if you seek an image of the most Wisconsin OL ever, enter here
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- 6 years 18 weeks
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- Morgan - 24mpg
- Smotrycz - 18mpg
- Horford - 7mpg
- McLimans - 5mpg
- PG: Burke 2011 > Walton 2014
- SG: Levert 2014 >> Douglas 2011
- SF: Irvin 2014 > Hardaway 2011 (close one)
- PF: Novak 2011 > Wilson/Chatman 2014 (height and raw talent favor 2014)
- C: Morgan 2011 > Donnal 2014 (at least until we see him play)
- BN: 2014 >>> 2011 (Smotrycz might have been better than anyone in 2014, but the depth alone with 5-6 guys able to contribute trumps 2011)
|4 days 21 hours ago||Expectations||
I think Draymond Green is a stretch, but it is an interesting comparison. Perhaps the biggest issue was just expecting him to be ready at this point. His skills are more nuanced and take time to develop, perhaps like Green or Novak. He was hopefully going to be backing up GR3 or Donnal this season and not playing 30 minutes at PF. It is tough, however to see so many of his lesser rated predecessors have at least some success right away or at least see their future more clearly. (He also suffers from the overall struggles of the other players.)
The reason I project Robinson to challenge his rotation spot is that I expect Robinson has one specific skill that he can do well and earn minutes. It isn't clear yet what will earn Chatman his minutes. I think he needs to be more aggressive and stop thinking so much. Like Irvin and Spike there is probably some lost confidence.
|4 days 21 hours ago||Fair points....||
You are correct, his supporting cast is far inferior to last year. Not having the reliable post players to pass to, a killer outside shooter to stretch the D, or another alpha male offensive player makes it impossible to judge.
I will also clarify that I didn't mean Caris wasn't a great player and more valuable than Manny or THJ for his diversity.
However, even his stats from last year suggest that he is a unique player compared to what Beilein has had in recent seasons and it is possible that there have been growing pains associated with how to build an offense around him (magnified by the lack of performers around him). We used to complain about the Burke hero ball at the end of games and he was Trey Friggin' Burke. When a lot of your offense is Caris hero ball I think it warrants further discussion to understand why.
I really hope he comes back and gets to play with a better cast next year.
|4 days 21 hours ago||Athleticism is the perfect comment||
This team has so little athleticism outside of Levert and flashes from Dawkins. When you watch them against teams like OSU it is appalling. You see so few dunks from this team and I have counted at least 8 missed layups by Irvin in the conference season.
The good news is that Beilein has made a career out of unathletic guys and even very few of his stars qualify as above average athletically these past few years.
What is killing this team as much as their inability to get some easy 2s is the fact they have universally regressed at shooting 3s.
|4 days 23 hours ago||Chatman.....||
I am equally perplexed by how Chatman was so highly rated. He seems to possess very little athletic ability, which limits him as both a rebounder and finisher. He also doesn't seem like his range quite extends to the three-point line. And he's clearly not a great ball handler. So what is he? What did people see with a below-the-rim mid-range jump shooter that got him his rankings?
I'm not ready to give up on him yet, but his fit in the offense and defense seems so limited right now. He's not big or athletic enough to truly play PF and he's not a good enough ball-handler or creator to play SF. He seems like a role player off the bench who you pair with complimentary players at C/SF to mask his weaknesses. It is easier to project long-term roles for Rahk and Dawkins than Chatman.....which is concerning since he's the only highly rated recruit out of the six freshmen and there is no hope on the horizon for impact recruits.
Next year I think Robinson immediately jumps him in the rotation if he can shoot as is rumored. Then there's the question of where you play Wilson. I remain of the opinion that's he's a center, not a stretch PF. I think that fits his skills, I think it fits within the offense, I think they need more depth at C, and I think he would be awesome in these zone defenses.
|4 days 23 hours ago||Levert Assist Rate||
Forgive me if this sounds like a negative to Caris Levert, who is a player I enjoy watching and seems like a good all-around guy. I was shocked that his assist rate was so high. He doesn't feel like he ever sets up a teammate. Am I crazy?
Morris, Burke, and Stauskas used to always drive to the hoop or use the screen-and-roll with the distinct possibility of setting up a teammate. Morris struggled at times by not being able to shoot and Burke struggled at times to pass over/around the roll defender, but all three would find a streaking big man or corner shooter several times per game. When I watch Levert play he feels like someone who never runs a screen-and-roll (prefering an iso play) and rarely if ever sets up a teammate for an easy shot. In some ways he reminds me of Manny Harris - a very talented player capable of anything, but not someone who generates offense for others. The book on him is probably this - put your best defender on him and when he drives, bring help because he's not likely to pass, thus forcing him into a tough shot.
I think what this young team who lacks playmakers needs is someone to set them up for easy shots. Levert might just not be that guy - he brings different skills to the table. And since most of his drives result in fairly inefficient mid-range shots instead of layups he also isn't as efficient by himself as his predecessors. Topping it all off, you know he's getting the other team's best defender.
(Walton is struggling with what Burke went thru as a freshman - he's too small to get easy passes to people in the screen game, especially when we don't have GR3 streaking for a dunk along the baseline. )
|1 week 5 days ago||All-Name Team||
Just look at some of those clips on defense:
Ray, Sword, Steele, Gold, Horn, Irons
|1 week 5 days ago||Glen Steele||
(Context - I was in the class of 1997 and in the MMB, so this was the peak of my fandom)
Without question my favorite player besides Woodson was Glen Steele. He seemed to be in the backfield on every other play and I honestly believe that part of what made Woodson so dominant was his ability to disrupt the pocket and force bad decisions by the QB (just a small part.....but still). He wasn't that huge, he wasn't that fast, and he wasn't a physical specimen. He just worked hard on every play.
Marcus Ray got a ton of accolades from people (and still does) but I actually didn't think he was that great of a safety. I thought he tried too hard for a knockout blow rather than making sure tackles. Then again, we've been a wasteland at safety since Vada Murray and Tripp Welbourne were back there so Ray does stand out.
I liked Tai Streets because he played on the basketball team at the same time as the football team. But as star Michigan wide receivers go he was sort of the weak link in the chain that stretches from AC to Braylon. (Though he had a better NFL career than some of those guys.)
Finally, there was an OL who was a bit of a star and it wasn't the freshmen - it was Jon Jansen. He was the likeable mauler wearing #77 before Long and Lewan. He was the guy who never missed a game or a block. He was a local kid. So he'd probably be my #2 besides Steele for this question.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||What made you say great hire?||
While the idea of someone with NFL OC experience is nice for a lower level assistant, what makes you call this a "great hire"? Just curious since the Jags had the worst NFL offense by a mile and that got him fired.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Great content! A couple of suggestions....||
Thanks for these great posts - they are fabulous insights into our future coaching staff. I have two suggestions to make them even better:
1. Please, please, please re-read what you've written before you post it. You offer some amazing insight, but the number of typos is very high and diminishes how much effort you put into this and how good the content is.
2. Is it possible for you to mark up the screen shots to help identify players, schemes, etc? I loved the detail you provided but it then took some time to decipher in the pictures.
Again, don't take this as anything other than constructive, because your diaries have been great. Thanks again for the content.
|3 weeks 3 days ago||No way Payton||
I assume you were joking about Shawn Payton as he was never considered.
|3 weeks 3 days ago||Sean not Shawn||
|5 weeks 2 days ago||Recruiting||
What frustrates me so much is that we have six freshmen on this team and none of them are ready to play meaningful minutes in college. Donnal and Doyle are okay, but they should be role players off the bench.
I realize that we are forced to play them because of the NBA departures, but that's sort of my point. We are coming off an era where six guys got drafted early, records were set with a fun offense, awards were won, and we were the talk of the conference. Yet we can't recruit one player who is college ready?
The guys just are too raw, small, and slow. We are getting zip from the 4, were are barely scraping by at center, our pick and roll game has vanished, and we have turned into a long jump shot team.....which suddenly can't hit them. We took like 40 threes today!!
|5 weeks 5 days ago||ESPN Radio||
Mike and Mike recapped a piece from a bay area newspaper that is saying Oakland is the leader. He sites the obvious boilerplate of "bay area, winning a super bowl, NFL, total control, and having a QB.".
Of course the same piece says that Stephen Ross will make a push for him in Miami.....which seems odd.
|9 weeks 5 hours ago||Eh.....not sure.||
I think Mario & Taco played okay, but they weren't dominant. And when the QB runs for that many yards I think everyone in the front-seven needs to be down-graded. Sure, the offense and special teams lost us the game, but the D gave up two fourth quarter touchdowns and allowed their QB to run for 80+ yards. If they're supposed to be an elite run-stopping defense, the entire front seven is an issue. The comments about the WR are also very accurate. Chesson has vanished, Darboh is solid but unspectacular, Norfleet doesn't get any chances, Canteen has barely played and dropped a great TD pass on Saturday. Even Jake Butt is rarely used and we know that the RB always stay in to block rather than run routes.
|9 weeks 3 days ago||Ball screen.....where art thou?||
The last few years we've been an offense built around the ball screen. I feel like we've barely seen it in these initial games. Is that because the 4/5 spots are freshmen? Is that just an early season thing? Is it because Caris is better in isolation? The offense felt clunky for long stretches last night, even with the 5 upper-classmen out there. (Though it went unsaid that we missed at least two threes that were in and out during the first half and the game looks a lot different if those went in.)
|9 weeks 3 days ago||Donnal||
I was a little surprised that Donnal got yanked. The play where he missed the layup was a pretty good play by him and I thought he fit well within the offense and had a couple blocks. I understood Wilson because he looked totally lost and Doyle wasn't a good fit against a 5-guard lineup. But I wanted to see Donnal get more PT since he's our starter and someone we will need. When Max had to play any 1-on-1 D he was a liability. Kam was frustrating at times, but I still think he's getting decent shots that just aren't falling.
|9 weeks 5 days ago||Parallel to 2010-2011||
Either on this site or UMHoops someone mentioned the parallel at the Center position between this season and the 2010-2011 season. Both years we had a glut of young and unproven big-men. Here are how the minutes played out:
There's a decent parallel to this year. Morgan was a solid clog in the machine as a RS-Fr (Donnal) and got most of the minutes despite not doing any one thing great but several things well enough (5.4rpg, 63%, 9.2ppg). Smotrycz was the most skilled of the options and spent some time at the four and five spots slightly out of position (38% from 3pt, 2.3rpg) and compares to Wilson. Horford played a surprisingly small amount considering his size and ability to rebound/block shots - which either means my analogy to Doyle breaks down or we may see Wilson pass him if he can hit open shots. Then there's McLimans, who was unable to hold his own in the post but could hit a few open shots (aka Bielfeldt).
|10 weeks 6 days ago||Not too worried....||
I'm not sure if you're on to something or not, but I persoally am not too worried. We will definitely see some growing pains with SEVEN freshmen, but that is part of the benefit too. We need to cover two positions with freshmen - PF and C. We can try any combination of the deep bench to fill those spots and aren't forced to give 30+ minutes to any one guy who isn't ready or is having a bad night.
|10 weeks 6 days ago||Defensive improvements||
I don't ever expect a Beilein team to excel at defense given the complex offense they have to learn and the early turnover to the NBA we will now see apparently. Teams that make defense their hallmark are more often full of upper-classmen (WI, MSU, VCU, etc.). But you did touch on an interesting point that Stauskas and GR3 were poor defenders. On top of that I don't think that McGary or Horford were particularly great either, though each had their moments. In addition to the potential upgrade from Irvin/Chatman/Wilson you could also mention the advantage of having Rahk and Dawkins as athletes off the bench who could become effective defenders based purely on their athleticism and desire to earn minutes. Finally, it is refreshing to have a bench deep enough to afford some fouls unlike the past few years. We go 2-deep at every position and 4-deep at center if needed.
|15 weeks 6 days ago||Desmond Morgan is missed too....||
You mentioned how the injury to Peppers has affected Michigan because it now asks Countess to do things he's not as qualified to do (as did the health issues with Taylor). But you could also mention what Desmond Morgan's loss has meant to this team. They basically aren't taking Ryan or Bolden off the field anymore after a heavy rotation last year of multiple LB. When Ryan biffs a play and needs to be talked to (or Bolden for that matter) there isn't a Morgan to put in the game. Add to the pile of injuries the chaos at safety with Wilson and Hill both having various injuries and the continuity plus depth have been sapped while learning to adapt in a new defense. This play felt like the offense at times - the theory was okay, the execution by one guy blew it up.
|17 weeks 4 days ago||Good D vs. Great D||
I still can't figure out the ND game as it was so random. When your offense doesn't get you into the redzone and has a lot of negative plays it makes it really tough on the D. It is fair to say they aren't elite, but I don't put a lot of the ND game on them.
In that game they lost Taylor and Peppers so ND attacked Countess and Holowell. Holowell didn't play against Utah and Countess barely registered. I think Lewis/Taylor/Peppers on the outside with Countess at slot corner is very strong. They missed Wilson in the last couple games too.
I am not worried about Countess at slot corner because he did well last year and we suck at corner blitzes no matter who's in there. With that roster, plus Morgan, we're a very good or even great D.
If only we could figure out what's wrong on the O. Unlike with RichRod where we had a lack of depth/talent, this O should be decent at least. There are too many good players to suck as bad as they are. What's wrong???
|22 weeks 18 hours ago||Centers||
I agree that there is a LONG way to go before we know how good the Double D's are at center. But without taking ANYTHING away from Morgan, did he ever have three double double games in a season? Donnal had one and Doyle had two in Italy. Even against a pick up team in the CCRB that's a promising start.
They won't have the defensive abilities that Morgan did, but they may be able to offset that by being better offensively and blocking a shot or two.
|22 weeks 20 hours ago||Chart? Charts wrong....||
In your tables at the end you show a +3.5 for both Lewan and Fitz without any negatives, but I think that's got to be wrong since I saw them both highlighted as negative multiple times. It almost seems like Borges had a decent day here as he tried more screens, tried some reverses, countered a few things, etc. It wasn't "good", but it showed signs of recognizing their weaknesses and trying to hide them. Some Funchess drops and a Gardner fumble or maybe we steal this game.
|22 weeks 1 day ago||Only minor disagreements||
Marshall is probably 50% because they love to rotate at DE and have limited depth.
I don't understand the logic behind wanting to redshirt Morris this year. Sure, they blew it by not having the luxury of giving him a RS last year due to Bellamy's injury and ineptitude along with not recruiting a QB in the previous class. But now you need Morris to be ready to play both if Gardner gets hurt and for the following year. He will still have two years to be a starter and now you have QB recruits lined up in the three classes after him with all likely to RS.
|26 weeks 4 days ago||OL @ 299||
This OL chart reminds me of the late 80s and early 90s when they basically refused to list anyone over 300 pounds a if that was a bad omen.
|29 weeks 4 days ago||Burke?||
|32 weeks 7 hours ago||Small story....||
A close family member of mine got to attend an event with a few of the parents of the players last year. Gant's dad was there, who is a former player himself, and said that there were some bad influences in the locker room that he was looking forward to being gone this year. That's all he said and obviously it is unconfirmed third-hand information, but it adds to this speculation. I also believe that Leadership-vs-Winning is a Chicken-vs-Egg debate that is impossible to figure out. Winning teams supposedly have great leaders and losing teams don't, but which comes first?
|33 weeks 3 days ago||The mystery of the 2013 DL||
What confuses me as much as anything (and I wish we had Heiko-like access to Mattison) is the strategy of the DL for 2013. When we had a dynamic duo of Martin and RVB on the DL it made sense to let them slash into the backfield while the LB cleaned up. But we seemed to have success in 2012 when Washington and Campbell ate double-teams and allowed the talent at LB to make the plays. But what happened in 2013? It seemed like we played a small DL with players somewhat out of position and put more of a burden on the LB than any season preview predicted. Washington barely played, Black and Beyer played at positions where they were undersized, there was a ton of rotation from play to play unlike the steady usage of guys like Campbell, Roh, RVB, and Martin in previous seasons..... It doesn't add up. So maybe the coaches realized this but also realized that they don't have two space eating monsters at DT right now and thus feel the 4-3 Over is the best way to free up the LB to make plays. Just one random and mostly uneducated opinion on the topic. I would love to hear what Mattison had to say about the 2013 DL rotation.
|33 weeks 3 days ago||Ross....||
What people often neglect in this type of discussion is James Ross. Last year we had hoped he would be the dynamic and elusive tackle machine his profile suggested. Yet we saw almost zero in the way of big play from him. It wasn't that he was bad, but he wasn't dynamic. Now we have two big burly linebackers in the middle and the smaller/quicker Ross will deal with TEs and Slot types on the edge while occassionally blitzing and using his athleticism and quickness. I admit to being totally naive with regard to the details of this defense, but it seems to suit Ross more than people mention.
|36 weeks 3 days ago||Optimism is good, but there's more to the story....||
I generally like this post because Beilein has earned trust and optimism no matter who's on the court. With a stunning FIVE players leaving for next year it is natural to be worried. It would also be wise to set proper expectations, but look forward to improvement and good offense no matter what.
But I think we should emphasize the best attribute of next year's roster - depth and versatility. What limited the Novak team was that we only had two viable guys off the bench and Vogrich added little. Next year we have 12 scholarship players and go 2+ deep at every position. If one of the freshman isn't quite ready or has an off night - there's someone waiting to step up. That's going to be a fun new wrinkle to Beilein's story - what does he do with 12 scholarship players and a full 2-deep roster after years of playing a short bench?
With all of that being said, let's not sell the 2011-2012 team too short. Two of those players are successful in the NBA, two others had success in Europe, and Smotrycz is a solid starter for a good program. While lacking depth and forcing two guys to play out of position, this was a good team with experience and talent. Quick comparison:
If you assume natural improvement from Walton/Irvin and a star season from Levert it really comes down to finding 2 of the 6 freshman who can hold their own as starters. Seems like pretty good odds that some combination of them will be just fine.