chance of bowl: 13.6%
|6 hours 53 min ago||Great post||
A few things:
It would be interesting to see if he has the desire to coach at a big school that's not his alma mater (WVU). If Holgersen gets hired by a big school this offseason, I think Doc ends-up at WVU--where he stays until he retires.
|19 hours 49 min ago||Chris Webber timeout jokes||
Still too soon for me.
On Hoke, BiSB nailed it. That is all.
|1 day 13 hours ago||Welcome!||
Welcome to the family, Mr. Tice. Can't wait to see you kick a game-winner.
|1 day 18 hours ago||Funny?||
Are you trying to be funny? No personal ties? Let's see...
Just becuase he didn't go to U-M doesn't mean he doesn't have personal ties. Yeesh.
|2 days 5 hours ago||Straw man||
Who said scheme doesn't matter? Not me. Not Chip Kelly.
|2 days 14 hours ago||Trying||
"Schemes and play calls don't win games, Execution wins games." –Chip Kelly
They are certainly trying to run an offense that makes sense, sets itself up for easy yards, and takes advantage of the defense's weaknesses.
But they can't seem to do it.
Schematically, I have no complaints. That the coaches can't get superior athletes to execute their assignments is confounding. I really thought Nuss' would be able to make some headway in that department--it appears to be the exact opposite.
We are using QB runs, counters, pop passes, quick slants, WR screens, RB screens, IZ, OZ...this is a good scheme, rife with constraints and deceptions. We can't execute it.
By this point in the season, if these coaches were good at their jobs, we'd have seen some major improvement. Look at how far JT Barrett has come in half a season.
Most of the pain is on the O-Line...PSU showed us that even a great player like Hack can't be effective behind pylons.
Funk must go. Wellman must go. Jackson must go. Ferrigno must go. Hecklinski has been okay...Hoke? Gotta go.
Borges deserved his firing; we hired what many believed was the best OC in the country to run a MANBALL scheme. I think we can now see that it really isn't the play calls--it's the execution, and yes, that is on the coaches.
|2 days 15 hours ago||We should hire the most||
We should hire the best coach for the program. Period. I don't care if he's coached for a rival or not.
PS - negged OP for being in favor of Tressel...liars and cheaters are NOT good for the program
|2 days 15 hours ago||Sometimes, you just have to use your eyes||
I really don't care what the FEI and S&P+ ratings are; I've watched both teams, and our offense is going to have a tough time scoring points on MSU.
That said, I agree with BiSB--these metrics aren't really very accurate until the whole season has been played. That's the problem with metrics--they only measure the past.
HOWEVA, I do believe this year's MSU squad is MUCH more beatable than last year's outfit. But I think Vegas has the line about right.
|5 days 13 hours ago||Thanks||
I appreciate the addition. There is some great stuff here.
I see Claeys a bit differently.
First, I think as a coordinator, you can't give him the same score you give the HC--he doesn't have control of a program. Claeys is more of a "B" the way I've been grading. He's had success everywhere, but not as a HC and is just now playing with the big boys.
Second, on Michigan ties, he's probably more like a "B" on my scale. Some solid ties to the area, but none to the school.
Recruiting is closer to a C/C+. Claeys did not recruit Hageman or Vereen. His coaching is clearly pretty good, but he didn't recruit them. Minnesota is doing a little better on the recruiting trail now, and he deserves some credit, but he hasn't shown that he's a great recruiter at this point in his career.
I think a C/C+ is about right for Claeys on Chances/Loyalty. If he wants to be a HC and is offered the Michigan job, he would have to take it. Kill, if he's the man of honor I believe he is, would actually tell him to take the job. And I think he would stay awhile. But does he want the job? Does he want to leave Kill? I'm not sure.
"Demeanor" is about how the coach carries himself, how well he presents, and if he appears to be a good motivator. Claeys would rate as a "C" here, as his folksy chub is strikingly similar to Hoke...I don't think fans would like that one bit. He clearly gets the most from his players, though.
Three Phases is probably correct at a B--which would be very high for a strictly defensive guy, but Claeys has operated as HC on a few occasions, and deserves credit for that.
Roster Fit is most definitely an "A", although he'd prefer a QB who can run, I think.
Overall, he's closer to a 2.81 (B-), and that's being a bit generous. I do not have ANY interest in him as a HC at this point in his career. I'd like to see him have success running a program first.
|6 days 7 hours ago||FALSE||
I know you said it's your opinion, but last year the staff probably substituted TOO much. Every position on defense rotated like crazy--even the secondary--and the O-Line was a revolving door. We never established a RB. Other than DG, Gallon, and Funchess, the line-up was in a constant state of flux.
These guys aren't afraid to substitute. You still see it on the D-Line, and some in the secondary. They've rotated LB less this year, but that's just about it.
|6 days 13 hours ago||You forgot one measure||
Success of the football program.
But here are a few others, and they are at least somewhat measurable:
If these aren't part of the AD's evaluation checklist, there's a problem.
|6 days 14 hours ago||FWIW||
Our offense is #67 in oFEI and #48 in oS&P.
This would suggest that our offense is actually mediocre, not awful.
It would also suggest that S&P is WAY better than FEI, amirite?
|6 days 19 hours ago||Good stuff, Brian||
Thanks for the post--great stuff.
While revenue is an important measure of an AD's success (money matters, whether we like that or not) it's pretty damning that Brandon's success in that department is just okay. Given the messes he's created elsewhere, I'd say it's time for Dave to go.
|6 days 20 hours ago||Recruiting||
Herman gets the best grade I would give a coordinator. He's a great recruiter by reputation, but would he be as good without Urban Meyer behind him? We don't really know. He wasn't pulling in 5-star players at Iowa State.
An "A" grade is reserved for HCs that have proven to be the best in the country.
|1 week 14 hours ago||You know what assuming does...||
|1 week 15 hours ago||Yes||
But he has also admitted a desire to be a HC.
|1 week 15 hours ago||Hope you're right, mostly||
I would not support the Les Miles hire, even if he won lots of games. I do not trust him.
Harbaughs or Mullen are basically the best-case scenarios. I think they are possible, but I'm not betting the house we get one of them.
|1 week 15 hours ago||Thanks||
Did not know that. Thanks for the info. That does certainly give him stronger ties to the area.
|1 week 15 hours ago||No||
I think Bielma has the job he wants: an SEC team he can turn around.
|1 week 15 hours ago||AGREE||
I wholeheartedly agree.
The issue here, however, is not that he's religious, but that he's asking his players to join him in his faith. He tells them God blessed them, and tells them to give the glory to God.
Being religious is one thing. Telling your team they won because God blessed them is another.
|1 week 16 hours ago||Bud Foster||
Should we be considering this guy for our CC? The way he used the double-eagle front against Ohio State was awesome. That was an RPS win, for sure.
|1 week 16 hours ago||THIS||
I did not think it was possible to like Denard more, but that story is amazing. He deserves all of the success he has had, and more.
|1 week 17 hours ago||Yes||
|1 week 17 hours ago||Video of full speech|
|1 week 18 hours ago||Hip Hip!||
|1 week 20 hours ago||Just one factor||
Roster fit needs to be included because fans are impatient. If it takes a new coach four or five years to build the roster he needs to be successful, chances are good that he won't be coaching the team by the time his players are developed enough to win.
While I agree that we should find the best coach--regardless of how his philosophy fits the roster--the reality of college football today is that success is demanded in a short period of time, and being able to have success with the existing roster is a must.
|1 week 1 day ago||Hope||
Is my current strategy.
|1 week 1 day ago||Hoke and Brandon||
If they both stay, I think we'll see more heads on the staff roll. Possible casualties:
I also believe it is possible, if not likely, that Nussmeier leaves. I don't think he'll be fired, though.
|1 week 1 day ago||Ace||
I think his team would be winning the Draftaggedon thing at this point.
This was a great post, Seth. Thanks for some reading material during the bye week. I've been hoping to hear about Brandon's pink slip for two days, and I'm afraid we've missed our window. He might be safe after all...
|1 week 1 day ago||#53||
That is about right; there may be 52 better teams in the country right now.
Hard to believe Penn State is ahead of us. It's actually pretty damning that we're so low with the talent we have.
What's surprised is that our OFEI is not as bad as expected--we are 67 there. But our DFEI? Yeah, we're #50(!). We're even better in S&P - 48th on offense and 23rd on defense (ahead of FSU, Wisconsin, and Ohio State).
What we thought we be good is just okay; what we think is terrible is just worse than mediocre.
Yay, I guess?
|1 week 1 day ago||Last of the HCs||
A look at the remaining HCs I'll be covering, unless a new name pops up. Dave Doeren has eliminated himself.
Next up will be coordinators and fringe candidates.
|1 week 1 day ago||I don't disagree||
Here is a good way to say this: I believe Schiano would be an upgrade over Hoke. I do NOT believe that Schiano is an elite coach, and I don't think he's the best man for the job.
But the best man for the job may not take it, and I think Schiano could be a very good coach for Michigan. I don't WANT Schiano. I would be okay with Schiano.
I'm not just grading coaches I want. I'm grading the possibilities.
This post was NOT an endorsement of Greg Schiano. He's probably about 10th on my list; but I wouldn't throw a tantrum if we ended-up with him.
|1 week 2 days ago||Schiano.||
As I said, I don't view Schiano as a homerun by any stretch of the imagination, but he did pretty darn well at a school that has some serious issues.
While his start at Rutgers was awful (a school that hadn't had a winning record since 1992), his last six years he was 49-28. Hoke never had sustained success like that, and the Big East, while bad, is better than the competition Hoke faced. Schiano coached in the NFL for three years. He was also a DC at Miami (YTM) and coordianted the #12 and #7 defenses in the country in his two years there--and he achieved the #7 defense playing the 12th-toughest schedule in the country.
And let me ask you this question: Can you imagine Bill Belichick asking Brady Hoke for advice? What about Urban Meyer? Schiano has worked with both the Patriots and Ohio this off-season, and is widely regarded as a defensive guru. He has a clear defensive system and a sharp football mind. He is highly demanding of his players.
Again, I don't think anyone would mistake Schiano for Jim Harbaugh, but he's a guy who seems to fit Michigan's culture and is very, very different from Brady Hoke in virtually every way. Brady Hoke is delegator, Schiano is a micro-manager. Hoke is a rah-rah position coach, Schiano is a detail-oriented coordinator. Hoke is patient with development, Schiano is highly demanding RIGHT NOW.
I'm not going to tell you that you should like Schiano, and I'm certainly not going to guarantee that he's a success at Michigan. But he's nothing like Brady Hoke.
|1 week 2 days ago||Geography||
Yeah, to me, these are the states in the South (culturlaly):
Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri (most of state), Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia (some of state), West Virginia.
But geographically, Kentucky is just south of Indiana and Ohio...hardly south. In the summer, Kentucky averages a datime temperature of about 87 degrees. 23 degrees in the winter. Does that sound like the south to you?
Just having fun, though--Kentucky is DEFINITELY in the "South"
|1 week 2 days ago||Short answer: Because people||
Short answer: Because people want to hear about them.
Longer answer: While significant HC experience seems like a prerequisite to us, the fact is that you just never know. A guy with loads of coordinator experience could knock the AD's socks off in an interview, and who even know who our AD will be?
I'm leading with the guys with HC experience, and Stoops popped in early because he's been hot.
|1 week 2 days ago||Good stuff||
I like it, though I agree that some of the metrics seem to be overweighted. Still, a great place to go for a quick quantitative look at each guy.
I'll keep doing my write-ups to compliment yours.
|1 week 4 days ago||Not MSU. That is asking for||
Not MSU. That is asking for trouble.
I would guess Northwestern.
|1 week 5 days ago||Mostly fine||
I appreciate the well-thought-out piece, but believe you're building strawmen with your arguments and that you really get to the meat of it here:
First, the players do deserve our support, because they bust their butts for Michigan every day. As many have noted, this does NOT look like a team that has given-up--it looks like a team that is disorganized. That falls on the coaches and AD, not the players.
Seth's post this morning was right on: players feed off of crowd energy. This is why winning on the road in college football is hard.
An organized petition by season-ticket and box holders in the off-season to boycott makes some serious sense: it sends a message right to the wallet, which even Brandon would have to listen to. But a mid-season cadre of folks not sitting in their seats won't communicate anything to a group of people who have demonstrated they won't listen to what they don't want to hear. The tickets are already bought and paid for, and the few scraps that remain are financially insignificant. What I'm saying is that I believe your premise is vastly flawed: a handful--or even a fistful--of empty seats won't send a message to Brandon or the university. Showing up and chanting fire Brandon will.
Going to the game wearing a "Fire Brandon" shirt, getting "Fire Brandon" cheers going during the game every now and then, and actually showing up and showing displeasure will communicate MUCH more loudly to the power that be: the President and Regents. If you're not there, they don't know why you're not there. If you're there and tell them why you won't come back if they don't change things, that seems MUCH more effective to me.
I was once an LA Clippers season ticket holder (2002-2003 season). I went to 41 of 43 (including preseason) games in a season that saw the Clippers go 27-55. In late January, I went to the game with buddies and, as the game was finishing, we all put on the traditional paper bag masks with "FIRE GENTRY" emblazened on both sides. We were on the news that night. Gentry got fired in early March. I'm not saying our paper bags did the job--but what I will say is that Staples Center was mostly empty all season, and no one would have noticed if we stopped showing up. Almost everyone noticed our stunt. And yes, after the season was over, we sent another message by not renewing our season tickets, as did many others, and that had an even bigger impact on the Clips.
It's also an unfortuante fact that people will complain just to complalin; if you demonstrate that you do indeed support the university and players by showing-up, your displeasure registers with other people who love and support the university. Perhaps the best shirt would read: "Go BLUE! Fire Brandon!"
But like you said, it's America, man. Do what you want.
|1 week 5 days ago||All-time great post||
Thanks, Seth. That was one of the best-written, best-argued posts I've ever read, and it has helped me reconsider some of my positions.
Well done, sir.
|1 week 6 days ago||Good stuff||
What did you think of McElwain? Is he animated at all on the sidelines? Dude looks just about dead in his press conferences, which last F O R E V E R.
|1 week 6 days ago||Mattison was right||
The offense was good enough to win this game. The missed PI on Chesson on a 3rd down and the DERP on Darboh's conversion at the end of the game cost us some probable points, but hey, that stuff happens.
It's still not smooth: the receivers are not getting open and the QB is not accurate. The running game appears to have taken a step forward, and did so without a gimmick. Hooray?!
We need improvement in both the running and passing game if we want to have a chance against PSU (and a shot at a bowl game).
|1 week 6 days ago||Offense||
If we don't turn the corner this week, that corner ain't turnin'.
We need a W against PSU to salvage any hope of a bowl game.
|2 weeks 16 hours ago||Did not know||
Just read; Gundy is now squarely in the "Do not want" list. Thanks.
|2 weeks 18 hours ago||My feelings on EVERYONE||
Like (as of right now):
Not ready yet:
Don't want (reason):
|2 weeks 18 hours ago||A few things, but mostly RESULTS||
I don't think Hoke is inept, though he has made some pretty awful decisions. I don't think Mattison and Nussmeier are inept, either. I think--if they keep coaching after they leave--this whole crew will go on to have success.
Michigan is one of the two most difficult places to win in all of the country. Here's why:
Only Notre Dame faces a similar cadre of demands, and they are not as attached to "old-school" play styles as Michigan is. They were willing to innovate.
As for Hoke et al., here are what I perceive to be the biggest challenges:
While it's too early to judge Nuss, the rest of the offensive staff has failed to develop the copious talent on the roster. The defense is good, but lacks the innovation to take the step to great.
"Execution" failures happen because coaches can't get their players to do the right thing. That is absolutely a failure of coaching. I don't think these guys are inept, I think they are better suited to reclamation projects where instilling a winning culture is enough to move the needle from 3 wins to 9 wins. That doesn't cut it in the Power 5 world.
Our staff's shortcomings, the lack of precision in a college football landscape dominated by it, and the stubborn adherence to principles of the past are holding our program back. It's time to move forward. #CC
|2 weeks 19 hours ago||Why||
Why would Nuss leave 'Bama just to go somewhere else where the HC dictates how he calls the game? I'm not buying it. If Nuss left Saban to get away from the control freak, I'm sure he made certain he would be able to do his own thing at Michigan.
Sorry, you can't blame Hoke for everything.
|2 weeks 19 hours ago||Stitt||
I am going to CSM game later this month, and will post an update with pictures.
I feel Stitt is WAY too much of a gamble as HC, but the guy deserves a shot as an OC, and he deserves it now.
|2 weeks 1 day ago||Half-true||
Non-competes come whenever a lawyer drafts one. They tend to be pretty weak documents, but I, for example, have a non-compete that says I won't work for any other firm in my industry for two years if I leave my current company voluntarily. This is not uncommon.
Enforcing them is another issue entirely.
That said, I highly doubt Herman has any sort of non-compete in his contract.
|2 weeks 1 day ago||Poorly-worded||
The OP saw Bo as an innovator; he was arguing that Bo's ability to adapt and change is what made him great. I was writing from his persepective, not mine, so the post is a bit unclear. Sorry.
|2 weeks 1 day ago||Summary||
|2 weeks 1 day ago||Summary||
|2 weeks 1 day ago||OP just dumped a box of these on my screen||
|2 weeks 1 day ago||Slow down||
|2 weeks 1 day ago||NOT apples to apples||
ND 2013: 71st rush defense
ND 2014: 9th rush defense
MN 2013: 55th rush defense
MN 2014: 35th rush defense
Mat, you are not comparing apples to apples. Both of these defenses are much better than they were last year against the run.
There has been improvement. Is it good enough? No. But there has been improvement. Nobody is endorsing the coaching because of it--it's not good enough. But it's better than last year.
|2 weeks 1 day ago||Todd Graham||
I like his resume, I worry about his cultural fit at U-M.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Good suggestion||
I am tending away from quantification becuase of the extremely high degree of subjectivity here--normally that is my preference.
I will try it in part two and see how it goes. Thanks.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||McElwain is not someone I'm||
McElwain is not someone I'm excited about, either.
That said, he took over an AWFUL team and has turned them around. They were 3-9 in 2011 (year before he arrived) and, since have gone 4-8, 8-6, and now are 4-1. They have gone from scoring 21 ppg and allowing 31 ppg (-10) to scoring 34 and allowing 23 (+11). The recruiting has picked-up.
He would need a great defensive coordinator, but I think we could do a lot worse than McElwain. He's got midwest connections and knows how to gameplan. Is he a home run? Hardly.
FWIW, I actually think Doug Nussmeier will be a more successful HC someday. I don't see McElwain's passion, though I'm sure it's there.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||AGREE||
I also think giving glory to God would go over like a lead balloon in Ann Arbor.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Disagree||
I appreciate the suggestion, and, yes, this is obviously a guess, but I think it's key to evaluating a candidate.
It's not heavily influencing the overall grade, FWIW.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Agreed||
MacIntyre might turn out to be a good coach, but so far, not so good at CU.
I live in Denver and hear quite a bit about him; they think he will resurrect the program here. The problem is that they are 2-4 and just barely beat UMass and struggled against Hawaii. Of course, they followed that up with close games against Cal and Oregon State, but they are a LONG way from being good.
I don't think he's a realistic candidate at this point, and he has no midwest ties.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Bo/Pragmatist||
I'm a mix of these two. Hoke said all the right things, but hasn't delivered any of them. I'm not comitted to MANBALL tradition, but want to see Michigan win the right way--with frequency and integrity.
Brandon needs to go.
I will NOT back whoever is hired by the university, and I'm not "Harbaugh or bust." I'm open to possibilities, but obviously would love Jim or John (not Les).
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Thanks||
I will add him to the list. I do think he's a candidate.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||I agree||
For the players, I agree Harbaugh is an "A" in the demeanor category. However, he also has to deal with an AD, athletic department, university, alumni, etc. While he seems to be always right, other people don't like to be told they're wrong.
That's why I gave him a "B".
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Yes||
Yes, it stings. But now it stings in that "I pretty much expected this but I still hate it" kind of way, instead of the "WTF??!! I CAN'T BELIEVE WE'RE LOSING TO UTAH" kind of way.
To me, this season will hereafter be dubbed The Season of Infinite Disappointment
I expected a near-great defense and a capable offense. We have neither.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Changes inside one minute||
The rule, I believe, is that the play clock resets and clock runs (if it was running) unless you're inside one minute in the first or second half. It is a stupid rule, and needs changing. NOW.
|2 weeks 6 days ago||Witch-hunt , etc||
I like Brady Hoke. Always have, always will. I think he's a genuinely good man who knows how to build character and that he loves his players.
There is absolutely NO doubt in my mind that Hoke did NOT believe that Morris was concussed or in any real danger. I do not believe that Brady would knowingly endanger any of his players.
There is also absolutely NO doubt in my mind that the situation was mishandled. That is mostly on the training staff, IMO, and ultimately the AD. But I don't believe the Head Coach is completely innocent, either.
A more aware coaching staff--or to go even broader, football program--would not have allowed Saturday's mess to happen. I mean that on all levels: of course the Morris thing, but also offense, defense, and special teams. The Morris thing is NOT, IMO, damning of Hoke's character, but rather the leadership of the program in general, of which he is near the top.
I also believe it's entirely possilbe that the subsequent bumbling with the press may actually be all honest mistakes--and I'm pretty sure that's as bad or worse than lying. If they were going to lie, you'd think they'd have been much more clever about it.
And that's really, the problem, isn't it? It's completely believable that the systems failed, the communication failed, and the execution was poor. Because that is exactly the product we see on the football field.
These kids love each other, their coach, and hard work. They play with passion, and I do believe they are a family. But they are a family with extremely flawed leadership that lacks the attention to detail and precision to make them successful.
Brandon should be fired immediately, and with prejudice. If Hoke can win out or have just one more narrow loss and the team turns it around, I like the guy enough to give him another season--he's put great coordinators around him, though I seriously question some other staff members (Jackson, Funk, Wellman, Ferigno). That said, I really don't see how this team wins out, or comes even close. 7-6 or 6-6 or 6-7 are all fireable offenses; even 8-5 (unless the losses are extremely close and to great competition and one of them is a bowl) should also be a death knell for Hoke's tenure.
Which is like saying, if you can get that bus that just fell off that cliff to not only land safely but be in good enough shape to get back up the mountain, then everything will be okay. I'm not even sure it's possible, and it's even less plausible.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||Correct me if I'm wrong||
I thought a waggle was when the QB rollout went the same direction as the handoff (as in the play above), and a bootleg was when the QB rolled the opposite way.
Michigan used to run the "naked" bootleg, meaning no blockers for the QB on his rollout away from the run action, to great effect. The TE would start to zone block with the line then peel off and was often W I D E open. That was definitely the play in '97.
|4 weeks 12 hours ago||Harbaugh||
This is the reason I wasn't as excited about Harbaugh when we hired Hoke: it was obvious that he wanted to coach in the NFL. He's a great coach, but if he was just going to show up on his way to the NFL, I wasn't interested.
Now, if he ever does come home, it will be because he wants to finish his career at U-M. I doubt it will happen, but if it does, I'd be grateful to have him.
|4 weeks 12 hours ago||Part of the Problem||
The press just doesn't get it. There was exactly one good question in the entire session, about how to counteract Minnesota's strong run defense.
The MGoQuestion was good, but needs to be directed at Nuss.
If you're in that room, stop trying to find a backdoor to getting Hoke to talk about the QB situation. It's not going to happen. There are other interesting things to talk about, and I have to say the media is performing no better than the U-M offense at this point.
|4 weeks 1 day ago||This might be my favorite||
This might be my favorite post ever.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||Hope||
Is our only remaining strategy.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||Cowherd||
Is an idiot. This guy said he would stake his reputation on Lane Kiffin being a great coach. I guess his reputation is fired.
I listen to him sometimes, but he just tries to stir-up controversy to get listenership.
As for the "scout"/whomever quote, here is my rebuttal:
Every player on that list has made not just incremental improvement, but quantum leaps since Hoke's arrival. Yes, it's defense-heavy. Yes, there are no offensive linemen. Believe me, I'm not calling Hoke a developmental genius. But to say there is no development? That's a stupid quote from a stupid "scout" that will never be named because he has no credibility OR just saw what he wanted to see.
I guarantee you several guys off the above list make an impact in the NFL.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||Thanks||
Thanks, I am glad you enjoy the content.
Hope is all I have. Nussmeier is an accomplished coach and he has some talent to work with. Next week we shouldn't have to score too many points to win. But if we don't improve quite a bit before Rutgers, it could get pretty ugly.
I think MSU's defense is considered (or was the last few years) to be nationally elite. But I agree--our crappy conference skews the truth. All the more reason our offense should be able to move the ball...hope is all I have.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||I think everyone agrees if||
I think everyone agrees if this ship gets turned around we'd be happy. Yes, Nuss has only been here for a few months, but he's had immediate turnaround results (to some degree) everywhere he's been.
It has to get better, and it has to get better fast.
|4 weeks 3 days ago||"Pre-Season" is over||
I am a Michigan fan and I will root for a turnaround as hard as anyone. I love this team. I love our players. I think Mattison and Nussmeier are great coaches. Winning a B1G championship, even in a down year for the conference, would be amazing.
We're running out of variables. We have talented players coveted by the top programs int he country. We have top coordinators that have had success at every level of football. Yes, we're still young. Yes, the cupboard was pretty bare when Hoke arrived, especially along the lines. But at this point, there are very few potential goats:
I get it. We have a new offensive system, and a very different defensive system. These are tough things to adapt to, although the defense looks pretty damn good. I understand that Hoke was only left with a few usable pieces (we only have 11 seniors on a roster of 115). But in year four, even if you're not a dominant team, you should be consistently executing your vision.
This team doesn't look a year way from being great. They look like they'll never be great. I hope I'm wrong, but even if you aren't yet dominant, you should be consistently competent.
Again, I hope this team turns the corner. I hope we're B1G champs. I hope we demonstrate competence the rest of the way. But these problems don't look like they can be fixed in three practices per week. These issues look like they are built into the program right now. I'm rooting for Hoke, but I'm Brandon, I'm also ready with a back-up plan.
|4 weeks 5 days ago||My favorite diary||
And I think we may see some 4-3 under, as you suggest. Utah hasn't seen much 12, 21, or 22 personnel, but they will tomorrow (I think).
|5 weeks 2 days ago||Missed the point||
I think you missed the point. Of course football is hard. The field is a classroom, and life is hard.
Michigan seems to lack the precision and cohesiveness that lead to the appearance of ease on the field. I played through college, then coached at the high school and collegiate levels. I know the game is hard.
My point is that we seem to make it harder than it has to be. That we are missing whatever ingredient takes you from very good to great. The frustrating thing is that we seem to have great players and great coaches (or at least coordinators) and we still look far short of our potential.
Teams like Baylor, A&M, OSU, FSU, Alabama, Auburn...they can make it look so easy, even against good opponents. We make it look harder than that against bad teams.
I've played and coached with great teams; there were games and even stretches of games where it seemed like all we could do was win. When was the last time you felt that way about Michigan football?
I want that feeling.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||
|5 weeks 4 days ago||Add||
The dropped fourth down pass, all the yards they lost on silly penalties, and the wide open deep ball.
The score of this game accurately told the story of the play on the field, unfortunately. The blueprint for beating our defense is obvious.
|5 weeks 4 days ago||Concerns||
This defense, IMO, doesn't have many problems, but they are big problems and they are in the secondary.
Countess gave-up another easy slant (on fourth down) and got lucky with the Miami player dropping the ball. TV called it "great coverage," but giving up the inside is unacceptable.
Lewis was beaten on a deep post and we were saved by a bad throw and an even worse adjustment to the pass.
Right now, our coverage is just not very good. Peppers and Lewis look capable, but not great. No one else can seem to play man. The safety help has been average, at best.
I'm afraid Utah is going to tear us up.
|5 weeks 5 days ago||Press coverage and coaching||
Dude who played college football that says our CBs are coached poorly has NO idea how our CBs are being coached.
The truth is that almost anytime you get beat on a play in football it looks like your technique was poor. Watching the film, it looks like Countess is trying to play with proper technique, but Will Fuller is quick and fast and stuff and doesn't make it easy to jam him at the LOS.
What does seem clear is that Countess is not built for press man. But you're being either ignorant or malicious if you're claiming that Manning doesn't understand the basics of press coverage, even if he wasn't a CB coach before this season. Even if you make the assumption that Manning has no idea what he's doing, Mallory is still there, Mattison is still there, and those guys aren't going to let Manning coach the CBs into futility.
Honestly, I put more of the blame on Mattison for sticking with what wasn't working for too long; it was clear early on that Countess and Hollowell simply couldn't execute against the ND players. But believe me, the U-M coaches all understand the basics of press coverage.
|5 weeks 5 days ago||Hilarious||
I love you, BiSB. Wait, did I type that out loud?
Another great write-up that had me LOLing at my desk. I needed that. Thanks.
|5 weeks 5 days ago||Amen||
|5 weeks 5 days ago||There is a good team in there...||
In last year's ND game, Jeremy Gallon was the difference. He accounted for 3 of the 4 receiving TDs (other was Dileo) and 184 of the 294 receiving yards. He got open almost every play, and he got open quickly.
Of course, the '13 ND game also had Good DG show-up, and this year's version was...not Good DG. Even though he had more time to throw (although the pocket wasn't always clean) he looked more rushed and was far less accurate. To be fair, he probably looked better than Denard did in South Bend two years ago.
Let's remember that only six of last year's ND completions are still on this roster. The DG to Gallon connection was a big deal, and Funchess, while the more talented player, isn't the same route ninja and doesn't have the same telepathic relationhsip with DG. We need a quick little bugger or a TE to step up as DG's safety valve this year; that just isn't what Funchess does.
There are lots of negative things to say about Al Borges, but he did know how to get WRs open. Unfortunately, he didn't know how to draw-up a play that gave DG enough time to find those WRs. I'm ceratinly NOT implying that Nuss isn't good at this, but this year's receiving corps is going to take a little time to develop chemistry with DG and the new system.
The blocking, on the whole, was far better this year. Other than Gallon, the biggest difference in the two ND games was that DG went from Superman in '13 to Lois Lane in '14. He needed help this time around, and Gallon wasn't there to give it.
On the whole, I'm much more concerned about the CBs inability to cover anyone than I am about the offense. It will come around.
|5 weeks 5 days ago||Rule #18 of gambling||
Since gambling means you'll eventually have to bend over, better follow rule 18 too:
|6 weeks 13 hours ago||Revealing||
With Hoke, you have to really search the quotes to find something, but this was interesting:
This question and answer was pretty good, IMO. Hoke identified two things we did poorly against ND: tight man coverage (Countess and Hollowell) and a failure to limit Golson's throwing lanes. Now, I'm not sure how much more the DL could actually have done while still trying to pressure Golson, but we sure did blow a bunch of chances to get off the field by giving up slant routes.
|6 weeks 14 hours ago||CBs, Mattison failed in a big way||
Reading the UFR and watching again, it's clear just how much of this game was decided by one-on-one matchups where UM simply could not hang with ND's athletes.
Countess cannot play press man against an elite WR; Will Fuller is an elite receiver. Hollowell is another smallish guy who just could not compete with ND's athletes.
Golson's throws were on target and his WRs were getting separation. What's disturbing is that almost all of the damage was pre-snap reads to the first option...that means your pass rush has no chance of getting home. He was picking out Countess and Hollowell and ate them alive.
I have to agree with Greg Mattison here: he waited WAY too long to adjust the scheme. Countess was obviously out-matched (as was Hollowell) and we needed to throw more curveballs at Golson to at least make him think. Most of this damage is on one or three step drops from shotgun where Golson only ever looks at one target. It was just pitch and catch.
Bad game for the CBs, and bad game for the DC.
|6 weeks 17 hours ago||No phrases||
It's not phrases that will help him, it's game experience in the system and Nuss' coaching afterward.
Until players see their mistakes on film and recognize what they missed, they often repeat mistakes. If DG is capable of improving, I'm confident Nuss will find a way to make it happen.
Utah will be a good test for us before the B1G season starts.
|6 weeks 20 hours ago||Notre Dame and Predictions||
While it's unpopular in today's society (and certainly in the blog world) to do anything other than overreact, I think Brian's guarded optimism is probably the closest thing to true here.
Last year's ND game proved a couple of things:
Retrospectively, DG's performance might have been the game of his life (Ohio being the only competitor for that title) and he could not replicate it with opponents having recognized that #2 was indeed very true and DG can't repeat his superhuman feats if he's on his butt.
Of course, we all believed #2 would improve, and that the rest of the team could carry the water until that happened. We were wrong.
This year's game revealed, I thought, some very different (and some not so different) things:
The good news about this year is that the O-line alread looks better than the '13 iteration, and that #2 and #3 are very fixable. Why is #3 more fixable than last year? Because Doug Nussmeier is a QB whisperer and has worked wonders with every player he has coaced at that position. As for #2, game situations are the best teachers, and playing press man against a live opponent will help us learn.
Last year's coverage was hung out to dry by a pretty pathetic pass rush; this year's pass rush needs a little help from the coverage to defeat the three-step drop (or one step drop from shotgun) plays that make a sack darn near impossible.
What I'm saying is that I still see a team with the potential to be very good, though not great. 9-3 remains very achievable, and 10-2 is not out of the question, nor is an appearance in Indy.
All that said, if MSU and OSU smoke us like ND did, I will be looking for some significant off-season change.
|6 weeks 2 days ago||We will know soon||
Is this a clueless coaching staff? We will know soon.
This game was a game-changer. Losing to ND in a hard-fought contest would have been palatable, and even acceptable. But getting hammered in that fashion indicates deep, troubling problems.
That said, we are still in the first year of a new offense and defense. If these guys can coach, we'll be much better at playing pressure defense and the IZ/spread hybrid offense by the time we travel to MSU and OSU. We must show well in both games; we need to win one.
Nussmeier and Mattison are accomplished coaches. Hoke can recruit, his players love him, and seems to be a genuinely good man that is teaching his players life lessons. With two good coordinators and some good talent, even a few boneheaded decisions by the head coach shouldn't be able to tank the team.
I really don't know what's going on. Maybe Notre Dame is really good. Maybe we are on our way to being really good in the new schemes. Maybe Mattison, Nuss, and Hoke are all overrated.
Whatever the truth is, it will be clear by this season's end. Like it or not, Brandon will have a big decision to make if things don't go well.
I am and have been a Hoke supporter, but I am also a believer in accountability. If this boat doesn't get turned around to the tune of competing for the B1G championship game, it's time to consider a replacement.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||Big Lebowski||
Great movie, and a great line.
But you used it inappropriately...I think that's where the negging comes from.
|7 weeks 6 days ago||Congratulations!||
Also, great post.
|8 weeks 12 hours ago||AWESOME||
I loved the background on Nussmeier, as well as the IZ breakdown and the over/under comparison.
I did not like the elaborate SCOTUS opening. It was fine for a paragraph or two, but then it was just too long for a football preview.
Despite that niggling flaw, this is an amazing piece of free content for which I am very grateful. +1 to you, sir.
|8 weeks 6 days ago||Agree, but...||
The important thing is that the QB, RBs, and the O-line know where the potential pressure is coming from (ie, who the O-Line isn't going to block).
Having a system in place where all of those parties understand that is essential. It doesn't much matter who makes the call, IMO.
FWIW, I don't think the QB IDs the MIKE in RR's offenses, and they do just fine.
|9 weeks 13 hours ago||Asked and Answered||
Someone asked if Glasgow would replace Miller, Hoke that was one possibility.
I think Glasgow is the leader at RG right now. Not sure if that slides Kalis (whom Hoke confirmed is working at both OG spots) to LG and Magnuson to LT, or if that means Kalis, Bosch, and Joey are on the outside looking in.
|9 weeks 18 hours ago||Quick release?||
He does NOT have a quick release. If you mean that he makes decisions quickly, there is some truth to that, but he has a long, almost Tebow-like throwing motion.
He has good zip on short throws, but looks a little shakier on the longer stuff. He's a decent runner.
This guy is a good player in a great system. He's not great, and won't be even by season's end. In time, Meyer will turn him into a star, but he doesn't have elite tools...then again, neither did Tebow.
|9 weeks 19 hours ago||Embrace the avatar. It's||
Embrace the avatar. It's awesome.
|9 weeks 1 day ago||Wilson||
I'd add Wilson. I think he's going to be a jack-of-all-trades safety for us this season, doing plenty of blitzing as well coverage, picking a few sacks and TFLs to give with a handful of INTs.
|9 weeks 1 day ago||BiSB should win...but||
There needed to be more snark about BiSB not having a kicker. Does anyone remember the hell of 2010 when Michigan lined-up for a field goal? You really can't win football games consistently without a kicker.
Aside from that GLARING omission, BiSB's team is the best. But what a ridiculous omission.
Ace has the second-best squad, despite an underwhelming secondary. But he actually has a kicker.
Brian's team is sexy, but a bit disjointed and lacking in O-Line bona fides, AND soft in coverage in the middle.
Seth's team...is a strategic masterpiece with very little talent on offense.
This was fun. Please keep this series next year.
|9 weeks 3 days ago||Two TE||
When your base play is IZ, using two TEs allows you to flip which side of the field you run to based on how the defense lines up. Furthermore, you can motion the H to the strong side to add an extra blocker, run counter, OZ, and play action out of this look while equally threatening both sides of the field.
If you're a "spread" zealot, the two TE set accomplished a lot of the same things: it spreads the defense horizontally and forces them to make pre-snap alignment choices that allow you take advantage of what they're giving you. You don't need exceptional TEs for this to be effective.
When we actually line-up for App. State and beyond, you'll see a much greater diversity of plays coming from these sets, and you'll see extended hand-offs, play action, and RB patterns that are set-up for success.
Nussmeier knows what he's doing. I can't promise the O-Line is going to block well, but our formations and sets and tempo will put us in a position to succeed this season. The question mark will be whether or not we have the talent and player development to get it done.
|9 weeks 5 days ago||Not great yet||
The '97 o-line wasn't shaky, but it wasn't great. Hutch and Backus were not very good yet. They are actually perfect examples of how important experience is on an O-line.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||Center in a zone offense||
It's worth mentioning that the center position is more important and more difficult in a zone offense. Getting the calls right becomes vital, and it's not always easy. Miller's intelligence is likely a big reason he's winning the job right now.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||Thank You||
I have lots to say about this issue, but I'd much rather just thank you for your tremendous opening in this post. The MGoMob can get pretty, well, Sparty-ish sometimes, and I appreciate your perspective.
Again, thank you for writing this.
PS - John Beilein is the best.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||It's all over||
The final rosters are in. There's nothing left to do but over-analyze and project with great confidence and what is likely to be only moderate accuracy.
As promised, my plan is to do an imanginary round robin where the teams all play each other to decide who is the GCMVA (Grand Champion of my valueless approval). Here is the trophy:
Let's get to it.
Game 1: Brian vs. Ace
Brian has, without question, the best offensive skill players. He also has a strong O-Line...on one side. The weaknesses on his team are the right side of his O-Line, his safeties are the worst of the four teams, and his LBs are (and it pains me to say this) just solid. His DL is pretty darn good, with excellent interior players and reliable if not spectacular DEs. Without question, Brian has the best CBs. He the best kicker and the worst punter, and very good returners.
Ace's team has, I believe, the best offense. Connor Cook is an efficient QB, and Abdullah, Maxxxxxx, and Funchess are all big-time playmakers. Jacobs, Jones, and Wilson are legitimate threats if the defense is focusing on the aforementioned game-breakers. And his offensive line is very good, if not the best of the bunch. Ace's defense is very, very good up front, but I believe it's the worst secondary in terms of play-making ability...there are a total of 4 INTs among his six DBs. Darian Hicks is a projection, but with Narduzzi coaching him, not a bad one. His LBs are pretty good, but nothing special. That said, this is a defense that will pressure the QB and penetrate the backfield, and a back seven that's built to stop big plays, even if they don't make big plays. Ace has no punter, and his returners are just okay, IMO.
The result: Brian 30 - Ace 31
Brian's talent on offense is going to put some points on the board, but Ace's DL is strong enough to stop a few drives with FGs. On the other hand, while Brian's CBs do a great job limiting Funchess, the U-M LBs have not demonstrated an ability to cover, and they are combined with NW safeties. Maxx, Jones, Jacobs, and Wilson eat-up yards down the middle of the field, and Abdullah and Ace's O-Line are more than enough to keep Brian's defense honest.
Game 2: BiSB vs. Seth
BiSB has built a team without holes...except he has no kicker. He has the 2nd most talented QB, a solid group of pass-catchers and blockers at TE and WR, and two very good RBs. His O-Line is a group of very good players with no weak link, and the ability to move the LOS in the run game. On defense, his line has playmakers and one question mark (Henry, who does NOT play for OSU), but the buzz surrounding Big Willie has been very good. His LBs include JMFR, one of the best defensive playmakers in the B1G, and very good OLBs. Peppers is a huge projection, but has talent, and Shelton is damn good. Drummond is the best safety in the B1G, and Davis isn't going to miss many tackles. It's not a sexy team...but it's basically MSU.
Seth found great value in the late rounds in a desperate attempt to make-up for some questionable early decisions. No one but Seth believes that Sudfeld is a top-tier player, and while CJ Brown is a decent running threat, he's no Miller or even Gardner. The WRs are lackluster (even if Jones wasn't injured) and Mark, pretending he's still in the B1G, is an injury risk. His second RB is a back-up projection. Jesse James, Devin Smith, and Christian Jones will keep you honest, but DCs aren't shaking in their boots. On defense, half of Seth's line is AMAZING (Gregory and Bennett) and the other half is fine. I like his LBs quite a bit, and only Brian has better CBs. His safeties and HSP are, as a group, the best of the bunch. The Wile pick was smart, because he's at least adequate at both jobs. Mark is a dangerous returner, when he plays.
The result: BiSB 24 - Seth 20
While I think lots of poster are overrating Brian (because of his very sexy skill players), I think they're underrating Seth. Seth's team is an attempt at "Indiana but with defense," which is fine, but those super-fast spready types struggle against the MSUs of the world, and that's what BiSB's got. The score would have been more lopsided, but BiSB's punters missed two FG attempts.
Game 3: Brian 24 - BiSB 21
BiSB's team simply doesn't have the weapons to take advantage of where Brian is weak. Bell, Wynn, and Long are locked-down by Lucas, Waynes, and Grant. Kroft has a big game, but he's not good enough to win it on his own, and Langfod and Coleman get yardage, but aren't the receiving threats to take advantage of the LBs or Ss. Oh, and the punters miss three longer FGAs. Brian's team can't manufacture a ton of points against BiSB's defense, but in the end having a kicker on his team makes the difference.
Game 4: Ace 41 - Seth 38
What happens when a super-fast spread outfit meets a dominant, moderately-paced offense? Your defense gets tired. Seth's team matches-up well with Ace, because Ace's secondary is a bend-but-don't-break outfit that spread teams are happy to get their 6 YPA against all day long. But cruising down the field for five TDs and facing an offense capable of mauling you or going for the big play, Seth's defense just can't stop Ace's offense. Countess and Murray are very good players, but neither matches up well against Funchess and will need help over the top. The constant threat of the deep ball to Funchess and Maxx attacking the seams actually opens opportunities for Abdullah, the 2nd-best back in B1G, and Ace's other complimentary players.
Game 5: Brian 43 - Seth 45
Brian's weakness at LB and S is most evident against Seth's spready outfit. Brian's CBs can only cover two players, and adding Grant all game helps, but there's still someone open, and that someone could very well be Venric Mark (in theory). In a close game, Brian's one-sided O-Line can't hold up enough to score the game-winning field goal.
Game 6: Ace 30 - BiSB 28
The game for all the marbles. BiSB's team actually plays well enough to win, but without a kicker, can't get the points they need. They move the ball on Ace's secondary, but with zero FGs on the day, Ace pulls out a victory, and the GCMVA award.
In a stunning move that was the opposite of smart, BiSB closed his draft without taking a kicker, and it probably cost him the championship. Ace's strong offense and boring defense win because of a silly choice by the funny man.
Well done, Ace.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||The B1G||
We have good QBs, very good RBs, solid TEs, lousy WRs (overall), plenty of O-Line, up-and-down DL, adequate but not great LBs, some star CBs (though not tons of depth), and pretty average Ss.
|10 weeks 16 hours ago||Defense||
The only potential hole I see in our two-deep is at safety. Jarrod Wilson seems to be the only established guy there.
I'm excited about this defense.
|10 weeks 19 hours ago||Green||
It still sounds like Green's struggles with protections are holding him back a bit.
And I agree, it's not a bad thing when we have better/other options other than our extremely talented 5-star recruit. I think we'll see big plays from Smith, Drake, Green, and Hayes this season. That's what Nuss' does with RBs.
|10 weeks 19 hours ago||Not dreamy||
You're optimistic, but not dreamy. There is a very good chance that our O-Line is at least competent this year.
As I've said in previous posts, there is shuffling, to some degree, at every position on the team right now. That's what happens in camp. And I agree that Mags, Bosch, Glasgow, Kalis, and Braden will be the starters for most of the season (Miller, IMO, will start at center for App. State). And I believe Dawson and Cole are in the mix. I think Kugler is still a year away.
A competent O-Line that progresses to a good (not great) O-Line by season's end gives us a chance to be very good. I'm not sure this group is capable (this year) of getting to "great," which is likely what we need to win the B1G or make the playoff.
BTW, this is dreamy:
|10 weeks 1 day ago||Love it||
I can't get enough of GM pressers. Did we get Nussmeier's as well?
|10 weeks 1 day ago||I see what you're saying, and||
I see what you're saying, and I don't think those calling for expulsion and dismissal are "wrong," I just disagree, and only slightly.
I'm saying IF the legal system allows York to reduce the charge/sentence--which they are more likely to do if he is truly contrite--and IF he serves his sentence, and IF the university doesn't expel him, and IF Hoke determines that it was just a bad, bad mistake, and IF York works, works, works his way back onto the team, if all of those big "IF"s play out in the kid's favor, he should get a second chance.
If we hadn't seen the video and just heard that York had punched a kid in the face, I seriously doubt we'd all be calling for his head. Yes, he hit the kid hard. Yes, it was an awful decision. But it was a split second decision by a kid who thought his friend might be in danger. I'm not defending York, because I don't know what was/is in his heart, but if he can prove that it was just a bad moment and he's learned his lesson--and that's a lot of hoops to jump through--I'd rather see him graduate from Michigan and play football again and have a positive impact on decisions that other kids might make.
I'm not saying go soft on him, I'm just saying I wouldn't rule out completely the idea of having him back on the team. And you're right, that's just my opinion.
|10 weeks 1 day ago||Agree||
This was obviously a horrible crime, and the legal situation will play itself out. I, however, hope that after York has served his punishment, if he is contrite, that he gets a second chance.
He sucker-punched a guy. It was an awful decision, but it was made in the moment by a young kid. If he is willing to work his way back onto the team, after the legal system has meted out justice, AND he's been suspended for at least a year, I am okay with it.
|10 weeks 1 day ago||AGREE||
I loved Henne. Navarre was the ONLY one of those QBs that I did not like.
|10 weeks 1 day ago||MNB Practice Vid||
#18 is a small human being.
|10 weeks 1 day ago||Guards||
What this video and write-up do a nice job of highlighting is how important the interior linemen are to making any zone run successful. The RB's cut will, most often depend on the playside OG.
Obvious is obvious, but if your interior linemen can't block the play properly, you are screwed. Here's hoping our guards have taken a major leap this off-season.
|10 weeks 2 days ago||Yes and No||
You'd like to have five guys that are just amazingly dominant and leave no question, or even seven guys that are soooo good there is a lot of competition.
Unfortunately, we've seen more of the "Oh shit, we don't have anyone playing well out there...let's try another combo."
That said, EVERY team is shuffling positions in camp right now trying to find their best players. What is important is that the shuffling stops soon and we give our line a chance to gel.
|10 weeks 2 days ago||Lightning||
By law, they have to go inside.
|10 weeks 2 days ago||I don't see this as a||
I don't see this as a negative. A highly touted four star taking the place of a highly touted five star is not a bad thing. It just means the four-star right now is better than the five star.
|10 weeks 2 days ago||The redshirt isn't burned||
The redshirt isn't burned unless he plays. Just because he's traveling and dressing doesn't mean he will play. You don't see third string qbs play very often.
|10 weeks 5 days ago||I think Buffalo will still be||
I think Buffalo will still be pretty bad; 8-8 at best
The Browns have such a long way to go and a new Head Coach. I don't see it.
The Texans still don't have a QB. I expect them to rebound, but they have a long way to go.
The Raiders? That's funny.
The Redskins? Not with Philly in their division, though the rest of the group is wide open.
The Vikings are in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, and all four teams arguably got better this off-season. I don't see them ascending to the top.
The Bucs are, IMO, highly overrated. I like Lovie Smith, but that is a pretty tough division with Carolina, New Orleans, and Atlanta.
Speaking of Atlanta, I think there's a good chance they return to form this year. They are my pick, since New Orleans and Carolina are both good, but both are beatable, and I think the Bucs have lots of work to do.
The Rams would be my pick if they weren't in the best division in football. They are a very good team and would have a chance to win the following divisions: AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, NFC East, NFC South. But alas, they're in the NFC West, and will struggle just to make the playoffs.
|10 weeks 5 days ago||Hoke can recruit||
There is no denying the success of this staff in recruiting. This season and next will be fun to watch with all the talent we'll have on the field!
Dantonio gets a lot of credit for his 4th year, but a soft schedule was a big part of a 11-2 record that only had one strong win (they beat Wiscy in EL 34-24) and a pair of embarrassing losses, falling to Iowa 6-37 and 'Bama 7-49. Wisconsin was the ONLY ranked team they beat.
His fifth year was much stronger, IMO, even though they lost one more game, they scored more, allowed less, and beat three top-25 teams, barely losing to another (Wiscy in the B1G title game).
And it's not just Dantonio: Saban didn't win more than seven games at MSU until his fifth season.
The roster overhaul that Hoke has executed since the '12 class has certainly brought in top tier players, but there was almost nothing left from the previous classes. This is still nearly a brand new team.
|10 weeks 5 days ago||Miller at OC||
I would love to see Kugler has pushed himself to #2 on the depth chart, but I think Jack Miller will start at center for App. State.
|10 weeks 5 days ago||(No subject)||
|10 weeks 5 days ago||Sweep the leg||
Is that you, Johnny?
|10 weeks 6 days ago||Experience and technique||
Will win out over youth and athleticism. I think Beyer starts and Taco plays a lot.
|10 weeks 6 days ago||VISION||
Weber appears to have excellent vision. This is hard to see on film, but from the clips presented, he has the best vision of any RB commit I've seen in the past few years. If he can get his body ready, he could play as a freshman
I'm very, very excited about this pick-up. Welcome to the family, Mr. Weber!
|11 weeks 13 hours ago||Nope||
Nor the CFB Playoff.
|11 weeks 2 days ago||Good||
This is the kind of thing universities should be offering their athletes. It's the right thing to do and it helps more kids have the confidence to stay in school and get their degree.
I hope all schools start to do this.
|11 weeks 2 days ago||HAHAHAHA||
Oh, I love this. But I will love it more if we beat them.
|11 weeks 2 days ago||2014 WR Class||
I think Ways will be, at worst, an excellent #2. He actually reminds me a lot of a current player--Jehu Chesson. Ways' biggest challenge is not his talent, or even the college game--it's a depth chart that is LOADED.
Canteen and Harris are amazing talents from his own class, Darboh and Chesson are just entering their prime, and of Dukes and Jones (if not York, down the road) one is likely to emerge. Don't forget Jake Butt and Chris Clark (and maybe Wheatley) eating catches as well. Oh, and Brian Cole in 2015.
Ways is the type of player that I usually end-up loving: the talented, hard-working guy who does his job, produces, but never is quite "the guy" because the team is loaded at his position. But he could very well be the Robin to any of those potential Batmen, or the Avant to Edwards.
Of course, there is still a very, very good chance that he could be "the guy," because he's just that good.
One thing is certain: Michigan has no shortage of elite pass-catchers for the foreseeable future.
|11 weeks 2 days ago||Point by point response||
First of all, great post, and I love the optimism. My expectations are bit more tempered, but I don't think we have to wait until MSU to see what kind of team we have. Last year's team showed their colors in the non-conference schedule; this year's version will do the same. I'll grade each point based on the number of wins (out of 13) that I believe the position could help us acheive.
1. QB - I believe DG is an excellent starter, and I believe Morris is a more than capable back-up. We are in great shape here. That said, DG does not always make the best decisions, and struggles with consistency. 10/13
2. WR/TE - Funchess is one of the most talented players in the country, but after that it's a lot of potential. There is plenty of size and talent, but are they ready? It's nice to have some Dileo-type reliable players, and we don't have those. There is potential for greatness, but also some likely inconsistency of youth. At TE, it's pretty much Jake Butt in the pass-catching department. It will be interesting to see how Nuss' uses the position. 9/13
3. RB - On paper, it is one of the most talented backfields in the country, even without Isaac. With Isaac, only 'Bama could lay claim to a stronger group. But the game isn't played on paper, and it's not all about talent. Pass-blocking, vision, and getting your assingment right are all just as important as talent, and often times those all improve with experience...which we don't have. 9/13
4. OL - I firmly believe this year's group will do what I expected last year's group to do: improve weekly and be solid, if not very good, by the time we play in EL and certainly by Columbus. That said, we are starting from an extremely low baseline--the worst OL season in school history--and have a long way to go to get to championship form. If this line was playing with less talent around it, I fear it may be a seven-win line. I hope I'm wrong. 7/13
5. DL - We actually have more than adequate experience at DE. Clark and Beyer are good players, but neither are great, and unless Clark takes another giant step forward, this group will not be elite. Inside, there are more questions. We have some real talent in Henry, Wormley, Hurst, Pipkins, and even the young Mone, and don't sleep on Glasgow--he will play big minutes and will be steady. But unless a couple of those guys emerge as consistent playmakers, we're still just a group loaded with potential. That said, there is more experience here than at most positions, and I think the group will be good, though not the play-making force of a championship DL. Again, I hope I'm wrong. 10/13
6. LB - The most experienced and deepest position group on the team, the LBs MUST lead our defense if we have any shot at winning the B1G. JMFR is the real deal, but is playing in a new position. Morgan is a solid player, especially against the run, but if we're being honest, he would have been a career back-up on most Carr defenses. JRIII was supposed to have a breakout 2013, and now he's fighting RJS for the starting spot. Gedeon, Bolden, and McCray round out a formidable group with excellent depth. But other than Ryan, is there a play-maker in the group? 10/13
7. DB - Countess and Taylor are legitimate starters. Lewis might be good enough to unseat one of them, and Stribling is right there. We have very, very good CBs, even without Peppers. Some talk as if this is a weakness; I believe CB will be second only to LB as a strength on our defense. Wilson is a first-team all-B1G talent, and now has some experience to go along with that. But the other safety spot is a pretty big question mark. Hill, Thomas, Clark, and perhaps even Watson or Peppers, all have the talent, but safety is one of the more cerebral positions on the field where youth is often burned. That said, this is a very good secondary that should be lights-out in 2015. 10/13
8. ST - An often overlooked piece to a championship team. I expect our coverage units will be among the best in the B1G. Is Wile going to give the same consitency that Gibbons did? Will Hagerup stay out of trouble? Will Kenny Allen's kickoffs be consistent and deep? Norfleet is an exciting player, but not an especially productive one. We need help there. I actually predict that Norfleet is not returning kicks OR punts by season's end; we have better options now. But I don't see game-changers at any of the ST positions. 9/13
9. Schedule - Our three toughest games are on the road. At Northwestern isn't easy either. Maryland, Minnesota, Penn State, and Utah are all capable of beating us if we don't show up. That said, we should be favored in all but the three rivalry games. 9/13.
That all averages out to 9.22 wins. I do believe we have a 10-win defense, but the offense averages less than 9.
There are no holes anywhere but on the OL, but we also lack consistent game-changers. DG, Funchess, and Ryan are the established playmakers, and none of them have demonstrated consistency. To be an 11-win team we'll need all three of them to step-up, as well as at least three more guys. If, for example Clark, Henry, Wilson, and a CB emerge as defensive game-breakers, and the OL, a WR, Butt, and a RB emerge on offense--all of which are at least possible for the first time in many years--then we can be a championship team.
It's wonderul that we finally have championship potential; but for now, it's still mostly potential. 9-4 leaning closer to 10-3 than 8-5. If it's 8 wins or less and it's anything other than bad luck, I will be extremly disappointed.
|11 weeks 2 days ago||Short list||
It is a short list and certainly highlights how young the team is. I am excited for this season and for these seniors--it's their best chance at a B1G title since they've been here.
And looking ahead, while we are losing some great players, the depth behind them is STRONG. I am not worried about any of these positions for 2015.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||HA!||
I had no idea, and had to look-up "Panda Land" via google images to find this.
I thought it was an old map of the Great Lakes.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||Is it a "prediction" if we||
Is it a "prediction" if we KNOW it's going to be true?
|11 weeks 6 days ago||Agreed||
One factor among many. You need enough chemistry to trust each other on the field and be able to communicate and cover for one another.
Talent is certainly required, and good talent makes winning easier which leads to better, easier chemistry (usually).
|11 weeks 6 days ago||Mostly agree with you, too||
Bad chemistry can most certainly be a cause of underachievement, especially in high school and college. Your examples of Jordan, Tinkers, Evers, and Chance are all grown, professional men. While we can argue about whether or not college players should be getting paid or are already employees, the fact is that they have NOT developed the maturity (in the vast majority of cases) to trust and work effectively with people they hate.
I have played and coached at the high school and collegiate levels. By the time I was a senior in college, I had figured out the whole "do your job and trust others to do theirs" thing, but it took me that long and I'm quite certain it took most of my teammates at least that long. My experience in coaching has been similar.
That said, success breeds happiness, and it's easier to like people when you're happy. A winning team can learn to like each other and trust each other, even if they don't always get along off the field.
What I can tell you--factually and with zero doubt--is that team chemistry DOES have an impact on team success and wins/losses, but also that it is just one factor and that other factors (coaching, organizaiton, scheme, talent) can affect it. All of these things are interrelated at some level and contribute or detract from overall success.
|11 weeks 6 days ago||Mostly agree||
Chemistry is always a tricky thing, and your chicken and egg analogy is a good one. In my experience, teams that like each other play much more to their potential. Teams that don't like each other show fractures in games, and I do believe it leads to more losses.
I don't think the bad locker room chemistry takes you from a 12-0 team to a 7-6 team; talent, motivation, and scheme have a huge impact as well. But I do believe that when things start to go poorly, if guys don't like each other, it gets worse, and fast.
I do believe our chemistry cost us a win or two last year--if these reports are true, and it certainly appears they are--and that improved chemistry could yield an extra win or two this year. But there was a plethora of problems in 2013, and blaming it all on chemistry would be rather silly.
"Play with each other, and play for each other." This is vital to be a successful football team...let's hope we do better this year.
|12 weeks 14 hours ago||True, but you missed the joke||
The joke is that people forgot about Dre.
Ace should have spelled "explosive" properly: Xxplosive...then I think more would have picked-up the reference, or at least looked it up. I'll admit that I missed it.
|12 weeks 20 hours ago||AWESOME||
Thank you; we need more thinking like this in the world.
|12 weeks 1 day ago||Bolden||
I believe he could start over Morgan at WLB. This is one of the reasons I did not like the pick of Morgan by Brian in Draftageddon.
|12 weeks 1 day ago||This is incorrect||
DG racked-up 461 yards of total offense against Ohio last year, good for #4 on that list and knocking his ND performance off the top ten.
|12 weeks 1 day ago||Good news/ Bad news||
The good news is there is an obvious correlation between experience and wins. The bad news is that we haven't won 9 games or more when we are over 50% 1st/2nd year players since 2000.
I'm not sure this bodes well for our season, other than to say it's likely we'll get to 8 wins this year.
That said, great work, thanks.
|12 weeks 1 day ago||Yes, mostly||
Nussmeier wants a RB who can find the crease in the zone blocking, usually in one of two holes, or use the cut-back lane, then take off. That's what a one-cut back is. One-cut backs tend to be more powerful with good acceleration but perhaps not the shiftiness of a scat-back.
Other RBs are open field runners who look to follow a man blocking play and then beat a defender with power, speed, or agility. Outside runners or shifty types like Denard Robinson would not be described as "one-cut" backs, since they make their living by running into space or creating it with multiple cuts. One-cut backs make a quick decision and then stick with it, and don't look like they are improvising.
For one-cut back examples, see any Mike Shanahan offense. For a non-one-cut example, see Barry Sanders.
|12 weeks 2 days ago||Nuss'||
It helps that the he'll have one of the best QB tutors in the game. This offense might start a little slowly, but I expect it to be pretty damn good by season's end.
|12 weeks 5 days ago||Then where does the money||
Then where does the money come from?
It is a fact that most athletic departments are barely getting by or losing money. Where will the extra cash come from? You said it best yourself: if the dollars aren't there, schools will leave the game...that will apply to ALL sports, not just football.
They'll either have to raise ticket prices further or cut sports. Money doesn't just appear because someone has decided it's the fair thing to do.
|12 weeks 5 days ago||Well written||
This is well written, Ace, and you make lots of good points.
The trouble is--whether we like it or not--the money just isn't there to pay the players directly.
If direct payments to athletes from universities starts to happen, you WILL see Olympic and non-revenue sports (pretty much everything that's not football or men's and women's basketball) start to get an even shorter end of the stick. If those all sports fall apart, are those in favor of direct payments ready to take some of the blame for that?
Yes, football brings in gobs of cash at some schools, but most of those schools use that money to fund the rest of the athletic department, which hemorrhages money. Furthermore, those schools are spending about $750K per player, per year on their football programs. No small amount.
Paying players isn't a problem because the kids shouldn't have money, it's a problem because they're already highly-compensated and the money isn't there.
Letting players use their likeness to make money in advertising and in other ways, I am completely in favor of. In fact, if the NCAA were smart, they would turn this into an opportunity, requiring that every athlete that wants to make $$$ off his/her likeness take a course on how to do so effectively and make sure you don't get fleeced. They could put enforceable rules in place that helped direct the kids to properly managing the business of marketing themselves. This would be invaluable real world education that could help players understand business before they graduate or go pro.
As for the NCAA, they should not be profiting from players' images either, or really profiting from anything. They should be a non-profit dedicated to the well-being of student athletes, and they are not that right now. They have turned into a money-grubbing profit machine that does little to help progress the caues of the student-athlete, and they should be blamed for that.
The system needs fixing, but having universities pay the players is not the solution. And if that happens, and you were one of the people calling for direct payments to players, watch the demise of the other sports in the follwing decade, and be man enough to take some of the blame for causing that.
|12 weeks 5 days ago||2011 highlights||
Yeah, 2012 sort of sucked, but these were 2011 highlights.
|12 weeks 5 days ago||Marz||
I did not see that game, but it must have been a bad day. Zettel is pretty good, too.
But Marz is a good player, and will be drafted (barring injury), and should be even better as a second-year starter. Could easily be drafted in the first half of the draft.
|12 weeks 5 days ago||Why does 2011 feel like it||
Why does 2011 feel like it was so, sooooooo very long ago? What a glorious season that was.
|12 weeks 5 days ago||Hot and Cold||
I've liked a lot of your picks...I've also disliked a lot of your picks. Here are a few more I liked:
Those were all good picks where you got good value. Funchess and Scherff were also good picks, but properly valued.
You have a real chance at winning the totally useless prize of my approval. I don't see how Brian can salvage an O-Line that fits with his team...
PS - Great gif
|12 weeks 5 days ago||Good vids||
Those three are all good, though I would rank them in reverse order. And the only reason the '09 gets a vote at all is because of the originality...even the highlights from '08 seem empty.
Yes, would love more hype videos from the MGoCommunity...no, not willing to pay.
|12 weeks 5 days ago||Next time...||
I'll save my long-winded analysis for the conclusion, but let me just say that Ace's pick of Tony Jones was the best of this session, and that may have an impact on the final rankings.
I'll gladly do a re-analysis at the end of the regular season to see how right/wrong I was (and you guys were).
This, BTW, might have been the funniest iteration of Draftageddon, complete with an iconic comic book moment. Do kids even read those anymore?
The final analysis, Seth will be happy to know, will be based on who has the best TEAM and is most likely to succeed...I'll measure that by having an imaginary round robin fo your imaginary teams and declaring probable winners of each game, and finally a grand champion. Honestly, I'm not sure who is going win it (in my mind)....
|12 weeks 6 days ago||Quick, look!||
It's a joke! And it just went right over your head!
|13 weeks 1 day ago||Great stuff||
One of the things I love most about Seth is that when the data doesn't support his hypothesis, he's willing to admit it. Most people just change the data or make-up stats to prove their point.
This is a great piece, and I really enjoyed seeing the data, which I must admit I thought would be different as well.
Now the coach in me wonders if, upon seeing that extra DB, more teams audible to inside runs or plays away from the nickel, effectively giving more tackles to the LBs because the offense is attacking the space where there is no DB. Even so, you'd think having the extra player on the field more would have more of an impact.
I do think JMFR was used as a nickel quite a bit, but not last year, and while the CBs did pick-up a few more tackles, they mostly took them from the safeties. I don't know, man, but it was cool to see the data and think about it. Makes me want to go back and watch games.
|13 weeks 2 days ago||Stats and remaining picks||
We both know stats can lie, and while Sudfeld is a fine passer, he's not the best in the conference. I don't see the guy as having the "it" factor, but he was the best option for you after Brian pulled his parlor trick.
I don't think I'm underrating Jones. He's a fine player and can be a good Hemingway-type, but he and Smith both have limited skillsets. They are two guys who would be great #2 options, but neither are are the consistent threat posed by a Funchess, Corey Brown, Stefon Diggs, or even Deon Long. They are good but not great. Again, you have two good WRs there, but they're still the worst group, IMO. Whose WRs do you think are worse than yours?
Mark is a very good player when he's healthy, and I'd certainly rank his value above the comparables you mentioned, but those other guys came off the board 6, 11, and 14 rounds later. It was just early for him. FWIW, Mark is the ONLY player on the Northwestern roster that scares me.
You hit the nail on the head yourself: You need a slot ninja, TE, and preferably a running QB. If you find these pieces, there's no reason you can't improve your standing as the #4 offense. That said, I only see high quality available at one of those three positions.
What's interesting is that I thought DG was an early pick by BiSB. If you had gotten DG and BiSB had ended-up with Hackenberg, this is a completely different picture, and a lot closer all the way around.
I am not going to make a final call until the fat lady sings. I think you're longest shot to win the useless prize of my opinion, but there is still time, and you've been drafting very well.
|13 weeks 2 days ago||Not just the QB||
Where would you rank your receivers and backfield vs. the other guys? And in a spread-n-shread, don't you need a running QB who can at least threaten to run to be an elite offense?
|13 weeks 2 days ago||Different method||
We're getting into some more obscure players now (although I think there are still a few gems to be had) and teams are rounding into form. At this point, the team starts to be more important than the individual talent that's been assembled, and I decided I would rank the offense and defense of each group, and then see where we stand overall.
If you just look at raw numbers, BiSB's #1 and #3 rankings put him on top. Ace and Brian are tied for second, and Seth is just one point behind them. It's worth noting, however, that Brian did just get the best kicker in the conference and he already has one of the best returners in the conference. So here's how I think it plays out:
But it's close, with no one sucking on both sides of the ball, and some critical picks left to be made.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Good question||
Beamer, Richt, Shaw...Harbaugh would be a great choice to coach at U-M if he wants to be here when he's done with the NFL.
Surprised no one has picked Jimbo Fisher. Not my cup of tea, but a helluva coach. Or even Gus Malzahn.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Hope you prove me wrong||
Your draft has been pretty amazing, and I hope, when it's all done, you can prove me wrong. Brian's team looks less attractive every round, and, while he's got more than plenty of sizzle on his squad, I'm just not sure the steak is there. Any good defensive coordinator will tell you that you MUST be strong up the "spine" of your defense (DTs, MLB, Ss) and Brian is just okay in that department.
Your team has some logic and fluidity to it, but even though Sudfeld's stats are good, I don't know if he's a winner. If he has a great season, then your team is likely bumped-up a few notches and could very well be the best. He lost a lot of production from last year, and lost his Robin (or Batman, depending on how you look at it), which is unfortunate because you didn't know it when you made the picks. If you had both of those QBs, you'd be in better shape. Sudfeld can't run at all, and while Mark is a very good back for your system when healthy, he's another question mark. Your O-Line certainly fits your system, but still needs more help in the backfield to be effective, and you lack playmakers at WR, too.
I'll reserve my final judgment for the final round. While your weaker skill positions look like an impossible obstacle now, you have made up more ground than I thought possible and gone from a team that looked like it couldn't compete to, as I said, the best roster outside of the offensive skill positions.
I'm excited to see how this thing plays out.
|13 weeks 6 days ago||FALSE||
"Urbz" went 8-5 (4-4 in the SEC) without Tebow. He pretty much sucked, actually.
|13 weeks 6 days ago||Brian (and the other dudes)||
I still think Brian's the leader, but Grant is a CB, and that HSP label is just to try to follow the rules. I call shenanigans.
That said, Grant was picked WAY too late, and was an absolute steal, even if a slight luxury with two very good CBs already on his roster. IMO, Ace really needed Grant if he was going to mount a comeback in this thing. Rose is a meh pick, and Brian's LBs in general are actually pretty meh. Having only one safety, and that safety not very good, along with a weaker LB corps, I'd have to say Brian's defense is very beatable. And while he still rules the skill positions on offense, his O-line still needs two more players, and there isn't much left. Now that the teams are filling out, I think Brian is vulnerable.
Ace, Levern Jacobs is a good value, but also risky for the reasons you enumerated. If you had taken Grant there, you may have put yourself back in contention, because your defense is otherwise pretty good. I'm not sure there's much left in the CB department...Lindsay is fine, but nothing special.
BiSB...the Davis pick was well-snarked, but was actually good value, IMO. Epping is a steal where you got him, and Elfein is a well-researched pick that rounds out the best O-Line so far. Of course, Ace and Brian have yet to complete their lines, but you have a solid group that can most definitely open holes for Langford and Coleman.
Seth, other than offensive skill positions, you have the best roster. Unfortunately, your offesnsive skill positions are the worst. 20 years ago, you may have a shot at winning this thing, and it's truly admirable how you've built a roster in the late rounds--you have gotten the best value of anyone of the last six or seven--but I don't see how Sudfeld, Mark, Jones, and Smith are going to score enough points. You do have a good O-Line, and maybe if you'd gotten Coleman or another complimentary back it would have helped, but there aren't any game-breaking WRs left; there are a couple of pretty damn good TEs.
Overall, here's my rankings, but I'm not even that sure about them anymore:
I though Brian's lead was unassailable, but the second half of his draft has been uninspiring. BiSB and Ace could sneak back in, and Seth has a damn good team, but lacks the offensive talent to threaten. FWIW, if Seth had gotten Hackenberg/Cook and Jesse James (who is somehow still on the board), he would be in the conversation.
|13 weeks 6 days ago||NYC Pizza||
Racanelli's? I used to live in STL, and the pizza there generally isn't great. Imo's is worse than Little Ceasar's, IMO. Fortel's is okay, and I think Dewey's is overrated. Pi is pretty good though.
|14 weeks 6 days ago||Also||
For posting a highlight reel with that music on it, Ace should be permanently banned from the site. And from everything else.
|14 weeks 6 days ago||It's down to two...||
I've been ranking after each round, and it's gotten to the point where I think two guys have no way back:
And two guys are battling the trophy:
Fact is, Brian's offense is going to be hard to pass. Campbell and Heuerman were excellent values where they were taken, and Brian had the lead coming in. Dontre Wilson and Earnest Thomas...I don't really like either pick. Wilson could be good, but there are certainly no guarantees...I'd rather have Corey Smith if I'm taking a Buckeye playmaker. Maybe I'm just uneducated when it comes to Illinois, but I don't think ETIII is anything special at all. I see a couple safeties on the board that look more attractive
BiSB stays in the game with some good value picks himself: LTP may not be the most athletically gifted, but he does his job and produces. He would start for Michigan. And, as had been pointed out, Tevin Coleman is a steal at this point.
Seth...you did what you had to, but it's too late. I look forward to seeing your picks in the next rounds because you were on a roll before you decided to try to fix the QB problem en masse.
BiSB, your offense still isn't that scary, but your defense remains the best. Brian, your offense not only has playmakers, it also has great protectors. Your defense is solid, but not great, IMO.
|15 weeks 18 hours ago||Elite 11 = Joke||
This whole circus is a joke. It's cool that Malzone is there, and I'd certainly rather have someone there than not, and I'd certainly rather have someone get ranked highly while there.
But it's pretty meaningless.
One thing we know for sure about Doug Nussmeier: He is a QB guru. While his OC chops will be tested at U-M, I have ZERO doubt that he can evaluate, coach, and build QBs. If we offered Malzone, Nuss' saw something. Same with Messiah.
FWIW, I agree with Magnus--I REALLy like Kearns and was hoping we'd offer/get him.
|15 weeks 18 hours ago||Good stuff, and hopeful||
If we can be the #2 rushing defense in the conference, we'll have a shot at winning the conference. That would be shut-down run defense, and I'm confident our pass defense will be at least in 2012 form, which would put us near the the best in the B1G. Add marginal improvement to the offense, and you have a B1G contender.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||Ranking the schedule||
I'm going to do the whole schedule, just to put things in perspective:
The ND game is basically worthless, as everyone has pointed out, since we've dominated the series (despite our very bad teams) and they chickened out. Sure, I'll be foaming at the mouth during the game, but in the big picture, I don't much care.
Penn State has some momentum with the new hire and their unexpected success; we need to beat them.
The rest of the conference is more important than any non-conference game. App. State would be higher if they had a realistic chance of winning. Other than ND, only Utah should even put up a fight.
Win THE GAME. Beat Sparty. Then take care of the rest of the conference. I'm much more concerned about getting to Indianapolis than I am about the Fig Things.
|15 weeks 2 days ago||Will miss the USMNT content||
I wouldn't mind USMNT updates every summer; there is some sort of tournament thingy each summer, and we're in the MLS season.
BTW - I do believe this was some of the best USMNT coverage on the 'net. Well done, sir.
|16 weeks 14 hours ago||Bradley||
But with Altidore out, and Dempsey moved-up, who else plays where MB did? You can argue JK messed-up by not having an alternative to Altidore (though no such player that is a good option actually exists), but once Jozy was gone, Bradley played where he was needed.
And JK's placement of MB did not make MB turn the ball over or play bad passes. That's on MB.
|16 weeks 16 hours ago||Reason||
You got negged for sharing crappy content that wants nothing other than clicks.
Hoke is not on the hot seat, unless you define the hot seat as needing to appear competent to keep your job (which every coach has to do). This article is click-baiting, and I doubt Hoke gets fired unless the season is a train wreck.
The "Hot Seat" term should be reserved for coaches who have high goals set and don't achieve them. Hoke could go 9-4 or even 8-5 and keep his job if the team demonstrates improvement. That's hardly a "hot seat," IMO. If DB said, "We need to win our division this year or the coach is out," that would certainly qualify.
And yes, I negged your comment as well, because you were a jerk.
|16 weeks 17 hours ago||Agreed||
I'm so not mad about the USMNT and so excited about the future that I actually got mad this morning when Eric Wynalda* ranted on the Dan Patrick show about how stupid and foolish the US was in the WC this year. I almost punched my car radio.
This post, including and especially the good-bye thank yous, sums-up my feelings perfectly. I would only add that the future looks so bright--there is gobs of young talent that might allow us to play more like Belgium, Germany, Portugal, and Ghana in the future. For now, I'm just damn proud of a group that played like Americans, because TIM HOWARD.
*Wynalda is one of the best examples for why ex-players can make for lousy evaluators: he is emotional and irrational, and refuses to look at reality or basic soccer tactics when making his absurd comments. I mean, the dude even made Dan Patrick sound like a soccer expert.
|16 weeks 19 hours ago||FACT||
And there is no gray area.
|16 weeks 2 days ago||+1||
I am in favor of this if it has worked in training.
Johnson NEEDS to be involved on offense for us to be successful; if Cameron can link well outside, I like this idea, and would even consider using a Johnson/Yedlin wing combo.
We need to be aggressive in this match. There is no prize for second place anymore.
|16 weeks 2 days ago||Agreed||
I was there too, and will never forget the game. Chris Perry was amazing. He was clearly playing with an injury, and had to come off the field at one point. The OSU players started jawing at him and he stopped, turned around, and told them he'd be back.
He came back and ran them to death, rushing 31 times for 154 yards and two TDs. He also caught 5 passes for 55 yards. OSU averaged 2.2 yards/carry that day, but Jenkins and Santonio Holmes kept them in the game until Perry put the nail in the coffin half-way through the fourth quarter.
It was an amazing game, and we need more like it.
|16 weeks 5 days ago||John Beilein is the best. The absolute best.||
What a great coach. If DB's assessment of Hoke is that he is in the same vein, I hope both are coaches at U-M forever. Yes, forever. The U-M medical school can surely figure out a way to do that.
That said, Beilein has proven he has the character and can get the results...Hoke has work to do.
|16 weeks 5 days ago||HAHAHAHA||
Really? Your argument is that because we're economically successful and have a large population we should be a dominant soccer country?
Wow. That is so ridiculously silly, I don't even know where to begin...I guess using your logic? (can we even call it that?) that India, China, and Japan should be dominating world soccer right now too.
|16 weeks 6 days ago||Disagree||
This is most definitely Muppet-worthy. It's the first time every we've advanced out of the Group Stage in two consecutive tournaments, and this time we did it in either the toughest or second-toughest group.
This is the equivalent of the Sweet 16 in March Madness.
|16 weeks 6 days ago||Yes, Brazil||
Yes, behind Brazil. And yes, because of home field advantage. France has looked good, but weren't tested much in a pretty soft group.
Argentina is right up there, and then France and the Netherlands. Belgium should be in that group as well, but haven't shown it yet.
|16 weeks 6 days ago||Line-Up Changes||
I did not agree with either starting 11 change, but Klinsmann sure was right about Gonazlez. I think I was right about Davis. I was also hoping Yedlin would come on sooner.
What will be interesting will be to see what happens with the line-up and formation if Jozy is back on Tuesday (and I pray he is).
Acutally, we played a pretty good game today, and the referee was no help at all. But I believe Germany is 2nd-best team in this tournament, and we were more than respectable.
|17 weeks 16 hours ago||Marsch, Cameron, and Tomorrow||
There is no way Cameron should be pulled from the line-up. In fact, I wouldn't pull Zusi either. I thought the team played extremely well against Portugal--and that's no easy task.
As for Marsch's breakdown, I think he hit the important points that led to the goal:
The problem with playing centerback is that most goals can be blamed on you. Cameron, positionally, should have been there to meet the cross, and physically, he could have been there. That he had not identified Varela falls not just on the shoulders of Fabian Johnson (as Marsch points out) but also on him. And given the choice between marking Varela and the guys at the top of the box, Varela was the clear choice.
But damn, if the US midfield didn't make it hard for him. Jones was basically positioned as a centerback when the break started, and he should have stayed there. Bradley AND Gonzalez got sucked to Ronaldo--which is understandable, but also stupid. Besler was providing cover, and to have three guys pulled out of position is inexcusable. You have to understand that even though it's Ronaldo, if you properly positioned, you can still help.
At least one of Bradley or Gonzalez or Jones needs to be at the top of the 18 so that Cameron doesn't have to choose which of the three to mark.
All that said, the blaming of Cameron is ridiculous, but the idea that he should be substituted is even more absurd. He is the best defender on our team and is one of the top defenders in the best league in the world (La Liga fans may argue, but they're wrong--the EPL is tougher top to bottom, even if La Liga is stronger at the top). There is no replacement for him.
The second goal was a breakdown by nearly the entire team, and Cameron deserves only a small share of the blame.
But when you play centerback, you're usually the guy that looks like problem.
|17 weeks 17 hours ago||GRIII and Clips||
As a Clippers fan and former season ticket holder, I'd love to see GRIII as the pick. Adding an athletic wing with shooting range would help the team a lot. My only question about GRIII is his defense...he certainly has all the tools to be a great defender, but never has been. If he can add that to his game, there's no reason he couldn't start for a team that got very little production from the SF position when it counted.
Of course, Mitch McGary wouldn't be a bad pick either, especially if DeAndre Jordan gets shipped off in an effort to score LeBron.
|17 weeks 2 days ago||yes, but||
I agree with the Gonzalez criticism, if he is indeed supposed to be the deep CB. Given his positioning, I think that's highly unlikely. I think he's supposed to be in front of the other two, taking away anything in "the hole."
That said, whether Gonzalez was supposed to be there or not, Cameron could have and should have gotten to that ball.
Don't misunderstand me: other than the poor clearance and that play, Cameron had another great game. But he missed his mark on the decisive goal, and the criticism is deserved.
|17 weeks 2 days ago||Then you weren't watching||
Funchess ran away from lots of guys--including CBs--last season. I don't know what you were watching.
|17 weeks 2 days ago||Nope||
An internet post means absolutely nothing.
A hand-timed 40 is a reasonably accurate--though certainly not precise--measure of a player's speed.
At his size, even if that time is a full tenth of a second off, that is amazing speed. Why can't we all just be happy that we have Minitron on our team?
|18 weeks 1 day ago||The game, the flag, the snake||
It was truly an American tale. The lightning-quick surprise strike 34 seconds into the match showed the best of our team: Clint Dempsey taking advantage of a half-chance by beating two defenders and hitting a perfect shot.
Perhaps the worst moment of the match came at about the 20 minute mark. Ghana had taken control of the game, and a well-played outlet pass to Jozy appeared to give us a good chance at a counter-attack. Jozy had the speed and position to get to the ball first, but then, inexplicably, he fell to the grass, clutching his hammy. The significance of this loss can hardly be overstated.
We proceeded to show our worst. For nearly 80 minutes, we looked nervous, unskilled, and exhuasted. Top player Michael Bradley played so poorly with the ball that I joked in the second half with a friend of mine that he might not complete a pass before the game ended (he did, but just one or two). We could not possess the ball, and every time we had control of it we managed to find a way to give it back to Ghana in short order. Bad passes, sloppy dribbling, poor movement off the ball--we looked like a team without confidence.
The inevitable struck in the 82nd minute when a US player--Fabian Johnson--finally lost his mark in the box and allowed an easy shot. Tim Howard's superhero powers weren't even enough from that range.
But a team without confidence does not rally. A team without belief does not win games when their best player has what was likely his worst game in an American uniform. A team without a heart does not have a 21-yr-old substitute nod home a brilliant header from a corner kick taken by another substitute.
The American flag is iconic, and its symbols are powerful: the stars for the states, the stripes for the original thirteen colonies. But the snake is the appropriate symbol, and it's one that I wish the USMNT would embrace as the French sport their cock (rooster), the Czechs, English, and Dutch using lions, and the Australians the kangaroo and the ostrich.
The US Soccer symbol (below) is decidedly lame, and should be replaced, IMO, with the "Don't Tread on Me" motto and snake.
The game we just played proved it's an appropriate symbol: the pit viper waiting for its moment to strike, even as more powerful predators trample the earth around it.
|18 weeks 2 days ago||THIS||
There is only so much motivation a coach can provide. Championship teams have players that hold each other accountable; what this means specifically is that practices are intensified enough that they help players become play-makers in pressure situations.
The best teams--in every sport--have practices that are harder than their games. Coaching is a big, big part of that, but the players must take it on themselves to create that atmosphere and commit to sacrificing personal comfort, time, and desires in order to maximize every minute you're on the field.
My all-time favorite coaching quote: "Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes habit. When you practice well, you get better at playing well. When you practice poorly, you get better at playing poorly."
|18 weeks 4 days ago||GrEat pOst.||
|18 weeks 6 days ago||Three main competitors...||
Not exactly sure whom you are referring to, but MSU has significantly more experience.
Lindsay only had four starts at 'Bama, so those OSU numbers might be right.
I'm guessing Penn State is our third comparison? God willing, the crappy O-Line bug hits them this year and costs them dearly. They have good RBs and TEs, so if the OL can make holes and give Hackenberg time, they could be pretty good.
|18 weeks 6 days ago||Who's winning?||
Too often I get focused on the best players on a roster, and ignore the worst/weak links. This post I'm boing to try to point out the players that I believe were taken too early or weren't a good value. Who has the most weak links?
Other than Mark, none of the picks have been wildly foolish, but I'd have to say I think BiSB has the most steady draft at this point. Here's how I'd rank the teams:
|18 weeks 6 days ago||Humility + Confidence||
Jabrill continues to demonstrate an unwavering faith in his abilities combined with an understanding that he has much to learn and do before he can take his place among the greats. If he is truly running a 4.32 at his size, he will be on the field this fall. That said, if he is committed to learning the defensive schemes and he can actually do it, he will be a big contributor.
Everything points to Jabrill being a special player who makes an early impact. I can't wait to see it happen.
|19 weeks 19 hours ago||The Pattern||
Welcome to the family! He obviously fits the mold of a high character, high performance player. This class is shaping up nicely.
|19 weeks 2 days ago||Thanks!||
Great info and write-up. Sounds like an amazing day.
|19 weeks 5 days ago||HAHAHAHA||
Everyone should watch this video immediately.
|19 weeks 5 days ago||Cook > Hackenberg?||
While Brian's selection is the more obvious one, there is a serious question in my mind about which QB is better. In Cook's last four games, he averaged at least 7.2 YPA and threw 8 TDs vs 3 INTs. His rating in those four games averages out to 154.19, a top-20 rating nationally. He finished ahead of Hackenberg in ratings anyway, but he finished strong and his improvement was evident.
This pick basically damns Seth to spoiler, because without a QB (and there are none left) he cannot claim the crown.
Brian has maintained his lead while eliminating an opponent...but the Hackenberg pick didn't help him as much it will hurt Seth. This is a solid three-horse race to the finish...
|19 weeks 5 days ago||Love it||
Most entertaining draftageddon post in awhile...Previously, I had the teams ranked like this:
And yes, it is coincidental that it mirrors the draft order. Seth had two very, very good picks for the first time in awhile, but to me, he's still behind the pack. BiSB appears to be assembling a version of Michigan State with great defense and a solid, but unspectacular offense. If he can boost his O-Line and keep his defense strong, he'll be hard to beat. Ace had two good picks, though I'm not that crazy about Lowdermilk. Brian's Hackenberg selection was brilliant draft strategy, but he needs to add another playmaker on offense and I'm pretty sure he'll need a LB on his team.
Here's my new rankings, and it's much closer now, especially among the top three (sorry, Seth):
BiSB is on the cusp of pulling ahead for now, since Hackenberg only marginally improves Brian's team if Braxton is healthy. Ace--if you don't get Cook, you are pretty much screwed. Seth has had a nice day here, but he still needs help from the other guys to move up. Since I love his analytical posts, I'm pulling for him, but there is much to do.
|19 weeks 6 days ago||Well said||
Welcome to the family, Ty. We are excited and grateful you've chosen Michigan.
|20 weeks 1 day ago||Maryl||
Maryland will give us more trouble than Rutgers.
|20 weeks 6 days ago||Brian, BiSB winning||
At the end of round eight, it's pretty clear that Brian and BiSB are the B1G East and Seth and Ace are the B1G West. There is plenty of time for this to turn around, but:
I'm not sure Seth can get back in this thing, but Ace could still get my vote. For now, it's close between Brian and BiSB, with Brian in the lead.
|21 weeks 19 hours ago||Not like Akron||
More like our 2011 win over SDSU: we got the job done, but not much more, and we really didn't learn anything. I don't have alarm bells going off in my head like I did after Akron. It was meh, not, "Holy crap we looked pathetic against weak competition."
I'm neither happy nor sad, just mildly frustrated we didn't show better. We'll see what happens against Turkey.
|21 weeks 19 hours ago||Great write-up||
Brian, you have a good eye for soccer and understand it better than most.
Jones has taken a lot of criticism for his turnovers this morning, but I agree that's mostly bollocks. No one hit accurate long passes in those conditions, and CDM's job is to attempt those passes regardless of conditions. You cannot stretch a defense otherwise.
I actually thought Bradley had a poor outing; his one-touch passing left a lot to be desired and his spacing was off. He needs to stay in the middle of the field if the 4-4-2 diamond is going to work.
Altidore was very ho-hum. Wondo looked aggressive in the box, and basically useless outside of it. Zusi was robbed a bit of his game by the conditions, and Bedoya was hot-and-cold.
I honestly thought Johnson was one of the most dangerous players in the starting eleven as well. Beasley was fine. Besler and Cameron did their jobs.
Brad Davis provided a spark off the bench, and his perfect service helped create both goals. The corner kick goal was a beautifully-crafted play that worked exactly as it was drawn-up. People who know soccer will recognize the tricks used to get Johannsson open; it wasn't bad marking, it was great execution. Very difficult to defend that play, right down to the goalkeeper being (legally) impeded.
Overall, I very much agree that left mid looks like the biggest question mark. I also agree that this game didn't tell us much. The next two matches will offer more substance, and hopefully better conditions. I sure did miss Dempsey.
|21 weeks 2 days ago||Great post||
I love the write-up, Brian. WC is one of the best--if not the best--sporting events in the world. I hate that we're so often told we can't be fans of football and soccer. I love both.
As for the roster choices, I trust Klinsmann. While Donovan has a proven track record of production at the MNT level, he's also fallen off recently and has never had the killer instinct that Klinsmann is trying to instill in his team. I have followed Donovan's career since it started, and he has always had a reputation for being soft and not training at a world class level. When he was in the Bundesliga, he said he was shocked to see the top level players going all out in practice and risking their careers and their millions just to make a tackle during training.
Don't get me wrong--Donovan is the most productive player in USMNT history, and is deserving of his accolades. I don't hate him or wish him ill. But creating a culture of success is Klinsmann's first and most important job as coach. The problem is that you cannot create that culture without actually experiencing success. Can the US make a World Cup run without its best scoring playmaker of all time? We'll see. But Klinsmann needs to continue to build not just for this summer, but for the future of US soccer. If he doesn't believe Landon has a role to play in that, I trust him.
You can't argue with results. While Donovan's numbers speak for themselves, he has slowed down and if the rumors of a lack of fitness are true, you don't want him out there. Klinsmann's results as a coach are just as successful as Landon's as a player. That is why I trust him.
For those wondering, "Why not just take Donovan as the 23rd guy?" I think the answer is not so simple. Donovan's career success and strong friendships with team leaders make him a defacto captain, even without the armband. Players will look to and look up to him, regardless of how he is playing now. Klinsmann may not want an out-of-shape player with a reputation for being soft as a team leader. He may not want the distraction of having the media and fans calling for Donovan to start of sub at the first sign of trouble. And he may just genuinely believe that Donovan is not one of the best 23.
This is a lose-lose for Klinsmann. Put Donovan on the roster, and you're expected to play him and he becomes a defacto captain. Leave him off, and everyone will clamor for him and bitch if the team doesn't do well. The only Klinsmann wins here is if the US gets out of the toughest group in the tournament and demonstrates they can win without the best player in the history of the team.
A tough decision, but I admire Klinsmann for sticking to his beliefs and making a hard choice...now he has to prove it was the right choice.