The D-League as petri dish for weird basketball concepts.
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- Josh Asselin - Would have been great under Beilein and had an amazing Euro career.
- Laval Blanchard - Was a superstar who stayed home to try and to for Michigan what the likes of Morgan, Morris, and others did and never quite made it. Also would have been a perfect player in a Beilein system.
- Dugan Fife - He probably got the right amount of praise, but he was the glue guy for those fab five years.
- Eric Riley - Someone mentioned him earlier and that's a great name. He was a limited member of the 89 championship team and would have been a solid starter for his upper classmen years if not for the fab five.
- Chris Calloway - Was always overshadowed by Greg McMurtry (who history now forgets as a very good player and wearer of #1) and yet Calloway had a great college career and phenomenal NFL career.
- Jarrod Bunch - Didn't get a lot of publicity in the era of bruising running games with Hoard, Wheatley, and others getting the publicity, but did everything you'd want of a RB/FB tweener and had a solid career.
- RVB or Craig Roh - Never a star but always a starter who was reliable.
- Henry needs to stay at 3-Tech so he can be a playmaker. At NT he's just a block eater and it seems unlikely that a Wormley/Poggi/Hurst combo will win many battles. I'm hoping that Pipkins/Ash/Hurst/Mone can handle NT and let Henry be a playmaker.
- Ryan has to have a monster year as he's the only proven playmaker.
- I predict that they'll move Taco to SDE in another attempt to get a dynamic guy on the field.
- I love, love, love our corner depth....but none of them seem at all physical and I think Mattison is reluctant to rely on them in press coverage. Thus the bend-but-don't-break 7-yard cushion. I could see Peppers be the nickle guy but play outside while Taylor or Countess move inside - sort of like this year. If Lewis and Stribling can contribute immediately, I think Peppers will be fine.
- I think Stribling moves to safety, at least for a season. I think they want more bodies back there to compete. Ideally Thomas makes HUGE strides, but given his lack of play this year that seems like a stretch.
- Taco moves into the rotation
- Wilson and Gordon both lose playing time to Avery and Furman
- Thomas gets some run in a game after never seeing a defensive snap all year
- Morgon/Ross continue to lose a fair amount of playing time in a rotation with Bolden and even Gedeon
|2 days 10 hours ago||Several Names.....||
|3 days 10 hours ago||Rooting interest....||
I realize that we have not rooting interest in the B10 that isn't based on love or hate of other teams, but what about the non-conference teams? Namely, we want Stanford/FSU to win everything, we don't care about Arizona, we're probably indifferent to ISU now that we're clearly ahead of them, and we want Dook to lose to help our seeding and because they're Dook.
|6 days 8 hours ago||Critical.||
This is CRITICAL for next year. With McGary's future uncertain we need to know that Horford will be back to provide a consistent presence in the middle. Bielfeldt will probably get more play, but he's woefully undersized for the center position. The only other option is incoming freshman Ricky Doyle, who will be forced to play if McGary leaves. The only other option I could see the coaches trying is to play Bielfeldt alongside Mark Donnal. On D they could switch roles with Donnal guarding the other team's center and on O they can let Bielfeldt set the perimeter screens while Donnal operates as the stretch four.
|1 week 5 days ago||Fixing the symptom and not the problem?||
It seems like the coaches are throwing everything they have at maximizing the production of the LB crew both with the coaching changes and the position changes. But the reality is that the true problems were with the DL. We couldn't consistently get pressure and we couldn't keep the LB free. So now we're tinkering with the deepest and most talented position on the field to cover up for the weakest? Seems.....odd. Maybe they see the writing on the wall that help is NOT on the way at DL and they need to try more exotic options. Let's face it - unless we see a huge improvement from someone unexpected on the DL we're treading water there. The other option is that Ross will end up being a dynamic player on the edge where his speed and quickness are more effective and Ryan can blow up releasing guards and still make the tackle. Let's hope......
|1 week 6 days ago||That was pretty great....||
I actually loved that exchange and wish the announcers would have talked about it. The call on Morgan was crap and Izzo telling Beilein "you got it, you got it, we're even" while laughing was pretty great.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Disagree....||
I don't agree with Ferns at all. He is behind a full two-deep at his position right now and I can't see them blowing his redshirt.
In his place I would have used Lawrence Marshal. This staff has a history of playing WDE guys who are raw in situational pass rushing roles (Mario, Taco). In addition, we're lacking for pass rush and they announced that Taco is moving to SDE. I think Marshal gets a chance at some snaps and maybe a bigger role if he steps up. That seems far more likely than Ferns offering anything more than a cameo.
I'm not sold on Bunting either, but I didn't realize his weight was over 230 now. Last I heard he was a rail thin 220 and still trying to adapt from WR to TE. My guess is that the new OC puts more proven WR on the field and only uses TE when he needs blocking. Between Funchess part-time, Williams, Paskorz, Hill, and maybe even Shallman I think we can survive without asking a position-switch, undersized, true freshman to play. We'll see how long Butt takes to heal I guess....
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Offense & the missing link||
I think Brian's post is the most telling. What's the best way to improve transition defense? Make shots so the other team can't run. We've missed too many long jumpers lately and that often leads to a fast-break the other way. Fixing the offense may have just as much improvement on our defense as anything else we could do. The other issues are very much to do with the loss of McGary. We're back to lacking flexibility in our front-court lineup and having to play undersized. We miss McGary's steals, out-let passes, and general disruption - even if his overall impact isn't what his surprising all-american credentials would imply. There's zero chance you'll ever see Horford and Morgan on the floor together as that is the antithesis of what Beilein wants for his offense or his risk-averse mentality when it comes to fouls. As much as I like the kid, i still wish we had an athletic PF buried on the bench who could play D and rebound - Max Bielfeldt just isn't the right fit. Larry Nance Jr. would have been a great fit and even having a guy like Evan Smotrycz around at PF would help a lot. We can usually get away with playing an undersized PF, but sometimes it will blow up in your face - especially when GR3 is in a funk.
|3 weeks 5 hours ago||Ace - different take on the issues....||
Late in your recap you highlighted how Michigan wasn't able to get the easy looks and settled for long jumpers - indicating that this was part of the issue. Yet what we all talked about from the first meeting was that Wisconsin plays the pick and roll soft and thus allows you to take those long twos. I think the issue was that Michigan's D got carved up early with allowing so many open threes and uncontested shots from the paint (many on OReb). During that same time, which has happened often lately, it took the offense a while to figure out what they wanted to do. I thought Michigan shored up their 3pt defense later in the game, but it was dreadful early against a team that makes you pay. Meanwhile I can't remember the last open three from Stauskas or dunk by GR3. It seems that everything is a chore for Michigan on offense right now and that bodes unwell when their D is clearly struggling.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Other players stepping up....||
While I agree that having other players step up is the optimum solution, I think the issue you're seeing is that none of our other players are great creators. Walton is getting better, but still struggles to get others involved or use the ball screen. LeVert rarely looks to set anyone else up when he drives and gets lost in traffic. GR3 and Irvin need no explanation. I think that explains why the back-cuts aren't getting the ball to Stauskas because the other guards aren't confident in making that pass.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||I approve this message||
I was wondering if this would happen. It may even allow Beyer to play both DE positions depending on situations.
|4 weeks 5 days ago||Randomness & basketball||
My big frustration with basketball is that the "randomness" is so tied to officiating. I understand that it is impossible to be good at basketball officiating. But it changes games perhaps more than any other sport's officials do. Making matters worse, at this point you now see officials in football and baseball being held accountable via replay and slow motion. In basketball they rarely show bad calls or even discuss the impact of lousy officiating on the outcome of the game. I think it has forced improvement in the other sports but remains awful in basketball.
|4 weeks 5 days ago||Safety depth vs. corner depth||
Which of the corners is going to move to safety to improve depth there? That's what I want to know. Stribling has the size, but I know the coaches want big corners so a future of Stribling/Peppers sounds appealing. Any thoughts on those options?
|4 weeks 6 days ago||Strategy?||
Against MSU it seemed we fought to get Stauskas the ball. Against IU and Duke it seemed that we tried to win a 4-on-4 game. Why?
I asked this after the Duke game - why not have Stauskas bring the ball up the floor and initiate the ball screen offense from there?
|7 weeks 3 days ago||The good news is that it doesn't matter....||
I think Beilein has played this one perfect. He can rotate them so interchangeably right now depending on match-ups, fouls, style of play, and hot-hand that it really doesn't matter. Horford plays miserably in one game and Jordan Morgan sets some season highs. Then in the next game it is vice versa. Much like we've seen with PG, the minutes will shake out over time depending on how it goes - but so far they have both stepped up. People forget in all the McGary hype that this team has won a lot of games with the Morgan/Horford center position and McGary struggled for much of the regular season and was mostly an energy guy off the bench rather than a focal point of the team. I love the guy, but having these two experienced guys who know their role is not the weakness the casual fan assumed when McGary got hurt.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||"Modern" attributes||
I think another poster asked about it, but how much did you see an adjustment at the line based on the defense, either from the coach or QB? While I suspect Saban is not the type to allow a QB to change plays on his own, if you aren't going to let a 3-year starting senior with national titles and some Heisman votes change plays - then we probably won't see much of that at Michigan. Thoughts Ace? Also, how would you compare the amount and effectiveness of their tempo offense to that rare situation when Michigan tried it?
|7 weeks 5 days ago||Speight = confusing||
So are they basing the huge fall for Speight on his SIX pass attempts in an all-star game? The fact that he played well enough in practice to start and be named a captain doesn't count for anything? I agree that he didn't do enough to jump significantly, but fall that far? I don't see it. His WR falls down instead of possibly making a good TD catch and things change totally on perception? Seems odd.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||Positive thoughts||
I can in no way judge how "nice of a guy" Borges was so I'll leave that out of this. What I will say as a farewell is that despite the rough patches these past three years, he was also responsible for some amazing offensive games and set records that may live for a while. The OSU game, the IU game, the various ND games. He also helped get Jeremy Gallon the receiving record, turned Funchess into a very productive receiver, and help guide an awkward hybrid offense in 2011 to product two 1000-yard rushers. Unlike the common comparison to the Gerg/RichRod defensive struggles, there were several extremely amazing offensive performances under Borges that shouldn't be ignored as we move into a new era. Good luck Al - may your next stop include a mature offensive line and QB and a fan base that doesn't know why throwing bubble screens is a productive offensive play.
|9 weeks 2 days ago||Right Tackle.....||
One of the benefits of the depth chart besides just bodies is versatility on the interior. That is good because it allows us to see whether Kugler/Miller can claim the center spot and move Glasgow back where he belongs or whether we have to give him another season at center due to the guards being more talented. I think something that wasn't mentioned enough is that Glasgow was our best pulling lineman and we lost that when he moved to center. (and we also got one bad snap per game out of him it seemed) But the issue is tackle. I think what is far more important than your comments about Kugler and Bryant is that Braden needs to pown the RT spot and make us forget he vanished this season. If he locks down the tackle spot we can then put Kalis, Bosch, Glasgow, Miller, Bryant, Kugler, and Dawson into the meat grinder and see who comes out.
|9 weeks 3 days ago||Looking back at 2013......||
I think the biggest issue this year was that Mattison had ZERO playmakers on defense and almost no one that could win a 1-on-1 match-up. One example was one of the TDs in the bowl game - he dialed up an A-gap blitz and got a guy right in the QB's face. If that guy gets there a half second earlier or the corner could cover for a half second longer it is a FG attempt. Neither could, despite a perfect play-call.
In 2011 the playmakers were Martin and RVB with solid guys around them. Kovacs was a playmaker too.
In 2012 the playmaker was Jake Ryan with the DL eating blocks to free him and the other LB up. In fact, Kovacs had to do little at all since the DL ate blocks, the LB made tackles, Ryan made big plays, Kovacs just cleaned up anything else.
In 2013 it was.....it was.....no one. I actually think some of the explanation for Black and Henry playing so much more than Washington was the search for a playmaker. I think they futzed with the safeties for the same reason - looking for a big play.
As for 2014, here are my thoughts:
I still think this is a good enough D to keep us in games all season - but can it win any for us? It all comes down to that DL.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||My thoughts.....||
I do think we tend to blame the coaches a bit too much on this blog since ultimately execution matters a ton. But unlike the NFL, in college the players are young and the coaches have to put them in a position to succeed. We also need to stop giving the defensive coaches a pass. BUT......the fact is that we have very few playmakers on this team. On defense the only person close to being a playmaker is Jake Ryan, just a few months removing from a major injury. On offense we have Gallon, Funchess, and Gardner but too much dysfunction on the OL and scheme to utilize them effectively. We don't have a difference maker in the backfield and our scheme seems to make everything seem so hard. Nothing about this team makes sense any more - offense looks great against ND/OSU/IN and awful for long stretches. Defense looks solid for much of the year but collapses late several times and can't do anything against OSU/KSU/IN. I think you have to hold someone accountable on the coaching staff and can't just tell Brandon it was all "poor execution by the players", but it is probably lower-level assistants. I also think that Hoke only gets his fifth year if we see progress next season. We lose just two semi-productive players on D and have an easier schedule.
|11 weeks 2 days ago||Interesting||
Over at MnB they do a weekly feature on former UM players in the NFL. Every week they report that he played a fair amount of snaps bit has almost no stats. I guess it is good that he is apparently doing the little things.
|11 weeks 2 days ago||More info please....||
I realize this is being picky, but please try to provide some more information with a post like this. I'm sure many visitors to the blog know who he is, but for all we know he's a water polo recruit based on your post. Maybe stating his sport, year, and position would be a simple addition to an update like this - especially when there isn't a link provided.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||League quality||
Yeah, thanks for the input. TOC post I saw last season went into detail with their players on the quality of the league they were playing in. Amazingly, MSU had fewer active players overseas than Michigan I think so it was a little easier. I gave up after just finding their information without researching the quality of their league, the performance of their team, etc. As for Asselin, I always liked him as a player. I think he's one of the guys from the "dead ball era" of Michigan basketball that would have most benefited from having Beilein as a coach. The guy who would have been perfect is Blanchard. He was a 6'7" undersized power-forward who could shoot the lights out and rebound well and would have thrived playing the Novak/GR3 role.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||Nice updates!||
Thanks for all of the updates! I didn't go back far enough to grab the guys who are former coaches. I know Juwan is an assistant on the Heat and obviously Webber and Rose are working as analysts. I wonder if guys like Rice, Vaught, etc. landed anywhere. I can't believe I forgot about Blake! Hopefully everything is okay with his family even if he doesn't resume his career.
|12 weeks 3 days ago||Taco.....||
I struggled with how to categorize this one. Playing Taco out of the blue late in the season surprised me and given his limited impact I can see why some people think he should have redshirted. Maybe that's one I should have changed in the table. I put "good" since he was clearly part of the rotation late in the year.
But looking at some of the comments, I now start to wonder why the coaches did decide to play him. Mario lost some snaps, Clark was doing pretty well, Beyer was available to play multiple positions, and the Wormley/Godin/Glasgow trifecta existed. I'm not quite sure why the coaches decided that Taco needed to start playing so late in the year. I have a theory though.
When the team started flailing about in November I think you started to see Hoke and Mattison start tinkering on defense in an attempt to compensate for the offensive issues. This is what Hoke knows, right? So maybe Hoke and Mattison got together and started trying to find levers to pull and buttons to push on defense. Considering that Taco probably looks awesome in practice against our woeful offensively line, that may have helped. Look at the somewhat odd changes you saw late in the year:
Anyway, it is just a theory. The concern with Taco is that Clark, Mario, and Beyer still exist on the depth chart and now without Deshawn Hand coming next year we could have used some separation in eligibility.
|12 weeks 3 days ago||Redshirt versus travel roster||
To clarify, there is no rule whatsoever about declaring a redshirt for a player until after the season. Let's use David Dawson as an example. He can dress for every game and the coaches can choose to bring him to away games if they feel there is room for him on the limited travel squad. He can take second team reps in practice. If he just happens to make it through the entire season without seeing a snap, then he can have his redshirt. At this point if they decided to play him in the bowl game for some crazy reason, he can certainly do that but he will have lost his redshirt.
What I think hurt both Shane and Dymonte was that they played against WMU because I'm sure the coaches expected to use/need them throughout the season. These are the guys who were probably most hurt by the narrow wins/losses throughout the rest of the schedule. I expect that the coaches were going to play them more significant minutes against Akron and UConn. But once they played a fair amount against WMU, their redshirts were burned. The only alternative would have been to sit them the rest of the year and fabricate an injury for them and hope the NCAA gives them a medical redshirt - that's very shady business and really only makes even a little sense with the benefit of hindsight.
|12 weeks 5 days ago||Interesting...||
This is all wonderful data. Is there any way you can put some of it into context to help understand how our D compares to either other teams, past Michigan teams, etc.?
|13 weeks 4 days ago||My thoughts - SAFETY||
I don't want to come across as knocking Schofield, but it is hard for me to defend anyone on this OL for their dismal play - including Lewan. I thought both tackles were good, but far from great. And communication issues are a HUGE part of OL play. We'll miss Schofield for sure, but I think his performance was overstated by most of you guys. On the other hand, I'm terrified of our safety play. Wilson SEEMS good, but yet he couldn't claim a consistent starting job with the coaches. Now he's the guy we're counting on and we're going to pair him with.....with......who? Either Furman, last seen picking up his jock on the field or someone that's NEVER PLAYED before. At least this year we knew that Wilson had some experience and Avery, for all his faults, was a senior with lots of PT. Asking Clark, Thomas, Furman, or Hill to be a major improvement is scary. As much as I fear this idea, I wouldn't be shocked if one of the corners (Countess/Taylor/Stribling) moves to that spot given their experience and Peppers being able to step in at a deeper position.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||What do you WANT to happen versus what do you THINK will happen||
I think the best scenario would be an ugly game that OSU wins on a controversial call and then the voters put Auburn ahead of them in the NC game thus screwing both teams in the process. That would be the best case scenario as a fan without involving natural disasters that swallow the stadium whole. As for what WILL happen? I don't think MSU's offense can score enough and as great as their D is I think they'll still give up 25+ points. OSU in an ugly close game.
|14 weeks 4 hours ago||Brian v annoying posters||
Without question I support Brian and the way he runs the site. Without his emotions as a real fan or his detailed analysis this site would never have become the awesome thing that it is today.
However, I was also disappointed in how Brian handled the last week or so. His "Fickle" piece was great, but otherwise he basically seemed to throw up his hands and say "there is no hope for this offense - spread or nothing.".
I know that wasn't what he really meant, but his comments lacked the substance that makes him great - showing us WHY this offense isn't working and how other teams have been able to make it work (Stanford, LSU, Wisconsin, etc). Without the supporting data he came across more like that punk Rosenberg....a big fan who didn't like the way the coaches ran their system and thus just trashed them.
I hope Brian takes some time to relax and rediscover his passion for this so he can give us his great content despite what Borges and some posters have done to his mental health.