske is 2016||
You have to wait two seasons. And I firmly believe that Wilson is a center for sure.
|3 weeks 3 days ago||So shocking||
When we hired Beilein I was actually excited about becoming a program that develops and retains mid range recruits like Wiscy. Now we have been the opposite.
I actually would like to compare this to the Ellerbe/Fisher/Amaker time since they lost a ton of players then too and it hurt the program.....though perhaps in a different circumstances.
|3 weeks 3 days ago||Why?||
I doubt the NHL or MLB models will be adopted any time soon, but why would Calipari care? He now potentially gets his one and done guys for longer or not at all. Plus he can probably develop a shady relationship with a couple NBA teams and exploit that.
|5 weeks 12 hours ago||I don't like the RB weights...||
I am concerned about the overall weight gain by the running backs. We already lacked explosiveness and now Green and Isaac have gained weight? I wonder if the transition and long period between firing/hiring allowed some extra pizzas to be consumed.
|5 weeks 1 day ago||Freshmen & Bigs||
I thought the summary of Chatman and Irvin was right on. Those several possessions with Chatman in the first half were eye-opening. My son and I turned to each other and said "who is that?" For the first time all season I saw multiple positive things, as little as they may have been, from Chatman. And Irvin had another good game going to the hoop, if he still had a layup blocked. Progress is definitely there and against a good defensive team where he was the #1 guy.
As for the other two freshmen wings, I thought Brian's piece undersold their contributions. MAAR looked to fit the role of defensive specialist for the first time - and perhaps moreso than anyone on the roster. He showed things against an NBA guard that we've hoped to see from Levert. That is a skill which will earn him minutes his entire career. He also handled pressure on the other end well and didn't force things - with just 4 shots within the flow of the offense.
Dawkins probably had a "worse" game, but it was littered with moments of promise as well. His outside shot wasn't falling today, but that finish in the lane was great. He also had his usual 2 near-miss highlight put-backs. There was one that would have brought the house down but he just missed it. He played 35 minutes and wasn't a liability.
It was also nice to see the big guys hold their own against a more athletic team after getting abused in similar situations. They still left points on the court, but overall it was a good game for all three guys.
|5 weeks 4 days ago||Slightly misleading......but appropriate||
Part of the issue with using this to judge players is context. Even with our initial expectations we were hoping Irvin would be a strong #3 option for this team and gradually develop his offensive game. Now he's the #1 guy drawing the most attention from the opponent. The best evidence of this was the Izzo meltdown at the end of the game (when they were essentially in control). He was furious that Dawson, who is perhaps the best defensive player in the league and assigned to shut down Irvin, gambled on a passing lane and gave up an open three - which Irvin drained.
Teams can plan around Irvin and that makes it even harder for him to develop, while still acknowledging that he has a long way to go. I think he has shown definite signs of progress with his handle, his willingness and ability to drive, and even his occassional pump fake. I think he still needs to improve in many areas and I swear he's either missed or had his layups/dunks blocked about 15 times in conference play alone. Those are free points that he should have. How good would 30 extra points look considering our three OT losses and last possession loss to Indiana?
As much as this team misses Levert and how wonderful of a talent he is, I think we over-rate him as well. I think he is still struggling to find his role as alpha-dog on this team. He's never been a good pick-and-roll player and he has also had to deal with getting the opponent game-planning against him. His shot selection and inability to get all the way to the hoop or set up teammates when he drives were limiting the team when he was healthy.
All of that being said, we'll be fine next year with the guard/wing position with natural progression from Walton, Irvin, MAAR, Dawkins, and Spike (and hopefully Levert). What the team needs to take the next step is significant progress at the 4/5 position from EVERYONE that potentially plays there. Robinson will probably be good but not great. Chatman is a mess. Wilson was a mess before he was shut down. Doyle needs to get in shape and learn the nuances of the position. Donnal needs to bulk up. Max needs to grow 3-4 inches.
|6 weeks 1 day ago||Luck evened out||
Well, maybe you could argue that the Patriots were lucky on the interception. Keep in mind, however, that the only reason Seatle was in that position was because of a miracle lucky catch that hit about 10 body parts before giving them such good field position.
I read another piece about Brady's career and how many close plays have gone both ways to help define his legacy. I think over enough time the luck and randomness even out with the number of chances they've had.
|6 weeks 1 day ago||Sports Guy||
If you read the (admittedly biased) Sports Guy recap of the Super Bowl he believes that Belicheck avoiding calling timeout on purpose. His logic was that he felt he had a better chance at a goal-line stand and confusing Seatle by NOT calling the TO than he did at a 45 second hail-mary drive with no timeouts.
While I'm not sure I agree with him, his evidence is the chaos you saw on the field before the snap where Seatle kept moving guys around to get them in the right position and the fact that the Patriots had prepared for this play all week plus had the right defense on the field. Simmons thinks that perhaps the best NFL coach of all time wanted to shift the pressure on Seatle to make an uncomfortable run/pass playcall with the clock ticking rather than giving them a timeout to call whatever play they wanted.
(granted, had they rammed Lynch into the line they likely score anyway.....but the odds fell to the Pats this time whether it was genius or stupidity)
|6 weeks 4 days ago||Who he reminds me of.....||
On a thread like this a few weeks ago I said some constructively negative things about Chatman (namely that I can't figure out what his go-to skill is at this point and thus how he earned such high praise or rankings). One of the other posters who responded emphasized patience and compared him to MSU's Draymond Green.
Initially that shocked me.....but it is an interesting comparison. They are very similar sizes, they are both good shooters who probably didn't have true 3-point range when they were younger, neither where physical specimens or possessed leaping ability, both were known as solid passers, etc. Green played all 37 games as a freshman but never started, only averaging about 11 minutes per game, never shooting, etc. By the end of his four year career he was an all-time favorite for MSU and dominating in many ways, now playing in the NBA. It is an interesting comparison because of their similar physical and basketball traits.......but Green could always rebound. Even when he struggled as a freshman he could rebound. That was his thing.
The guy Chatman reminds me of is Willie Mitchell from the ill-fated second "fab-five" recruiting class (Taylor, Baston, Conlon, Ward, Mitchell). Willie was Mr. Basketball in Michigan and ranked in the top 30 players nationally. He was 6'8" and about 215 pounds as a freshman. He was supposed to be a star (as were most of those guys). Instead, he was a bust and transferred to UAB after his sophomore year amid boos and jeers from the fans. As I sat courtside for all of Willie's home games I can offer a scouting report since there isn't much on the web about him (other than to blame injuries for his issues). Willie never figured out his role. He could shoot.....but not from three very well. He wasn't athletic or physical. He didn't rebound. He wasn't quick enough or able to get his own shots to really play small forward. And most of all, he seemed to make a lot of mental mistakes on the court. He also let those mistakes haunt him and he'd sulk...making another one. When he left the program I thought it was best for him and for Michigan.
It is FAR too early to know Chatman's future. Maybe he could become Draymond Green and we'll laugh about our initial impression of him. But it is hard to see that right now - I just keep seeing Willie Mitchell and wondering if Chatman will ever figure out his role on the court or if he'll fade to the background.
|6 weeks 6 days ago||Worst RS....||
Thomas was the worst example of burning a redshirt on the list with Norfleet and Gedeon right on his heels. It should have been obvious that Thomas wasn't ready and it hurt his development to move him around so much. The other guys were probably ready but the coaches should have realized they wouldn't play enough to worry about it.
The one thing in Hoke's defense that I will say is that I think he expected to have more comfortable wins the last couple of years where he could have played young guys in games. Instead we were always in a dog fight (or pillow fight) and he stuck with his guys.
It would be fascinating to ask these types of questions to Hoke now that he is gone.
|7 weeks 1 day ago||Hasn't stopped us before.....||
I think your point is valid from the standpoint that everyone would like to have a tall and preferably athletic center in the middle for rebounding, shot-blocking, and offensive purposes. Max would be awesome if he were 6'10". Ricky plays like he's 7'0" tall so he will struggle against guys who actually are. The simple answer is that we're are hoping that having 6'6" wing players and 6'8" power forwards will help overall along with Wilson's athleticism at 6'9" in the middle, added fitness from Doyle, and the eventual arrival of Teske.
But in reality, it is the exception, not the rule, to have a large front-line. While Purdue and Iowa boast good big-men, that's unusual - especially when you factor in what Beilein is looking for in a player.
I've been following Michigan basketball since right around the Fab Five era and the number of guys who are "tall" has been few and far between - which hasn't hurt our ability to be successful. Here's a quick recap of guys you'd consider to be "true centers" beyond what we have on the current roster:
That's as far back as MGoBlue's rosters go. Prior to that you had the following:
That range covers the last 25 years of Michigan basketball. How many of those guys fit the description from the original post? Udoh is close but still undersized and he didn't hit his stride until at Baylor. Sims would qualify except that he epitomizes the underachieving nature of Amaker's teams. Then you're all the way back at maybe undersized Baston or Vaught. Pretty slim pickings.....and we've made four championship games in that time.
|8 weeks 9 hours ago||Follow Up:||
1 - Is it possible to use the press pass to ask some very specific questions of Beilein or Red? It seems that we get some interesting insight now and then from the football coaches (at least the coordinators) but I'm wondering why we don't for the other sports. I can see Bacari being willing to give some insight beyond the coach-speak and it would be nice to ask about auto-bench, time-outs, etc.
2 - I despise the hero-ball late-game threes that are so commonplace. Just this weekend you saw MSU take a terrible end-of-game three and I think it was Louisville that did the same. Both were crappy and contested shots that didn't rely on the offense. Suddenly these great coaches can't draw up a play to get a good shot within the flow of the offense and we have to rely on hero-ball? Blech!
3 - I have also been disappointed by basketball recruiting. I was surprised to hear you mention money with Duke, UNC, and Kansas.....but maybe not THAT surprised. I am perfectly content being a program like MSU or Wisconsin where we get good recruits but not one-and-done recruits. But it was disappointing that this team is now full of freshmen (6 total) and none were instant impact recruits. Even the best of them like Chatman and Irvin were not on the level of the top 20-25 recruits in the country. You would have thought that SOMEONE would jump at the chance to play for Beilein in a wide-open offense that is churning out NBA talent.
|8 weeks 1 day ago||Auto-Bench & Irvin||
I was frustrated by the auto-bench also, mostly for the duration. I don't have a problem with him benching the players for a while since they got those fouls so early, but he stuck with the walk-ons for too long. He eventually brought Spike back in with two fouls, but it was just too long without them. Then again, I also understand the argument that Spike and Rahk played the entire second half, which may not have been possible otherwise. And those were more important minutes than the end of the first half.....I guess.
Brian - do you have the ability to send someone to attend Beilein's pressers and ask questions like these? You have done a great job with the football coaches of asking intelligent questions, how about basketball?
As for Irvin, I was actually encouraged by his game against MSU. I thought he handled the ball better than I've seen before and actively attacked the rim unlike any other game. Sure, he got some layups blocked and didn't get any calls - but he was far from one-dimensional. I look at the last two games and finally see a trajectory for Irvin that I hadn't seen before.
Doyle just isn't athletic enough against a team like MSU. I liked the lineup with him and Beilfeldt at times because it matched up well. But Doyle just isn't fast enough to hedge and recover or keep up with the MSU bigs on the break.
|8 weeks 1 day ago||Blanchard||
Laval Blanchard would have been perfect for Beilein. He was an undersized 4 who could shoot from three and was a very good rebounder. He must have nightmares where he realizes what his career could have been like if he were a few years younger.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||Past seasons||
I would love to see these stats compared to other recent seasons. It would be nice if Michigan could blow a team out so Chatman could play 20 minutes and try to find his game. He reminds me of Willie Mitchell....just lost as to what he should be doing out there.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||I actually agree.....to a point||
I probably would have said it a little different, but I generally agree with the message this post is trying to convey. I actually prefer a program that's based on recruiting 3-4 stars and turning them into a great sustained team over the course of their careers (I call this the Wisconsin model). However, I am somewhat disappointed at our recruiting. Look at it this way.
In the last four years we have had an exciting team with the best B10 record of anyone along with cranking out NBA prospects. During that time we have more 2-star recruits than we do 5-star recruits. And even our highest ranked recruits have almost exclusively been guys that moved up the rankings AFTER we recruited them. Only McGary started as a 5-star when we started recruiting him.
I am fine with the concept of building a program full of reliabile 3-4 year players who are moderately ranked with the occassional early-entry departure. Wisconsin and MSU have done very well with this model. But I am very surprised that we haven't been able to attract a single "instant-impact" recruit despite having a large number of players coming through the program in the Beilein era.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||Expectations||
I think Draymond Green is a stretch, but it is an interesting comparison. Perhaps the biggest issue was just expecting him to be ready at this point. His skills are more nuanced and take time to develop, perhaps like Green or Novak. He was hopefully going to be backing up GR3 or Donnal this season and not playing 30 minutes at PF. It is tough, however to see so many of his lesser rated predecessors have at least some success right away or at least see their future more clearly. (He also suffers from the overall struggles of the other players.)
The reason I project Robinson to challenge his rotation spot is that I expect Robinson has one specific skill that he can do well and earn minutes. It isn't clear yet what will earn Chatman his minutes. I think he needs to be more aggressive and stop thinking so much. Like Irvin and Spike there is probably some lost confidence.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||Fair points....||
You are correct, his supporting cast is far inferior to last year. Not having the reliable post players to pass to, a killer outside shooter to stretch the D, or another alpha male offensive player makes it impossible to judge.
I will also clarify that I didn't mean Caris wasn't a great player and more valuable than Manny or THJ for his diversity.
However, even his stats from last year suggest that he is a unique player compared to what Beilein has had in recent seasons and it is possible that there have been growing pains associated with how to build an offense around him (magnified by the lack of performers around him). We used to complain about the Burke hero ball at the end of games and he was Trey Friggin' Burke. When a lot of your offense is Caris hero ball I think it warrants further discussion to understand why.
I really hope he comes back and gets to play with a better cast next year.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||Athleticism is the perfect comment||
This team has so little athleticism outside of Levert and flashes from Dawkins. When you watch them against teams like OSU it is appalling. You see so few dunks from this team and I have counted at least 8 missed layups by Irvin in the conference season.
The good news is that Beilein has made a career out of unathletic guys and even very few of his stars qualify as above average athletically these past few years.
What is killing this team as much as their inability to get some easy 2s is the fact they have universally regressed at shooting 3s.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||Chatman.....||
I am equally perplexed by how Chatman was so highly rated. He seems to possess very little athletic ability, which limits him as both a rebounder and finisher. He also doesn't seem like his range quite extends to the three-point line. And he's clearly not a great ball handler. So what is he? What did people see with a below-the-rim mid-range jump shooter that got him his rankings?
I'm not ready to give up on him yet, but his fit in the offense and defense seems so limited right now. He's not big or athletic enough to truly play PF and he's not a good enough ball-handler or creator to play SF. He seems like a role player off the bench who you pair with complimentary players at C/SF to mask his weaknesses. It is easier to project long-term roles for Rahk and Dawkins than Chatman.....which is concerning since he's the only highly rated recruit out of the six freshmen and there is no hope on the horizon for impact recruits.
Next year I think Robinson immediately jumps him in the rotation if he can shoot as is rumored. Then there's the question of where you play Wilson. I remain of the opinion that's he's a center, not a stretch PF. I think that fits his skills, I think it fits within the offense, I think they need more depth at C, and I think he would be awesome in these zone defenses.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||Levert Assist Rate||
Forgive me if this sounds like a negative to Caris Levert, who is a player I enjoy watching and seems like a good all-around guy. I was shocked that his assist rate was so high. He doesn't feel like he ever sets up a teammate. Am I crazy?
Morris, Burke, and Stauskas used to always drive to the hoop or use the screen-and-roll with the distinct possibility of setting up a teammate. Morris struggled at times by not being able to shoot and Burke struggled at times to pass over/around the roll defender, but all three would find a streaking big man or corner shooter several times per game. When I watch Levert play he feels like someone who never runs a screen-and-roll (prefering an iso play) and rarely if ever sets up a teammate for an easy shot. In some ways he reminds me of Manny Harris - a very talented player capable of anything, but not someone who generates offense for others. The book on him is probably this - put your best defender on him and when he drives, bring help because he's not likely to pass, thus forcing him into a tough shot.
I think what this young team who lacks playmakers needs is someone to set them up for easy shots. Levert might just not be that guy - he brings different skills to the table. And since most of his drives result in fairly inefficient mid-range shots instead of layups he also isn't as efficient by himself as his predecessors. Topping it all off, you know he's getting the other team's best defender.
(Walton is struggling with what Burke went thru as a freshman - he's too small to get easy passes to people in the screen game, especially when we don't have GR3 streaking for a dunk along the baseline. )
|10 weeks 6 days ago||All-Name Team||
Just look at some of those clips on defense:
Ray, Sword, Steele, Gold, Horn, Irons
|10 weeks 6 days ago||Glen Steele||
(Context - I was in the class of 1997 and in the MMB, so this was the peak of my fandom)
Without question my favorite player besides Woodson was Glen Steele. He seemed to be in the backfield on every other play and I honestly believe that part of what made Woodson so dominant was his ability to disrupt the pocket and force bad decisions by the QB (just a small part.....but still). He wasn't that huge, he wasn't that fast, and he wasn't a physical specimen. He just worked hard on every play.
Marcus Ray got a ton of accolades from people (and still does) but I actually didn't think he was that great of a safety. I thought he tried too hard for a knockout blow rather than making sure tackles. Then again, we've been a wasteland at safety since Vada Murray and Tripp Welbourne were back there so Ray does stand out.
I liked Tai Streets because he played on the basketball team at the same time as the football team. But as star Michigan wide receivers go he was sort of the weak link in the chain that stretches from AC to Braylon. (Though he had a better NFL career than some of those guys.)
Finally, there was an OL who was a bit of a star and it wasn't the freshmen - it was Jon Jansen. He was the likeable mauler wearing #77 before Long and Lewan. He was the guy who never missed a game or a block. He was a local kid. So he'd probably be my #2 besides Steele for this question.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||What made you say great hire?||
While the idea of someone with NFL OC experience is nice for a lower level assistant, what makes you call this a "great hire"? Just curious since the Jags had the worst NFL offense by a mile and that got him fired.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||Great content! A couple of suggestions....||
Thanks for these great posts - they are fabulous insights into our future coaching staff. I have two suggestions to make them even better:
1. Please, please, please re-read what you've written before you post it. You offer some amazing insight, but the number of typos is very high and diminishes how much effort you put into this and how good the content is.
2. Is it possible for you to mark up the screen shots to help identify players, schemes, etc? I loved the detail you provided but it then took some time to decipher in the pictures.
Again, don't take this as anything other than constructive, because your diaries have been great. Thanks again for the content.
|12 weeks 4 days ago||No way Payton||
I assume you were joking about Shawn Payton as he was never considered.
|12 weeks 4 days ago||Sean not Shawn||
|14 weeks 3 days ago||Recruiting||
What frustrates me so much is that we have six freshmen on this team and none of them are ready to play meaningful minutes in college. Donnal and Doyle are okay, but they should be role players off the bench.
I realize that we are forced to play them because of the NBA departures, but that's sort of my point. We are coming off an era where six guys got drafted early, records were set with a fun offense, awards were won, and we were the talk of the conference. Yet we can't recruit one player who is college ready?
The guys just are too raw, small, and slow. We are getting zip from the 4, were are barely scraping by at center, our pick and roll game has vanished, and we have turned into a long jump shot team.....which suddenly can't hit them. We took like 40 threes today!!
|14 weeks 6 days ago||ESPN Radio||
Mike and Mike recapped a piece from a bay area newspaper that is saying Oakland is the leader. He sites the obvious boilerplate of "bay area, winning a super bowl, NFL, total control, and having a QB.".
Of course the same piece says that Stephen Ross will make a push for him in Miami.....which seems odd.
|18 weeks 1 day ago||Eh.....not sure.||
I think Mario & Taco played okay, but they weren't dominant. And when the QB runs for that many yards I think everyone in the front-seven needs to be down-graded. Sure, the offense and special teams lost us the game, but the D gave up two fourth quarter touchdowns and allowed their QB to run for 80+ yards. If they're supposed to be an elite run-stopping defense, the entire front seven is an issue. The comments about the WR are also very accurate. Chesson has vanished, Darboh is solid but unspectacular, Norfleet doesn't get any chances, Canteen has barely played and dropped a great TD pass on Saturday. Even Jake Butt is rarely used and we know that the RB always stay in to block rather than run routes.
|18 weeks 4 days ago||Ball screen.....where art thou?||
The last few years we've been an offense built around the ball screen. I feel like we've barely seen it in these initial games. Is that because the 4/5 spots are freshmen? Is that just an early season thing? Is it because Caris is better in isolation? The offense felt clunky for long stretches last night, even with the 5 upper-classmen out there. (Though it went unsaid that we missed at least two threes that were in and out during the first half and the game looks a lot different if those went in.)
|18 weeks 4 days ago||Donnal||
I was a little surprised that Donnal got yanked. The play where he missed the layup was a pretty good play by him and I thought he fit well within the offense and had a couple blocks. I understood Wilson because he looked totally lost and Doyle wasn't a good fit against a 5-guard lineup. But I wanted to see Donnal get more PT since he's our starter and someone we will need. When Max had to play any 1-on-1 D he was a liability. Kam was frustrating at times, but I still think he's getting decent shots that just aren't falling.
|18 weeks 6 days ago||Parallel to 2010-2011||
Either on this site or UMHoops someone mentioned the parallel at the Center position between this season and the 2010-2011 season. Both years we had a glut of young and unproven big-men. Here are how the minutes played out:
There's a decent parallel to this year. Morgan was a solid clog in the machine as a RS-Fr (Donnal) and got most of the minutes despite not doing any one thing great but several things well enough (5.4rpg, 63%, 9.2ppg). Smotrycz was the most skilled of the options and spent some time at the four and five spots slightly out of position (38% from 3pt, 2.3rpg) and compares to Wilson. Horford played a surprisingly small amount considering his size and ability to rebound/block shots - which either means my analogy to Doyle breaks down or we may see Wilson pass him if he can hit open shots. Then there's McLimans, who was unable to hold his own in the post but could hit a few open shots (aka Bielfeldt).
|20 weeks 13 hours ago||Not too worried....||
I'm not sure if you're on to something or not, but I persoally am not too worried. We will definitely see some growing pains with SEVEN freshmen, but that is part of the benefit too. We need to cover two positions with freshmen - PF and C. We can try any combination of the deep bench to fill those spots and aren't forced to give 30+ minutes to any one guy who isn't ready or is having a bad night.
|20 weeks 13 hours ago||Defensive improvements||
I don't ever expect a Beilein team to excel at defense given the complex offense they have to learn and the early turnover to the NBA we will now see apparently. Teams that make defense their hallmark are more often full of upper-classmen (WI, MSU, VCU, etc.). But you did touch on an interesting point that Stauskas and GR3 were poor defenders. On top of that I don't think that McGary or Horford were particularly great either, though each had their moments. In addition to the potential upgrade from Irvin/Chatman/Wilson you could also mention the advantage of having Rahk and Dawkins as athletes off the bench who could become effective defenders based purely on their athleticism and desire to earn minutes. Finally, it is refreshing to have a bench deep enough to afford some fouls unlike the past few years. We go 2-deep at every position and 4-deep at center if needed.
|25 weeks 14 hours ago||Desmond Morgan is missed too....||
You mentioned how the injury to Peppers has affected Michigan because it now asks Countess to do things he's not as qualified to do (as did the health issues with Taylor). But you could also mention what Desmond Morgan's loss has meant to this team. They basically aren't taking Ryan or Bolden off the field anymore after a heavy rotation last year of multiple LB. When Ryan biffs a play and needs to be talked to (or Bolden for that matter) there isn't a Morgan to put in the game. Add to the pile of injuries the chaos at safety with Wilson and Hill both having various injuries and the continuity plus depth have been sapped while learning to adapt in a new defense. This play felt like the offense at times - the theory was okay, the execution by one guy blew it up.
|26 weeks 6 days ago||Good D vs. Great D||
I still can't figure out the ND game as it was so random. When your offense doesn't get you into the redzone and has a lot of negative plays it makes it really tough on the D. It is fair to say they aren't elite, but I don't put a lot of the ND game on them.
In that game they lost Taylor and Peppers so ND attacked Countess and Holowell. Holowell didn't play against Utah and Countess barely registered. I think Lewis/Taylor/Peppers on the outside with Countess at slot corner is very strong. They missed Wilson in the last couple games too.
I am not worried about Countess at slot corner because he did well last year and we suck at corner blitzes no matter who's in there. With that roster, plus Morgan, we're a very good or even great D.
If only we could figure out what's wrong on the O. Unlike with RichRod where we had a lack of depth/talent, this O should be decent at least. There are too many good players to suck as bad as they are. What's wrong???
|31 weeks 2 days ago||Centers||
I agree that there is a LONG way to go before we know how good the Double D's are at center. But without taking ANYTHING away from Morgan, did he ever have three double double games in a season? Donnal had one and Doyle had two in Italy. Even against a pick up team in the CCRB that's a promising start.
They won't have the defensive abilities that Morgan did, but they may be able to offset that by being better offensively and blocking a shot or two.
|31 weeks 2 days ago||Chart? Charts wrong....||
In your tables at the end you show a +3.5 for both Lewan and Fitz without any negatives, but I think that's got to be wrong since I saw them both highlighted as negative multiple times. It almost seems like Borges had a decent day here as he tried more screens, tried some reverses, countered a few things, etc. It wasn't "good", but it showed signs of recognizing their weaknesses and trying to hide them. Some Funchess drops and a Gardner fumble or maybe we steal this game.
|31 weeks 2 days ago||Only minor disagreements||
Marshall is probably 50% because they love to rotate at DE and have limited depth.
I don't understand the logic behind wanting to redshirt Morris this year. Sure, they blew it by not having the luxury of giving him a RS last year due to Bellamy's injury and ineptitude along with not recruiting a QB in the previous class. But now you need Morris to be ready to play both if Gardner gets hurt and for the following year. He will still have two years to be a starter and now you have QB recruits lined up in the three classes after him with all likely to RS.
|35 weeks 5 days ago||OL @ 299||
This OL chart reminds me of the late 80s and early 90s when they basically refused to list anyone over 300 pounds a if that was a bad omen.
|38 weeks 5 days ago||Burke?||
|41 weeks 1 day ago||Small story....||
A close family member of mine got to attend an event with a few of the parents of the players last year. Gant's dad was there, who is a former player himself, and said that there were some bad influences in the locker room that he was looking forward to being gone this year. That's all he said and obviously it is unconfirmed third-hand information, but it adds to this speculation. I also believe that Leadership-vs-Winning is a Chicken-vs-Egg debate that is impossible to figure out. Winning teams supposedly have great leaders and losing teams don't, but which comes first?
|42 weeks 4 days ago||The mystery of the 2013 DL||
What confuses me as much as anything (and I wish we had Heiko-like access to Mattison) is the strategy of the DL for 2013. When we had a dynamic duo of Martin and RVB on the DL it made sense to let them slash into the backfield while the LB cleaned up. But we seemed to have success in 2012 when Washington and Campbell ate double-teams and allowed the talent at LB to make the plays. But what happened in 2013? It seemed like we played a small DL with players somewhat out of position and put more of a burden on the LB than any season preview predicted. Washington barely played, Black and Beyer played at positions where they were undersized, there was a ton of rotation from play to play unlike the steady usage of guys like Campbell, Roh, RVB, and Martin in previous seasons..... It doesn't add up. So maybe the coaches realized this but also realized that they don't have two space eating monsters at DT right now and thus feel the 4-3 Over is the best way to free up the LB to make plays. Just one random and mostly uneducated opinion on the topic. I would love to hear what Mattison had to say about the 2013 DL rotation.
|42 weeks 4 days ago||Ross....||
What people often neglect in this type of discussion is James Ross. Last year we had hoped he would be the dynamic and elusive tackle machine his profile suggested. Yet we saw almost zero in the way of big play from him. It wasn't that he was bad, but he wasn't dynamic. Now we have two big burly linebackers in the middle and the smaller/quicker Ross will deal with TEs and Slot types on the edge while occassionally blitzing and using his athleticism and quickness. I admit to being totally naive with regard to the details of this defense, but it seems to suit Ross more than people mention.
|45 weeks 4 days ago||Optimism is good, but there's more to the story....||
I generally like this post because Beilein has earned trust and optimism no matter who's on the court. With a stunning FIVE players leaving for next year it is natural to be worried. It would also be wise to set proper expectations, but look forward to improvement and good offense no matter what.
But I think we should emphasize the best attribute of next year's roster - depth and versatility. What limited the Novak team was that we only had two viable guys off the bench and Vogrich added little. Next year we have 12 scholarship players and go 2+ deep at every position. If one of the freshman isn't quite ready or has an off night - there's someone waiting to step up. That's going to be a fun new wrinkle to Beilein's story - what does he do with 12 scholarship players and a full 2-deep roster after years of playing a short bench?
With all of that being said, let's not sell the 2011-2012 team too short. Two of those players are successful in the NBA, two others had success in Europe, and Smotrycz is a solid starter for a good program. While lacking depth and forcing two guys to play out of position, this was a good team with experience and talent. Quick comparison:
If you assume natural improvement from Walton/Irvin and a star season from Levert it really comes down to finding 2 of the 6 freshman who can hold their own as starters. Seems like pretty good odds that some combination of them will be just fine.
|47 weeks 1 day ago||Basketball minutes||
Those minutes are almost exactly what I expect. I don't think Donnal plays the 4 spot this year and probably not next year either. I think he's a 5 until/unless Doyle or someone else shows they can play it. And with Chatman/Wilson both being 6'8" I don't see a strong need to move him either. At this point the spots up for grabs are MAAR/Dawkins for the back-up wing and Doyle/redshirt depending on how well Donnal and Bielfeldt play. I doubt we can afford to redshirt Doyle given the foul trouble and height issues.
|47 weeks 1 day ago||Uh...there are a few puzzlers out there....||
Most of the ones I've seen are pretty good. But Sean Higgins, Rumeal Robinson, Jamal Crawford, and Zack Novak can't appear on this list in any way. They were very, very good players but if you're picking 5 guys they're far down the list. You're really picking from the best of the best of all time and I"m sure we're missing some old guys. Grant, Burke, Cazzie, Rice, Webber, and a short list of others are where you start.
|48 weeks 1 day ago||My minute breakdown||
I was just working on this last night and thinking of posting something similar. Thanks for starting this thread - fun for rampant speculation. First, you have to think about a few circumstances that will affect next season:
So here's my best guess at minutes:
Redshirt - MAAR, Hatch.
I think they are more likely to need size and shooting (Dawkins) than they are ball handling and creation (MAAR) so that's why I picked what I did. However I could easily see that reversed and Levert playing more minutes at SF so MAAR can play SG.
Chatman will join the returning wing players in playing roughly 25-30mpg. All of the bigger guys (Wilson, Doyle, Donnal, Max) will be thrown in a blender and play anywhere from 5-20mpg.
Considering that Chatman has the second highest Rivals ranking of any Beilein recruit I think that team will be able to score and ride some ups and downs (and horrific defense) into the tournament but won't contend for the conference title. Wisconsin seems to have that locked up with Kaminski inexplicably staying another year.
|50 weeks 1 day ago||Height||
While McGary is critical for the potential of next year's team, the height comment isn't quite as dire as you suggest. This season we only had two players 6'8" or taller and next year the number is three without Mitch.
Also, while this doesn't help the center position, Michigan will have 8 players on scholarship who are 6'6" or taller if none of the three NBA prospects return. That creates some flexibility and matchup advantages at most other positions.
|50 weeks 1 day ago||In JB we trust....but.....||
I see this roster as a "right side of the bubble team" that starts poorly and makes a run late in the year to get in as a middling seed. Walton/Levert/Irvin could be a nice trio, but the massive holes everywhere else are going to be an issue. I don't think anyone red-shirts in this scenario as I suspect Williams has to play a lot of PF and Doyle has to play 10+ minutes backing up the 5. Asking four freshmen and Bielfeldt to replace Morgan/Horford/McGary/GR3/Stauskas is just too tall of a task. It will be a streaky team that hopefully is well coached enough and hits enough threes to get into the tournament and then anything can happen. Ideally McGary returns and we can consider redshirts for Williams and/or Doyle.
|50 weeks 1 day ago||Thoughts....||
Donnal sounds great at the PF position if McGary returns and Doyle or Bielfeldt can play a back-up role. If McGary leaves, there is no way Donnal plays the PF spot. Also keep in mind that other than a cameo by Smotrycz a few years ago we have had all of this success with under-sized PF like Novak and GR3. A stretch PF is a nice to have, but isn't mandatory if we need help at center. ALso, I'm still curious about the shot-blocker comment that was taken from a Beilein quote. I'm sure he'd like a better back-line defensive presence, but I don't think he'd trade that for being someone who can manage the ball-screen offense. Try to picture Amir Williams in our offense when he wanders around lost on offense and tries to block every shot and gives up easy plays on the back side.
|50 weeks 5 days ago||Prediction....||
As of right now there's a roster spot for him next year so he doesn't have to take a medical hardship scholarship. My feeling is that he'll get in a game or two during garbage time, hit a couple of threes as the crowd explodes. As he enters his sophomore year they'll take a look at his physical capabilities and the status of the roster. Most likely, he takes the medical at that point and becomes a student staff assistant like Ben Cronin.
|51 weeks 15 hours ago||OL.....||
I still can't figure out how we got to where we are on this OL. There isn't a single position.....not ONE of the five that is settled. The only one with some experience that has even decent performance to go with it is Glasgow and he's suspended and without a true position. He should be a guard, but that's the one spot we have the most depth. Kalis has seen his star fade, Bosch and Magnuson have some promise still but are both coming off injury, Braden has yet to crack the two-deep going into his third season, and the rest are raw. Scary. Who cares about the RB and QB depth charts if the OL isn't able to be competent.
|51 weeks 15 hours ago||DL||
Why is it odd that Taco is moved to SDE? That position has provided nothing of significant impact since RVB left - just bodies. With Clark and Mario at WDE and Beyer someone who can rotate between the two positions based on situation, why not put the large and athletic Taco at SDE? I love the move. He is big enough to be decent against the run and athletic enough to maybe provide the pass rush that no one else has. Also, I would love for Pipkins or Mone to develop enough to play a fair amount of NT with Henry playing DT. I think Henry is a monster against single team blocking but will be a non-factor against double teams. Right now we need someone on the line to demand a double team so we get good match-ups elsewhere.
|52 weeks 13 hours ago||Observations:||
|1 year 1 day ago||Last Shot||
Hard to complain about that shot. Bad look from a bad shooter with a hand in his face. Only twice this year did we really desperately need McGary....today and the last MSU game.
Thanks for everything JMo, Nik, and GR3. I hope McGary says since we could be a killer team next year with him.
|1 year 2 weeks ago||Expectations||
I knew we'd get a far better game from Illinois as they were fighting for their life and weren't going to let us go bonkers from 3 point land. However, it was concerning that we struggled so much against the 2-3 zone and settled for long and contested threes.
|1 year 2 weeks ago||MMB Travels||
While I respect your thoughts on not sending the band somewhere they may get booed off the field, it is hard to say that and the OSU comment in the same paragraph. The OSU environment got slightly better when former instructors from the MMB went to OSU, but having been there with the MMB three times I can say that it is borderline unsafe. I still want them there and at as many games as possible, but don't assume that OSU's respect for old-timey traditions means that the MMB gets treated as anything other than lousy. I have many, many colorful stories from my three trips there and don't have any interest in ever going back.
|1 year 2 weeks ago||WHY isn't Michigan good at defense?||
What we haven't discussed is why this team with very good players, very good coaches, and an elite offense can't perform better on D. I have a couple of theories to throw out there in an 'educated guess' type of manner. But first picture this - in most games, especially on the road, there's a stretch where Michigan's opponent is overplaying everything and right up in the face of their man constantly. The crowd goes nuts, the team has trouble even initiating their offense, passes are contested, etc. Now can you ever remember a Michigan defense doing that? Morgan works his butt off in the post, Stu Douglas used to play great off-ball defense, and we will get a few steals now and then - but you never get that moment when Michigan is playing hyper-aggressive on D. Why? I think part of it is the not-fouling edict. Teams like MSU, OSU, or even the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks clutch and grab constantly knowing that they'll get called for a few fouls but will trade those for finding out just how far they can go. Michigan rarely does that, which sadly penalizes them with the way refs call the game. It may also have the side-effect of letting shooters get more confidence knowing they aren't going to get mugged consistently. If MGoBlog had a Heiko-like relationship with Beilein I would love to hear his take on this. The other thing hurting Michigan is likely their line-up. Having a bunch of 6'6" offensive players is great, but none of them have the lateral quickness to stay in front of most athletic guards. This isn't likely to change in the near future looking at the roster and incoming recruits either.
|1 year 3 weeks ago||Early season, not mid-season||
I think we first need to establish that the change happened earlier than "mid season" since we went from 6-4 to have a 15-3 run in a tough conference. I honestly think that the McGary thing played a big role. I suspect that the lip service Beilein payed in the fall to making McGary a 4 and GR3 a 3 was fairly accurate and that they were planning to go into the season running a lot of offense through McGary and have LeVert come off the bench. Once McGary's back flared up to the point where they realized he was an unknown, I think Beilein went back to his roots. He starting running the offense mostly through Stauskas, LeVert stepped up and became the secondary scorer, GR3's role gradually went back to being what it was last year, and the centers went back to what they did with the Morris offense. I think it took a while to work out the kinks with everyone's role and once McGary wasn't an option it focused their efforts.
|1 year 3 weeks ago||Several Names.....||
|1 year 3 weeks ago||Rooting interest....||
I realize that we have not rooting interest in the B10 that isn't based on love or hate of other teams, but what about the non-conference teams? Namely, we want Stanford/FSU to win everything, we don't care about Arizona, we're probably indifferent to ISU now that we're clearly ahead of them, and we want Dook to lose to help our seeding and because they're Dook.
|1 year 4 weeks ago||Critical.||
This is CRITICAL for next year. With McGary's future uncertain we need to know that Horford will be back to provide a consistent presence in the middle. Bielfeldt will probably get more play, but he's woefully undersized for the center position. The only other option is incoming freshman Ricky Doyle, who will be forced to play if McGary leaves. The only other option I could see the coaches trying is to play Bielfeldt alongside Mark Donnal. On D they could switch roles with Donnal guarding the other team's center and on O they can let Bielfeldt set the perimeter screens while Donnal operates as the stretch four.
|1 year 4 weeks ago||Fixing the symptom and not the problem?||
It seems like the coaches are throwing everything they have at maximizing the production of the LB crew both with the coaching changes and the position changes. But the reality is that the true problems were with the DL. We couldn't consistently get pressure and we couldn't keep the LB free. So now we're tinkering with the deepest and most talented position on the field to cover up for the weakest? Seems.....odd. Maybe they see the writing on the wall that help is NOT on the way at DL and they need to try more exotic options. Let's face it - unless we see a huge improvement from someone unexpected on the DL we're treading water there. The other option is that Ross will end up being a dynamic player on the edge where his speed and quickness are more effective and Ryan can blow up releasing guards and still make the tackle. Let's hope......
|1 year 5 weeks ago||That was pretty great....||
I actually loved that exchange and wish the announcers would have talked about it. The call on Morgan was crap and Izzo telling Beilein "you got it, you got it, we're even" while laughing was pretty great.
|1 year 5 weeks ago||Disagree....||
I don't agree with Ferns at all. He is behind a full two-deep at his position right now and I can't see them blowing his redshirt.
In his place I would have used Lawrence Marshal. This staff has a history of playing WDE guys who are raw in situational pass rushing roles (Mario, Taco). In addition, we're lacking for pass rush and they announced that Taco is moving to SDE. I think Marshal gets a chance at some snaps and maybe a bigger role if he steps up. That seems far more likely than Ferns offering anything more than a cameo.
I'm not sold on Bunting either, but I didn't realize his weight was over 230 now. Last I heard he was a rail thin 220 and still trying to adapt from WR to TE. My guess is that the new OC puts more proven WR on the field and only uses TE when he needs blocking. Between Funchess part-time, Williams, Paskorz, Hill, and maybe even Shallman I think we can survive without asking a position-switch, undersized, true freshman to play. We'll see how long Butt takes to heal I guess....
|1 year 5 weeks ago||Offense & the missing link||
I think Brian's post is the most telling. What's the best way to improve transition defense? Make shots so the other team can't run. We've missed too many long jumpers lately and that often leads to a fast-break the other way. Fixing the offense may have just as much improvement on our defense as anything else we could do. The other issues are very much to do with the loss of McGary. We're back to lacking flexibility in our front-court lineup and having to play undersized. We miss McGary's steals, out-let passes, and general disruption - even if his overall impact isn't what his surprising all-american credentials would imply. There's zero chance you'll ever see Horford and Morgan on the floor together as that is the antithesis of what Beilein wants for his offense or his risk-averse mentality when it comes to fouls. As much as I like the kid, i still wish we had an athletic PF buried on the bench who could play D and rebound - Max Bielfeldt just isn't the right fit. Larry Nance Jr. would have been a great fit and even having a guy like Evan Smotrycz around at PF would help a lot. We can usually get away with playing an undersized PF, but sometimes it will blow up in your face - especially when GR3 is in a funk.
|1 year 6 weeks ago||Ace - different take on the issues....||
Late in your recap you highlighted how Michigan wasn't able to get the easy looks and settled for long jumpers - indicating that this was part of the issue. Yet what we all talked about from the first meeting was that Wisconsin plays the pick and roll soft and thus allows you to take those long twos. I think the issue was that Michigan's D got carved up early with allowing so many open threes and uncontested shots from the paint (many on OReb). During that same time, which has happened often lately, it took the offense a while to figure out what they wanted to do. I thought Michigan shored up their 3pt defense later in the game, but it was dreadful early against a team that makes you pay. Meanwhile I can't remember the last open three from Stauskas or dunk by GR3. It seems that everything is a chore for Michigan on offense right now and that bodes unwell when their D is clearly struggling.
|1 year 6 weeks ago||Other players stepping up....||
While I agree that having other players step up is the optimum solution, I think the issue you're seeing is that none of our other players are great creators. Walton is getting better, but still struggles to get others involved or use the ball screen. LeVert rarely looks to set anyone else up when he drives and gets lost in traffic. GR3 and Irvin need no explanation. I think that explains why the back-cuts aren't getting the ball to Stauskas because the other guards aren't confident in making that pass.
|1 year 7 weeks ago||I approve this message||
I was wondering if this would happen. It may even allow Beyer to play both DE positions depending on situations.
|1 year 7 weeks ago||Randomness & basketball||
My big frustration with basketball is that the "randomness" is so tied to officiating. I understand that it is impossible to be good at basketball officiating. But it changes games perhaps more than any other sport's officials do. Making matters worse, at this point you now see officials in football and baseball being held accountable via replay and slow motion. In basketball they rarely show bad calls or even discuss the impact of lousy officiating on the outcome of the game. I think it has forced improvement in the other sports but remains awful in basketball.
|1 year 7 weeks ago||Safety depth vs. corner depth||
Which of the corners is going to move to safety to improve depth there? That's what I want to know. Stribling has the size, but I know the coaches want big corners so a future of Stribling/Peppers sounds appealing. Any thoughts on those options?
|1 year 8 weeks ago||Strategy?||
Against MSU it seemed we fought to get Stauskas the ball. Against IU and Duke it seemed that we tried to win a 4-on-4 game. Why?
I asked this after the Duke game - why not have Stauskas bring the ball up the floor and initiate the ball screen offense from there?
|1 year 10 weeks ago||The good news is that it doesn't matter....||
I think Beilein has played this one perfect. He can rotate them so interchangeably right now depending on match-ups, fouls, style of play, and hot-hand that it really doesn't matter. Horford plays miserably in one game and Jordan Morgan sets some season highs. Then in the next game it is vice versa. Much like we've seen with PG, the minutes will shake out over time depending on how it goes - but so far they have both stepped up. People forget in all the McGary hype that this team has won a lot of games with the Morgan/Horford center position and McGary struggled for much of the regular season and was mostly an energy guy off the bench rather than a focal point of the team. I love the guy, but having these two experienced guys who know their role is not the weakness the casual fan assumed when McGary got hurt.
|1 year 10 weeks ago||"Modern" attributes||
I think another poster asked about it, but how much did you see an adjustment at the line based on the defense, either from the coach or QB? While I suspect Saban is not the type to allow a QB to change plays on his own, if you aren't going to let a 3-year starting senior with national titles and some Heisman votes change plays - then we probably won't see much of that at Michigan. Thoughts Ace? Also, how would you compare the amount and effectiveness of their tempo offense to that rare situation when Michigan tried it?
|1 year 10 weeks ago||Speight = confusing||
So are they basing the huge fall for Speight on his SIX pass attempts in an all-star game? The fact that he played well enough in practice to start and be named a captain doesn't count for anything? I agree that he didn't do enough to jump significantly, but fall that far? I don't see it. His WR falls down instead of possibly making a good TD catch and things change totally on perception? Seems odd.
|1 year 11 weeks ago||Positive thoughts||
I can in no way judge how "nice of a guy" Borges was so I'll leave that out of this. What I will say as a farewell is that despite the rough patches these past three years, he was also responsible for some amazing offensive games and set records that may live for a while. The OSU game, the IU game, the various ND games. He also helped get Jeremy Gallon the receiving record, turned Funchess into a very productive receiver, and help guide an awkward hybrid offense in 2011 to product two 1000-yard rushers. Unlike the common comparison to the Gerg/RichRod defensive struggles, there were several extremely amazing offensive performances under Borges that shouldn't be ignored as we move into a new era. Good luck Al - may your next stop include a mature offensive line and QB and a fan base that doesn't know why throwing bubble screens is a productive offensive play.
|1 year 12 weeks ago||Right Tackle.....||
One of the benefits of the depth chart besides just bodies is versatility on the interior. That is good because it allows us to see whether Kugler/Miller can claim the center spot and move Glasgow back where he belongs or whether we have to give him another season at center due to the guards being more talented. I think something that wasn't mentioned enough is that Glasgow was our best pulling lineman and we lost that when he moved to center. (and we also got one bad snap per game out of him it seemed) But the issue is tackle. I think what is far more important than your comments about Kugler and Bryant is that Braden needs to pown the RT spot and make us forget he vanished this season. If he locks down the tackle spot we can then put Kalis, Bosch, Glasgow, Miller, Bryant, Kugler, and Dawson into the meat grinder and see who comes out.
|1 year 12 weeks ago||Looking back at 2013......||
I think the biggest issue this year was that Mattison had ZERO playmakers on defense and almost no one that could win a 1-on-1 match-up. One example was one of the TDs in the bowl game - he dialed up an A-gap blitz and got a guy right in the QB's face. If that guy gets there a half second earlier or the corner could cover for a half second longer it is a FG attempt. Neither could, despite a perfect play-call.
In 2011 the playmakers were Martin and RVB with solid guys around them. Kovacs was a playmaker too.
In 2012 the playmaker was Jake Ryan with the DL eating blocks to free him and the other LB up. In fact, Kovacs had to do little at all since the DL ate blocks, the LB made tackles, Ryan made big plays, Kovacs just cleaned up anything else.
In 2013 it was.....it was.....no one. I actually think some of the explanation for Black and Henry playing so much more than Washington was the search for a playmaker. I think they futzed with the safeties for the same reason - looking for a big play.
As for 2014, here are my thoughts:
I still think this is a good enough D to keep us in games all season - but can it win any for us? It all comes down to that DL.
|1 year 13 weeks ago||My thoughts.....||
I do think we tend to blame the coaches a bit too much on this blog since ultimately execution matters a ton. But unlike the NFL, in college the players are young and the coaches have to put them in a position to succeed. We also need to stop giving the defensive coaches a pass. BUT......the fact is that we have very few playmakers on this team. On defense the only person close to being a playmaker is Jake Ryan, just a few months removing from a major injury. On offense we have Gallon, Funchess, and Gardner but too much dysfunction on the OL and scheme to utilize them effectively. We don't have a difference maker in the backfield and our scheme seems to make everything seem so hard. Nothing about this team makes sense any more - offense looks great against ND/OSU/IN and awful for long stretches. Defense looks solid for much of the year but collapses late several times and can't do anything against OSU/KSU/IN. I think you have to hold someone accountable on the coaching staff and can't just tell Brandon it was all "poor execution by the players", but it is probably lower-level assistants. I also think that Hoke only gets his fifth year if we see progress next season. We lose just two semi-productive players on D and have an easier schedule.
|1 year 14 weeks ago||Interesting||
Over at MnB they do a weekly feature on former UM players in the NFL. Every week they report that he played a fair amount of snaps bit has almost no stats. I guess it is good that he is apparently doing the little things.
|1 year 14 weeks ago||More info please....||
I realize this is being picky, but please try to provide some more information with a post like this. I'm sure many visitors to the blog know who he is, but for all we know he's a water polo recruit based on your post. Maybe stating his sport, year, and position would be a simple addition to an update like this - especially when there isn't a link provided.
|1 year 14 weeks ago||League quality||
Yeah, thanks for the input. TOC post I saw last season went into detail with their players on the quality of the league they were playing in. Amazingly, MSU had fewer active players overseas than Michigan I think so it was a little easier. I gave up after just finding their information without researching the quality of their league, the performance of their team, etc. As for Asselin, I always liked him as a player. I think he's one of the guys from the "dead ball era" of Michigan basketball that would have most benefited from having Beilein as a coach. The guy who would have been perfect is Blanchard. He was a 6'7" undersized power-forward who could shoot the lights out and rebound well and would have thrived playing the Novak/GR3 role.
|1 year 14 weeks ago||Nice updates!||
Thanks for all of the updates! I didn't go back far enough to grab the guys who are former coaches. I know Juwan is an assistant on the Heat and obviously Webber and Rose are working as analysts. I wonder if guys like Rice, Vaught, etc. landed anywhere. I can't believe I forgot about Blake! Hopefully everything is okay with his family even if he doesn't resume his career.
|1 year 15 weeks ago||Taco.....||
I struggled with how to categorize this one. Playing Taco out of the blue late in the season surprised me and given his limited impact I can see why some people think he should have redshirted. Maybe that's one I should have changed in the table. I put "good" since he was clearly part of the rotation late in the year.
But looking at some of the comments, I now start to wonder why the coaches did decide to play him. Mario lost some snaps, Clark was doing pretty well, Beyer was available to play multiple positions, and the Wormley/Godin/Glasgow trifecta existed. I'm not quite sure why the coaches decided that Taco needed to start playing so late in the year. I have a theory though.
When the team started flailing about in November I think you started to see Hoke and Mattison start tinkering on defense in an attempt to compensate for the offensive issues. This is what Hoke knows, right? So maybe Hoke and Mattison got together and started trying to find levers to pull and buttons to push on defense. Considering that Taco probably looks awesome in practice against our woeful offensively line, that may have helped. Look at the somewhat odd changes you saw late in the year:
Anyway, it is just a theory. The concern with Taco is that Clark, Mario, and Beyer still exist on the depth chart and now without Deshawn Hand coming next year we could have used some separation in eligibility.
|1 year 15 weeks ago||Redshirt versus travel roster||
To clarify, there is no rule whatsoever about declaring a redshirt for a player until after the season. Let's use David Dawson as an example. He can dress for every game and the coaches can choose to bring him to away games if they feel there is room for him on the limited travel squad. He can take second team reps in practice. If he just happens to make it through the entire season without seeing a snap, then he can have his redshirt. At this point if they decided to play him in the bowl game for some crazy reason, he can certainly do that but he will have lost his redshirt.
What I think hurt both Shane and Dymonte was that they played against WMU because I'm sure the coaches expected to use/need them throughout the season. These are the guys who were probably most hurt by the narrow wins/losses throughout the rest of the schedule. I expect that the coaches were going to play them more significant minutes against Akron and UConn. But once they played a fair amount against WMU, their redshirts were burned. The only alternative would have been to sit them the rest of the year and fabricate an injury for them and hope the NCAA gives them a medical redshirt - that's very shady business and really only makes even a little sense with the benefit of hindsight.
|1 year 15 weeks ago||Interesting...||
This is all wonderful data. Is there any way you can put some of it into context to help understand how our D compares to either other teams, past Michigan teams, etc.?
|1 year 16 weeks ago||My thoughts - SAFETY||
I don't want to come across as knocking Schofield, but it is hard for me to defend anyone on this OL for their dismal play - including Lewan. I thought both tackles were good, but far from great. And communication issues are a HUGE part of OL play. We'll miss Schofield for sure, but I think his performance was overstated by most of you guys. On the other hand, I'm terrified of our safety play. Wilson SEEMS good, but yet he couldn't claim a consistent starting job with the coaches. Now he's the guy we're counting on and we're going to pair him with.....with......who? Either Furman, last seen picking up his jock on the field or someone that's NEVER PLAYED before. At least this year we knew that Wilson had some experience and Avery, for all his faults, was a senior with lots of PT. Asking Clark, Thomas, Furman, or Hill to be a major improvement is scary. As much as I fear this idea, I wouldn't be shocked if one of the corners (Countess/Taylor/Stribling) moves to that spot given their experience and Peppers being able to step in at a deeper position.
|1 year 16 weeks ago||What do you WANT to happen versus what do you THINK will happen||
I think the best scenario would be an ugly game that OSU wins on a controversial call and then the voters put Auburn ahead of them in the NC game thus screwing both teams in the process. That would be the best case scenario as a fan without involving natural disasters that swallow the stadium whole. As for what WILL happen? I don't think MSU's offense can score enough and as great as their D is I think they'll still give up 25+ points. OSU in an ugly close game.
|1 year 17 weeks ago||Brian v annoying posters||
Without question I support Brian and the way he runs the site. Without his emotions as a real fan or his detailed analysis this site would never have become the awesome thing that it is today.
However, I was also disappointed in how Brian handled the last week or so. His "Fickle" piece was great, but otherwise he basically seemed to throw up his hands and say "there is no hope for this offense - spread or nothing.".
I know that wasn't what he really meant, but his comments lacked the substance that makes him great - showing us WHY this offense isn't working and how other teams have been able to make it work (Stanford, LSU, Wisconsin, etc). Without the supporting data he came across more like that punk Rosenberg....a big fan who didn't like the way the coaches ran their system and thus just trashed them.
I hope Brian takes some time to relax and rediscover his passion for this so he can give us his great content despite what Borges and some posters have done to his mental health.
|1 year 17 weeks ago||Wilson||
While I echo your feelings about Avery and Furman getting so much time and contributing to so many big plays, you should point out that Wilson had a cast on his arm and likely wasn't available. There really isn't anyone else left who isn't a freshman.
|1 year 17 weeks ago||Thanks for all that you do!||
You have created a site here that has grown perhaps beyond anyone's initial expectations. There are many reasons for this, but two of them come immediately to mind. The first - your emotion. You've maintained your status as a fan, not a media member, and that makes your take on all thing Michigan so much more genuine and powerful. There will be times when your emotions rub people the wrong way, but that's going to happen now that your site has so many followers. Hell, OSU fans were ripping Herbie today because he shook the hand of a wounded warrier wearing Michigan clothing. As your fan base has grown, there are no doubt a few Michigan equivalents to those idiots - don't let them affect who you are or the product you produce!
The second thing that I think makes your site great is the analysis. We don't get puff pieces about what a great guy the third string fullback is or how Michigan is working on their execution this week. You illustrate to us why things work, why they don't, and what could happen in the future. Don't lose sight of that as you deal with stubborn fans or coaches who bring you down. Show us why the offense isn't working, how it could work if run correctly, and how other teams are succesful with it.
We need you Brian! Help see us through this painful time in Michigan football!!! Don't give up on us just because some morons are giving you crap!
Thanks again for all your hard work.
|1 year 17 weeks ago||Corrections....||
Minor corrections, but you said Butt had 60 yards when he had over 80.
While the phantom Clark call was huge (I still wonder if the cameras missed something or the refs said the wrong number)....I was STUNNED that they upheld the Gardner fumble.
As for coaching changes....I just don't know. Does 41 points in your 5th loss to your big rival really gloss over the rest of the season?
|1 year 17 weeks ago||Same play....||
You can't line up in the same formation that you showed before they took a time out. That was my problem with the call.
|1 year 18 weeks ago||Man down!||
Our leader has fallen! Try to find us reasons for hope next year Brian!
I don't necessarily agree with the lack of firing Borges/Funk/Jackson. Someone needs yo be accountable and I look at the improvement at places like USC and even Texas and think a change brings hope.
|1 year 18 weeks ago||Chant?||
Instead of booing, how does the board feel about a "fire Borges" chant?
|1 year 18 weeks ago||Scarier than you think...||
What worries me is just how much closer to Florida we are than a title contender. Think about it.....
A couple of weeks ago we were talking about the fluke loss to PSU that could have been a win so many times. Now think about how easily we could have lost to Akron, UConn, Northwestern, and Indiana. We have a stunning three "comfortable" wins all season. Our performance is closer to that of a 5-7 team than 7-5.
Oh, and next year we play OSU, MSU, and ND on the road and all three feel like sure losses right now.
|1 year 18 weeks ago||2014 DL||
I think Henry's size gives them some positional flexibility, as we've seen with Black the last two seasons. If Pipkins is healthy, you have two big guys in the middle. If he's not, you play undersized with Henry at the nose and whoever does well of the new guys like Poggi/Strobel. I doubt Mone will be ready as a true freshman at that position. But given Henry's performance this year, maybe Hurst is going to be a vaible rotation player.
|1 year 18 weeks ago||Funk apologist....||
While I agree that the ability of a casual though educated fan to judge OL coaching is nearly impossible and that Funk may be hung out to dry by Borges or Hoke.....I still can't understand why he escapes more scrutiny from you. Here are the facts that concern me:
You say that you want to see Funk perform with returning players.....but who? Mags will have to move outside to tackle and it is entirely possible that Glasgow moves to guard or tackle as well. So you're left with Bosch as the only guy likely to return in his current position.
If Borges is 95% to stay, I think Jackson & Funk are the most likely fall guys this offseason if the next two games play out like Vegas thinks they will - whether fair or unfair.
|1 year 18 weeks ago||The future.....better? Same?||
Perhaps what worries me most about this analysis is the near future. I'm sure the coaches hoped Funchess and Williams would be better at blocking by now, but they aren't. They are both pretty terrible. It seems like the best case scenario for next year is minimal improvement. Butt is the most likely to show significant improvement as he gains size and experience, but he will always be a receiver first. Compounding matters, Delio graduates and for some unknown reason his logical back-up (Norfleet) has yet to see the field. On top of that, we are redshirting an H-back in Khalid Hill that is an unknown commodity but not really an in-line blocking TE. We also have an incoming freshman in Ian Bunting who is a converted and skinny WR coming off an injury plagued (and unproductive) season. We seem light years away from the day when we can be like Stanford and trot out three TE and destroy people even when they know what's coming. Our only hope seems to be that Borges/Hoke realize this and we see a healthy dose of Norfleet/Jones/Canteen in the slot next year along with Funchess/Chesson/Darboh on the outside.
|1 year 18 weeks ago||Philosophy....||
I like what you've tried to summarize here. It would be interesting to know what the YPC and YPA are with Delio on the field versus Williams/Kerrige/etc. I think the data will be skewed for YPP in general since we pass more with him out there and generally suck at running. But do we actually get more yards per carry with him on the field? Now THAT would be interesting to ask of Borges in a press conference.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||Questions for Mattison....||
As expected and warranted, this thread has focused on Borges. Let's throw some legit questions out there for Mattison:
I remain perplexed by the fact that neither our offense or defense seem to make play-call changes based on what they see in front of them nearly as often as our opponents do.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||Questions for Borges....||
As much as I would love to hear Heiko ask some of the pointed, abusive, or negative questions of Borges - it won't happen, and it shouldn't. Heiko gets to ask one legitimate question each week amid all of the inane "talk about _____ " questions from the MSM and we don't want to lose that opportunity.
So here are some more normal questions that would still be informative:
And I loved the idea of trying to come up with an intelligent way to ask about the parallel between Auburn and Michigan without sounding like a dick and getting the press pass revoked. Here's one attempt:
|1 year 19 weeks ago||OSU line.....||
Is there a sports book somewhere that posts a betting line for Michigan Rushing Yards against OSU? If so, that line will be -50 and I'll take the under.
I can't believe I'm more apathetic in Year #3 of Brady Hoke than I have been since Year #2 of RichRod. Even in RR's final season I kept hoping for that big victory late in the year to see if it was worth caring.....
|1 year 19 weeks ago||two post||
I don't understand why the OP and Ace talked about the two post lineup. It is already dead without McGary. They didn't use it for a single minute Friday and I can't remember more than a token appearance tonight.
His injury, assuming he returns healthy soon, may have been a blessing in disguise since it revealed that having Walton, Levert, Stauskas, and GR3 on the floor together is our best lineup.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||Further problems....||
I'd love a more educated take on this, but I think Borges complicates all of the issues above in an additional way - his playbook puts MORE stress on the OL as compared to alternates. Here's what I mean:
Am I wrong? Seth or Space Coyote or Magnus?
I don't know man....while the interior is a mess the poster who said we have Lewan, Schofield, Gardner, Fitz, Funchess, and Gallon yet can't field a functioning offense sure paints a bleak picture. This isn't the 2008 offense that lacked functioning warm bodies to run it. If nothing else, maybe a change just for the sake of change is needed on the staff.
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Stanford....||
The issue is that the offense we stive to be (aka Stanford) doesn't really care if you know what's coming. Did you watch them against Oregon? They lined up with 8+ guys in the box and said "here it comes" and were still able to dominate Oregon. The issue we have is that we know certain plays won't work, yet we continue to use them not just occassionally, but as the focal point of our offense.
|1 year 20 weeks ago||I agree, Space Coyote||
I am far from educated at all things RPS, but I was confused at the paragraph talking about how we didn't have a PA for when Devin is in the shotgun....and then there's a clip of a token (somewhat crappy) PA from the shotgun. It is obvious that our offense lacks an obvious "plan" or "this is what we do well" . I also hate watching MSU exploit most of our plays and play their safeties 8 yards deep like a one-armed Denard is at QB. So clearly there are problems. But when your OL gets destroyed, that has to be the #1 issue (both for coaches and players). At this point the RPS completely confuses me - I know we stink, but the RPS doesn't align with my understanding of the metric.
|1 year 20 weeks ago||The worst part is.....2014 might not be better?||
Honestly what worries me most is that 2014 might not be better. I predicted/expected 9-3 this year and while that is not a certainty, there's a decent chance we finish with that record (even if it includes blowouts to our two biggest rivals).
What worries me more is that next year might not be better. Don't believe me? Here's why:
The O frightens me except at WR. The D should get better, but isn't going to be elite since the DL is stiil going to lack playmakers. Combine those things with the scary road schedule and what do you have?
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Funk can't take credit for Molk||
Sorry Mgoagogo, you can't give Funk credit for Molk since he was a senior upon their arrival. Certainly he didn't hurt Molk's career trajectory, but you can't really use that as an example of success.
If you do, then you have to look at the rest of the guys he inherited too. A common refrain is that we only had 8 scholarship linemen when Hoke arrived. That is totally the fault of RichRod and continues to plague our OL today - I would not disagree with that. However, let's look at what Funk & Co. (nice band name, right?) have done with those 8 guys.
Here was the roster in 2011 upon Hoke's arrival.
So Funk inherited 8 linemen, only one of whom (Lewan) has actually shown significant improvement in the last three years. Perhaps the rest were just not as talented and combined with another coaching change were never able to improve. But it is hard to give Funk/Borges/Hoke credit for any of those guys aside from maybe Lewan.
On top of that, Hoke brought in Miller and Bryant that year and those two guys have only known this coaching staff. Both have been unable to help the team at a glaring position of weakness now in their third year with the program. So in the first 10 linemen they've had, it is hard to use any of them to defend the coaches. That's concerning.
I'm not saying Funk should be fired, especially since the OP pointed out some obvious signs of success that he should get credit with at BSU and SDSU. But I am saying that we have no evidence at Michigan in his favor and we're left to hope we see massive improvement from the last two recruiting classes in order to fix the OL problems.
My prediction is that Funk and Borges are tied to the next four games. If we finish 3-1, they're both fine. If we finish 2-2 or 1-3 with a humiliating defeat to OSU at home then something will have to change. Maybe it is a simple demotion of Funk to co-OL coach like what happened at BSU. Or maybe they clean house. But something would have to change.......right?
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Scary thoughts.....||
I didn't realize how bad the season is next year for road games. We're looking at 2015 before we compete it seems. I say that also because it is clear that our problem on both sides of the ball is in the trenches. While experience and new faces will certainly bring the promise of hope, young players rarely contribute on either line early in their career.
So tell me how to be optimistic next year in the trenches when this is happening:
As for coaching changes, I think we have 4 games to determine whether changes will be made or not. If we finish 3-1 and thus 9-3 then nothing changes. If we go 1-3 and finish 7-5 again? I think SOMETHING would have to change. I don't think Brandon is a patient person and the fan discomfort is going to grow to a point where someone will need to be the fall guy.
But regardless, we're looking at 2015 (with a nice schedule to lower the degree of difficulty) to be the year the OL/DL mature and we hope Shane Morris or someone else is a capable gun slinger.
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Where can we draw confidence from?||
I honestly believe that Michigan is a better team than MSU top to bottom. But I think thanks to veteran experience, consistent coaching, a plan that fits their personnel, and a burning desire to build their season around this one game that I think MSU has the edge.
I struggle with finding a reason to be confident in Michigan in this game. What is our strength? I suppose it is our talented WR corp and maybe if you squint it is our secondary considering the number of interceptions and near interceptions. You used to say that we are a big-play offense with defense that never gives them up, but after PSU & IU I'm not sure we can say either anymore.
What worries me most is that MSU's strengths are designed to attack our weaknesses:
Our best chance seems to be to create some turnovers with our defense and have Gardner drop back on nearly every play, with plenty of scrambles and big passes mixed in. I worry about a game like 2011 where we could have scored a bunch of times but had critical mistakes at critical times.
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Engineering||
This engineering thing seems like an easy "fix" for Michigan. Obviously the only reason Hand likes Alabama's engineering program is because it is easy to get into and easier to balance with football. Kudos to Bama for highlighting that fact. Now Michigan calls him up and says "we know you like engineering and it just so happens that Alabama engineers aren't qualified to clean toilets on our engineering campus.....let us introduce you to some of our esteemed professors and they can talk about the proram. We can help you with tutors too and can talk to you about Omameh or Hugye or even Jordan Morgan - all of whom have pulled off the engineering+athlete combination."
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Observations from that 2001 Iowa video....||
Thank goodness Wolverine Historian got his content back. How else was I going to entertain myself for 10 minutes over lunch today?
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Della Valle||
I'm pretty sure he played last year and is thus not a redshirt freshman but a true sophomore. I'm still thrilled to have Levert and Spike instead of him.
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Behind expectations =/= behind schedule||
I agree with most of the names here but I think there's a difference in expectations and just being on/behind schedule. RJS and Richardson had lower expectations coming into the program and thus it is hard to say when you combine that with the competition at their position whether they're behind schedule or just less likely to ever contribute in a meaningful way.
In my opinion, the two freshmen that have been the most surprisingly below expectations (which says more about our expectations than their future trendline) are Thomas and Braden. Thomas was a major recruit who saw a ton of action in the spring and now can't sniff the field on D and apparently is poor in coverage to the point where several other freshmen are seeing more time than he is. Considering he was expected to start next year, he has to be considered behind expectations.
Braden was also getting a lot of playing time and hype as Brian mentioned and now hasn't even been one of the TEN offensive linemen to get a start this season, which includes two walk-ons, two other redshirt freshmen, and a true freshman. He's also in line to start next year and that is concerning as he hasn't been able to get meaningful playing time.
The other player I had hoped to see more is Deveon Smith. Honestly I am surprised we haven't heard about a "mysterious back injury" ala Devin Gardner considering he hasn't played since very early this season. It makes sense for him to get an injury red-shirt like Gardner did since he's unlikely to play any more this season.
Finally, I think the biggest negative impact of the Akron and UConn games was our inability to give the younger players meaningful snaps. I suspect the coaches would have played Thomas, Smith, Gedeon, and a host of WR/DB players a lot had those games been the blowouts they were intended to be. Even Shane Morris could have used significant playing time in those games.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||DB Scoring confusion?||
I'm confused about your DB scoring a little, which centers around Stribling phasing out I guess. Each of four DBs gave up a big completion and here's how they were scored:
It seems that the -4 is pretty harsh compared to the others, despite result-based charting.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||Nice luxury to have....||
Isn't it wonderful that our basketball team has reached the point where we are arguing whether our starting forward (6'6" NBA legacy, records for jumping, projected lottery pick, etc.) is the best player on the team or just a valuable role player? My guess is that GR3 is going to improve quite a bit this year but won't be the dominant scorer the NBA thinks he can become.
|1 year 23 weeks ago||Let's hope the coaches realize this....||
Excellent point by "evenyoubrutus". Whatever full-time assistant coach is assigned to scout Michigan 365 days per year will have now seen their D get gashed by PSU and IU. When Dantonio is running trick plays to score on offense against Purdue and other lowly B10 teams you can only imagine what he'll pull out of the closet for us. Tempo is definitely on the agenda with how frequent Michigan subs and how they still like to flip their DL.
|1 year 23 weeks ago||Legend's Jerseys||
My buddy and I were talking about how this game is the perfect one to illustrate the glaring flaw in the legend jersey program. The Big Ten's record holder for single game receiving will never have his number noted for anything. UM's single game passing record is now held by someone without a number you'd recognize off the top of your head since he's had so many. I realize that a single great performance against woeful Indiana doesn't make you a legend, but at the end of their careers we will look back on Gallon and Gardner as people.....who borrowed someone else's shirt? I was fine with the concept of the #1 jersey. Now that we hand out legend jerseys like sale flyers I think it has lost its meaning. The best proposal I have is to trot them out for homecoming - not seasons or careers.
|1 year 23 weeks ago||Thomas||
My biggest fear with that list is SS. Thomas is like 3rd string right now.
The same could be said of RT since Braden hasn't played yet even though a whopping NINE other guys have played.
|1 year 23 weeks ago||I'm serious...||
The more I think about it, since they never pass to Williams, why not give Magnuson or Braden a number in the 80's and have them take his job? They can run one pass play for that converted OL against Indiana to keep the defense honest and actually have a guy out there who can block.
Someone tell me why this is a bad idea?
|1 year 23 weeks ago||Breaking down the OL Blame||
So I kept seeing Kalis' name up there and felt sad for how poorly he has played compared to expectations. I thought I would break down OL portion a little more by player. I also then separated their negatives into two categories:
I went through Brian's text and assigned a point for each time someone's name was brought up and then put it in one of the two categories above. the format of the list below is as follows:
Name - (# of S/S), (# of S-U)
And now on with the list:
Kalis did awful, but it was almost always because he couldn't move guys, not that he couldn't determine which one to move. It is annoying for this to be the case, but we can blame that on youth (or pine for Mike Barwis to return).
What stood out to me is that the TE/FB group was so alarmingly horrific. WOW. I get that they're young, but if anything illustrates the failure of coaching it is this metric. These guys are being asked to do too much and clearly aren't capable of doing it. Get them off the field. I would rather that they give Magnuson a TE jersey number than trot these guys out there in a blocking role.
|1 year 23 weeks ago||Logic....is there any?||
From plays 15-20 we had three successful runs (at least one of which was against an 8-man front) and two other plays that were 0% on the playcall. Is this what Borges looks at when he continues to call these same runs? Does he see some positive yards on some plays and pure screw-ups by the OL and then thinks he can continue calling the plays? To me, the most frustrating part is the lack of counter at the LOS. It would seem that an OCs goal is to force the defense to react to what you're doing - which we have successfully done. They are stacking the box and playing a strange 5-2 D that's full of DTs. Now you've gotten them to overplay their hand......EXPLOIT IT! Maybe that's with long handoffs, maybe it is with misdirection, maybe it is a reverse or double-pass - I don't know......but you have now gotten your opponent to react in an extreme way.....so kill them for it! The fact that Borges isn't doing that or worse, he isn't allowing Gardner to do it at the line is what infuriates me the most.
|1 year 26 weeks ago||Recruiting impact of FF||
I too am disappointed by the outcome. I know that recruiting starts early, but we've been pursuing some of these kids for a long time and then topped it off with the title game appearance? And yet we have to start developing relationships with new guys when the Plan A guys aren't working out? I like some of the names on this list and I actually prefer a world where we sign a 3+ year player that our coaches like instead of a 1-and-done class, but still......hard not to have hoped for some sort of new since the title game. Literally nothing has happened in recruiting since Burke became a star and Michigan was cool again. Not in the 2014 class or the 2015 class.
|1 year 27 weeks ago||Chart? Chart....||
I think what this post needs, even though it is already excellent, is a chart. It would be good to know how many snaps each guy saw, how many blockers were kept in each play, how many rushers Michigan sent, etc. You cite one bad Pipkins play but I thought he had some good ones in limited time. I'm curious how Henry did or how Washington did when he was in there.
|1 year 28 weeks ago||Remember when....||
Wasn't it just a couple years ago when we were applauding Texas because they were hiring the best coordinators and setting up an actual coching tree? They had Muschamp, Diaz, etc. and looked to be on their way to a nice future after Mack Brown. Now Diaz has flamed out, Muschamp stopped waiting for Brown to retire, and the program is Michigan-2007.
|1 year 33 weeks ago||Demens||
I know he wasn't a skull crusher at Michigan, but I've always liked Demens and thought he was a reliable MLB. Those highlights of his tackles were pretty impressive and give me hope that he could find a roster spot. Then again, unlike the offensive players you can't judge a defender only by the plays he makes. Who else is in camp that we haven't seen yet?
|1 year 34 weeks ago||Talent vs. Development||
Interesting comments French West Indian. I agree with you. Someone like Avant couldn't rely on his physical talents to dominate - he had to work on his routes, hands, footwork, etc. Meanwhile Terrell could dominate with his physical gifts and never really had to work at the little things - only to find out that his gifts wouldn't set him apart in the NFL.
|1 year 34 weeks ago||Getting ahead of ourselves....||
I tried to make the comment in the OP that this is insanely early to celebrate the potential of high school kids, but since it is a boring summer day without much to discuss I threw it out there anyway. The intent was to focus more on the duos of the past than the future.
Frankly, I hope we can add Darboh-Chesson to that list before Campbell steps on the field. And what is more impressive than just the Harris-Campbell situation is the depth that we're bringing in at so many positions. Even if someone doesn't pan out there are 4-star recruits waiting in the wings to take their place. That was a weakness in even Carr's later years - lack of quality depth.
Getting back to the past duos, here's what I find interesting - some of the lesser known players on that list ended up having the best NFL careers:
Compare that to the relative disappointment of Terrell, Braylon, McMurtry, and Howard.
|1 year 35 weeks ago||Excellent roster addition||
Guys like him are excellent to have on the roster. He's a good kid who could play a number of positions pretty well and allows you both flexibility and insurance in the future. It is possible that he gets lost in the shuffle during his career, but even if that's the case I'm not worried. At worst this guy has the makings of a special teams demon who can block kicks, break up returns, and be used on fakes. Darnell Hood came to Michigan as a solid RB recruit who never found a home and yet he ended his career as a very solid special teams player that was always in the mix.
|1 year 37 weeks ago||Amazing!||
I turned on the last 20 minutes.....and it was glorious!!!!
|1 year 38 weeks ago||Juwan?||
I don't like the idea if losing Jordan, but it would be nice to have a coaching tree....something that we have surprisingly been missing in both basketball and football.
I agree that Rose is not an option, but Juwan Howard might be. He has expressed an interest in coaching and probably wouldn't miss his role of warming folding chairs or waving towels.
|1 year 39 weeks ago||He doesn't have to be Paul to be successful||
So I love the piece from Ace and many of the comments. And while I agree that Burke likely lacks some of Paul's elite traits, I think he's closer to him than he is to Jameer Nelson. More importantly, even if he isn't Chris Paul he can still be successful. Here are my points:
There's a great tool at statsheet where you can compare players and if you pull up Burke versus just about anyone he compares very well. http://statsheet.com/mcb/players/compare
Everyone is worried about Burke's height. Yet here are some starting PGs in the league:
So half of the league's starting point guards are Burke's size and people are worried about it? Even if he isn't Paul or Parker, you're telling me the national player of the year couldn't be better than Mike Conley? Ty Lawson? Brandon Jennings?
As Bill Simmons says in the piece, Burke is the safest bet in this draft. He may not be a regular all-star, but he'll be a solid PG in the league for 10 years.
|1 year 40 weeks ago||What's the end-game?||
So it is obviou that something is broken with the system when the TV deals, bowl game payouts, new facilities, and coaching salaries are considered. That even neglects the money changing hands with merchandise and other forms of player 'exploitation'. But what's the end game for this? I'm not familiar with what O'Bannon is hoping to achieve here.
Given how dire the situation looks for the NCAA, you almost wonder if they should start working on some proposals to settle this. Here are some ideas that I like:
In the end the money may end up being modest relatively speaking, but these guys would head out into the world with some amount of money waiting for them based on the time and effort they put in during college. Any sport that generates revenue can participate in this program.
Another potential solution would be to adopt an NHL style draft policy in other sports. Let kids get drafted and possibly even receive a stipend (fixed rate) from the team that drafted them while they retain their eligibility. In other words, turn college sports into a really kick ass minor league system....which it sort of already is.
|1 year 40 weeks ago||Pro & Con||
I have two thoughts on this topic, one positive and the other negative.
First, the positive.....
Now the negative....
The good news is that we still have a foundation with guys like Spike, LeVert, Donnall, etc. that should fit in well. But unlike football I won't be upset if Beilein chooses to sign a couple of 3-4 star players now and then rather than holding his breath for only 5-star guys.
|1 year 40 weeks ago||Post idea...||
Here's an idea for a post on the blog that maybe one of the panel would like to tackle.... Has any other school ever had the combined recruiting success on both basketball and football that Michigan is enjoying right now? Maybe OSU or Florida?
|1 year 41 weeks ago||Can someone explain Stanford's dominance?||
I've never bothered to investigate this myself, so I'll ask the board - can someone explain Stanford's total dominance in this? Is it just that they are so very good at the non-revenue sports? Do they offer significantly more sports? (I can't imagine that they do.)
|1 year 41 weeks ago||Took my names!||
I was going to suggest Goodwin or Denson too!!! Goodwin has had a fantastic NFL career so that might be a stretch. But Denson was a pretty highly rated guy that took a while to get going at Michigan and then was a fringe NFL prospect who stuck around for 3 years. He's now a minister: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damon_Denson
|1 year 41 weeks ago||Well said Seth....||
I agree with a lot of the things said here. The only reason you should be worried about the depth next season is if you thought Gant would/could contribute to the 2-deep. If you thought he'd be a practice stud and special teams contributor then nothing changes. I'm not worried about it. Dymonte will move to safety with Wilson and Peppers will start at nickel. Clark will be the swing safety back-up.
|1 year 41 weeks ago||True....||
Thanks again Ty for "intentionally" dropping that pass against Virginia so Mercury Hayes had time to make the winning reception in the endzone. That was awesome.....did you get in on any other plays? I don't remember.
I did always wonder, even before the practice of celebrating jersey numbers started, how Butterfield got the #1 jersey after AC, McMurtry, and Alexander all had it previously. I guess it was before Terrell and Braylon, but still.
|1 year 41 weeks ago||Other topic idea.....||
Here is the question I would ask the panel for a future post:
What position on each side of the ball will determine the success of that unit this season?
For example, here's my answer on defense:
|1 year 41 weeks ago||WR Thoughts....||
I am cautiously optimistic that we're going to see an exciting year from Gallon and Gardner. But at the same time I'm trying to keep that optimism in check given that Hoke really wants to run the ball, our OL is still unproven in the middle, and beyond Gallon we don't have any proven WR.
I had two thoughts on this post: First, I think more time should have been spent talking about Funchess (and the other TE). I think that the end result of the #2 WR will be determined by how involved the TE are in the passing game. It could be that those missing yards end up with Funchess & Butt just as much as the #2 WR.....and that could be a good thing.
Secondly, as much as I'd like to see Gallon challenge some WR records and wear the #1 jersey, it would be a very good thing for the offense if Darboh or Chesson stepped up into a solid role and offered Gardner more options. I worry a little about Gardner staring down Gallon on every play if he loses faith in the other guys.
Finally - it would be nice for Gallon to get the #1 and then we can erase the memory of the other short guy to wear that jersey (Tyrone Butterfield).
|1 year 42 weeks ago||Burke v MCW||
Don't forget that most NBA offenses rely heavily on the pick and roll, which Burke perfected this season and can punish with his jump shot. Teams will just sag off MCW.
Also, does it matter that MCW has never played man to man defense?
I would like to hear an NBA expert tell me why MCW is not just Darius Morris. I love Morris, but he can't crack the rotation of a team starved for a PG and that wants to push tempo.
|1 year 42 weeks ago||The open questions.....||
I think the competition on the B1G or lack-there-of will allow us to be highly competitive for championships in the years when schedule, injuries, and luck align. There are two major questions in my mind that will determine exactly what the Hoke era becomes over the next several years:
For future topics, perhaps we can speculate on some of the biggest questions facing the team next year. I also like asking the question, "If you were Hoke, what three changes would you make for 2013?" You can also ask that with Brandon's job instead of Hoke's.
As a topic for "Hoke Points" I'd like to see the best all-time ranked recruits at Michigan for each position. What would a team of those recruits look like? Boom, bust, excitement, etc. Maybe doing the same thing for the entire B1G would be interesting.
|1 year 42 weeks ago||Mandatory MGoQuestions....||
Aren't there some boiler-plate MGoQuestions that you're required to ask as a member of this boad?
In all seriousness, here's a potential question for you:
|1 year 45 weeks ago||Intro needed....||
I love the feature and glad to have it here, especially during the slower summer months for football. I like similar stuff over at UMHoops and it is nice to have the cross-over here. However, since basketball recruiting is a lot different than football I think you need to add an intro to this feature.
I would like to see you walk people through the depth-chart by class (noting possible chaos due to early departures) and then summarize the expected needs for each class by position - much like you'll do for football.
I think it helps to explain the recruiting in basketball a lot better if you are clear about the position the players are expected to play at the college level and how the roster is expected to fill out in the coming years.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Lewan||
So based on how last night played out, where would have Lewan gone? I'm horribly biased and not well educated on some of the guys, but as good as Fisher is I would have to think that Lewan matches him skill for skill and played a much more difficult schedule during his career.
Would Lewan have gone #1? It seems like he would have been top 7 for sure. The Lions probably draft an OT instead of yet another DE (and one who started 9 games for a mediocre BYU team his entire career).
|1 year 48 weeks ago||The answer is in your post - high usage||
GR3 was a low-usage player this year, which means we can be excited about his potential but nervous about how he's going to create his own shots. Stauskas has shown he can 'be more than a shooter' already and will be called on to be the second ball-handler. I think you're going to see them run more plays for Stauskas to help replace Burke than you're going to see them run plays for GR3.
I think we HOPE that GR3 is the most dynamic and important player, but Stauskas is the known fit into the plans next year.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Roster make-up||
I agree with some of the comments that we have 5 true post players that could find more time in a 2-big line-up.
However, Beilein has always been about finding ways to get the best 5 guys on the floor at the same time. Hence why GR3 or Novak play the 4 while guys like Bielfeldt or Smotrycz get reduced minutes. So the question you need to ask is who the best guys on the roster are.
Off the top of my head, if I had to rank the 11 guys in terms of impact/importance/talent it would be something like this:
In a 2-post lineup you're stealing the most minutes from the 4, 5, 7, 8 guys in favor of the 6, 9, 10, 11 guys. While I think you'll see more of it, I would tell McGary that he can do all that he needs/wants to do at the 5 position without having a 2-big lineup.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Responses||
I think you're far more likely to see GR3 play more at the 3 than you are to see McGary at the 4. I can see a scenario where Irvin comes in for the Beilein development plan for athletic tall guys who can shoot and plays more of the 4. In that role he'll be more of a spot up shooter, low usage player, and guy who gets open on cuts to the basket. They can then have GR3 start creating more of his offense and move around more like THJ now that he's more familiar with the offense. I think the 4 spot in a Beilein offense is easier to learn early.
But moving McGary to the 4 spot totally changes the way Beilein's offense work and creates some poor match-ups against most of college basketball teams that only have one true big guy on the floor. I think you'll see it from time to time and more often than this year, but it still seems like an inefficient offense and defense. Besides, in today's NBA I think McGary can play a fair amount of center anyway.
What I would like to see Michigan improve on defense more than running a press and while lacking a true defensive stopper is having a zone defense that they can deploy more confidently. I think being able to switch to a zone for 10-15 minutes per game to confuse an opponent, hide someone with foul trouble, or utilize skill sets different is something that was missing this past year. I also think it fits better with the roster that lacks a lock-down guy or the parts to run an effective press.
|1 year 49 weeks ago||Excellent work||
What I love about this article is that he uses statistics to back up his defense of Burke. But it does so much more than that as well. It also shows why guys like GR3 and McGary should stay in school and shows why GM's are so foolish with their picks sometimes.
What would have been a great addition to his column (if possible) would be to point out how the short guys who didn't get drafted as high were passed over for tall guys that failed. Look at some of the athletic tall guys with potential that didn't turn into stars.
At the PG position this year Michael Carter-Williams versus Burke will be an interesting test case. Will a GM fall in love with the long skinny arms and 6'6" frame of MCW even though he has never played man-to-man defense and can't shoot? Maybe he'll learn those things and do great, becoming a mismatch for other PGs. Burke's "potential" may be more limited because he's probably closer to his ceiling both in height and performance.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||corner backs||
I think there is a 0% chance that we redshirt all of the freshmen corners. Our starters (Countess, Taylor, Avery) are solid, but it is a steep slope beyond them. It didn't sound like Richardson or Holowell did anything today so I think they'll pick the best of the freshmen and work them into the rotation.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Thoughts....||
This is a great post and I love the final summary of minutes played. Here are my thoughts:
Final thought - Burke's loss (and Hardaway too) will be enormous. But we went to the title game with three freshmen starting and six of our ten regular players being freshmen. I'd like to think that we can take three new freshmen (two if Donnal redshirts) who are highly ranked and fit them into the team without a huge dropoff.
OSU will probably be the league favorite along with whoever loses fewer players between MSU and MIchigan. I like our chances - especially with such a great coach. We have size, experience now (despite their young age) and depth. Oh, and NBA quality talent. Go Blue.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Decoder ring....||
Can you put together a simple decoder ring for all of the leagues associated with hockey to help those of us who are interested but uneducated understand what it means? NTDP, NAHL, OHL, USHL, AHL, NHL.....the list goes on. Maybe something simple in the useful stuff that you can link to in hockey posts that compares the leagues.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Greyshirt vs. Preferred Walk-on||
I don't understand why he can't practice with the team. Is that to maintain eligibility? Why not call him a preferred walk-on so he can work out with the team and red-shirt, thus making him a red-shirt freshmen in 2014-2015?
The only reason I can think of is that the greyshirt gives him one extra year of eligibility, but as a non-scholarship player anyway there's no guarantee of a 5th year being awared....let alone what would amount to his sixth year in school.
I see no incentive in this plan - just make him a walk-on, get him started in the program, and don't worry about a possible contribution in his sixth year.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||My list.....||
Your list is pretty similar to mine. The type of screw up that really pisses me off is the blatant mistake. You can't get too upset about a charge/block because that's an impossible coin flip. But not assigning a foul to the correct player? A missed kick ball that millions of people saw live? Burke's block when there are only two players involved and everyone is staring at them?
The ones that bugged me the most, in order, were as follows:
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Biting tongue.....||
I have been trying really hard since Monday night to ignore the role inept officiating played in the game. Basketball, especially at a high level, is impossible to officiate. I also thought that the flow of the game was great and thus the officials didn't have a strong impact in how the game was played. So when I see threads like this I try to bite my tongue.
But I feel the need to comment on this, so I'll preface it by saying that Louisville made more plays and did a great job in the second half of attacking our defense and rebounding. We had ample opportunity to make a play or grab a rebound that would have had a more significant impact than any one call.
Now, here are my thoughts:
Chances are that the officials were just bad at their job that night and not favoring one team over the other. I don't think there was a conspiracy or bias more than other game. MIchigan would have benefitted from a more correctly officiated game obviously, but what can you do? We still didn't make enough plays to win.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||My full roster....||
For that last spot there are countless good candidates. Impossible to pick:
|1 year 51 weeks ago||Actually.....||
Michigan remained at #4, they didn't move up to #4. As stated in a previous post, they were #4 at the last update and remained there this week.
But the next update would be the one that includes both Basketball teams and the Mens Swimming National Title. That is where we'd see our biggest jump and challenge Stanford.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||Expected||
I thought this was the expected outcome from day one anyway, so it doesn't bother me much. Hardaway has nothing left to gain staying another year and Burke nearly left last year before he was the consensus best player in the country. About the only thing that would have changed my opinion would have been if they didn't fulfill the team goals. With the Final Four now the incentive to stay is minimal at best.
The only question for me has been GR3. For any of us that watched him closely we know how far he has to grow as a player and what his limitations are, despite how good he has been. I can't figure out why he projects so high on draft boards and want to see him stay. But when you DO project that high, two of your teammates are leaving, and you will go out having played in the final four I can see the motivation. Let's hope he stays.
As sad as I will be to see Hardaway and Burke leave, I'm really excited for Irvin and Walton - both of whom are ranked far higher as high school kids and seem perfect fits for the system.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||More please!||
The more journalists who keep digging, the better. I obviously want the cheaters brought to justice, but for those who want the entire NCAA amateur status reevaluated this helps too.
|2 years 5 hours ago||No - save it for the following year||
THis season we have a 9 man rotation, with Max Bielfeldt as the 10th guy who plays now and then in an emergency (a nice luxury). We lose the 11th and 12th guys on the bench who never play. Let's assume we lose two players to the NBA from our rotation. We already have three top-100 recruits coming in to fill rotation roles. Frankly, I'm not even sure how Donnal gets into the rotation next year despite being a good fit at the PF spot.
I think another recruit next season, especially one still available at this point in the process, would be a bench warmer. I would rather save the scholarship for the following year and target some high-profile recruits.
We have plenty of talent next season with Walton (PG), Irvin (SG/SF), and Donnal (PF/C) coming in even with some early departures.
|2 years 4 days ago||Some thoughts....||
I'm taking a slightly different perspective on the Morgan situation. While I do think he's been benched because of his recent issues (be they mental, physical, or both) I think not playing against VCU allowed the coaches to play the injury card and give him time off.
I also disagree that he won't play much against Kansas, not because I disagree with Brian's take - but because of their PF. They basically have two post guys on the floor and I don't think GR3 is going to be able to exploit his match-up like he did in the first two games. I think Michigan is going to need to play more post players to handle both of the Kansas bigs, so you'll probably see Morgan and maybe even Bielfeldt get some minutes.
As for the NBA draft, which I hate for the insane amount of emphasis on "potential" and that they haven't adopted the NHL or MLB policy yet, here are my probabilities:
It is at this point that I'm thrilled we have the best player in Michigan and Indiana headed our way and that they play the positions of the guys we might lose early.
|2 years 4 days ago||What's wrong with the NBA....||
When I see lists like this I can't figure out why the NBA isn't beating down the NCAA door begging to adopt with the NHL or MLB draft policy instead of this stupid 1-and-done rule.
Let's see, the first pick is a guy who can block shots and dunk and......and.....uh....is coming off major knee surgery.
And the 16th pick is a guy who disappeared for over a month during the middle of the conference season, going weeks without hitting a jump shot, looked lost on defense, and struggled to defend moderately athletic PF's in the Big Ten?
I love GR3 and I think he'll end up being a solid pro some day, but the fact that NBA teams are so interested in what they THINK a guy can be that they would hurry to draft them this high is mind boggling.
Now imagine a scenario where GR3 had already been drafted by a team but was free to stay in college another year or two while he honed his game until his NBA team had a place for them on their bench.
For the record, I think Burke and Hardaway are leaving but McGary (obviously) and GR3 are staying. GR3 probably leaves next year and then both Stauskas and McGary the year after. I also love that our rotation includes a bunch of guys who will be here for their entire careers like LeVert, Spike, Morgan, Horford, Bielfeldt, etc.
|2 years 2 weeks ago||Bench.....||
I think the coaches absolutely would bench a shooter for a defensive player who rebounds.....but we don't have them. In this post you saw Robinson and Stauskas make major mistakes and Hardaway make a few himself. Those are your three wing players. Who do you replace them with?
On the bench you have two tiny freshmen (Spike & Caris), a senior who never plays and isn't known for either defense or rebounding (Vogrich), and a big freshman who isn't athletic enough to play the wing (Max).
They are really missing an athletic PF who can come off the bench for D and rebounding. As much as I like Max Bielfeldt, I sort of wish they would have signed Larry Nance Jr. for that role. He'd be a 6'7" athlete who could play some D and rebound. By playing him at the 4 off the bench you could rotate your wings more and give GR3 some minutes at the SF spot where he might have an advantage physically.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Michigan Pro-Day||
I was pretty disappointed that only Denard got invited to the combine. Here are some thoughts on our other seniors:
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Player Buzz||
I like hearing this sort of thing from actual players. But even still, you have to run their words through a translator to figure out how much to believe:
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Look at schedule....||
A large part of Michigan's road record is schedule. We didnt get to play Iowa or Nebraska on the road. Still.....a half court shot away from a title lead and big road win.....grr.....
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Height||
Is it really possible that Miller is 6'4"? I thought the biggest knock on him was that he was Molk-like in his size. I thought he was 6'2" or something similar. If he's really 6'4" adn 288 then I'm even more perplexed as to why he couldn't challenge Mealer/Barnum last year.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Depth, not performance....||
As we know from being burned in the past by things like "Cam Gordon is an awesome safety" there is only so much you can learn. I don't expect to see the OL maul people or our DL get tons of sacks. In fact, if you do see too much success in one area then something might be wrong on the other side of the ball or one of the coaches may be calling a simple play book.
So rather than look for performance metrics, I'm looking to hear that some players are pushing to get in the rotation at several key positions. With that in mind, I want to see the following:
I would like to see Gardner have a good spring and find out if Bellamy is still a viable back-up or not.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Some responses.....||
Here are some responses to other comments:
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Over-reacting||
It was great to see LeVert contribute yesterday and I think he earned some extra minutes as a defensive spark off the bench. But perspective is required here - we didn't even score 60 points and it took some lucky breaks and heroic play from Burke to win this one.
I also don't think you mess with the starting lineup at this point in the season with a team laden with freshmen who are probably physically and menally spent. (Though the injury may force a lineup change).
What I think you should see is a quicker hook from people who are struggling. LeVert's play and Morgan's health and play in a two-post lineup suggest that Stauskas and GR3 should be on a short leash. And maybe you keep their minutes about the same but you pull them and have a talk on the bench sooner if they struggle on either end of the court.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||Substitution strategy||
I agree that neither Spike, Max, or Caris can play extended minutes. We're not going to win by giving them a ton of GR3 or Stauskas minutes. But what about these thoughts:
As for the commenter Bluefantn who blamed Beilein for not recruiting B10 players......really? REALLY? Wow. I guess top-ten recruiting classes with NBA players isn't the right strategy. We should recruit slow, unathletic bruisers I guess. I'm not sure what a B10 player is, but I'd rather have exciting players that are fun to watch and will grow under good coaching.
With that being said, I would concede that for some reason our team seems to get pushed around a lot and gets no help from the refs. Part of that is youth and style of play. But I do wonder if we need to knock someone on their butt now and then or if Beilein needs to take a T or get harder on the refs. I feel like Izzo, Ryan, Creen, and Matta go absolutely nuts on the refs and get a lot more calls. Maybe that's correlation and not causation.....
|2 years 4 weeks ago||Vogrich is not the answer||
I had hoped that Vogrich would add value this year since he had small contributions in the past, but he's been awful in his limited minutes this year, not even hitting 3s consistently. He's not the answer.
I also think the coaches need to be careful to avoid desperation moves like totally shaking up the starting lineup and risking losing the focus of one of these freshmen even more than they already have.
The things you might see are as follows:
If you think about it, 6 of our 10 rotation players are freshmen. So even with changes to the rotation you're still dealing with kids who are probably fatigued both physically and mentally. They are also more easily rattled when things go poorly.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||Stauskas not fouling||
Of all the problems I have with our defense and rebounding lately, Stauskas not fouling on a breakway isn't one of them. I HATE that play in basketball because I think when you're in a 1-on-1 fast break here are the typical outcomes:
Just give some token pressure if you can't get in front of him or have help coming.
Also, I think I'd coach my players in the Big Ten to try and avoid being in the charge/block situation on defense in any road game. The Big Ten refs give that 50-50 call to the home team about 95% of the time, not worth the risk.
I like the idea of switching to a zone for a few possessions to confuse PSU, but I think what we've realized is that our young players aren't good mentally on defense so asking them to play in a zone probably isn't going to help much at all. I do wonder about coaching the second unit (Horford-LaVertt-Spike-Bielfeldt) to specialize in zone defense and whether that could help. Let your bench guys focus on it more in practice and when you need it you can bring them in.
In the end, Stauskas has cooled off from three, GR3 is afraid to take them, and Hardaway is in a cold patch. The poster who said the outcome represented a 21-point swing in 3pt numbers from our team averages has a point.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||Burke = Not quick?||
Alex - I don't follow the NBA well enough to debate this point, but I found your comment interesting. Do you really think Paul and Lawson are that much quicker than Burke? Are there any other 6-foot PG's we could compare him to in the NBA?
|2 years 4 weeks ago||Prospect status....||
Earlier today I posted a question on one of the latest stories on UMHoops about Burke. My question was what people thought of his NBA potential given his awesome season. It seems that he's climbed some draft boards but remains a mid-round prospect based on his height.
I found a website that lets you compare college players so I put in Burke and compared him to Paul, Westbrook, Lawson, and Rose. Paul and Lawson are both very good comparisons both physically and statistically. Based on their NBA careers you'd think Burke has a good chance to be a starter, or at least major contributor.
One depressing part of the comparison is FT-attempts. The other players blow Burke out of the water in that stat (shakes fist at B10 refs).