that is nice bonus change
|16 weeks 5 days ago||Great news on D.C. and the tourney||
It's a shrewd move to hold the Big Ten tournament in D.C. one year, and not just because I live here, though that will get me buying tickets for sure. In terms of expanding the Big Ten footprint, the Mid-Atlantic area is far more up for grabs than the Midwest. It's a huge population base and it's important to not hold the tournament in the same city every year, especially if that city is Indianapolis.
My sister lives in Howell, Mich., and I have driven there from D.C. several times. It takes about nine hours. For a road trip, not a big deal at all. I would think it's smart to give different live audiences a chance to go to the tournament.
D.C. has been largely an ACC region. Holding the Big Ten tourney here helps change that. I'm all for it. Will the ACC be happy the Big Ten is doing this? No it won't, and neither will the SEC, which sees this region as part of the South and there to be claimed. So all the more reason to do it.
|1 year 29 weeks ago||Like the media it is, this blog blew it||
This false "catfishing" claim only came out in the skewed form in which it was presented because it's the last weekend of recruiting and it was a chance to plant a negative story about Michigan. And this blog blew it too, because of its noted bias against Dave Brandon, who is an excellent AD and has really helped turn around a sagging program.
|1 year 38 weeks ago||Ah Pelinka||
And then the game would start. He might make a fee shots, miss the clutch ones, and usually be a non-factor. Mr. Practice Player.
|1 year 38 weeks ago||Garde Thompson||
Could really play.
|1 year 39 weeks ago||Hire Loeffler||
Scot Loeffler fired along with rest of Auburn staff today. We should move on him before Meyer does. He was on Meyer's staff at Florida and well-regarded. Caught up in Chizik's mess but an excellent coach.
|1 year 40 weeks ago||Congratulations to Jim Delany and the Big 10||
It's not like the commissioner is hiding his strategy. This is what you do once war is declared, and the Big 10's view is the first shot came when Notre Dame aligned itself with the ACC. Even if you don't share Delany's vision, at least ackowledge the man seems to know when his conference is in someone's crosshairs.
We all long for the sports lineups we are used to, but it is not like doing nothing is the smartest option, lest you prefer the Big 10 be in the ACC's shoes. It's business, it's life.
Too many people are reacting based on the quality of the football programs at Maryland and Rutgers now, but money solves a lot of those problems. Remember, even venerable LSU sucked for years until Nick Saban showed up.
The Big 10 is a mediocre football conference right now. And this is how we see the ways in which being the big player in huge TV markets offers a lot of protection -- even if our teams are down, the viewership is still there. The alumni are all over the Midwest and Northeast. That's our insurance.
It is hard to argue with locking up the New York/New Jersey and Baltimore/D.C. markets in this current war, in which some conference or conferences are going away.
If I could wave a magic wand right now, I'd try right now to recruit two of these three -- UVA, UNC and Duke -- and lock up the most progressive states in the South. They have to be thinking about their futures -- and Notre Dame may be doing the same. The Irish are about to start thinking they made a big mistake, and that's because they did make a big mistake.
In my view, as it is the Big 10 has put the ACC in a very precarious position, with so many of the nation's largest TV markets now in the Big 10 footprint. The Big 10 is an attractive place to be, today and even more so tomorrow.
Yes, it puts a lot of teams in the conference, and that makes it hard to win the conference title. We'll see schools celebrating division titles, a la the Major Leagues, but we have to be realistic as we react to what is happening. It's happening to us or by us.
|1 year 41 weeks ago||Quarterback out of nowhere?||
I think it's a stretch to call a top recruit like Devin Gardner a quarterback out of nowhere. He has shown indications when he's had a chance to play that he could be an excellent quarterback. I thought he settled down nicely against Illinois last year and I was at the MSU game in the ridiculous windstorm. That was a tough situation but even in that game he showed flashes. I would not expect him to play perfectly in those games coming in off the bench, and he didn't, but it was also clear he had ability.
He's always thrown a nice ball and it seemed his accuracy improved the more the game went on, but he just has not previously had much chance to play.
What I continue to wonder is what the coaches saw in practice that convinced them we'd be OK at quarterback without Gardner as Denard's backup. I really think it was less about QB and more about just trying to get a great athlete like Gardner on the field, and to make that happen they talked themselves into believing that Bellomy was ready to be the backup. (He wasn't, but that also does not mean Bellomy has topped out as redshirt freshman. He'll get better.)
But I really think even if Gardner had not moved back this season, he still would have won the job as starting quarterback next year. I just never have thought Hoke would be eager to play Morris as a true freshman over a senior, but that's particularly true when the senior has a world of talent, as Gardner does.
|1 year 41 weeks ago||They couldn't get Rosenberg and Snyder?||
I guess they wanted someone who knows what he's talking about instead.
|1 year 41 weeks ago||The Free Press proved the value of an investigation||
They ran a series riddled with errors and ignored requests that the paper run corrections. Even the report the NCAA produced noted the newspaper was in error.
Drew Sharp hates the state of Michigan and everything about it.
I would ask, why hasn't Drew Sharp or any of the others written about the rampant oversigning and fraudulent medical exemptions handed out by the SEC over the past 10 years? Or ripped the SEC coaches for voting unanimously against ending oversigning, while the university presidents in the league voted unanimously to stop it? Why has he not written that Urban Meyer's departure from Florida came soon after the university hired a new president who said he did not like oversigning and would no longer allow it?
No, instead we see him constantly rip the Big Ten even as he praises the number of consecutive years the SEC has won BCS titles, with no discussion that the run by the league started with Nick Saban's arrival at LSU, where he commenced to blow open loopholes in NCAA rules, to the point that even the most shameless conference in the history of college athletics finally had to do something about it.
I'd rather have a journalist who investigates legitimate stories worthy of investigations than to criticize the Detroit News for not making the same mistake the Freep did -- launch a U-M investigation without really even understanding the concept of countable hours, spend reams of time and ink on a series of stories that essentially detailed nothing more than a paperwork violation by the coaching staff, and then not have the decency to correct the errors in their report.
|1 year 42 weeks ago||You're not wrong||
And they always include a number of hypotheticals that leap ahead because the kid missed one game. I would imagine the coaches would like him to play quarterback in his final four (maybe five) games at Michigan.
But hypothethically, we could ponder this again tomorrow, when we'll have 24 more hours to not have any idea where Denard's elbow stands.
|1 year 42 weeks ago||Leagues also drawing a hard line||
It doesn't look like the leagues or the NCAA care what the voters decided. It's still banned.
But this makes sense. There's no way the sports leagues would ever lead this charge. If the U.S. culture changes over time, they'll follow a long. But this is a long way from that.
|1 year 42 weeks ago||Totally agree with this||
People who want to use it already are using it. And judging by the vote totals, a lot of people are using it!
|1 year 42 weeks ago||Law will not change sports leagues' policies||
This law will have no impact on professional athletes, who have agreed in their collective bargaining agreements that marijuana is a banned substance and they can be suspended for it if they test positive. They have a signed contract with their employers that specifically bans marijuana and the law won't change that.
Same thing for college athletes, Olympic athletes, etc. -- the rules governing them prohibit the use of marijuana.
It does not matter whether the athletes are on the job or not. They cannot use it.
The DEA today said the law changes nothing in their view: It remains against federal law to possess, use or cultivate pot.
What we can expect in Colorado and Washington in the short term is.... nothing, at least until more of this is sorted out. What is most likely to happen is those state governments will be talking to the feds about how the feds will react as the implementation of this law proceeds. One could imagine the governor of Colorado letting someone try to open up a retail marijuana outlet, even though he knows the feds will come right in and shut it down. Turning enforcement over to the feds protects him politically because the voters in his state have said they don't want the state to enforce it. So when he says he will honor the will of the voters, that really means nothing.
The feds typically do not prosecute marijuana cases unless it is a distribution charge involving a large quantity -- they leave the minor cases to the states. But if a state is declaring it no longer will enforce it, most analysts expect the federal government to sue Colorado and Washington on the grounds that a state law cannot supercede federal law.
This is very similar to the Arizona immigration law in some respects, though the marijuana case will law actually be more clearcut in favor of the feds. In the case of Arizona, the Supreme Court split because it was a case in which Arizona was seeking to enforce a state law on the grounds that, in the view of Jan Brewer anyway, the feds had failed to enforce the same law.
This is a case of a state in direct conflict with a federal law. The feds' potential actions could take many forms, from pursuing busts and criminal cases themselves to simply challenging the law in court and preventing it from being enacted until a federal judge decides. But I would say there is no chance of the feds just letting this go or the NBA, NFL, NCAA, MLB, USOC or any other sport governing body allowing it for athletes in those two states.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||Agree! Bama a cut above rest of SEC||
I'm a little tired of all these SEC teams flattering themselves by talking about how great Alabama is, as if that makes all the SEC teams great.
Alabama is a great team, but in my view there is a large gap between Alabama and the rest of the SEC. What Bama did to Michigan, they did to virtually every SEC opponent last year. Indeed, as this poster points out, LSU did not get in the end zone against the Tide in EIGHT quarters of play.
We got dominated, no doubt. But I have watched Bama for years. I'm from Alabama, graduated from Michigan. In several games last year, the Tide did the same -- to Arkansas, Florida, Auburn and LSU. LSU? Less than 100 yards of offense in a national title game? This is the other 'unbeatable' SEC team? Don't think so.
Alabama is a cut above the rest of the league. The departed seniors on defense meant very little. The team had its QB back, veteran lines and returning LBs. The losses were easily plugged. Plus, Saban has handed out like 163 scholarships over the past six seasons. That's an average of 27 guys, every year, with some of those replacing players who were basically cut or run off.
In fact, this Bama team might be better than last year's simply because McCarron is experienced now. Last year, he was trying to nail down the job.
After Bama, I see a bunch of SEC teams that are distant seconds. Does anyone really think John L. Smith is going to lead Arkansas to victory over Bama this year? Not happening. And I think Bama will beat LSU if the game is played in Miles' backyard. It's a coaching mismatch and Saban has increased the talent gap between his team and the rest of the league.
If we had faced any other SEC team on Saturday, it would have been a different game. Who knows if we would've won. But we definitely would've been better able to hang with the other teams in the league. We played the best team in the country. That does not make every other team in their league as good as them, as much as SEC fans want to portray it that way. Their allegedly superior SEC teams have been getting killed by Bama and it will happen again this season.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||RR got too much time||
In my opinion, we'd been in a better position to compete last night if RichRod had been fired a year sooner. And this is not a 'slam RR' post. I get all his offense excites people, but to me he was far from a complete head coach. His teams are flashy, but they are not tough.
The kind of teams he builds get destroyed by the Alabamas of the world, and there is no doubt Alabama is the current standard of excellence. We got pushed around on both lines and line recruiting was a huge weakness under RR. Alabama has tough guys all over the roster. Hoke is building a tough team, but clearly not there yet.
The team from Tuscaloosa was built like Bo used to build teams. The team from Ann Arbor was a tweener team, still part-Rodriguez and not yet Hoke.
Saban devours spread teams. If you have no vertical passing game, you cannot beat them. Our QB play was awful and the only receiver to play well was Gallon. Gardner looked like he had no idea what we was doing. Soft cuts, wrong routes, turning the wrong way.
We have no real passing attack and it showed. The goal for 2012 should be to see what kind of passing game Denard can handle and we should just run him more. He is no more accurate than he was last year, a lot of his passes still are just launches that he hopes our guys catch, and he's destined to be a Percy Harvin-type in the NFL, which I feel is a good thing for Denard's pro longevity. I love watching Denard run the ball, but his limitations get exposed by really good teams.
We'll be putting in a true passing game starting in 2013.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||I understand the sentiment, but...||
... I would not overreact to one game.
Truth is, we had played Alabama three times previously and won twice.
Saban is a great coach. Combine great coaching, great tradition and the ability to make a team incredibly deep through oversigning, and you have a program on a roll.
But if -- and this is a big IF -- the NCAA really does crack down on roster manipulation (Stewart Mandel, for example, thinks the new rules will not stop oversigning), and as Hoke continues to recruit players head-to-head with Alabama (as in the Turly-Tillman and Dawson commits), we'll see things level out over the next few years.
Someone should run the numbers on this, but I'll bet the edge Alabama holds in the number of scholarships given out over the past four years, not to mention that Saban has been recruiting players to fit his system, which is more like the days of Bo.
I don't think we'll ever be Alabama in terms of how we go about things -- Michigan is a serious university, while Bama is your typical, average state school -- but I think we'll be able to compete with them in two years. There's nothing fancy about what they do. They get great recruits, they've been cutting recruits they missed on and replacing them with more recruits, and that just gives more talent to a great coach. They'll always get great recruits. If we can stop them from manipulating the rules to correct their misses, we can compete.
Indeed, if we can get everyone playing by the same rules, we have the coaching staff and recruiting power to return to beating Alabama again. The competitive edge brought by oversigning is depth, and we saw it last night. It is the reason Alabama can 'reload, not rebuild.' They've been stockpiling as much as they can get away with.
Remember, there were years before the SEC went on an oversigning rampage started by Saban at LSU (and then Alabama), along with Arkansas and South Carolina. And Michigan dominated the SEC in bowl games before the binge. And which SEC team was the first to ban oversigning? Florida, by the order of the school president. And looked what happened -- they started getting dominated in the SEC.
The SEC teams you see on the field really are better and much deeper. It's how they got that way that doesn't get any discussion on television.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Ah||
Thanks. I have done that myself.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Excuse me?||
What are you talking about?
|2 years 3 weeks ago||It's a consent decree, not an NCAA ruling||
This is posturing and will go nowhere.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||That's an ugly house||
Always amazed at how much money some people spend to buy a house that has no curb appeal, no character and is just plain ugly. Ugly brick and the design of those window frames is hideous. Smacks of 'new money' with no classic taste.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||SEC fans don't wear jerseys?||
How many SEC teams has he seen play? Go to an LSU game and you'll see plenty of jerseys. And plenty of really ugly purple shirts.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||I thought he said Temple would beat us||
Did Davis come back later and say Ohio would beat us? When I was watching the show, he said that Temple would beat us in the round of 32, in what he termed a "mini-upset."
I don't pay attention to it. When we drew Clemson, people said we'd lose. We won.
Last year, all I heard was about all the great athletes Tennessee had. We crushed them.
The analysts are just fans. They all say predictable things.
That said, Temple is a quality, well-coached team. Fran Dunphy is an excellent coach. But I still like our chances of getting to the Sweet 16.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||Thanks for stopping in troll||
Hey troll, thanks for leaving top talent sitting there because of your coach's "system."
|2 years 26 weeks ago||On those university rankings||
Important to note that Michigan's ranking was the highest ranking of any U.S. public university. The nine U.S. schools ranked ahead of us are all private institutions, and Michigan ranked ahead of the other two top public schools -- Cal-Berkeley and Virginia.
Also, while everyone likes to make fun of a "General Studies" degree, it is basically just a liberal arts degree. The classmate of mine at Michigan who is the richest of everyone in our group of friends is a hugely successful corporate real estate developer. He majored in General Studies. Far from holding him back, it made a dramatic positive difference in his life. Why? Because he had a degree from Michigan and that in itself opens doors.
My point is it's the quality of the school that matters most, and the competitiveness of the student body. At Ohio, you are going to school with a bunch of average students, some well below average. It is not hard to get accepted. Any degree from Michigan is worth more than the vast majority of degrees from Ohio because you have been to a place that is simply filled with smarter people and that better prepares you to compete.
|2 years 29 weeks ago||This is correct||
If Gutierrez had not injured his throwing shoulder in preseason practice, he would've started ahead of Henne.
My prediction is that Gardner starts for two years -- the second one is contingent on him getting the medical redshirt for 2010 -- that Morris plays little if at all his first year, and then gets more time his second year. I don't see any way that Morris arrives on campus ahead of Gardner, who is a very talented player.
I also could even Morris taking a redshirt year if he is not needed his first season, which would mean Bellomy is the backup and that Bellomy has developed into a pretty good player, which is how the coaches view him. Borges keeps saying everyone is going to be surprised when they see Bellomy play, and I don't think that is false praise.
|2 years 29 weeks ago||Agreed||
I think if Alex has somehow convinced himself there is a comparison between the business schools at Michigan vs. Auburn, then he may very well be trying to rationalize a decision to go to Auburn. I also am from Alabama and I've never heard anyone even take Auburn's business school seriously. You'd be better off to major in economics at Birmingham-Southern than go to Auburn's business school, unless your business is dairy.
I agree with the poster who said an economics degree from Michigan would be better. It would be life-changing better. My roommate at U-M went that route, got into Ross for his MBA, and is now living in Chicago and really wealthy. The problem with Auburn is even an undergraduate degree from there is not likely to mean much if you want to go to Michigan's business school. Auburn does have some above-average programs, but it is in general a lightweight school in terms of academics, like most of the SEC schools. (Vandy and Georgia are far and away the two best academic schools in the league, though now you could add Missouri to that list, at least for some areas of study.) As for the two worst, I'd go with LSU and Mississippi State. For most of its history, LSU didn't even have admission standards beyond requiring a high school diploma. When I was working in New Orleans, every summer we'd bring in interns, and a few of them would be from LSU. We would always end up hiring a few interns, and it was never the ones from LSU. Loyola University in New Orleans, a small Jesuit-run school, is light years ahead of LSU in producing sharper graduates.
|2 years 29 weeks ago||What a clown Saban is||
Every coach could claim caps prevented players from having opportunities to come to his school. Every NFL coach could claim league limits on roster size prevented players from having opportunities to be on an NFL team. The rules are there to protect the sanctity of the competition.
Saban doesn't look at rules as rules. He likes to portray them as unfortunate roadblocks to his goal of assuming advantages no other teams are allowed to have. Then when he wins, he acts as if every coach had the same chance to win as his teams had, and he doesn't mention the scores of extra players he has signed over the years.
|2 years 29 weeks ago||Has no one heard of central time?||
The guy is in Chicago, which is central time. And he's not coming to Michigan anyway, so who cares.
|2 years 30 weeks ago||Auburn board says Diamond has told the coaches||
This board says Diamond informed all the coaches yesterday and the announcement is tomorrow. They also believe Arkansas is the winner.
|2 years 30 weeks ago||On the four-year schollies||
Hoke mentioned that he didn't recall players losing their scholarships for not being good football players, and said it was usually for academic or social reasons.
That was true at places such as Michigan, but that was not true in the SEC. In fact, because the rules previously did not prohibit schools from non-renewing kids for athletic reasons, Saban and many others adopted a tryout-and-cut approach as a routine, annual practice. Arkansas used to announce it with a press release, touting the six scholarships it had just non-renewed.
The new NCAA rule attempts to close the loophole by saying players cannot lose their scholarship for 'non-academic' reasons, or unless they get into a legal issue that violates university or team rules, or unless they voluntarily quit the team. On the face of it, it should make a difference. It will not solve it. Coaches have all kinds of ways to get kids to quit.
|2 years 30 weeks ago||Could not agree more||
Ask yourself how many teams below us view our ranking as elite? All of them. Once you get in the top 5 to 10 classes, it's real close, a matter of opinion always. Our standing tells us our class has a great chance of turning out well. There are no guarantees. Don't get hung up on numbers 1 through 5, like it means we've come up short. Our class has huge talent, character and a lot of smart students. That defines elite.
|2 years 30 weeks ago||A little shout-out to Strobel||
This kid's statement about why he chose Michigan may be the most eloquent I've heard, and it captured so well the perspective of a smart kid who grew up in Ohio. I'm really excited to see a guy like that come to Michigan. He's also a monster on the field. You build teams around guys like Strobel.
|2 years 30 weeks ago||Norfleet is a dynamic playmaker||
Having watched how Sean Payton has used Darren Sproles, who also is 5-7, guys like Norfleet can be quite a weapon. He has unbelievable quickness and change of direction. With Stonum gone, he fills a need at kick returner, but I also can see Norfleet doing lots of damage out of the backfield or slot. With us going bigger in generally and bringing in big backs, Norfleet provides a different element. It's a shrewd move by the coaches.
|2 years 30 weeks ago||Really love his quickness||
Talk about a guy with upside. Here's a kid with great speed who has been splitting his time between two sports. Now that he'll be focused on football, and will be developed by three outstanding defensive line coaches, this is the kind of kid who can really become a player. He clearly is blessed with a lot of athleticism and a great frame. I love that he has the agility to play basketball and tight end in high school. These are the kinds of guys Hoke has developed throughout his career. An excellent pickup at a position where we need more talent and a deeper rotation. Welcome Willie!
|2 years 32 weeks ago||Losing 2 in a class is not unusual||
I don't think Hoke's first class had a surprising amount of attrition. Losing one-third of your class, as we seemed to average the previous three years, is bad. It's inevitable that some guys in each class will not stick. What you hope to avoid is guys not sticking because they get in trouble with the law, can't do the school work at Michigan, or weren't really vetted all that well in the first place.
|2 years 32 weeks ago||And Russell Bellomy||
His athleticism was one of the things Borges said stood out about him when Michigan was looking for a QB late in last year's recruiting period.
|2 years 34 weeks ago||Ground aided the catch||
The slow mo really shows how the ground aided the catch. He has the ball pinned between his forearms, but he has not caught it, and as the nose of the ball hit the ground it moves the ball noticeably into his chest.
|2 years 37 weeks ago||Hilarious||
Nice break in the middle of a work day to happen upon this. Very funny.
|2 years 38 weeks ago||Justice Hayes||
One thing I wonder about with Hayes is whether he will remain an RB or move to slot receiver. I imagine he'll want to play whatever position gets him on the field the soonest, but it would not surprise me to see him out there as a WR.
|2 years 38 weeks ago||Agreed on Morgan||
Perhaps lack of speed is an issue, but let's also remember Morgan played as a freshman. Obviously he's not going to make a dramatic improvement in speed, but this kid is a good ballplayer who will get on the field because he's got great instincts and he understands the game. I see him improving in his ability to diagnose plays more quickly, improving on his angles, and -- as the above poster speculates -- eventually moving to the inside. I think he'll play there and play well.
That doesn't mean he'll be out there every play. One of Mattison's stated goals is to have 18-20 players who can rotate and not suffer any dropoff. But I like Morgan. He's a physical player and I would not overreact to how he looked against Braxton Miller in his freshman year.
|2 years 38 weeks ago||Ha! Well I stand by it.||
They are nervous and they are concerned that he's going to beat them regularly. Hardly hyperbole.
|2 years 38 weeks ago||Oversigning pays off again!||
Everybody keeps wondering why the LSU defense is so deep. The simple answer is oversigning. If your school got 1.3 recruiting classes for every 1 class other schools got -- and your outstanding coaches could spend a year evaluating the talent before they cut 5-6 of them -- you're going to have a pretty deep team in a few years. It's not magic, it's simple statistical probabilities.
And it's not a small edge, it's a huge edge. If you don't think so, try playing five-card stud sometime in which you get five cards each hand and your opponents get seven. Now, you might get strong cards every now and again, and win the hand. But for the most part, they're going to take your money.
That's essentially the rules SEC teams have been allowed to play by for years. Not saying Chavis did not do a great job, just pointing out that LSU exploited the rules to make it happen. Anytime you see the NCAA pass new rules in the middle of a season, as they did this year -- without even taking it to a convention first -- that tells you they think something is a big problem. And when you see the SEC adopt ANY rules, as they finally did with their soft 'cap' on oversigning, you can bet it is only because of heavy pressure from the NCAA.
It is no coincidence that the four schools that have made the most meteoric rise in the SEC -- LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina -- are also the league's champion oversigners. It has subverted the competition and created the illusion that the excellence came solely from hard work, but it's really excellence built on a foundation of fraud.
|2 years 38 weeks ago||Great if land Dunn, but fine if we do not; I prefer Garmon||
Not only would RR have gotten fired even if Pryor had come to Michigan, more likely is that the firing would have come after we found ourselves in serious trouble for all the stuff Pryor would have pulled. Sleaze is sleaze, and we should not pretend it would not have happened to us just because of the change of scenery. This guy has been taking handouts his entire life. I've never been happier to see such a great athlete in an Ohio uniform; it matched his character.
We'd be facing far more serious sanctions in addition to the silly ones Rodriguez brought our way, and because of that, he'd be fired anyway. He should've taken some of the time he spent on Pryor and given Hankins a call, and an offer.
Pryor was never coming here. We got played the entire time. His mentor was being wined and dined by Tressel and his cronies the whole time, and believe me, they took care of the mentor. I think the Ohio coaches LOVED IT that RR put all his eggs in the Pryor basket, instead of having a Plan B, because they knew how it was going to go and knew RR would be screwed. He got fooled by a con man being recruited by a corrupt coaching staff. We had as much a chance of landing Pryor as we did Maurice Clarett, who hung out on the Ohio sideline during his official visit to Michigan for 'The Game.' Reprehensible.
I think I hold the opposite view of most on here: I'd recruit Dunn, but I would not go overboard trying to land him, I don't think it's crucial that we get him, and I'd be recruiting another big back to take that slot. Hoke is smart enough to not heavily invest himself here if Dunn is not really open to switching.
I believe Dunn is a huge Buckeyes fan, not a casual fan, and in his heart that's the place he wants to go and he might even look back with regret if he changes his mind. This is not like Hankins, who was a Michigan fan but did not hold an offer. Dunn has an offer and they want him badly. It's only natural that the kid will attach the most optimistic view to whatever Meyer tells him, and Meyer does not think twice about lying. He's been doing it for years. Look up some of his characterizations of the incidents his Florida players were involved in, in which he explained away arrest reports. He'll tell Dunn anything Dunn wants to hear, because by the time Dunn see what his role really will be in the 'spread and shit-the-bed-with-a-turnover,' he's stuck in Columbus.
Here is what is interesting, and surprising so soon into Hoke's tenure: Landing Dunn means more to Meyer than it does to Hoke. Ohio fans are nervous and they know Hoke is an unstoppable force who is going to beat them regularly. They are looking for anything that gives them hope.
My concern is if we devote too much energy into landing a guy who I believe has been headed to Ohio all along, we look no better than RR did in his first year, when it appeared he was practically begging Pryor to come to Ann Arbor.
There are plenty of great running backs out there. We'd do quite nicely with Greg Garmon, who also is a big back, is rated almost exactly the same as Dunn, and also has better speed.
|2 years 38 weeks ago||Hoke did not need help||
He was offered; Miles was not.
|2 years 39 weeks ago||These are the guys in our backyard that we need||
Tough guys from all over the Midwest who play with a mean streak and the will to win. I'd like to see this kid in the winged helmet, blowing open holes and loving the contact. How big a monster would he be after a year or so being trained by Coach Wellman?
|2 years 40 weeks ago||Still not as good as Randy Newman on 'Rednecks' album||
He nailed it in just a few sentences:
Went in dumb, came out dumb, too."
|2 years 48 weeks ago||Minnesota may be better with the throwing QB||
Shortell is a much better passer. If Gray is out, it completely changes the Minnesota gameplan. The receivers are decent, Gray can't get them the ball. The backup will make them much more balanced offensively. If anything, I think it enhances their chances. Gray is a one-dimensional quarterback.
|2 years 48 weeks ago||Not so worried||
I don't think so much of San Diego State's defense. There's a good chance it can't stop the run or the pass.
It's all about the Michigan run defense. Stop Hillman, or at least contain him, don't turn it over, and we win. Lindley is not going to win the game with the receivers he has.
And I expect our team to keep improving. Can't overestimate the difficulty of putting in new schemes, particularly on defense, after three years of almost-constant chaos and confusion.
It's obvious our defense is much better coached and we're seeing the light go on, player by player. It's not a unit with a huge amount of talent by Michigan's traditional standards, but it's just as true that it's not a unit with no talent. We have some ballplayers and we're seeing others emerge as they are coached up. We can't dominate, but we can compete and there's more improvement coming.
Denard is still learning, but he is learning and I like the fact that we're trying to throw the ball downfield. I like going after teams vertically instead of the line-of-scrimmage passing attack we relied on so much under RR.
It takes time, but Denard is a gifted athlete and I expect a breakout performance through the air soon, maybe in this game.
|2 years 51 weeks ago||James knows Hoke, raves about him||
James did SDSU's bowl game last year and was very impressed with Hoke and his team. He even suggested that Hoke's offense and style should make Hoke a contender for the Michigan job came open.
|3 years 8 hours ago||posted from iPhone|
|3 years 6 days ago||Maybe if we win by 50...||
...people will say it doesn't matter. But I'll feel better.
|3 years 1 week ago||Welcome ChicagoRed||
I like the Nebraska guy. Seems to have a brain and a sense of humor. Welcome.
And we won't need to tell you about the differences between away games in Ann Arbor vs. Columbus, which some call a city but when you get there you realize it's just strip malls holding hands.
You'll see for yourself. See you in November. If you've never been to Ann Arbor, that's an easy call. If you have been, then you're already planning to come.
And the experts can say all they want that your big rival is going to be Iowa. Fine.
But your big game is going to be us. As Bob Dole would say, "You know it, I know it, the American people know it."
|3 years 1 week ago||Agree||
I also think the preferred positions to pursue walkons for are both lines. Often a category where kids mature late and/or can be taught the position. I will be surprised if none of the offensive linemen you list see the field. It's an interesting group and for the most part they had other opportunities (don't know about what options there were for Yerden, the champion weightlifter, who has not even been playing football for long.)
They're seeing what Brink is doing in camp and that will only motivate them. I think Brink is going to get a shot. When you hear them talking about his solid technique and how he knows how to use his hands, that's unusual talk about a walkon. He maybe could use a few more pounds, but 6-5, 263 is not small. And I like that Mattison is saying he's looking for the best group of 17-18 guys he can rotate out there, scholarship or walkon doesn't matter, and then he'll go from there.
Great way to grow linemen. I like the way this staff thinks about the game and how best to play it, and they are trying to build the team accordingly.
|3 years 2 weeks ago||Diamond may be making the right decision||
His mom has been open in saying that the great OL class Michigan is bringing in gave them pause. She wants him to be a standout and perhaps feels he needs to go somewhere with a little less competition in his class for playing time, so that he gets on the field. Can't blame her for that. It is surprising that she'd go for Arkansas, simply because most kids don't make it in the NFL and an Arkansas degree allows you to check the box that you have one, but it doesn't do much more. Fayetteville is very nice. The school is not an academically competitive environment. But she's been pretty open about wanting the clearest path possible for her son, and that's fine. I would say there's little chance he ends up at Michigan. This class could use another lineman, and we'll probably get one if it's Diamond or someone else, but it's not fatal if we don't.
If it came down to a squeeze for spots, since by most accounts we have four left, I'd take Yuri Wright over another O-lineman. Or Danny O'Brien at DT. And two receivers, or one receiver and an RB. The coaches obviously believe they have some D-linemen who can play inside, but O'Brien is a difference maker and I'd love to see him in Ann Arbor.
|3 years 2 weeks ago||Good story||
Don't really see how this qualifies as a 'media obsession' about to begin with the S&C coach, but that's probably just more childish ripping on anything a newspaper does, even though this site constantly links to the articles, proving it's just as big an obsession with the patrons of this site as it allegedly is with the media.
I thought it was a pretty good piece in capturing Wellman's personality and how he, like Hoke and the rest of the staff, puts himself in the background and the players and team first. Worth reading despite the cynical intro that opens this thread.
|3 years 2 weeks ago||Let's hope it lasts several hours||
There will be no resolution today and the NCAA will say little to nothing. But these hearings can offer a hint as to whether the school's proposed penalties will be accepted by the NCAA or augmented. If a grueling, six-hour hearing unfolds, that's not good for Ohio. It can mean the NCAA is challenging the school's findings.
I say the NCAA will apply an additional penalty, most likely loss of scholarships but unlikely to include a bowl ban. If there is a bowl ban, would only be one year. But loss of scholarships is quite a punishment and will have a major impact on the Buckeyes for 3-4 years. And it's what they deserve since Tressel was obviously cheating from the moment he arrived and all the talk in the early days that Maurice Clarett was crazy may have been true, but he wasn't lying about all the extra benefits he got. If the NCAA had been looking the whole time, the Buckeyes aleady would have been stripped of their ill-gotten national title and a number of players, including guys like Santonio Holmes, would have had their careers cut short because they were getting paid by agents and others.
No matter how this goes, Ohio is getting off easy compared to what they did. They're getting punished for trading memorabilia for tattoos, and possibly some cash deals and favorable car arrangements. Compared to the blatant cheating that holier-than-thou Jimmy Swaggart Tressel condoned, and even participated in, over 10 years, most Ohio fans would tell you it was worth it for the wins.
|3 years 2 weeks ago||The same way the SEC follows all the other rules||
Make it look good. APR means schools need to be sure players graduate, it doesn't necessarily mean the players have to learn anything. Remember the old Randy Newman song, "LSU, LSU, went in dumb, came out dumb too."
|3 years 2 weeks ago||Language means timeframe is nothing to worry about||
If the NCCA board is asking a committee to develop a "timeline for phased in implementation" then it's definitely not something that will take effect immediately, but it's also probably not soon. These decisions usually come with plenty of lead time for schools to prepare.
|3 years 2 weeks ago||Relax||
The NCAA typically doesn't change a rule related to academics and immediately commence retroactive enforcement. Michigan traditionally has been fine in APR and should improve now that RR has departed. Rodriguez took more than his fair share of recruiting risks in terms of bringing in players who were destined to struggle academically and either fail out or leave, and that's what led to an APR this year that is lower than Michigan is accustomed to. But we're not in awful shape and should be able to rebound fairly easily with the new staff.
|3 years 2 weeks ago||If he's a superstar kicker, I predict we would take him||
Michigan has had solid field goal and unpredictable kickers and horrible kickers, also known as our current kickers. The one thing we have been is inconsistent. Feely would have to be a bonafide superstar to land a Michigan offer, but if he is Hoke will do it. Having a guy being a redshirt freshman when Wile is in his final season is not a bad idea (and we are assuming Wile is what we hope he is). Don't undervalue the points impact of a kicker who is a cut above the rest. Based on how we're doing in the kicking department, it wouldn't bother me to see a great kicker on the field and another waiting in the wings.
|3 years 3 weeks ago||And who else....||
...did you "run into" as you were getting autographs for your "son." (kidding, kidding).
|3 years 3 weeks ago||And Steve Dahl||
I remember. Those were the days when Detroit was known as the place for renegade disc jockeys.
|3 years 3 weeks ago||A reaction like that can only mean one thing||
Our plan is working. It's not really being an elitist if we are in fact much better people. Keep it up, Coach Hoke.
|3 years 3 weeks ago||Have had many dealings with Turley||
One of the biggest jerks you could ever meet in your life. A real loser and everyone on the Saints knew he was roided up. There is a video of him leaving the lockerroom after one game and purposely running into a sportswriter, like some childish playground bully, because he didn't like the absolute truths the writer printed about him. He's just a complete idiot and it's best to ignore anything he says. Irrelevant to the real world.
|3 years 4 weeks ago||Here, here||
Nothing wrong with pumping up the program. Hoke is anything but arrogant. This is really a story about jealousy, about how obvious it is that Hoke has relighted the enthusiasm of the Michigan faithful and how other programs can only wish they had that kind of support.
The only thing worse than arrogance is false humility. But let us be humble in our return to arrogance.
|3 years 4 weeks ago||College ploys don't work in the pros||
Nick Saban tried stuff like that, twice, and promptly returned to the college sideline. Pros mock it.
|3 years 4 weeks ago||Monday Rant: I still say OSU will get drilled||
I say that mainly because I really want them to be drilled. I also happen to believe there are logical reasons to expect it. There is nothing that indicates that by escaping the 'failure to monitor' charge, that necessarily translates to a slap on the wrist. Maybe they won't get a bowl ban, but I didn't necessarily expect that and, honestly, I'd rather see them eligible for the Big Ten title and fail to win it because they received several beatdowns on the field than have them not be eligible and hear their whiny excuses. I'd much prefer humiliating losses. And I hope they keep Gene Smith as AD. We've got that moron right where we want him.
It's quite clear the Tressel era of dominance was built on cheating from the time he signed Maurice Clarett and going forward -- cheating to recruit players and cheating by giving extra benefits to players after they got there, who would then entice more recruits by telling them about all the great cheating that goes on at the tattoo and bong parties, the readily available OSU sluts -- yes, that's redundant, I know -- and the great discounts on cars and car repairs. Getting paid by an agent while in school, Santonio Holmes? No problem. Just keep it quiet until the NCAA statute of limitations expires.
I think what is happening now in Michigan's recruiting will happen every year if the playing field is level. We have the better school, the better campus, the better town. Columbus is nothing but strip malls holding hands and academically speaking, Ohio State may as well be a GED reunion. Get the players on our campus and let them see what we have to offer, we'll get plenty of talent. Hell, we got Ohio players when Woody Hayes was the coach and now that Lyin Jim is gone, we're immediately back in the game.
I don't care if OSU goes the Music City Bowl. I want to see the NCAA hit them where it hurts -- loss of scholarships, recruiting restrictions on coaches and financial penalties. If that happens, the rest of it takes care of itself, starting this November.
Ah, Monday. Rant concuded.
Oh, welcome back Brian and congratulations on your marriage. The love of a good woman is a treasure. Happy wife, happy life. Don't ever forget it.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||Another promising career...||
..down the drain.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||I think we end up with Richardson||
Maybe the kid has not been to other places. It's a chance to travel. But at the end of the day, he's a guy who wants to be at Michigan. At this point, he has a lot of friends in the class, he is comfortable, it's close to home, and Hoke knows how to handle these situations. The coach will no doubt cover his bases, but I still see T-Rich in Ann Arbor because that's where he wants to be.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||Nice response -- zero logic||
Actually, with Feagin it would have been to look into the past. Same for Dorsey. With Cissoko, it is about evaluating character -- that's the point of the post. Hoke values it, RR didn't. Anyone who can't see the high failure rate he posted in keeping players in school is a fool. You have no facts, so you just make stupid sarcastic responses.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||This analysis misses some major considerations||
RR had no qualms about recruiting players with criminal backgrounds who would not be accepted (Dorsey) or soon be gone (Cissoko, Feagin). Or guys who were so questionable academically they could not get into school or quickly failed out of school (too many to list). So by focusing only on the number of recruiting stars handed it out is only part of the story -- the part that ends up not mattering when 1/3 of the class can't even make it through one year.
That's the problem with all these people who praise RR's recruiting. He was great at attracting talent, the kind that ends up not helping the team win because the talent can't stay on the team.
I've been very impressed with Hoke's emphasis on recruiting highly rated players who also check out in terms of strong upbringing, high character and being serious students who think getting a degree matters in life. That increases the chances that these guys will be in the program for a full 4-5 years, which is what it takes to win.
To me, the kind of analysis done here is exactly what's wrong with how fans rate recruiting classes. They only see the stars next to the names as the players come in, and they just gloss over the fact that four-star players who are no longer on the team don't help at all. RR excelled in recruiting those guys. And the one five-star guy he recruited (Will Campbell) has been wasted for two years as they switched him back and forth from their schizophrenic, laughable defense to being buried on the depth chart on the O-line.
Sorry, not too impressed with RR's recruiting prowess.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||Don't sleep on Drew Dileo||
Saw him play in high school in Louisiana. He's just a battling, get-it-done ballplayer. Excellent hands, BCS speed, runs great routes, is a smart player who really works on understanding the offense and where he fits in. And he's tough. Michigan needs a Wes Welker clone. I am not at all surprised he is turning heads. He's fearless. I can see Borges and Hoke loving this guy.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||Agree on that one||
To me, that's the most questionable prediction in our division. It basically is saying the writers don't think much of Michigan and Northwestern if they think Iowa, with all the players they lost, will grab third. I think it is a down year for the Hawkeyes and have them just ahead of Minnesota, though they'll finish ahead of Northwestern if Persa goes down again. He's the entire Wildcat offense and it's not so easy coming back from an Achilles tear.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||delete, double posted||
site running slow.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||For all we know, Michigan backed off||
I realize Stanford is a jump ball-type receiver, but there are legitimate questions about whether he has the wheels to be a star at the next level. Not worried about this at all. Burbridge, Madaris or Payton are all better choices.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||Hoke already addressed this||
He was asked about this very issue, and addressed it directly. He said the Michigan coaches don't even talk about Ohio State's problems, they talk about what Michigan has to offer. This whole paranoia that Michigan's success in recruiting Ohio players depends on what happens to the Buckeyes is ridiculous. The fact is Michigan always did great in Ohio, but when Tressel came along and turned his head to all of the shenangigans, and let the players tell the recruits all the extra stuff they'll get when they get there, that is what changed things. RichRod then de-emphasized Ohio, and that made it worse.
Hoke will do great in Ohio because he is a great recruiter. There's no need to negative recruit. He's a positive guy and he is a positive recruiter. What is really going on is captured in the comments of Tom Strobel: Kids are raised in Ohio to hate Michigan, but once he got up to Ann Arbor to see the place he realized how silly that is, and how Michigan is just a much better degree to hold than one from Ohio State. Hoke's strategy is to get Ohio kids to make the drive north and see what Michigan has to offer. Once that happens, we'll be fine going head-to-head with Ohio State on recruits, no matter who their coach is. And they won't be able to cheat anymore, or throw tattoo and bong parties, and Michigan will be back to attracting great Ohio players every year, as we always have -- because it's a better school with much more to offer, not because of the NCAA.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||All about depth||
The RB rating is fair when one considers the steep drop if Wood goes down. And he will go down at some point. Not wishing it on him, but it's a tough position to go all year without getting knocked out here and there. ND does not have experienced depth at RB, WR or TE, and the quarterbacks after Crist are nothing special at this point, because they lack game experience. Floyd is a superstar, so opponents will doubleteam him. He also gets hurt all the time. So it's a team that needs everything to go right and can't suffer any injuries at a few key spots. Teams are rarely that fortunate.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||No way||
In our case, the new system makes us better, not worse. Truth is, the offensive 'system' wasn't that great against Notre Dame, Denard Robinson was. People are putting too much emphasis on this. We'll be in the shotgun half the time and Notre Dame's 'great' defense was just a middle of the pack college defense. ND better hope they don't get to the BCS title game. They would get destroyed.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||Yeah, well the UMass QB also picked us apart last year...||
He went 22-for-29 and two touchdowns. The slow UMass running back -- the short, chubby guy -- rushed for more than 100 yards. The Indiana quarterback hit 45-of-64 for 480 yards and three touchdowns -- the best game of his career -- on a horrible team.
We cannot make a judgment about Crist based on how he played against us. It was like running offensive plays against pylons, with a mannequin as our defensive coordinator.
|3 years 5 weeks ago||I like our team better||
I really don't see that Notre Dame has a big edge in this game. I'd take our returning team over what the Irish bring back. Their defensive rise came against some pretty weak teams that usually are better (a mediocre USC team, Utah after it lost its QB), so I don't see them shutting us down. And they have serious, serious depth issues, worse than ours. Their starting RB gets dinged and they've got youngsters in there. There is no Rudolph at TE, no second receiver. Double-team Floyd and things get tough for them. At home, at night, with the best player in the game on our side, I think we win it.
|3 years 6 weeks ago||And now for a sarcastic comment..||
that completely misses the point.
|3 years 6 weeks ago||'It is difficult to sustain excellence or ineptitude.'||
To me, this is the best line in the entire piece, which is an interesting examination overall. It's also my main reason for hopein 2011: What are the statistical odds that one head coach, in three seasons out of 131, would oversee the three worst defenses in school history? He not only sustained ineptitude, he was able to achieve greater ineptitude with each new season. One would think that, perhaps due to nothing more than statistical norms, that at least one of those three defenses would be superior to some other horrible defense in the other 128 seasons. But that was not the case.
The message is that the evaluation, schemes, positioning of players and game-planning were so bad that RichRod and his staff were able to fail well below what could be expected statistically. And it is why I continue to believe the defense, now that it has proven defensive coaching, will revert to the norm and make a substantial improvement. And this gives us a reason to hope that the current players may have more talent than we've seen translate to the field, and the improvement this season may be greater than what could typically be expected, simply because the sustained ineptitude defied all norms.
|3 years 6 weeks ago||Carvin Johnson||
Can definitely play free safety. I like the fit there. He is a ballplayer.
|3 years 6 weeks ago||Maybe he's great...||
...but anyone who has ever met Desmond Howard knows he's taller than 5-foot-8. Guy isn't huge, but he's not 5-8.
|3 years 7 weeks ago||Correct||
The year we went to the Rose Bowl with John Navarre starting against the USC defense, that Trojans team had more talent than we did. And I'd argue that some of the John Cooper Ohio State teams had more talent than Michigan did.
|3 years 7 weeks ago||I agree with that prediction for this year||
But what I am saying is pretty simple: The research presented here indicates that it's a statistical inevitability that the Michigan defense would naturally improve, due to more experience, to 99th or to 82nd or somewhere in between.
I'm challenging that assumption if the same coaching staff had returned. I don't think more experienced players would have meant a thing and the defense would've been just as bad as the past three years, and might possibly only show a modest improvement in the rankings only because it could not drop lower. And there's a good chance it still could rank 110th or worse. And I think RichRod was just as bad at evaluating defensive players as GERG, who matches his lack of skill in that department but is even worse at coaching.
To me, the past three years offer a better statistical trend of how the defense would have played than players gaining more experience playing for a staff that had no idea what it was doing.
|3 years 7 weeks ago||If RichRod and Robinson were still there....||
... does anyone think our defense would even have a chance of improving to 82nd? I'd say no way. Now, in their 3-year journey to producing the three worst defenses in Michigan history, they'd about bottomed out. Once you're ranked 110 or worse, there's not much room to get worse.
But I think there is no way the team would've even improved to 82nd. 99? Probably more than Robinson would be capable of. I can still hear Chris Spielman doing the color commentary on one of our games and openly declaring the defensive schemes Michigan was running were not sound, and the coaches seemed to be making no adjustments.
Let's be clear: Greg Robinson has proven himself as one of the worst coaches in the history of college football, a guy whose teams get worse, much worse, the longer he is there. A friend of mine who has covered Syracuse athletics for decades says Robinson was, by far, the worst head coach he's ever seen at the school, in any sport. Doug Marrone came in and ran off a bunch of players, had almost no time to recruit and the ragtag team he inherited still won more games -- immediately.
So is there any data on how much a defense improves when it goes from being coached by a clown to being coached by football coaches? Is it really possible to make a prediction based on returning starters that has any degree of reliability in a circumstance in which the last staff produced three consecutive years of the worst defense in that team's history?
|3 years 7 weeks ago||Tough call||
But I will go with...
1. Pipkins -- We really need a top NT. Pipkins a dominant one.
2. Wilson - I think this kid is a difference maker in the secondary. He's also a class act and humble. Very high on him and I hope we land him today.
3. Kalis -- Continues the building of an excellent O-line.
|3 years 8 weeks ago||I stopped reading...||
as soon as the writer said, "The guy got a bum deal. Was undermined from the get-go."
Both are false and the narrative supporting such assertions is just as false. Efforts to revise history by RichRod apologists don't change the facts.
RR cannot win in the Big Ten and he proved it, and the "bum deal" was never true. It is a laughable claim to make for any coach who goes 6-18 in conference play. Did Bill Lynch get a bum deal at Indiana? Coaches who win don't get "undermined," coaches that prove they cannot win suddenly blame it on a "divided fan base. It's a complete joke. Here's a cure for underimining: Win some games in the conference in which your team plays. Or at least be competitive.
RR screwed up the first team he had all on his own, he made the recruiting decisions to bring in players who could not stay in school, he established the one-man offense and the three worst defenses in school history, which may as well have been pylons on the field for the opposing offenses to run by. If he had gone 6-2 every year in Big Ten play instead of averaging 2-6, suddenly he's not undermined, he's still the coach. I'll buy the argument that yards of offense are a meaningful stat in a game or two in which other factors contributed to the team falling short. I don't buy it as a three-year statistical excuse.
Judging a coach by wins, over time, is the right way to judge him. Especially when his teams didn't just lose -- his very best team from his last season was non-competitive against the best teams on the schedule, never even flirting with victory in those games. Hard to believe there are still people out there seeking out stats to defend him after what we just witnessed for the past three seasons. He was making Michigan mediocre for the next decade, and he just about had us there. A fourth year for him, and we would've been doing well to go. .500 in the Big Ten. Indeed, we would not have hit that mark.
|3 years 8 weeks ago||Too hot here||
Watched a movie, had a few cocktails, checked out the board, read the Pipkins update, immediately began wondering what a defensive line with Pipkins and Shittu would be like in a years.
|3 years 8 weeks ago||Disagree with the 'warm body' premise||
A lot of people, led by Rich Rodriguez, continue to claim the team would've been better this season no matter who was coaching, and as evidence they typically point to the three straight seasons of increased wins (suddenly, seven wins at Michigan somehow is viewed as setting the stage for huge success, but only because it came after seasons of five and three victories. RR was a master at lowering expectations).
Yet, in looking at last year's team, it was in utter collapse the final third of the season, and it had digressed as the season went along, as it did the two previous seasons. That was the momentum heading into this season -- none. The team won seven games total after starting 5-0. The defense, on the heels of two previous defenses that were the worst in yet another hot start that turned out to be a mirage. It also established a new low as the worst defense in school history. Bringing back that coaching staff, with all those returning 'starters' on defense, would have again produced one of the worst defenses in school history. Rodriguez was a terrible evaluator and recruiter of defensive talent, and Greg Robinson was worse. Robinson didn't even like recruiting, probably because he's not any good at it.
Here is my claim: The program was about to turn the corner into becoming annually mediocre, a Big East-like team with flashes of excitement on offense that would fail against quality teams and not produce wins against any team that can play defense. And a defense that would get pushed around by even middle-of-the-road Big Ten teams. There is literally no real evidence to suggest that a team in full collapse as the 2010 season ended going to be better in 2011. You can't keep pointing to the great, turnover-prone offense, which was not so great and was not even the problem. My guess is it would have more of the same and Michigan would not contend in the Big Ten. And my guess is it would have been another team that got worse as the season went along, not better, as the little guys RichRod loved continued to get injured and/or overpowered.
It is an arrogant, passive/aggressive shot that RichRod takes at Brady Hoke by claiming the team was about to get better. He's trying to take credit in advance for any success Hoke has, when in fact much of what Hoke is doing is to completely renovate the fundamental craters RichRod left on this program in its defense and special teams. And his one-man offense certainly did not scare the quality teams on our schedule. There are three areas that you have to be fundamentally sound in to win. RichRod was terrible at two of them. And the rankings of his recruiting classes were false, because those lofty rankings were based on the inclusion of a handful of talent athletes who could not get through a month of school. He drove our graduation rate to the lowest in the history of Michigan football. Just what is it that convinces anyone we were about to get better in the two phases of the game in which we were one of the worst teams in the NCAA? It's a false narrative created by a former coach who wants to get hired again.
If we have success this year, it will be because of the quick work Hoke, Mattison and the rest of the coaches do in patching up the defense enough to improve it substantially, at least to keep us in the games, and by somehow finding a kicking game that is not the laughingstock of college football. But I would expect we'll still see our defense get overwhelmed by the best teams we play.
Hoke has arrived with a real defensive blueprint and long experience about what it takes to win in the Big Ten, and he brought in talented offensive and defensive coordinators -- and, hey, a special teams coach. If we succeed this year, those will be the major factors. It's not so simple a warm body could do it. We had one of those running the defense for two years.
|3 years 8 weeks ago||It's all about depth||
Simpson is an interesting prospect. While it would be great to sign another top quarterback, the coaches may be concerned about depth in case we suffer a series of injuries at the QB spot. So they may be looking at Simpson as a guy who can develop. Shane Morris isn't coming for two years. A lot can happen. Guys get hurt, leave. There is wisdom in signing a QB in each class. But we can be sure the coaches will not offer Simpson unless they are sure he's a Big Ten quarterback.
|3 years 8 weeks ago||Because it feels good, that's why||
It's not that we can't get the Notre Dame coach's name right, it's that we don't want to. I don't want to like the Irish coach, and the past two hires, they've made that an easy call. I don't dislike the players, those guys are competitors. But I don't like the chubby leprechaun. Coach Hoke has 'Ohio,' I've got this guy, Coach Bryan Kelley.
|3 years 9 weeks ago||I think your opinion is legitimate||
There are lots of ways to look at this, and I'm not reaching any conclusions about Kelley overall. I definitely sense he is a win-at-all-costs type and he exudes arrogance, whereas I tend to like coaches who are both humble and preach humility. But despite my view of Kelley and skepticism about the coach's motivation for keeping Floyd on the team, I'm trying to limit my view to what's fair to Floyd. And let me tell you, I wish he wasn't on Notre Dame's team at all, but that's not about the DUI, it's because I've had to watch him catch what seems like 50 passes against us the past two years. I'll buy the Michigan coaching staff a keg if they'll figure out a way to stop him.
I do not think it's correct that any other student on a full-ride academic scholarship would lose that scholarship for similar drinking offenses. There are no hard rules on that. Those are all handled on a case-by-case basis, and that's how it should be.
My view is simply that this was a first offense and that I consider the DUI a serious offense. I don't hold the view that tickets for underage drinking should mean all that much. Yes, it's illegal to drink a beer at age 20. Cops write up kids all the time for it. Who knows how many Michigan players currently on the team have the occasional beer or more? Our new head coach admits he spent his first two years as a player at Ball State drinking all the time, and he grew out of it and matured. OK, so Brady Hoke didn't get caught, but he did it and he talks openly about it. My only point in that regard is I don't think Floyd's two underage drinking offenses should have any bearing on what punishment Notre Dame hands down on him for the DUI.
All I am saying is what I would do, and that would be to view this as a mistake by Floyd, and one that has required him to put in a lot of time to attend court-ordered courses on the perils of drunk driving, and the potential human costs of drunk driving. And I can definitely see suspending him for a game or two or three, but on that count I'd base a lot on the kid's attitude since the incident, his level of remorse and follow-through to prove he's learned from it. But I think to go beyond say, 25 percent of the season, that is something I just don't agree with. Sure, it's a privilege to play Division I football. No argument there. All I am saying is I would not revoke that privilege, for an entire season, because of this offense, particularly given how Floyd has conducted himself since it happened and that there is a tangible list of things ordered by the judge that provide a way to measure his progress and whether he really has learned from it. I don't think kicking him off the team for his final season increases that learning.
|3 years 9 weeks ago||Wormley will only like Michigan more...||
...the longer his recruitment carries on.
We shouldn't be so impatient. We don't have any reason to worry about the strength of this class. Top recruits often don't decide until during their senior seasons or after. It's really not a big deal.
My view is that Chris Wormley probably wants to decide in his mind and then let it sit for a while, be sure he is making the choice he wants. That's a sign of maturity. Anyone suggesting otherwise is showing their own immaturity. Time to grow up and let this man chart his own course.
He obviously likes Michigan a lot, likes the new coaching staff a lot, lives an hour away from campus. He sounds like the kind of guy who, once he commits, he's solid. I'd love to see him join our program, whenever he's ready. And I bet we'll have a spot for a dynamic player like him.
|3 years 9 weeks ago||To be fair, I wouldn't suspend him from games||
I know it's fashionable to criticize other schools for not bringing the hammer down on players who get in trouble, but I really can't see the point of suspending a guy from playing because he pleaded guilty to a DUI -- if he toes the line and understands the seriousness of what he did.
Floyd took responsibility and the judge handed down a number of stipulations tied to the probation -- ignition-control device, mandatory community service, classroom time. It was not a blowoff sentence. And if Floyd screws up again, he's back in court and could see jail time.
But he's satisfied the legal end of things and he has owned up to his poor judgment. His previous drinking issues were not driving related, they were for "underage" drinking, and the only difference between Floyd and any of us is he got caught. I mean, he was 19 when he got caught the first time, 20 the second time. Only in America can you go to war at age 18 and legally have a beer three years later.
Driving while drunk is a different story and there's no reason or excuse for that.
Our own Darryl Stonum is a different story. His driving while impaired was a second conviction. Hard to say whether Hoke will let him come back, but if Stonum is done, he's got no one to blame but himself.
But if Floyd meets the requirements of the judge's ruling, he should play. I know he's a great receiver and we'd probably have a better chance of beating Notre Dame if he is not on the field. And I'd love to beat Notre Dame, which I hope we do even with Floyd out there.
|3 years 9 weeks ago||Don't know what he weighs, but....||
... if you look at photos of Braden from last season until now, he definitely has put on substantial muscle. He looks great.
I really like Braden and Caleb Stacey, another guy with a nasty approach to the game who has been hitting the workouts hard since committing.
One of the common threads in the Hoke recruiting evaluation is that he looks for guys who are highly self-motivated and do the work because they want to, not because they're supposed to. Particularly with high school linemen, that's an attribute that ends up meaning a lot as they transition to college.
These two guys committed early and got the express rolling, and they clearly are not resting now that they've got a scholarship. They're working hard, trying to get better, reaching out to other members of the class. Great stuff.
It's already a strong offensive line class and it can move to superior with a few more key commitments.
|3 years 9 weeks ago||I'm going with the coaches||
Writing a prediction on Jeremy Clark is just about impossible after he just grew four inches and the recruiting sites have really had very little to look at, so it's premature to say he is a 2-star player because he is a late grower. The coaches are looking at speed, how his frame might fill out, fluidity and coachability. He's not even going to see the field in Ann Arbor for at least two years, because if he comes he surely will redshirt.
This blog sets up well to offer reviews on physically mature kids because the blog relies heavily -- perhaps too heavily -- on recruiting service rankings for all of the players who commit. That's understandable in a sense: It is, on a broad statistical scale, predictive of success in college. Nothing wrong with using those rankings as a guide.
But there are holes in the reliability of the rankings, and a major one pertains to players who are maturing late physically. And that's why we always see kids on BCS teams who turn out to be stars after being lightly recruited, and why we see NFL players coming from places like Bloomsburg University (Jahri Evans, overlooked by the big schools, Pro Bowl offensive lineman). The statistical norms make it easy to miss the anecdotal exceptions, but those exceptions exist across all levels of football.
It's not that the rankings won't ever mean anything on Jeremy Clark, it's that it's simply too soon for them to mean anything because he is growing a lot as a junior in high school.
It's the coaches' jobs to evaluate what these players can be, not what they are right now, and I have to think a guy like Greg Mattison knows what he's looking at when he sees a maturing 6-foot-4 safety with great speed, a strong work ethic and a desire to be coached. I'll take a guy like this over a Ray Vinopal who, no matter how coachable he is, was not gettng any bigger. It's pretty obvious Jeremy Clark is a dynamic athlete who probably has no idea at this point how good he can be.
How anyone can look at this commitment and predict so emphatically what Clark will contribute as a junior and senior at Michigan -- four or five years from now -- is beyond me. Honestly, I don't pay much attention to those predictions, which are one person's opinion and not based on a comprehensive evaluation like the one the coaches have done. I'll trust that coaches with decades of player evaluations to their credit have some idea what they're looking at.
I hope Jeremy sticks with Michigan and proves his upside.
|3 years 9 weeks ago||Nothing wrong with it done in this fashion||
I only have a problem with it if the kid arrives on campus and then finds out he's getting a greyshirt, a la the SEC schools, but if the Michigan coaches they have told Clark up front, it's fine. It's the player's choice to take it or not.
The threshold for judging this is honesty. If the coaches are honest about it and everyone is on board, it's just another technique to get a kid on the team who wants to be on the team.
I also like kids like Jeremy Clark, who are growing late and often have upside that is just now becoming visible. I hope it works out for him. He's a big safety, that's for sure.
|3 years 9 weeks ago||Not so surprising from Steele||
Phil Steele is purely a numbers guy. All of his projections are based off last year's stats vs. the norm. He just plugs in the numbers, using the formulas he has tended to favor, and whatever it spits out, that's what he goes with.
Of course, it never really works out that way. I don't know where he had Auburn last year, but they were not picked to even win their division in the SEC. But it's hard to know which teams will achieve beyond the statistical norms.
The other thing to remember about Steele is he lives in Akron. So not only is he an Ohio guy, that means he's probably seen a lot of the Michigan defense for the past three seasons and it was such a lowly rated unit, he can't see it rising up that much statistically in one season.
Based on the trend that brought us to today -- the three worst defenses in school history for three consecutive years -- it is hard to argue with him at this point. Hopefully, what we see on the field this fall is a pleasant surprise.
|3 years 10 weeks ago||People like the Elmers...||
... are the kind of people we want at Michigan. Great sensibilities and a son who is a smart and talented athlete. We know Steven can play football -- and Michigan is about to return to being an NFL pipeline for O-linemen -- but what's wonderful about him being a high achiever in the classroom is that he'll be one of the athletes who takes full advantage of the great academic programs Michigan offers. I hope they hit it off with Coach Hoke and the rest of the coaches, because the Elmers are perfect for Michigan.
|3 years 10 weeks ago||The NFL analysis on Michigan||
You're right. Definitely worth a read. The evaluation of Michigan's prospects will seem spot-on to anyone who has watched the team. A phrase the writer used a few times is to note players who don't stand out as "dynamic" in any part of their game (Shaw, Van Bergen).
But at least these guys have another season to develop. I can see Martin improving this year, and Koger, too. Martin is one of those guys who will make it into the D-line rotation with an NFL team, he's just so relentless. It was interesting to note the number of flaws the writer saw in Martin on the film.
Molk (6-2, 288) should set his goal as becoming the next Jeff Saturday (6-2, 295). He can definitely find a place in the league if he gets on the right team. With Mike Shaw, it is what it is. He's just not all that strong, especially in the lower body, and it's hard to imagine him making an NFL team when he isn't shifty enough to escape tacklers in college and not strong enough to run through them.
Hopefully, the stock on our guys goes up with a strong 2011 season.
|3 years 10 weeks ago||He's a Big Ten back||
I like the way he runs hard and how he conducts himself on the field after he scores. A competitor who doesn't show any arrogance, that's what we're all about. Nothing wrong with big backs who know what to do with the ball -- no dancing around, just bust it up in there. Alden would look great in a winged helmet.
|3 years 12 weeks ago||Well, except this news came from the MSM||
Given that the thread starts with a report from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Just callin 'em like I see 'em. If it weren't for the MSM, the amount of news that blogs discuss would take a massive drop. I don't really understand all this 'hate the MSM' like it's something bad for democracy.
|3 years 12 weeks ago||I see nothing wrong with those headlines||
There is nothing wrong with a headline that says, "Terrelle Pryor's guardian: QB will stay at Ohio State"
The use of the colon after "Terrelle Pryor's guardian: ..." is an accepted grammatical construction to convey that this is the opinion of the guardian (colon simply puts the attribution before the opinion instead of after.) It doesn't mean Pryor necessarily will stay at Ohio State, it means that's what the guardian believes.
I don't see any foul there. If it lacked the opening construction attributed to the guardian, it would have perhaps been misleading. For example, if it just declared, "Pryor will stay at Ohio State" as an undisputed fact. But as written, offering one man's opinion, it's fine. It certainly is not inaccurate. The quotes from the guardian support the assertion of the headline.
I don't see anything wrong with the Tressel headlines either. They represent themselves as offering Tressel's opinion, and that's what the stories are about. As for whether Tressel's comment are newsworthy, of course they are. The first time he speaks, and the next several times, it's going to get coverage and be put out there. Disgraced or not, there's nothing journalistically unsound about writing a story on what he said. There may be plenty of people who don't care what he thinks, but that's the beauty of a democracy. You don't have to read every story, skip it if you think it's not newsworthy. But I'm interested in hearing Tressel's first comments since the scandal broke and I think most people are.
Now, is it silly for a coach to predict that a team will beat another team when the two teams play every year? Of course. But that's classic Tressel-speak.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||I'll acknowledge it...||
There is no rational reason to expect this staff to go 11-1 in its first year. If it happens, we can party in the streets. I'll drive to Ann Arbor and am good for a keg to get things started.
But the 3-year reality check is staring right at us: 15-22 overall, 6-18 in the Big Ten. That's not just a lot of tough breaks, that's bad football. Until we start beating good teams again, it's foolhardy to just EXPECT VICTORY because we've got new coaches.
Regardless of RR's post-firing revisionist spin, this team was not about to turn the corner -- the defense got worse every year the past three, dropping to a stunning level of poor play. This is a year to hopefully reverse the defensive slide and get the ship righted. Anything beyond that is gravy because the roster still needs help. It's easy to sit here and point to all these teams we COULD beat, but, you know, those teams are sitting there looking at us and thinking the same thing. I mean, San Diego State thinks they have a great shot at beating us. Not saying they will, but the team Hoke left behind is not bad.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||Agree with you on offense||
On defense, I think State had more talent than we did last year. Our secondary was pretty bad and the linebackers were nothing to get excited about.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||Notre Dame is always a tough call||
And I agree with you, that will be a very tough game. But I am not so convinced their defense is awesome, if only because it turned in some nice performances the latter half of 2010 against teams that had big names but were very disappointing (USC) or had seen their offense disappear due to injury (Utah). In the end, Notre Dame ranked 51st in total defense.
Granted, we probably would've lost to the Irish last year if Crist had not gotten injured, since we had shown no signs of stopping them when he was in the game.
I have to think we'll do a better job on Floyd this year. Could not do much worse. Yes, they will give us fits, but I just see us finding a way to win the game, especially since we have the best player on the field. Never mind the change in offense, I'm expecting to see Denard show the improvement one can expect from a great athlete in his second year of starting. If we throw it enough to keep them guessing, he's a talent that's hard to stop.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||Let's start by turning around 6-18||
We've won six Big Ten games in three years. Top to bottom, the league is as tough as it has ever been, especially with Nebraska arriving. I can't see speculating on a BCS berth until we show we can finish .500 or better in our own conference. Michigan State was one of the weakest Big Ten champs the league has seen in 10 years (granted, they didn't play OSU, but they were unmasked by Alabama), and the Spartans dominated us. We couldn't get a hand on their running backs.
Like everyone, I love what I'm seeing out of the new staff, but let's see who lines up at linebacker and in the secondary before we get carried away. On the D-line, is Will Campbell any good? Who backs up him and Martin, talent or just a couple of bodies?
To me, suggesting that we could go to a BCS game this year, with this defense, when we lost to the six best teams we played last year, well, that's quite a reach. In Denard's senior season, I can see us making a run. If we even find ourselves even PLAYING for a berth in the first Big Ten title game this year, that would be a tremendous season.
I do have one expectation I feel confident about: Hoke's team will get better as the season goes along and will end the collapses we've been suffering through.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||The Pulitzers and sports writers||
If you are only going by individual writers who have won the Pulitzer, then Dohrmann is the last sports writer to win one for a specific story. But Pulitzers are awarded to staffs if there are numerous bylines in the entry. In 2005, when New Orleans flooded after Katrina, the publisher of The Times-Picayune ordered the entire staff to evacuate, and they all did, to Baton Rouge.
But the sports editor, who had lost his own house, refused to leave. Instead he commandeered a newspaper delivery truck, assembled a small team of reporters and stayed in the city amid the chaos, broke stories on wrongdoing by cops, got guns put to their heads by the NOPD, went into the water, basically ran what was left of the paper. They won two Pulitzer Prizes and the sports editor was given two crystal Pulitzers by Columbia University in New York. The sports editor also was invited to speak at Northwestern in 2006 and accept the Medill Medal of Courage. The ragtag team included two more sports writers, including the Saints beat writer. It's a pretty famous story in journalistic circles, certainly known among sports writers.
Sports writers don't often get a lot of consideration for Pulitzers. And I realize Katrina wasn't a sports story, so I'm not correcting your point. But it's a tale worth knowing.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||The only thing Tressel was 'protecting' was...||
...his shot at last season's BCS title.
He knew he had a top 5 team returning. This had nothing to do with looking out for his players, it was just what it appears to be: Win at all costs. It's the same approach Tressel always has taken. He made a career of cheating because he knows fans will focus on the record and ignore the fact that he was, no matter how they spin it, fielding a team that was no longer comprised of amateur athletes.
It was all about getting the players, and recruiting gets a lot easier when you offer them cars, housing deals, and the common knowledge that the coaches will look the other way as you flaunt your celebrity lifestyle and smoke some weed at a local tatto parlor hangout where they cater to your every need.
For Musburger and Company to be accurate, they just need a slight revision: "Tressel was protecting his BEST players." Guys on the scout team would not have gotten the same treatment.
This Eleven Warriors article trying to shift the narrative to a children's hospital is beyond pathetic and transparently desperate. Too many college teams to list make those visits.
Tressel did not resign because of the pending SI article. He got out as an attempt to stop people from digging for more, because there is more to be found. Nailing him on tattoo-gate is like getting Al Capone on tax evasion. You do what you need to do to nail the corrupt, even though we all know there's more there. The Department of Justice trips up six players in an unrelated investigation and so that's all the school admitted to. But in a short time on campus, Sports Illustrated easily finds scores more involved. Do we really think that's it? Magazines don't even have subpoena power.
Tressel knows that if they keep looking, they'll keep finding. And he knows of other stuff that's a lot worse, so he got out now hoping to end the need for more investigations. This is hardly a new play by a guy who is seeing it all unravel.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||Now that's hilarious||
Whenever I see my team trembling, it's usually because there's an angry punter coming down the field, determined to dive at their ankles.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||Let's hope we don't sign Dodson||
If his mother is that big of an idiot, it's cause for concern. Anyone who cannot see the Tressel era for what it was -- a completely fraudulent program quite possibly had ineligible players on the field every game he coached -- is simply delusional. The fact is Maurice Clarett, for all his criminal ways, was telling the truth. Terrelle Pryor has the zero integrity we thought he had, and so does his coach. If Kyle Dodson's mother is piping up about how it was all a witch hunt, what is she teaching her kids?
There are plenty of great players we can sign. I'm happy we did not get Pryor and I don't want Dodson, either. Give me Magnuson and Diamond. Give me the high-character kids raised by parents who want to do it right.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||Well, he's wrong...||
... if the NCAA cuts scholarships. It hurts with kids in-state and out-of-state if the school has fewer scholarships.
So Mike Farrell has no idea what he's talking about. And I'd say if the sanctions are severe, it will hurt all recruiting because kids are drawn to winners and won't want to sacrifice their four years to participate in a down period.
Moreover, we are learning that all of Tressel's dominant recruiting was essentially fraudulent, driven by extra benefits and a tolerance of anything they could get away with. Tressel's entire run is being revealed as him running a program with professional, paid athletes against everyone else playing by amateur rules. Let any bigtime school with a bigtime coaching staff play by Tressel rules, and they'll win.
So it's a little too soon to say this won't matter to in-state kids.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||Win Win||
Excellent indie movie starring Paul Giamatti, one of my favorite actors, and a kid named Alex Shaffer, who is in his first movie and was cast because he was a champion prep wrestler. Great script, funny, great plot. Written and directed by rising star Tom McCarthy. Just saw it on Wednesday night at an indie theater in DC.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||Very impressive||
I had no idea that many Ohio State players had been arrested or how habitual it was for Tressel to just turn a blind eye to whatever his players do. And the whole Clarett saga always struck me as vicious on the part of Ohio State. I realize Clarett was no choir boy, but I doubted he was lying about what was going on in Columbus. So they trashed a guilty man, always a preferred option of the cheater.
The summary at the end is beautiful. Ohio State knew exactly what it was getting in Tressel and did not care, and Tressel did exactly what he had always done at Youngstown. Nothing predicts future behavior better than past behavior. He didn't learn any lessons, he felt bulletproof after getting away with it at Youngstown. And to think of the number of people who talk about how much they look up to this guy, not only Dantonio but recently Pat Fitzgerald.
"Nothing Ohio State has accomplished in the last ten years is valid anymore."
That sums it up in a sentence, even though it doesn't really make me feel any better. Buckeyes fans will still tout their record against Michigan and it won't be tainted in their eyes. It makes me wonder if they have completed a single season under Tressel without players who should've been declared ineligible on the field.
It's a damn shame to see this happen and cast dispersions on what should be a great rivalry played between two iconic and honorable programs. Addressing it may clean it up, but this hurts the Big Ten too.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||No, I don't mean something like this....||
It's not having an academic center, it's the level of corruption inside the academic center.
The SEC schools do not hold the view that it's important that football players learn. They hold the view that they must keep them eligible and nothing else matters. And the level of work at a typical SEC institution is more like high school than college.
There's no comparison between those schools and Big Ten institutions.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||I wasn't mad...||
...when Hoke got hired. I was elated. I've seen his teams play and I liked that he always called Michigan his dream job. I also liked that anyone who knew him in college football said two things about him: 1) A man of integrity who knows how to lead and 2) an unbelievable recruiter. Hoke was no more unknown when he was hired than Bo was unknown when he was plucked from Miami-OH. It didn't take much checking around to find out about Hoke. The people who didn't know who he was do not follow college football closely. And they'd never met Hoke. He makes a strong impression in his folksy, selfless way.
Now, I also would've been pleased if Jim Harbaugh was hired, and Michigan would've hired him if he wanted the job. But he opted for the NFL -- and he and his brother recommended Hoke, by the way.
I would've been dreading the future if Les Miles got the job, because I know how he's getting it done at LSU -- oversigning, backdating scholarships, holding summer tryouts and making cuts. It only takes a few players on a college team to make a difference. You change out even 3-4 each year of the players you recruited but clearly overrated, it translates to real wins. So to me, Miles is a cheater. And I don't even think he's a great coach. He's a decent coach on a great run. I've met him. He's not too sharp. Make everyone play by the same rules and he won't look so good. Michigan didn't think he was so great either -- that's why Miles was not offered.
I wholeheartedly agree that Michigan teams, at least on offense, often have been completely predictable in bowl games -- any Rose Bowl against USC proved that -- and I agree with Brian that Borges seems to pride himself on not being that. But let's not separate RichRod from that crowd: He ran a completely predictable offense that always got his quarterbacks drilled. It is not true no one could stop it. The previous South Florida staff stopped it all the time when RichRod was at WVU, and Tressel and crew visited with that staff so they could learn how easy it was to stop. And stop it they did. Another year of RichRod would've proven more of the same and the defense, while it might not have been able to get worse, it certainly could have leveled off at horrendous.
I only would've been mad if Brandon somehow talked himself into keeping that Big East midget offense around another year. I've never bought all this crap about a house divided. That had nothing to do with RichRod's failures. It was his giant ego, his unwavering belief that the Big Ten would have to change to meet his system, and the fact that he put himself before the team and exuded that arrogance in so many ways. And still, none of that got him fired. Losing, and losing big in the Big Ten, is why he is gone. Losing and looking completely overwhelmed will spawn factions against any coach. I supported him wholeheartedly when he was hired because he was the Michigan coach. But the Michigan coach should be an impressive person and nothing he did impressed me. His comments since getting fired have only made me happy he's commenting as the former coach.
There were plenty of people who knew Hoke and thought he was a great hire. Even a few who read this blog regularly.
|3 years 14 weeks ago||These stats don't mean a whole lot...||
A houseplant could pass at Ohio State, if you could get it to go to class. And you could, if you'd give it a good deal on a car.
A degree from Columbus is virtually worthless they're so easy to get. I meet more impressive graduates from Michigan State than I do from Ohio State, and that's saying something because MSU was the bottom-of-the-list safety school for everyone i knew if they could not get into any college they wanted to attend.
Other than this proving what we already knew -- that RichRod's approach was not to worry too much about who stayed, who went to class and who left -- the only thing Hoke needs to do is keep the numbers high enough to placate the NCAA, which just wants to appear interested in athletes being students. Otherwise, who cares.
The SEC schools have responded by building huge "academic centers" for athletes to go to so they can meet with the "tutors" who "help" write their papers. If you want a real eye-opener, check out some of the geniuses stopping in at the academic center at LSU -- which is probably the worst flagship state university in the United States (it is annually ranked 'third tier' by U.S. News). Many of LSU's players can barely speak, but they somehow are able to write surprisingly well after a visit to the center. Those tutors must be really good.
In the real world, the only Big Ten graduates competing with Michigan grads are those from Northwestern and, to a slightly lesser degree, Wisconsin. Ask anyone who does hiring -- those are the three they pay attention to.
The rest are just schools you go to if you can't go to a prestigious school.
|3 years 14 weeks ago||I tend to agree with Magnus on college receivers...||
...however, it is just the opposite in the NFL, where coaches will tell you that wide receivers often have a difficult time making an early impact. Granted, the schemes are a lot more difficult to master than most college offenses, but I know Sean Payton is a guy who does not like to draft receivers high for that very reason. There's no quick payoff. He'd rather take Marques Colston in the seventh round than his predecessor, who took Dante Stallworth in the first. (I'm only using the Saints as an example because I spent a lot of time around that team.)
And I also am on the Mike Cox bandwagon, and have been. I think he will play well if given a chance. He was a guy who did not fit the spread, but this offense should suit him much better.
So I'm also hopeful that Stokes fits better in a pro-style, vertical passing game. I honestly don't think we've seen enough to make a call on him and, in his defense, receiver has been one of the positions where we've had a lot of depth so it's been tougher to get much time.
I expect we have a lot of players who see the regime change as a new chance to prove themselves, so I'll stick with Stokes being a guy who is worth a look.
|3 years 14 weeks ago||You are correct, but...||
... grade inflation is common in some high schools. That's why we have standardized tests. On the other hand, he could be a smart kid who doesn't do so well on standardized tests. It happens. He probably should be 25 or above on the ACT with the GPA he has, but it's hard to pinpoint unless he took the ACT again. But he doesn't need to, he's eligible. And he's big.
|3 years 14 weeks ago||Let's not write off Stokes just yet||
It is somewhat surprising that JeRon Stokes, who has a lot more promise than Williamson, is not being mentioned more often as a talent already in our pipeline. This kid was a bigtime, four-star recruit out of a top prep program in Philadelphia who changed at the last minute from Penn State to Michigan. I know we haven't seen a lot out of him yet, but really, should we have? Just because a guy doesn't come in and wow us as a freshman doesn't mean he's not going to be a good player. A system where guys come in and learn and then hit the field is better anyway. Let's see how Stokes comes along. Kid's a hard worker with a great pedigree.
|3 years 14 weeks ago||What I like...||
...is the sense of competition Hoke is creating for players who want a scholarship to Michigan.
Texas has been doing it that way for years and it's nice to see Michigan filling up its class and creating that natural pressure.
And I really trust their talent evaluation. Hoke has a nice track record of identifying kids who have their best football ahead of them. That's something Hayden Fry used to say is the very hardest thing to do in coaching: Don't make the mistake of taking the guys who have played their best ball in high school -- identify the kids with the frame, growth potential, intelligence and overall motivation to get better every year.
That's something Hoke was able to do at Ball State and San Diego State. Now that he has a chance to use his eye at a place such as Michigan, where he has a shot at more talented players, it bodes very well for the program. It is notable that he is seeking out players who have the smarts and the will to succeed.
Smart players see what is happening with Michigan's recruiting and they want to get in on something good. Hoke comes off as folksy and all, but he's a shrewd man who knows he's got something great to offer in Ann Arbor. He's not overwhelmed by the job at Michigan, he is in full control.
|3 years 15 weeks ago||Where are the journalists?||
It would be nice if some reporters in the South would call up these players who were "granted" releases and try to interview them. I say that, fully realizing any journalist who did so and ran the story would immediately be in danger of physical harm.
The fast majority of SEC fans have no idea what the term 'student-athlete' means, and they sure as hell don't know it's hyphenated.
|3 years 16 weeks ago||Only the details of the deal matter||
All that really matters here is whether the Ohio State player broke the law or violated NCAA rules, or both. And that has nothing to do with whether Gibson can show he paid for the car. What matters is how much he paid relative to the true retail value of the vehicle -- basically the NCAA will examine the deal he got vs. the deal that would be offered to a typical customer, and whether documents were falsified. Here's betting OSU is in trouble on both fronts:
1. If the player paid 13K for a car that any customer coming in off the street could not purchase for the same price, or thereabouts, it's a violation of NCAA rules. I am guessing that a 2007 Chrysler 300 with 14,000 miles on it, sold in 2007, was worth more than 13k. These cars, reasonably equipped, retailed for $40k MSRP when they were new.
It matters not whether the dealership bought it at an auction, nor does it matter what the dealership paid for it. All that matters is whether Gibson got a special deal. If he got an extra benefit that saved him money, it's an NCAA violation, and a serious one. It saved him real cash. I'm willing to bet the 13k is either at dealer cost or just above it, a special gift from a fan to a player.
2. If, in addition to that, the player and the dealer cooperated in understating the purchase price on documents filed with the state, such as listing the price as $0, that is usually done to lower the sales tax and state registration fees the customer has to pay on the vehicle. It is a very common ploy done by thousands of consumers across the country, and most don't get caught. But if you do get caught, it's illegal and, depending on the amount, the guilty parties will at least face a hefty fine and could face jail time. States have run stings on this from time to time and it's amazing how many people get nailed and get themselves a criminal record to save less than $500.
Cheating the state and federal government out of tax money is at least a misdemeanor -- if the amount is less than $1,000. If the false documents saved Gibson more than $1,000, it's a felony. For the dealership, it's a big problem no matter the amount because if they've cooperated in such a scam once, you can bet they've done it many times, probably with a number of OSU players. The state will start looking closely and they'll find out.
And I really cannot stomach the defense of the Columbus Dispatch. There has been all kinds of talk about wrongdoing at OSU over the years and the Dispatch has steered clear, remaining the 'homers' they really are. They are getting busy now only because it went public, and I am willing to bet the real editors in news are forcing the 'fans' who work in the sports department to do their jobs. The paper has sucked for years and no matter what happens now, it still sucks.
But I am pleased that this investigation will drag out for a while, which is the best possible scenario for Michigan with one of Ohio's best crop of recruits in 20 years. Just off of what the school has admitted so far with Tressel lying, OSU ends up with multi-years probation, a forfeited 2010 season, loss of scholarships and, ultimately, a new coach. And the last part is too bad, because I think we have a staff in place who will prove to be superior to Tressel, particularly if the head coach and his cheating staff can no longer offer extra benefits to bring in recruits. Does anyone really believe a guy with the questionable character of Terrelle Pryor didn't get paid? Tressel has been doing this since he was at Youngstown State, letting things happen and disavowing knowledge. Even his national championship is fraudulent, won with a running back who probably had committed his first felony before he ever suited up in Columbus. It's a sleazy operation.
|3 years 24 weeks ago||If it was ready, they'd run it||
People are forgetting a key factor: Reporters don't decide when a story is ready, editors do. And reporters typically think they have it nailed a good while before an editor signs off. Reporters write stories, editors make them live, but only after challenging the reporting and being certain (if it is a reputable outfit.)
If it was ready, it would run. What the reporter likely means is he is developing some stories. But he can't know when they are going to run because it's not his call.
The head of Yahoo news is Dave Morgan, formerly of the sports department LA Times. He knows what he's doing and that's why you have yet to see one of their investigations get successfully refuted. They take heat when they came out -- they got it from UConn basketball fans, they got it from Ohio State losers -- but they have yet to be wrong.
That means the editors are satisfied with the sourcing, they have it confirmed in another way, and they turn it loose. But that is where the calls are made at Yahoo. Almost every one of their top people came from the best print sports sections. The reporter advertising future stories is keeping people interested, as he should. That doesn't mean a story is in the can, just waiting. They'd be too worried about getting beat. It only means it's not ready yet.
|3 years 25 weeks ago||The Usual Response From The Sin-ator||
Tressels actions here merit firing. He has cheated his entire career and he always has handled it in the same way -- trying to maintain he was ignorant of anything that was going on.
That's what he tried to do here, but the Sin-ator got caught. And the truth is he also knew a lot more about all the past transgressions and he preferred to turn his head and portray himself as outraged when he learned of these things.
It is amazing the NCAA can let this slide in comparison to the swooping in to Ann Arbor that occurred after the Free Press printed numerous factual errors to aggrandize some violations that, by comparison, seem hardly worth mentioning -- written by reporters who did not know the rules themselves. Granted, our previous coaching staff created an opening by failing to have players fill out simple, required forms on voluntary workouts, which, by the way, contributed to us being hit with violations more than any other single detail. That doesn't erase the fact that the Free Press report contained errors that were never corrected, a point Michigan made in its report to the NCAA, while in the case of Ohio State we have all of what we know to be true and much more.
I've not seen one credible refutation of any of the allegations made against Ohio State over the past 10 years, particularly since most of the incriminating statements came from the Buckeyes players themselves, who have fully acknowledged they were given benefits that broke the rules. The NCAA simply does not enforce its rules across the board; it picks and chooses and it has purposely steered clear of Tressel.
It can no longer do that, and his favored 'plausible deniability' defense has been blown up. He participated in a coverup and we can all know this to be true: If Jim Tressel is calling a press conference ONE DAY after a story runs that was built on an anonymous source, this is nothing more than a typical ploy be someone who has much more to hide -- make an effort to offer a quick mea culpa and hope to stop the investigation right here. That can only mean he is hoping no one takes a deeper look. The NCAA loses its last shreds of credibility if it accepts the Ohio State whitewash without a full investigation that ends with multi-year probation, a loss of scholarships and a new head coach. Because the truth is, the integrity of the football program matches the academic quality of the school.
|3 years 27 weeks ago||I say six Big Ten teams get in||
Most projections have the Big Ten getting six teams in. Even the SEC, which is not strong this year, is projected to get six teams in. Obviously, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin are in. And then three more out of these five: Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota and Penn State.
I don't think anything has changed for Michigan: Win two of the final three regular-season games and one Big Ten tourney game and the Wolverines are in. We have a great chance to help ourselves by beating two teams battling us for a spot -- Minnesota and Michigan State.
There is a chance, even, that if Michigan beats Wisconsin, it could get in with that and one more regular-season win even if it dropped its first tourney game. But it's not a great situation to be in, because that would mean Michigan lost to a lower-rated conference opponent to open the tournament, and that's the last game the selection committee would see.
But if Michigan wins two of three to finish 9-9 in the conference, and adds a first-round win in the Big Ten tourney, I think we're in. In that scenario, it won't matter who beat who in the conference in these final two weeks. I agree with the posters who say what's more important is to see the other nonconference teams we have beaten -- Oakland and Clemson, for example -- finish strong.
|3 years 28 weeks ago||My Tennessee brother, I hear ya||
What a great post. Right on the money on the South and how people think.
I was born in the South, in Alabama, and my whole family is from Walker County, Alabama, a rural place between Birmingham and Memphis. But my grandparents were of the generation that aimed higher and they made something of themselves. They moved north for one reason and one reason only: To educate their children, to change their lives.
So it was different for me. My grandfather was a major influence in my life and he would not hear of me going to a university in the South, where he had lived most of his life. To him, it was all about the long-term view and what would be best for me the rest of my life. And so he encouraged me to go to Michigan. We were living in Michigan and he said, "You can get in-state tuition at one of the best universities in the world. Why would you go anywhere else?" This was a man who grew up poor, he knew the value of a dollar. I looked around, got accepted at a number of places and even made visits to Dartmouth and Yale. For the difference in cost, I was simply not convinced the education I'd get at those places would be worth that much more than what I'd get at Michigan.
I have often wondered how different I would be, how different my career would be, if I had gone to Alabama instead of Michigan. And I am grateful I had people in my life to steer me to the place that would mean the most to me down the line. And that's why I love Michigan. It's not the football team, though I enjoy football -- it's that Michigan changed my life.
After graduation, I returned to Alabama, and I stayed in the South for many years. I had the ability to succeed in my chosen field, but the Michigan degree opened doors again and again. Even in places like Birmingham and New Orleans, a lot of people know about Michigan.
And the ones that don't, the ones who see it as any other school like an Alabama, you'd never want to work for them anywhere because all they're really telling you is they don't have an evolved world-view. The number of people in my family who never left Alabama because they just didn't know any better, or were scared of what's out there, far outnumber those of us who went away and came back. It is a region of misplaced priorities and underachievers. It has great soul, but in general SEC universities do not serve their athletes well once the football ends and life begins. It just doesn't matter that much to them, it only matters that they give it lip-service a la SEC Commissioner Mike Silve. He perfectly represents the SEC rationalization brigade.
The mindset the writer discusses here is sadly accurate. Most of the fans of the SEC cannot see beyond the football field. Worse, they don't even understand why anyone would care to. If I could talk to high school players in the South who have a chance to go to Michigan, that's what I'd tell them. They wouldn't all see the value, but many would, and later in life they'd be grateful just like I am.
|3 years 28 weeks ago||I pretty much agree..||
that 18-year-old always think nothing will ever happen to them.
However, I also think there really is not that much awareness among recruits that this goes on to the degree it does in the Sleazy Equals Championships conference. So I would argue that if more recruits had one-on-one talks with past recruits who were told all sorts of things that turned out to mean nothing when their scholarships were pulled, it would make a big difference.
But the schools who engage in this certainly are not going to tell them, and the recruits who got cut from the team after annual tryouts are not around to tell them. It will take some work to get this more out in the open. These stories are starting to get out there but more tales need to emerge. We should not fixate on these Jones kids and argue over what did or did not happen. There are plenty more examples.
A deeper look would reveal just what it has done to disrupt the lives of a lot of kids who did nothing wrong, all so that guys like Nick Saban can feel better about his depth and not be saddled with educating players he recruited and who signed with him in good faith, but just didn't turn out to be the players he thought they were.
|3 years 28 weeks ago||A good point||
That's a good question. There's a book waiting to be written. I have seen a number of players who got screwed quoted, mostly in the excellent takedown SI wrote on the subject (and they have continued to pound away.)
But there's got to be more, and you wonder what they were told, how the schools broke it to them. I wonder how many guys learned then the sole power of the university to grant and revoke a football scholarship every year -- or move them to a fraudulent medical list so they still get school paid for, but the athletic dept doesn't have to count it against the 85 cap.
There are no doubt some incredible stories about what these kids were told.
|3 years 28 weeks ago||A reprehensible practice -- and a huge competitive edge||
I'm glad to see this subject brought up on this board because it is so galling to see these schools subvert the rules to give themselves an advantage. To think that Michigan went on probation for not properly accounting for stretching, while these SEC schools skate even though they deny scholarships to kids after they've moved in on campus, well, that says it all about the NCAA's priorities.
Paul Finebaum has been all over this in terms of it being the wrong way to treat student/athletes or, in the case of the SEC, football players who are registered for classes. But no newspaper in the South wants to touch this, which is why you see Sports Illustrated hitting it hard. Where are the newspapers in Jackson, Birmingham, Columbia and New Orleans? Not only is there no outrage, they think their schools are smart for finding ways to bend the rules.
And it certainly is reprehensible. It also produces a huge competitive edge for the SEC. What you essentially have here is schools signing students and then basically requiring them to "tryout" for the team each year. And if a guy comes in who was less than advertised, or a better guy comes along at that position, they just kick the first player off the team. They try to come up with a reason, but the fact is no reason is needed. They can just do it if they want to, and they want to. Nothing fascinates an SEC coach like a new player who looks better than the one they signed last year.
So imagine if everyone else lives with the 85-scholarship rule, but your school brings in 7-8 players each year beyond the standard 25-scholarship limit. Over a four-year period, that school has a pool of more than 30 extra players to evaluate and field a stronger team. It is a huge advantage: SEC teams don't have to live with their misses. They just oversign and cut the misses from previous years as needed, or force them to take medical exemptions even if they are not all that injured. Check how many medical exemptions Alabama has each year compared to any other school in the country. It's disgusting. You can see more here: www.oversigning.com
Giving your team a pool of players to build out of that is more than 30 percent larger than other schools are able to use can make a real difference in winning games -- games in which even a few players can give a team a decided edge.
The SEC builds in that edge, doesn't play by the same rules, and then boasts about how strong its teams are. The league's strength on the football field is not so surprising once one looks at how they go about it. They basically run them like NFL camps. Your grades don't matter. If a better player comes along, you're gone no matter how you're doing in school -- and it's not hard to do well at an SEC school. In the immortal words of former Auburn basketball coach Sonny Smith, who said this upon learning one of his players, Mike Jones, had failed out of Auburn. "How do you fail out of Auburn?" he asked. "We could pass a house plant at Auburn, if we could get it to go to class."
|3 years 28 weeks ago||A meandering post of baseless anger in search of a target||
This whole post seems to be just sarcasm and misguided anger masquerading as analysis, but the one comment that stands out as the most inane is this one:
"Hopefully we'll start seeing some reason for optimism other than Mattison soon. Nothing in the intervening weeks qualifies, not even Jason Whitlock's endorsement."
You haven't seen any reason for optimism from the moment Brady Hoke stepped behind the podium when he was introduced? Come on. None of us can predict the future, but if you cannot see any reason for substantial optimism in the way our new coach has gone about his first month on the job, then you're never going to see it. The way he has handled himself has been nothing but refreshing, along with the way he has represented the university and interacted with current and future players. He has a lot of excellent tangible and intangible qualities and I get a little tired of unsupported predictions that everything will get worse offensively just because the predictable spread run by RR piled up a lot of yardage against weaklings, making for some pretty, meaningless stats because it could not score against quality teams.
For every stat this site continues to rely on to cast dirt on the new coaching staff, the simple counter-argument is Michigan went 0-6 last season against the six best teams on our schedule. Constantly dwelling on rushing stats means nothing. Those are averages run up against the weaklings on our schedule who were unable to tackle Denard -- but ranking high in rushing and much lower in scoring tells us a lot. When push came to shove, we got shoved -- for three seasons, not one. So be honest. No strong team had any problems keeping us out of the end zone, and that's really all that matters.
I therefore don't get the point of the attacks on Al Borges, who is a highly qualified coach who has run lots of great offenses that do something the RR offense cannot: Score against physically imposing teams. I do not understand the constant praise of Rodriguez's offense. It did not succeed in the conference in which we play. You can't win a national title without winning the Big 10 first, no matter how flashy it looks.
I don't know if Brady Hoke is the next superstar in coaching, but I think he's a pretty damn good coach. And I think he gets Michigan, and it shows. He has shown a lot of class, including toward Rodriguez, and including wisely staying silent as RR makes stupid comments about how he "didn't get to finish the job" (of completely destroying the football program, I assume) and how "we were just about to turn the corner," which is a galling statement after our final three games against Wisconsin, Ohio State and Mississippi State. Yeah, we were turning the corner -- right in to an oncoming locomotive known as our 2011 schedule.
And based on Hoke's track record, I see no reason why he will not excel at Michigan starting this fall with a team that will be much more able to compete against the teams we play every year. So not only am I pleased with what he has done so far, I am more far more optimistic than I would be if RR had been given a fourth year. It's not even close in my mind.
|3 years 29 weeks ago||If Michigan is .500 in Big Ten play...||
... then we should be in regardless. Getting to 9-9 in conference play will be a tall order for our team. I like the direction and I like the young talent, but we've still got a lot of work to finish .500 in a very tough league. We do that, we'll get in and I agree with the poster who said that if we arrive at the MSU game with a 9-8 Big Ten record, we'll be in. Maybe one win in the conference tourney to assure it, but with the expanded field, I say we'd slip in.
The hard part will be getting to 9-9 in the conference. A lot of good basketball will need to be played to reach that level.
|3 years 29 weeks ago||'Projects' need to earn schollies||
I have to agree with LandonC. One cannot conclude much from this film. He was pushing down kids much smaller than him, I didn't see him tangling with guys who were more physically mature. And yes, he's 6-7 and has a great frame, but the world is filled with large men who suck at sports even though everyone sees how big they are and assumes otherwise.
I don't think there's any question we'd love to have him as a preferred walk-on. We get depth that may project and we risk nothing.
But a scholarship at this point? I just don't see it, but I'm not a coach. Maybe they work this kid out and like what they see. I just hope they're not seeing a kid who is a worthwhile project for a lower-tier school, but not for Michigan. He has been invited to visit by 3 Big Ten schools, so they are seeing something. But they'd have to be super impressed with his mental makeup, his agility and his upside to even think along those lines. He looks rawer than raw. And if he's playing at one of those 'academies,' that usually means weak competition, almost every week.
To me, a big decision for Hoke and his staff only needs to be made if the kid has decided he'll only be a preferred walk-on at Ohio State, and it will take a scholarship for Michigan or another school to lure him away. Then it's a big decision.
It may not come to that. Hopefully, we sell him on choosing Michigan as the place to be a preferred walk-on with an opportunity to earn a scholarship. Because it seems a stretch to think this kid, as of today, would beat out any of the potential members of the recruiting class of 2012, which is how he needs to be judged. We're going to want every scholarship we have to put together an outstanding class during a year that is being touted already for being full of great talent across the Midwest.
|3 years 30 weeks ago||Almost none of the guys you list...||
are even playing. RR also did not recruit Mike Martin, and would not have wanted him. Go to some games. Wisconsin ran 31 straight running plays on us. If that's not getting run over, I do't know what is.
And if you don't think RR purposely built a smaller team, you're just wrong. That was a stated goal.
|3 years 30 weeks ago||Don't count out Tech||
.. if only because Cooper is from ACC country.
But I like our chances if it's a Big Ten school. I can't see him picking MSU over Michigan. I have felt, based on his comments, that Ferentz impressed him and Iowa was the leader.
Cooper bringing his mom and brother with him to Ann Arbor is a big plus. Can only help us.
Plus, he wants to go to business school and play early. We have a great business school and he can play right away. It really comes down to how he did or did not connect with the coaches and players.
|3 years 30 weeks ago||Just a brainless comment||
Michigan always has recruited well because of its academics. Lamar Woodley was a 5-star player who came because he said it was the best school. People go to SEC schools only for football, and then they either make the NFL or work as greeters at casinos and soup kitchens -- a degree from LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, etc., is worth almost nothing. A houseplant could graduate there if you could get it to go to class.
RichRod recruited smaller players. The star rating systems attach a lot to SIZE and speed, not just speed, and that's why we saw him bring in a lot of 3-star recruits.
But to say recruits don't care about the academics is preposterous. It's one of the top public universities on Earth and anyone has ever had a job that involves hiring can tell you there is no comparison between Michigan grads and, for example, Michigan State grads. The intellectual divide between those two schools is great and it's simply because Michigan attracts and demands far better high school graduates.
Secondly, recruiting players means recruiting their parents, and the parents care almost totally about academics and are persuasive with their sons.
Finally, all those 'better football teams' at Tech, State and Iowa only became better against RichRod's little guys, who have been run over for 3 straight years.
I don't think there's anything in your comment that has a factual basis.
|3 years 30 weeks ago||We need Super Cooper||
DT Darian Cooper, who is from a town right up the road from me, is a key recruit if we can land him. We really need a defensive tackle. Very thin on roster, though there is an expectation that Hoke will move some players around because the previous staff seemed to be very unsure of where some players fit -- either due to the players underperforming (Campbell) or the defensive staff not all being on the same page about the player's position (Roh and a host of DBs).
But even if we find a few DTs on the roster (and new recruit Chris Rock may end up there) we still need bonafide tackles. Doubt it will be a problem after this year because it is a position Hoke really knows how to recruit, but landing Cooper -- and LB Leilon Willingham -- gives us some players in this class who might get on the field this fall. (I put Cooper and Willingham both in that category).
And I think we have a chance. I'd still call Iowa the favorite -- they had him almost locked up until Mattison visited his home and persuaded him to at least visit. But the weightlifting incident, and more importantly, how Ferentz handled it by largely blowing it off and staying on the road recruiting, has produced a backlash and some concerns. It provides an opening. Unsure if Hoke and Mattison can turn Cooper this weekend, but don't forget Cooper is well aware of the Ravens D -- that's his hometown NFL team -- and the draw of playing for a coach who can get him ready for the NFL is he has that kind of ability, well, that's one of selling points.
One more point: Cooper wants to go to business school. The Ross Business School is in the top 5 in the U.S.
Will be interesting to see how it plays out, but I will say we have taken our best shot with this youngster, and I think he's a heckuva talent with a big upside because he is not close to topping out and plays with an unbelievable motor. If you read his comments on twitter, it's pretty clear he has opened up his mind and came to Ann Arbor this weekend sincerely interested. He's not just taking a visit because he had one more to take, which is what a lot of kids do and what I hope Jake Fisher is doing at Oregon.
|3 years 30 weeks ago||If test score is there, he gets offered||
That's my prediction. They're not going to offer or not offer a guy based on whether some silly recruiting service gives him 3 or 4 stars. Those are just scouting reports and consensus views, they are hardly scientific. It's not like kids go on to perform based on their spot on those lists. How hard they work, their mental makeup, a lot of things carry them further along or see them plateau.
People associate great recruiters with being persuasive. That is only part of it. The most important part is talent evaluation -- is the kid's best football ahead of him or behind him? There are a zillion instances in which a coach's evaluation has a kid higher or lower than he appears on a list. The guess here is they like Rawls' talent. I like what Hoke is doing in terms of evaluating upside and taking players who will excel as they physically mature. It is not true that only the guys with Big Ten-ready bodies in high school go on to be big stars in college.
The All-Big Ten lists are filled with guys who were 3-star recruits.
They also expect some attrition, so the current scholarship number is not a hard cap. We're going to lose a few players after this year, it's inevitable.
It also is true that our biggest needs left in this class our, in this order: Defensive tackle, offensive line, tight end and then an RB.
That assumes we get Willingham. Michigan needs LBs who can come in and compete for playing time.
If we land Bryant and Fisher, and then get Cooper at DT, it's a strong class. Add Clark, Barnett and Rawls on top of that, it's an excellent class. Personally, I think Barnett will be tough to land, but given Hoke's performance so far, don't count him out. I think we will get Clark, which is a great get and a takeaway from State, which already is counting him out after his U-M visit.
|3 years 31 weeks ago||Agree on VanBergen||
Unless he gets hurt, VanBergen definitely starts next season. It was the other side, played by Greg Banks and others, where we were really hurting,
But if we put our best four out there on the D-line, it's going to be Martin, VanBergen, Roh and someone else. We need players who are in the system to make their mark, possibly starting with Richard Ash and Terry Talbott. It's hard to say from the mix of recruits over the past two seasons who is still even on the defensive line. One task for Mattison and crew is to straighten that out. Are Campbell and Washington on the O-line or D-line?
To me, the DT spot is overall, the weakest on our team, so we may be looking at playing a lot of 3-man fronts with varied, zone blitzers. Everyone is so focused on recruiting for the secondary, but the fact is the biggest glaring weakness is most likely going to be problems stopping the run. We just don't have depth there and we have not yet identified depth out of what we have. It will be very interesting to see what this coaching staff does with the roster it inherits. At LB, guys like Kenny Demens, J.B. Fitzgerald, Josh Furman, Jake Ryan, Isaiah Bell, Marvin Robinson. Who steps up? Guys who have been on the team will most likely outplay freshman. Experience is not everything. Greg Banks has been there forever and all he really proved last season was why he never played when we had better talent
I don't think we've signed a new defender yet who will get on the field this season, but if we get Willingham maybe he plays at LB. McClure possible at DB. We are signing a lot of talent, but these guys need some experience being in college, getting bigger, stronger, working their way up on the team.
I would say the goal is to redshirt most of the class, with just a few exceptions. If it's more than that, then our class has some surprises in it or our defense is just that bad. I have to think Mattison is going to go with experience and see how those players respond to his staff's coaching.
|3 years 31 weeks ago||Are you kidding me?||
How would he know it? Any recruiting coordinator worth having would know it. It is their job to collect background information, tapes, anything of note. Indeed, making sure the coach has everything he needs on any potential recruit of interest is the one thing they must make a priority.
Have you ever spent any time around a D-I college football program? I have. I have seen Saban's system when he was at LSU. I can guarantee you if this kid had four previous generations at U-M, Saban would not only know it, he'd act on it.
These programs have all of this information on everyone. They get tapes, they have full biographical information. If he did not know it, it confirms what most people who have worked with Rodriguez -- he is not detail-oriented, which is why he didn't have the players fill out the required forms on voluntary workouts, which is the sole reason we got put on NCAA probation. A coach who said he thought that had been done and "didn't know" that it wasn't, even though it his job to know. He is ultimately responsible. And so we went on probation because when the NCAA asked for the forms every single team in the country fills out, Michigan had none. It's right there in the NCAA investigation. He should've been fired immediately for being so stupid.
So if he didn't know about Wile, well, that's consistent with all the things he should have known but didn't. If he did know it and didn't recruit him at all, which is the case, then it's just more arrogance on his part. Stop making excuses for the guy. To say he should not have been expected to know Wile's background is naive. That is what recruiting coordinators do. The stuff they have on these guys is remarkable. My guess is he did know it and didn't care.
And for all who say, Rodriguez is gone, let's move on, he's not gone. We're paying for it for the next 3 years because this guy just drew up plays all the time and did nothing else. It appeared no other unit on the team even had a coach -- the defense or the special teams. Everyone knows the voluntary workouts aren't really voluntary, at any school -- Ohio State's players said as much. But they said they understood what was voluntary and what was not by filling out and signing the forms. Only our former coach blew off the paperwork. So we have this guy hanging over us until the probation ends. Let's not be cutting him slack on Matt Wile. It is just another example of incompetence, not the only one by a long shot.
|3 years 31 weeks ago||Those rankings mean very little||
Yeah, other guys got on some little list, and Wile was picked to kick in the Army All-American game, where he played well. The rankings are always, always wrong. Smart coaches don't recruit by them. A bunch of recruiting experts on the web don't know anything and these rankings, especially on positions like kickers, are always wildly off.
I stand by what I said: Expecting the coaching staff to know that a Div. I kicker has four generations of Michigan history is hardly asking him to know the background of every recruit in the country. That is a highly unusual fact, not simply where his mom and dad went to school. If it were a routine fact, I could see it, but kids like this don't come along too often.
And it's a valid point to make now, because it demonstrates all the qualities Hoke had that we have needed. He gets it.
|3 years 31 weeks ago||Agreed||
I know Gibbons is on scholarship, is the other guy? Let's hope they finish their degrees. Nothing wrong with them as people, and they are still on our team. We all want them to succeed.
|3 years 31 weeks ago||Look, if he can make a 35-yarder, that's||
...going to give us points where we couldn't get them the past two seasons.
The bar is not too high. We just want a guy we can send out there if we get to the 25 or closer, that's all we ask. He doesn't need to be Janikowski. They other two, Brookshankin and Squibbons, can't hit their ass with both hands.
One question: How in the world was Rodriguez not recruiting an All-American kicker with all this Michigan lineage? Every day, I am more and more glad he's gone. Think of the year of rebuilding we have saved by bringing in Coach Hoke -- and Greg Mattison -- right now. Amazing.
|3 years 31 weeks ago||No stopping the Hoke freight train||
We are quickly moving from hoping to salvage a decent recruiting class to now wondering just how good it can be? Don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but in two weeks Michigan football has come a long way from what it would have looked like headed into next season.
I like the kinds of guys Hoke is going after -- and landing.
If we can get Stefan McClure, Jake Fisher (again), Tony Posada, Leilon Willingham, Frank Clark and Matt Wile -- and a QB (as in, switch the kid who pledged to BC), a D tackle and Chris Bryant, that is one helluva class and might even finish as a top 25 class (of course,the rankings never turn out to be right four years later). And it would be nice to get a WR, whether it is Hakeem Flowers or someone else. It also sounds like RB Thomas Rawls, who is visiting next weekend, will commit just as soon as U-M offers (Rawls may be an academic question). That would give us in the neighborhood of 19-21 recruits and we're off to a nice start in the Brady Hoke era.
|3 years 31 weeks ago||Heitzman, Remember That Name||
I am reminded of what Nick Saban once told me about recruiting -- ignore the experts, evaluate the kid, make your own call. Watch the tape, check out his character, does he have skills and, if so, does he work hard? Don't take kids who are lazy by nature. The hardest part about recruiting, he said, is to separate the kids who are playing close to their best football in high school, and will only get a little better, from the ones you are catching early.
There are lots of stars in every college sport who were not high-profile commits. As I always like to point out, Glen Rice was Bill Frieder's third choice at small forward -- true story. You know, the guy who broke the scoring record for a single NCAA tournament.
Signing kids such as Keith Heitzman is smart. I don't mind people taking stock of where he is now, but writing speculative predictions such as whether he will or will not ever make All-Big Ten, we start stepping off the ledge with that kind of talk. Heitzman will redshirt, and he's still getting bigger -- who knows what he'll look like in two years, much less five. Michigan history is filled with guys who transformed.
Watch the tape on this kid. He runs well and he's going to get unbelievably stronger with Wellman. You may not recognize this kid in two years because I bet he'll never miss a workout.
And I love the name: How many times have we had some kid from Ohio with a name like Heitzman playing for Ohio State and drilling us? Heitzman is the kind of guy you hate if he's on the other team, the constant motor type, but you love him on our side.
So welcome Keith Heitzman. We can use smart athletes with a big upside. And the mark of a great program is you recruit guys to come in and work for a few years, then see what you've got. That is the preferable way to operate. Freshman who play should be great, not a desperation move. So let's use Heitzman as a guy to watch. Almost no buzz when he committed, yet he was going to a good school in Vandy, which by the way actually has produced some strong SEC defenses.
I predict he's going to help us and he's not going to be a dumbass doing dumb things. I trust this staff's ability to evaluate. Let us not forget that when Hoke's Ball State team played Michigan, they nearly beat our butts. He's building this thing back to be strong for a decade, not just the next few years.
|3 years 31 weeks ago||Solid analysis||
I like this breakdown. Don't know for sure if it all will turn out that way, but it's logical and it illustrates a key point -- don't underestimate the probability that the last staff's defensive coaches had many players out of position.
I thought Glen Mason had a good point when he looked at our players and said, "I saw good athletes who could run," but they couldn't make they plays because they were often fundamentally unsound. The problem was the scheme and they probably had a lot of the wrong guys out there. So I have to think we'll see players put in places where they can excel and I think Robinson could be a star at linebacker. I also am high on Carvin Johnson on the back end. He's a smart, private school kid from New Orleans who knows what to do and hits. Kenny Demens, J.B. Fitzgerald, Quinton Washington, Jibreel Black, Richard Ash, William Campbell -- it is not as hopeless as one might think if some of these guys step up. The season between the first and second year is the one when most players improve the most and we have a number of guys in that category.
I think we have some players. If Woolfolk steps right in and another corner emerges (sleeper: Christian is a great athlete, let's see how he does with better coaching), and we can land one hotshot (McClure? Taylor?), things start to look better. If we could get a handful of guys who redshirted last year and out of this year's class who can help on defense, this unit will get a lot better in a hurry. It's being coached now.
|3 years 31 weeks ago||Diversity on the coaching staff||
I just want to say that I not only agree with the writer raising the issue, I commend him. Of course he is right. These kids come from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures, and the coaching staff should reflect that, not in rigid percentages or quotas, but significantly enough to show the university's good intentions.
At the end of the day, you always choose the best person. But if you find yourself never choosing a minority coach as the best person, in my view perhaps the evaluators need to at least discuss whether they're making every effort.
Football is a social society as much as anything, it should reflect society. There's a diverse group of great coaches out there and it's not like Michigan is a tough sell.
And it would seem that with coach Brady Hoke, as real as they come and off to a start that I'd call masterful, a world-class university such as Michigan would see the value in bringing in a few young, talented coaches who also bring diversity to the staff. You never know, one of them might go on to be head coach at Michigan.
|3 years 32 weeks ago||Don't Fight the Feeling||
Let's face it folks: People don't just like Brady Hoke, they respect him and really admire him. It's coming from all corners. Once people meet this guy, they love this guy, and they love him forever, want to be around him. He's obviously treated scores of people well in his life and it's flowing right back to him in multiple ways. His former players couldn't wait to help him. His former fellow assistants can't wait to work with him.
Regardless of what you thought the day he was announced, it would be hard for any new coach to turn in a stronger performance than he has his first week. He has done everything right. Check out Mattison's comments about Hoke in the story up tonight on the Detroit News site. If it wasn't Brady Hoke, he's not coming. Our new head coach is the real deal and we may be on to something with this guy.
I love his OC and DC, and I love the way he has attacked this job. So, we're all wondering, is it too good to be true? Is it too much to believe that Michigan really has found the right guy?
I don't think so. I think it's our fatalist attitude. I think this guy is going to win and I think we're going to land bigtime players on both sides of the ball. A defense led by Hoke and a former NFL coordinator won't hurt us on the recruiting trail, and neither will Al Borges' pro style offense.
And these guys, we should note, are smart: They sell the school, the school, the school. We forget sometimes, but a Michigan degree gets your foot in the door of places other degrees can't. Our coaches don't have to sell the football facilities. Just give a tour and the kids are wowed.
When it comes to recruiting, it's obvious Hoke knows what he's doing. I'm willing to say right now he'll have a strong class next fall, after his first season. And who knows, maybe he'll pull some surprises over the last few weeks this year. I'm not counting him out. He seems like a relentless force of positivity.
I'm not fightin the feelin, I'm lovin it. Have a cold one, sit back and let the man do his thing.
|3 years 32 weeks ago||A defense of Brandon, and moving on||
I don't personally know Stanley Jacobs of the LSU supervisors, but I did work in New Orleans for a number of years and I do know about the Tiger Athletic Foundation, the giant fundraising arm formed as a private nonprofit so it can basically do whatever it wants for LSU football, so I want to offer a sane scenario of why Brandon's visit to Baton Rouge was not necessarily to land Les Miles.
1. If Brandon had really wanted to land Les Miles, Miles would be at Michigan.
2. The people saying Miles was twice offered the job are Lousiana politicians. They certainly aren't going to say they got snookered, because a lot of LSU fans don't even like Miles. He has to be portrayed as being wanted elsewhere because he is substantially unloved by LSU fans.
3. Brandon's plan was indeed to fire Rodriguez and hire Harbaugh, who definitely would be the coach if he had wanted it. But by Brandon saying he didn't offer the job to Harbaugh, whenever everyone knows he would have, it gives Miles cover to secure a contract extension at LSU, which is all he really asked for out of the deal from Brandon, his teammate at Michigan. And Harbaugh was just one of those things: The NFL got in a feeding frenzy over him, and he was gone. And it was an itch he was bound to scratch, so better than dealing with those rumors every offseason even if he had come to Michigan.
4. The reason most LSU fans were ready to fire Miles during the 2010 season is because he is a wacky coach, but he's a consistently fortunate coach if that's the case. He wins, but somehow you don't end up sold on him. Ultimately, Brandon wasn't sold on him. And he met with Miles after he'd already spent a lot of time with Hoke, and was wowed by his interview. Miles was not the right fit and Brandon knew it, but a faction of Michigan faithful wanted him to get a look. It was a four-hour deal, period.
5. Michigan would've had to break the bank to hire LSU and his very highly paid assistants, which is fine if you're getting a coach you are super excited about. But what if you aren't excited? What if, at the end of it all, you kind of liked Hoke, the guy you had just spent the weekend with? Why unload all that cash for a staff you don't really want?
6. Brandon flew in to Baton Rouge for a pit stop. He didn't even stay overnight. He wasn't there to hire a coach, he was there to have dinner with an old teammate, tell him it was going to be Hoke and discuss how to handle it.
7. A lot of NFL players and a lot of former Michigan players who didn't make the league but are doing well in life called Brandon to recommend Hoke, with many saying he was an influence on players on both sides of the ball even then. Do not underestimate the cumulative impact of this display of loyalty. Also don't underestimate its value to Michigan going forward.
8. With more momentum than the public realized rolling behind Hoke, Brandon was never locked in on Miles. After Harbaugh, it was open, and as soon as Brandon got to know Hoke, he was the new favorite.
9. Brandon is not modeling himself after Bill Martin's pursuit of a big name. Brandon would more like to emulate the Michigan Godfather, Don Canham. Canham didn't set out to hire big names, he set out to hire promising coaches who were about to become big names once they got to Michigan, with all its resources. Hoke is an excellent recruiter -- just iike he was at Michigan -- and the two turnarounds he just pulled off did not happen at quality programs suffering a down period. We're talking Ball State and San Diego State, and his impact on those programs is impressive. The overall record is meaningless. You're getting a great coach for Michigan with almost 100 college games of head coaching experience. Hiring purely off stats is just stupid. And we also should look back and think about the defenses we had in the eight seasons when Hoke was previously on the staff. I think he will be fine.
10. So I can definitely see why Brandon did it the way he did it. He was a CEO. You check out all the candidates, then you make a decision. You don't hire in midstream, ever. Hoke is a very sincere guy, a hard-working coach who knows defense and knows to turn the offense over to a guy like Al Borges. He's also beloved by his players, the classic father figure, a guy who really can coach and also happens to love the place. Think about this: As I am writing this, you can rest assured Hoke is working for Michigan tonight and well into the night. That's the guy Brandon was spending time with before he met Miles, and that's why the Michigan plane wasn't on the ground in Louisiana for very long.
11. No matter what your view of the process, ultimately you have to judge the AD by whether he got the right guy. I am confident Brandon did get the right guy and I think Hoke will have success because of how he does things and because he's going to be a lights-out recruiter at Michigan, if not this year definitely after his first season. I'm really not worried that Hoke won't win. He's got the knack, the evidence is there and know one can sell Michigan any better than he can.
12. LSU was still smart to extend Miles and they are nuts if they ever get rid of him. He has enough talent returning to win a national title this year, and he knows it. I wish him the best and I'm glad we have Brady Hoke instead.
|3 years 32 weeks ago||Hack Henning and Michigan State||
All Lynn Henning pieces would prefer to be fluff pieces about Michigan State. That's the place he loves the most, because MSU students actually consider his writing to be somewhat avangarde, at least by East Lansing standards. They don't question his average-ness. MSU is all about average.
Occasionally, he is forced to fluff someone else, but it's must a momentary diversion until he returns to servicing Dantonio. That was the entire point of praising Hoke for potentially making an immediate impact -- an impact "just like Dantonio."
|3 years 32 weeks ago||Hoke's staff vastly superior to Rodriguez's 'innovators'||
Puh-leeze. We'd be better off if we hired every San Diego State assistants compared to the creampuff staff of buddies brought in by Rich Rod (with the exception of Barwis, who we hate to lose.)
But let's be candid: If Rodriguez's Michigan team would've played Hoke's San Diego State team in a bowl game this past season, we would've gotten killed.
The Aztecs had a great offense, not that it takes a great offense to score on a Rodriguez defense cuz even UMass runs wild, but SDSU also had a defense. .
Indeed, Hoke's old San Diego State team will give Michigan all it wants this season, and if Rodriguez were still the coach, it would be a loss for sure. The band of not-so-speedy-midgets signed by Rodriguez gets run over by everyone. And for all this criticism of 'manball' by this site, it is in fact the style of play that wins games in the SEC and every other self-respecting league. Midget ball does not win, and we proved it, except maybe in the Big East or CUSA, where everyone is undersized. The silly stats on this site that tout 'improvement' also don't win games. Our players are going to grade out a lot better once they are really coached.
I'm not going to criticize Hoke for being a coach who believes the game is won up front, on the offensive and defensive lines. That is an undeniable fact. It's exactly how Tressel builds his teams. Anyone who thinks otherwise knows nothing about football. Try telling an NFL coach the game does not start there. He'll laugh in your face.
Rodriguez always believed the game was won in a little room where he and Clueless Calvin Magee draw up plays that they think no one can stop, though honestly, we really only ran about 5-6 plays in his 'innovative' offense for most of the game. The Mississippi State players said they had great coaching on which play Michigan would favor out of which formation, and that's how it went in the game. They toyed with us.
Hoke is ten times the coach Rodriguez is. It's not even close. Any coach who presides over the three worst defenses at a school that has been playing football for more than 100 years must really suck. And to blame it all on Carr's players -- when in fact the defense got worse the more Carr's players moved on and Rodriguez's came in -- is just a fraud. And RichRod took a school not so known for a strong kicking game and made it not just worse, but remarkably worse. Breathtakingly bad.
So I for one am glad the worst coach in the history of Michigan football is gone. And I welcomed him when he came: The guy can't win in a bigtime league and that's all there is to it. No amount of so-called 'analysis' will convince me he was about to turn the corner next year. That's all designed to avoid giving credit to Hoke when he starts winning. RichRod would've gone 7-5 again if we were lucky, and he would've gotten physically dominated by every good team on our schedule. Imagine Nebraska against a Rodriguez team? Ouch. He got outscored 100-24 in three games against Ohio State. Things were not getting better.
This site needs to stop whining about the lost promise of RichRod's program. He devastated us with his giant ego and 'me first' approach to everything. It's not about the press picking on RichRod and loving Hoke. RichRod brought it on himself, he totally deserved it because of how he treated people. Arrogant and unyielding in fitting the schemes to the talent. Often wrong, never in doubt. His first order of business was to make sure Ryan Mallet knew he did not want him. The guy is a jerk. It's also not true the players all loved him -- we're already seeing that come out. Now that he's gone, maybe our best running backs can play -- the big, strong ones -- not just the ones who kissed his ass because they were 5-foot-6.
Yeah, we'll take our lumps in recruiting and next season. But at least we got the revival started and did not waste another year watching Michigan get drilled with a predictable spread offense and a bend over defense.
|3 years 34 weeks ago||The comment was about the SEC||
Not about BCS bowls. All I'm saying is, Michigan owns the SEC.
|3 years 34 weeks ago||We will be fine, and Denard won't leave||
I personally think RichRod is gone only if Harbaugh wants the job and I think that is the right move. If Harbaugh says no, Rodriguez is back with certain stipulations, though in looking at our schedule and the little guys RR recruits, I don't see him doing better than 7-5 next year. We were so far from winning the five games we lost, really, not even competitive, that we aren't going to jump up and win those games next year. Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State -- they will steamroll our small, speedy defense.
I really like Rodriguez as an OC, but he runs a system built for the Big East or ACC, not the Big Ten, SEC or Pac-10. My reasoning? It's a turnover-prone offense (his WVU and M teams have led their respective conferences in turnovers for five straight years), his defensive approach struggles against power teams, and his offense is so tricky to run that you're constantly in the position of suffering a dip whenever the starting QB leaves. True, a dropoff is inevitable when any offense sees a change at QB, but it is more pronounced with the spread because of the type of offense it is. Look at Florida: Tebow leaves and Brantley might be talented, but their offense looked horrible this season. Ohio State changes QBs and it doesn't even matter. Of course, they play defense, and not with little fast guys. Look at LSU: Their offense has been average or worse, their QBs are sporadic, but Les Miles recruits defense and they average 8 or 9 wins a year, even with the down years. Sometimes, they win 10-12 games.
With a more traditional pro set or I-formation approach, the offense is not so totally reliant on the QB. You can spread the risk, bring the player along slowly and the winning from year to year is more consistent. There is a reason Tressel's buttoned-down style wins -- it can be tailored to use the more experienced players more often until the QB grows up. There is a reason teams that run the spread are so up and down -- the QB is the whole offense, far more than in other offenses. They build for that one great season, then suffer a huge drop when new personnel comes in. You see it with every team that runs it. We don't want that at Michigan. It cannot consistently win.
My fear is more that we won't get Harbaugh, we'll go 7-5 or 6-6 next year and we've then lost another year to get the team straightened out. I am not too impressed by the 7 teams we beat this year. We had 5 quality teams on our schedule and they all manhandled us. That's not happening if Harbaugh is the coach. Our defense will get better immediately and our offense won't get our QB killed.
Denard is not going anywhere. He'll do great in any offense and, given that he did not make it through a single complete game this year, he'll see the wisdom of remaining healthy, using his teammates more, building a power running attack with Hopkins and winning a lot of games. He would love Harbaugh, who will help him become a complete quarterback and prepare him for the pros. This guy is a great recruiter and the NFL resume makes a difference with these kids.
I'm for Michigan no matter what, and that means supporting Dave Brandon. If he thinks a change is the best long-term move for the program, it's his job to think about the long-term. The sky is not falling if he pays RR $2.5 million and sends him on his way. RR will get hired somewhere else and Michigan will be far better equipped to compete in the Big Ten than we are now. The nonconference inflated 4-0 record means nothing to me. If we can't win in the Big Ten, nothing else matters. So let's recognize that RR has a gift for his style of offense, but also recognize its limits.
|3 years 34 weeks ago||M vs. the SEC||
I believe we are 7-3 in bowl games against the SEC, including wins in 3 of 4 appearances in the Cap One bowl, which includes a 2-0 record against Florida and another win over Auburn. Indeed, we own the SEC.
It's the Pac-10 teams that have given us trouble.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||Agreed||
Anyone seeing anything they did not expect? I would dearly love to see a second-half miracle. It is nauseating to watch these Buckeye fans have a 3-hour party in the stands.
But I agree with you. RR is a great offensive coordinator, but let's end it right there. And I think he is a nice guy who the players love. He is not a head coach. He ignored the defense and the special teams and that's why we cannot beat a good team. We don't have a half-team, we have one-third of a team. Our special teams are the worst in the country. The worst. And our defense is -- by far -- the worst defense of any team in a BCS conference, and it's the worst one we have had under Rodriguez. Hard to believe it could be worse than his first two, but it is.
We gain a lot of yards. But we are not a fundamentally sound team. We have been dominated by every good team we played this year and really, the only reason Rich Rod had any chance of saving his job is because of one guy -- Denard Robinson. Take him off the team, we lose to Illinois, we lose to UMass, we probably lose to Indiana.
There is no real 'progress' from the first 3-9 team except we have a superstar at quarterback. But there is more to the game. Tressel's teams are always solid across the board. They win. Flashy may be fun, but RR runs a mistake-prone brand of football that often beats itself. It takes the whole package to be the Michigan coach. We can keep some of the spread plays -- who says you have to be all one or the other? -- but we should not keep the coach. If we do, it means next year you can expect lots of yardage and about seven wins. Anyone who expects differently with this staff is just dreaming, hoping for the best. We need a head coach who can recruit across the board, not an offensive tinkerer who is literally obsessed with only one part of the game.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||Actually...||
Cmon, is this that hard? Politically it becomes difficult to fire Rodriguez if he beat Ohio State. That's pretty obvious. I threw that in there because it would become a consideration, but it is so unlikely, let's not worry too much about that. It's not going to happen. And I am not saying that definitely save Rodriguez. I am saying that is his only chance. Personally, if I knew I could get Harbaugh, I'd fire Rodriguez win or lose. Harbaugh will not set us back two more years, he'll stop us from getting set back 4 years on defense.
As for whether Harbaugh wants it, yes, he wants it. But lots of times it does not work out. What if the 49ers offer him $6 million a year? There can be other factors. He may very well want it, he may want more millions even more. Go out on the Web right now and look up what Andrew Luck said about next season. He considers Harbaugh like a second father and he is already saying he is concerned whether Harbaugh will be back. He loves Michigan, but what if someone offers him twice the money? These things do happen. But he is gone from Stanford.
I'll pass on responding to the sarcasm. No one believes RR purposely chose overmatched players. But it is true that he pays little attention to it because he believes great offense solves all. He's not a great evaluator of defensive talent. He's not even a good defensive coach. And he is loyal to his friends to a fault. Opposing teams look at the Michigan defense and are amazed at how fundamentally unsound it is, no matter who is playing.
Look, I don't hate Rodriguez. But no one should feel bad when he gets canned. The bottom line is we should be competing with the big boys, not desperately seeking to score our way into the top half of the Big Ten.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||Stay tuned||
... maybe you don't know what sources I have. Be sure to tell me I'm right when this goes down.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||Improved every year?||
Come on. We did not beat a single good team this year. As for whether RR will make the defense better, no, he won't! That's the point. It will never be any good. He's never had a defense that could play in the Big Ten anywhere he's been.
But what you're missing is this is about Harbaugh's intention to leave and Brandon not wanting to pass him up. If it were not for that, and the fact that we'll be humiliated tomorrow, perhaps RichRod gets another year. But don't tell me he's a great coach. He's a great offensive coordinator.
As for asking me what record would make me happy, well, that's the point I am making. A winning record should not save the coach. We are non-competitive with the best teams, we beat only the bad teams. I don't care about any specific record, but this is a non-competitive team that will do no better against the top Big Ten teams -- plus Nebraska -- in 2011. And Brandon knows it.
Everybody wants to attack when someone offers a real analysis of an offensive-minded coach who cannot win in the Big Ten. But I'm not wrong and there's nothing in this guy's performance to merit keeping him if Jim Harbaugh is saying he'd love to be the coach. If you put the two side by side, who would you hire? That's how Brandon is looking at it, not whether RichRod has made 'progress' from his first 3-9 team. If you say you'd take Rodriguez, great, we disagree. Of those two, I'd hire Harbaugh. That is the decision.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||Say what you want...||
...but I notice you did not offer any evidence to refute it. The argument I put forth is the analysis going on at Michigan.
Remember what I wrote. The reason it's going to happen is Harbaugh is forcing their hand and Brandon really, really likes him. He doesn't hate Rodriguez (Mary Sue Coleman does not really care for him) but Brandon also is not sold enough on Rodriguez to pass up Harbaugh. He sees next year's schedule and he sees 7-5 again, maybe. Plus, if Michigan does not hire Harbaugh, the San Francisco 49ers will, or some other NFL team. So Michigan will make the move, as you shall see. My sources are not wrong and they are the same ones who told me three years ago that Michigan had decided not to offer Les Miles the job, which prompted Miles' famous press conference in which he acted like he had turned down a job he had never been offered. Every bit of that information was right on the money.
The only way Rodriguez stays is if Michigan beats Ohio State (not going to happen) or cannot close the deal with Harbaugh (doubtful, given both sides' interests). But even if Michigan strikes out with Harbaugh and keeps RichRod, he will then be forced to hire a top DC and let him pick his assistants.
Things can always go wrong in a negotiaton, but that's all that will save RichRod. Brandon is shrewd. If Harbaugh wants it, he's the new coach.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||Cool post||
... of course, it's easy to be cool when you know your team is going to kill us. The only silver lining is it will be crystal clear to all Michigan fans why David Brandon has decided to replace Rodriguez with Harbaugh. You can't win with half a team, or a coach who only knows half the game and won't turn the other half over to someone who could turn it around.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||The OSU backup QBs are awful, but....||
...that won't matter. If they can hand the ball off, that will be enough against the Michigan defense. Used to be knocking out a star player meant something in this game, but Michigan cannot stop any offense, good or bad. If Ohio State has no turnovers, they win by 21, easy. Because they will stop our offense enough by just forcing it into mistakes.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||What's next? Harbaugh||
Here's now you will know it's Harbaugh: If Rich Rod gets fired. If he's not fired, that means Brandon could not land Harbaugh. He won't make a move unless he is certain. He won't fire the coach and take a chance on a coaching search. If he cannot get JH, Rich Rod gets another year with a new defensive staff. But if RichRod gets fired, then you can be sure Brandon has his man ready to take over. It's down to that.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||The Night Before Rodriguez's Last Michigan Game||
All you have to do is look at how we did against the four best teams we played -- Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State and Penn State -- and you will know we have absolutely no chance in this game unless Ohio State has 5-plus turnovers and we get touchdowns off of four of them.
I like the spread offense, I really do, but I am a little tired of all these people on here saying that, 'Now that we have the offense in shape, once we add the defense next year, we'll be great!"
No, we won't. Rich Rodriguez has never had a great defense. In the Big East, there is no such thing. His 'great' 3-3-5 defenses there would have gotten decimated in the Big Ten. All you need to do is note that Michigan, which is not close to contending for the Big Ten, whipped a mediocre UConn team that may very well clinch the Big East's BCS berth.
There is absolutely nothing to support the argument that our itty bitty defenders are going to do any better next year. The truth is, no matter how dynamic the offense, it means nothing because touchdowns mean nothing in Michigan games. They only mean something if we can stop other teams from scoring at will, which we have not been able to do for 3 years. The recruiting claim is hogwash. This defense has gotten worse every year. Indeed, the three worst defenses in Michigan history are the past three seasons -- and this season's is the worst of all. If he was still our coach next year, the defense might even get better, but it still will be the fourth-worst defense in Michigan history. No one can argue that.
It's over folks. Laugh at Wojo and Lynn Henning all you want, but has no one noticed the abrupt change in the tone of Wojo's writing the past few weeks? In his long interview with RichRod about a month ago, he sounded quite supportive. He's not banging that drum anymore. You know why? He's got sources and he knows something. So does Henning. These guys are around the program a lot. They know that Rodriguez is gone. The winning record will not save him. Michigan has not beaten a good team all season. It's a joke. These columnists are sending signals in their columns, they're not guessing.
If you're not seeing those signals, that may be because most are analyzing this the wrong way. It has nothing to do with whether one can argue Rich Rodriguez deserves another year. In a perfect world, he does. Hard to argue that. He's only had 3 years. But here's the problem: Harbaugh is leaving Stanford. Gone. Period. It might be Michigan, it might be the NFL, but he is gone. Bank it. Even Andrew Luck, who is going to turn pro, mentioned that one reason is he's not sure Harbaugh will be back.
So for David Brandon, here is the crossroads: If you don't want Harbaugh, then you bring Rich Rod back. If he doesn't work out next year, you get someone else. By then, Harbaugh is someplace else. But if you do want Harbaugh, you make the move when you can get him.
And quite frankly, it's a move I would make. I like Rich Rod, I think he is one great offensive coach. I do not think he is a great head coach. I think he shows it all the time. A great coach does not let his defense get this bad. A great coach does not keep his friends on staff on a defense this bad, he fires them. A great coach does not get so obsessed with his offense that he convinces himself marginal defenders won't matter, because no one will stop us. There is a problem when the offense is in the top 10 in the nation and the defense is in the bottom 10. If you see that kind of disparity, there is a problem with the head coach. That cannot happen at a place like Michigan and there's nothing to make me believe he has it in him to admit he knows nothing about defense, get rid of his buddies and bring in a DC who has full authority. Rodriguez thinks he has it on the right track. He is that stubborn. And Brandon has figured that out and he's going to end this now.
So the reason Rodriguez will be fired is two-fold:
1) The 'progress' is deceptive, and the 'progress' does not win games. Yes, the team is better on offense this season, but that's only because it has been so horrendous the past two seasons. But the gap between where Michigan is now and actually DEFEATING talented teams is wider than ever. We are not just losing, we were non-competitive against every good team we played except maybe Iowa, and even in that one we were only within striking distance, but not outclassed completely. Brandon is looking at that competitive gap and he does not see this staff, with its philosophy and the head coach's stubbornness, closing that gap. Brandon might have given him one more year except...
2) Harbaugh is leaving Stanford, he has made sure Michigan knows it, and so it is now or never for Michigan. It is going to be now. The man is a complete football coach who could be at Michigan 20 years. It's the job he wants. He wants to coach in the Big Ten, and we should be thankful Michigan State did not hire him four years ago. Brandon cannot pass him up and don't look at our current 7-4 record (7-5 after tomorrow) to make a case for Rich Rod. Look at the huge competitive gap in the games involving the Big Ten's top teams. Brandon has to address it and he knows that if he brings Rich Rod back, it will be another year of big scoring and giving up big scoring.
No one should say Rich Rod did a great job. He cost himself a winning season with stubborness and stupid personnel decisions in year 1. He was an interesting experiment and that's how we'll remember him, but he took 40 years of winning and replaced it with a speedy team of midgets that gets steamrolled by quality Big Ten opponents. A head coach with a big-picture view of what it takes would never have made that mistake, and Harbaugh will start correcting it immediately. Denard is not going anywhere. He'll win more games when we have a complete team, led by a complete coach.
So don't argue about the pros and cons of Rich Rodriguez. We all have seen it. This is about Harbaugh's availability and a new CEO-minded AD who is going to grab him before someone else does. We should all wish Rodriguez well. He has quite an impact on college offenses. But he is not the complete package, as our half-team proves.
|3 years 43 weeks ago||It doesn't matter who plays....||
I like J.T. Floyd. He seems like a good kid, probably could be a pretty good Big Ten player. But let's be honest: It simply does not matter with this defense. I can tell you, on very good authority, that the press corps that covered Greg Robinson at Syracuse thought he was a nice guy, but quite possibly the worst coach in the history of the Orangemen. He speaks in code, his teams always suck, and his great resume touts his defenses at Texas and with the Denver Broncos, but neither of those teams won with defense. Texas had Vince Young, the Broncos had John Elway. Does anyone even remember the defenses on those teams? And now, Robinson gets fired at Syracuse and the team is instantly better, in terms of record and on defense. I am so tired of hearing youth blamed. I am so tired of hearing Lloyd Carr blamed. The best part of this defense is the D-line -- all recruited by Carr. Has Rodriguez recruited a single impact player on defense?
The only way I keep this coach is if he is ordered to bring in a strong D coordinator and leave him be. Hell, bring back Gary Moeller, the best post-Bo coach we have had. And if Rodriguez resisted, I'd fire him and not look back. Also, all everyone talks about is Harbaugh. He's not coming to Michigan. I went to school with the guy. He wants an NFL job. We don't need someone who just wants to step to the NFL. Great coach, but he's likely headed to the Carolina Panthers. He sees his brother's success and all the fame and money of the NFL and that is his preference. Don't expect to see him in Ann Arbor, even if Rodriguez is fired.
|3 years 51 weeks ago||Very good analysis, but I'll stick with 8-4||
I will admit to a feeling of falling off the cliff when I heard about Troy Woolfolk's injury until I remembered that he is a super athlete, really fast, but not a great football player, at least at DB. And I recalled what Nick Saban once told me at an LSU practice about a highly recruited, super fast guy, who never played, as he raced down the field ahead of everyone else: "He's fast, he's strong, he's a great athlete, but he can't cover anyone and every time he has a chance to make a play, he doesn't. I don't play those guys."
So I'm going with our freshman, just because I've seen our 'experienced' players. My sleeper for the secondary is Cullen Christian, who has the goods to pick things up quickly and play well.
I stand by my 8-4 call, which means we go 3-1 in nonconference (we might drop one in South Bend, though the Irish are also defenseless and their coach seems to hate stopping people even more than ours).
I'm not buying the MSU hype and we correct that little, disturbing trend and anger the most classless coach in the league.
We'll also beat Indiana, Illinois and Purdue, the latter not as tough as some might expect.
And if we start 3-1, we'll need one win out of this group: Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State (word is Kevin Newsome can't hit the broad side of a barn), Ohio State. I know which one I'd prefer.
|3 years 51 weeks ago||Free Press owned by Gannett, not Newhouse||
Not to throw cold water on this discussion, because the Free Press so-called investigation of Michigan was about as flawed and biased as they come (not helped, of course, by the failure of the Rodriguez staff to fill out routine forms regarding voluntary workouts that all D-I programs lie on), but the Detroit Free Press is owned by Gannett Newspapers and was previously owned by Dean Singleton's company.
It has never been owned by Newhouse.
Also true, and more to the bias point: The Free Press reporters lied to Michigan players, particularly freshman, and wrote a series that was deceptive in its breathless declarations that greatly embellished and exagerrated the facts. And then the paper took the view that any NCAA violations made their entire series true, but as we know, that is not so and the reporters remain guilty of lying. The JeRon Stokes quotes, and the response from the kid's father, are exhibit A on that point.
Anyway, way back when, Newhouse bought Booth Newspapers, which was a family chain, and that gave Newhouse the papers in Ann Arbor, Flint, Bay City, Saginaw, Jackson and Grand Rapids. Curiously, they decided to close Ann Arbor, a city with more potential readers than any of the others, as a grand online experiment which led to what could arguably be called the worst newspaper-converted-to-online-only-disaster in the history of the internet. If you pulled Charles Woodson and replaced him with Jordan Kovacs' little sister, that would be an appropriate football analogy.
I have no quarrel with the point about the inherent bias of the MSU grad being in charge at mlive.com, though I am not surprised an MSU grad is at the helm as it is one of the ugliest, most poorly organized web sites around with millions of dollars behind it. The problem with bias here, in my experience, is that Michigan grads always have found it much easier to view Michigan State properly and objectively (which is to say, if you cannot get in to Michigan and you don't care all that much about future total household income, MSU is a reasonably decent place to get a degree that will make you one of the more polished barristas at Starbucks) than Michigan State fans have in viewing graduates of the great, world-class research institution in Ann Arbor. (The overall problem, I believe, stems from every MSU grad secretly wishing they were U-M grads, because that degree can take you somewhere that is not an A) lowly paid school teacher, and God knows MSU cranks out a lot of dumbass teachers or B) a hotel manager, because you can major in that there, which is the suit-and-tie version of majoring in welding.) Personally, I don't think MSU grads should be able to draw unemployment because they knew that was going to happen and they went to school there anyway.
So of course the mlive.com guy is a little mad. That job pays like crap, too, and you can tell by looking at that sea of garish type that passes for one of the state's major news sites.
Now, back to the bias discussion!
|3 years 51 weeks ago||Stats are worth analyzing, but we should hammer UConn||
Hey folks, I am new to this site, which I turned to because some genius decided to stop publishing the Ann Arbor News, I cannot stomach the writing of Michael Rosenberg and Drew Not-So-Sharp in the Free Press, and I am so happy that someone else has stepped up. So good for the founders of mgoblog. While I thank god for Wojo in the News (and what a mismatch it is when he and Rosenberg write on the same days) I firmly believe this site is now the best thing out there covering Michigan football. I'm also in the media business, having previously run the East region sports coverage for The Associated Press before moving to D.C. a few months ago. So I have seen a lot of these East region football teams play and overall, I'm not all that impressed with the Big East. That great Cinci team of last year would've gotten drilled four times in the Big Ten.
In fact, I think one of the reasons Rich Rod's defenses at Michigan have struggled is because he came from the Big East, where teams are simply do not play the same physical, bruising style seen from teams that have given Rodriguez's Michigan teams a lot of problems.
This data is interesting and worth noting, but the problem is these teams play in different leagues, so it must be qualified. The Big Ten is stronger than the Big East, markedly so. No one in the Big East is great on defense. Cinci had one of the worst defenses I've ever seen, and they won the league. (A story for next week, but when it comes to not playing defense, Brian Kelly takes a backseat to no coach. Expect a porous Irish team.)
So, sure, UConn is a scrappy bunch and Edsall is a disciplined, Carr-like caveman who has done a great job. LET'S NOT GET CARRIED AWAY. 8-5 in the Big East doesn't wow me. Being picked as one of four teams that could win a league only tells us no one is that great. UConn has a lot of weaknesses. They don't have great team speed, the QB is very suspect (the better one got suspended), they essentially have one quality RB and they are burdened with - yes, it's true - a secondary that looks as bad as Michigan's only doesn't even have the potential upside of youthful talent.
They'll try to line up and jam the ball down Michigan's throat because, hey, it works for everyone else. That's the key thing to notice here: If we cannot stop a running team that doesn't throw it all that well, we've got problems. Again. Never mind the secondary. Can't stop the run? Done. I expect Michigan to be better against the run, if only because we literally cannot get much worse. And this may not be what anyone wants to hear, since the last thing we'd like is to ponder another new defensive coordinator, but Greg Robinson made Syracuse a lot better just by leaving. Doug Marrone comes in from the New Orleans Saints, has very little to work with, and the Orange defense is immediately, markedly better. Did anyone catch Robinson talking about his defensive philosophy on the Big Ten network? He is incomprehensible. If that's how he teaches it to players, no wonder we stink. The jargon-laden nonsense he spews makes everything sound a lot more complicated than it should. Let's hope 'simplifying' the defense started with getting another coach to handle explaining it to the players. He makes my eyes glaze over.
The only stat that really matters in games in which one team has significantly better talent - but perhaps lacks confidence - is turnovers. Michigan has a lot more talent than UConn - if the Wolverines don't put the ball on the ground or throw it to the other team, Michigan wins. WINS BY 10 POINTS OR MORE. The skill positions are a mismatch, with the possible exception of Todman (who piled up yards, but in the Big East.) UConn does not have great speed on defense or offense. The Huskies come with a very workmanline attack. Our problem going in is that, under Rodriguez, Michigan has become a turnover machine. Everyone seems to fumble. It's the biggest problem the team has had. Under Bo/Moeller/Carr, to beat Michigan, you had to beat us, and our defense was going to make it hard. You just did not often see Michigan beat itself. Under Rodriguez, you just wait for Michigan to screw up and pick up easy scores against our matador defense.
So, I know we all should be respectful and all that, but let's be honest: Michigan should shred this team if it doesn't bring about its own demise with the sloppy play that has been the hallmark of Rodriguez's tenure.