I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
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|1 day 3 hours ago||If I make through 0-6||
I would have seen losses to App State, NTMiami, and Rutgers. I'd probably stomach Penn State and Michigan State games too.
Can't promise i'll watch every down, but I'll still be a fan and support the team, and call for Dave Brandon to be fired, just like I do now.
|1 day 5 hours ago||It took 10 sentences||
for one to actually be indisputably true: "We have an abundance of 4star defensive backs to choose from to fill the other safety spot" though even there 'abundance' is probably an exageration.
That seems like an unusually high number. The first 9 were all debatable, wrong, half-true or hyperbole.
To answer your question: Nothing. I will accept whatever comes and still be a Michigan football fan, even if they go 0-11.
As for expectations: 8-9 wins. Senior QB, but the OL gets younger and Gallon is impossible to replace. The D should be improved though, with all the returning players, but NT and Safety are key positions that need to be filled.
|5 days 3 hours ago||Certainly true||
The coaches may try to sell him on that, but I guess I'm saying Countess may not buy it.
The willingness of the player to do something the coaches want is underrated, IMO. Plays a big role in red-shirt decision and position changes too. Cato June is one notorious example of a player who didn't want to do what the coaches asked him, even though he ended up playing the position in the NFL.
For all we know, the coaches already asked Countess and Taylor, but Avery had to do it instead.
|5 days 3 hours ago||Dominant Receiver||
Is certainly great but a) that receiver can come from the TE position. The chargers offense did this with Antonio Gates for years and no matter who was outside of him, their offense hummed along quite nicely.
More importantly, while Funchess is indeed very good, I'm not sure he's on the heismen-contending level as a WR. That remains to be seen. Bad bad drops the last couple weeks and he's played a lot better against inferior competition and been held in check by better clubs mostly - and that's WITH Jeremy Gallon on the other side. Next year that luxury is gone and defenses can focus a lot more attention on him.
I think we'd benefit a great deal from having 2 guys that are both 2-way TEs. Like you said - putting Butt, Funchess, and Chesson out there with a 4th threat (be it Bunting, Harris, Canteen, Darboh, etc.) is a great way for our defense to become dangerous. Certainly more so than Paskorz/Williams being there. And clearly, the run game can be more effective with two TEs if the pass threat is equivalent (i.e., if the safeties can't cheat).
|5 days 5 hours ago||Size is one thing||
Desire is another. I think Countess will be playing for draft position and his NFL future is probably stricktly at CB. He may not want to move for that reason.
Same goes for Taylor, I suppose, but he's got less leverage because he could reasonably be benched if he doesn't, while Countess knows that won't happen to him.
I think Taylor to safety is a real possibility, but they'll give Clark, Furman, and Hill first crack.
Peppers is another option - hate to put a freshman there, but he's played it as much as Thomas has and the CB depth we have may make it the best move for the team. Athleticism like his can make up for some mistakes.
I think the coaches would like to keep using Countess as a flex player between nickel and CB.
|5 days 5 hours ago||245 would be a good target||
260 would be a long-term goal, if anything. I mentioned that number only to say that he could still be a decent WR with significant weight added.
Also agree that if he fails to block, WR is a good fallback. It's worth a shot though, because the potential benefits are massive.
|5 days 5 hours ago||Those are reasonable comps||
Especially Mike Williams. Comparisons to Calvin Johnson shouldn't be made for college WRs, let alone TEs.
The difference between how Ben Braden is judged and how Devin Funchess is judged is interesting. Neither has shown they can block yet - doesn't mean they won't be able to next year.
Good point about the focus on route-running during his freshman year.
|5 days 5 hours ago||It's a fun comparison but it's wishful thinking.||
At least be reasonable and compare to Marques Colston (who was a TE in college.)
There is a reason people like Jimmy Graham and Shannon Sharpe didn't become WRs.
|5 days 6 hours ago||Not having practiced at safety is another strike against him||
Wilson really struggled in his first year at safety, and looked vastly improved this year. He still wasn't quite ready, despite playing time in 2012 and a full year of practice time at safety exclusively. Thomas will face the same difficulties, less the benefit of having played/practiced at the position.
Safety is a position where experience matters more than other defensive positions. Thomas still won't have much of it.
I don't think Lewis will ever move to safety, and Stribling probably wouldn't do it till 2015, if ever. I brought them up as guys who will likely continue to see time in the secondary. Remove Avery and Gordon, add Peppers, and there's a good chance that one of the corners, perhaps Taylor, move to safety.
I think Thomas could develop into a starting safety, but I don't think it wil happen in 2014, based on what we saw in 2013 from him and other players.
A lot of people have more potential at positions they weren't recruited to play (e.g., Cam Gordon, Will Campbell, Wyatt Shallman). Thomas could end up staying at CB or LB for all we know.
|5 days 6 hours ago||That seems harsh||
Funchess has stated his desire to get better at blocking. He knows his ticket to the NFL is probably at TE and he needs to improve blocking to get there. I don't know Funchess personally, but he seems like a hard-working kid to me, and his public comments have been positive. There is a reason why most OL/TE red-shirt their freshman year - blocking takes time.
I prefer to give our players the benefit of the doubt, especially when they are 15 months into their college career.
|5 days 6 hours ago||Well||
They mostly kept him off the field this year and played him less than several classmates, so I don't know how you can still think that.
A special teams play is nice, but a lot of not-talented and relatively inconsequential players have made big-time plays on special teams.
I'm not writing Thomas off, just disputing the idea that we should pencil him in at starting safety when, other than recruiting hype, all the evidence says he's behind a long list of players.
Clearly there is an opportunity and safety and I think we'd all love for Thomas to live up to his hype and grab that starting spot. But at this point it's just wishful thinking. Given Peppers arrival and the promising begginings for Stribling and Lewis, if Clark improves this offseason and ascends to starter, I wouldn't rule out a Gant-like move to SAM for Thomas.
|5 days 7 hours ago||except we play 2TE now||
The argument that he replaces Butt ignores the fact that we play 2TE very often already, and that's without viable 2-way threats at TE.
CBs are better at covering receivers than LB/Safeties. If Funchess is covered by LB/Safeties more often than CBs, he'll benefit greatly.
|5 days 7 hours ago||OK, but...||
If the OL does not improve, the whole conversation is moot. Doesn't matter who the WRs/TEs are if Lewan/Schofield are replaced by guys who couldn't even start this year.
Have to make the assumption these coaches can teach blocking, or else we're dead.
|5 days 7 hours ago||Bold assumption? or Typical Development?||
I don't think it's a bold assumption to assume that a 2nd year player will improve his blocking skills dramatically over the next 2 or 3 seasons. It is typical of most OL and TEs (and RBs and WR) to get better at blocking as upperclassmen.
Funchess is in the same class as Kalis, Magnuson, Braden, Bars, Williams. We expect those guys to get bigger and better at blocking. The only difference with Funchess is that he has other skills that put him on the field already.
|5 days 8 hours ago||Learning to block||
Is something a lot of players learn to do. Most TEs who can't block get the red-shirt/back-up treatment so we never get to be exposed to their issues. Many OL take a few years to emerge as competant blockers. I'll give DF the same patience and benefit of the doubt. His receiving put him on the field early, but his blocking may still come.
In an ideal world where Michigan has veteran dual-threat players at TE, Funchess would have red-shirted last year and been a surprise receiving threat this year. Next year (as a RS Soph) he'd be emerging as a starting dual-threat TE with plus plus plus receiving skills. He's not too far off what a typical 2nd year TE might be, IMO.
He still sucked at blocking, yes, but he gained significant size. If he can do it again next year, it will help.
|5 days 8 hours ago||My take on the secondary||
Taylor, Countess and Wilson are locks. Two others will play starter minutes or close to it.
Best guesses: Clark, Stribling, Peppers.
Stribling seemed to get the most time from the freshman and wouldn't surprise me to see him emerge as a starter at CB, even ahead of Peppers. Stribling is the prototype of what the coaches want at CB and flashed great talent this year. Sophomore bump could have him to lock-down corner.
Peppers will likely see the field, but it could be a mixture of dime packages, WR, and special teams before replacing Countess in 2015.
The big question is safety. Furman has been unimpressive. If he wins the job it's probably by default. If Clark isn't ready, Taylor may move to safety to get the best players on the field. If Avery can play there at 170 something pounds, so can Taylor.
|5 days 8 hours ago||A list of people Thomas needs to pass||
That does not include presumed starters (Countess, Taylor, Wilson) or Peppers. It also doesn't include classmates who didn't play but may be ahead of him (e.g., Hill).
At this point, if he is a starter in 2014, it would be an upset. His recruiting profile indicates the talent to make a leap bigger than his peers, but it's far from a lock.
|5 days 8 hours ago||Funchess should stay at TE / move back to TE||
He's so much more valuable as a TE who can block and run past safeties than as a standard WR. It would be worth compromising a little speed for a significant bump in blocking. The versatility would introduce mismatch opportunities left and right. The size/speed tradeoff may not be a zero-sum game, anyway. He's still going to win jump balls at 260 lbs.
Furthermore, do you want to continue to play AJ Williams in 2 TE sets with Butt, or do you want to play Funchess and open up a spot at WR for Chesson, Darboh, Canteen, Harris, etc? I'd rather the WR was out there.
Funchess learning to block and developing into a TE in his 3rd year is one of the most important offseason developments for this team.
|1 week 3 days ago||Thanks for not mailing it in this week Brandon||
|1 week 5 days ago||Renes did play like a 4-star||
The results (role player/backup) may be the same but the style of play will be different. Johnson was strong, but as a taller guy, he can't play the way that the stockier 6'1 guys do, even if the production is similar in the end.
To me, it's less about star-rankings (Johnson was a big time recruit) as it is about size (he was 6'4 or 6'5). But I do believe that the star rankings can matter too. The same way that you like to have walk-ons at FB who are willing to 'shrink' for not much glory, you want (well, Hoke wants) to have some block-eating pluggers at DT. who are happy to fall into people, grab hold of a pulling linemen, and battle under the pile. It's less likely that a highly regarded kid (e.g., Will Campbell) with NFL dreams will embrace that role, IMO.
|1 week 5 days ago||Renes & Horn||
Renes is the guy I see, along with Jason Horn - they were around when Hoke was here before and had similar size to Pallante. Renes even got drafted to the NFL despite limited size.
Comparing Pallante to bigger 4-star recruits like Martin and Johnson doesn't fit as well to me. Poggi's profile reminds me of Johnson a little bit though.
Horn and Renes- these guys were the block-eating pluggers Hoke goes to bed dreaming about, and Pallante can be another one.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||It's all 3 still||
In my mind, the OL depth blame falls this way: 2010 is Rodriguez's decisions, 2011 is process, and 2012 is Hoke.
Rodriguez's decisions in 2010 were justificable, but affect our team negatively, nonetheless.
Process in 2011 is what it is.
But in 2012, Hoke knew what he had and didn't have. The fact that he didn't recognize center and interior OL as huge gaping needs is mistake, to me. Only taking 4 guys total, with 2 of them tackles (if not 3, counting Kalis) and none of them a potential center...
In my view, the blame being allocated to Rodriguez should be a lot smaller. The explanations for said blame (in the OP) reinforce that view. I find blaming RR for the 2011 class, when he didn't even sign those guys, to be ridiculous.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||Really it's about conflating two things||
Yes, Rodriguez is to be blamed for part of the current situation, but it was very far from incompetance or malpractice to not set Hoke up for success running pro-style.
Rodriguez recruited QB and OL well...that's about it, but credit where it's deserved.
I screamed bloody murder at the time of the Pace class, but I had no idea that Schofield and Lewan were as good as they were. Rodriguez did. His OL was locked in for the next 3 years and plenty of time to fill the 4th (2013).
If you have to point blame here it should be to Hoke. He saw the numbers after the Fisher defection and should have gone after more than 4 guys in 2012, knowing that 3 would likely need to start (esp with Lewan potentially leaving). They should have taken 6. They tried to take 5 (Caleb Stacey, Alex Kozan). They took 4. They took 2 guys fewer than they should have, opting for LBs and DL and FBs instead. Everyone's argument against Rodriguez was that he took too few in 2010 but after the massive 2008 class and the rock solid 2009 class, there wasn't really a need. For Hoke in 2012 there was, and said need was not met. Asking for 75% success rate out of OL recruits is not smart if you haven't proven you can do it.
The substance of the OL recruits under Rodriguez was fantastic. He can hardly be blamed for Miller being too small to run a different system. The guys he brought in (Omameh, Barnum, Schofield, Lewan, Washington) contributed early and developed in multi-year starters unless they were hurt. I won't argue that Posada was going to be anything other than a bust, but a)who knows and b) that just means Rodriguez wasn't perfect.
It's a hypothetical of course, but I really don't think OL depth would be an issue for Rodriguez this year if he was still here. He'd have two 5th year seniors, a 4th year junior at center, and at least one 3rd year sophomore (Fisher) starting. The last spot could be filled by 2 recruiting classes.
|2 weeks 4 days ago||You guys are dumbz||
Except for Seth.
This OL would be just fine for Rich Rod. Not only would Miller be functional for a spread, but Fisher would make a huge difference - leaving only one open spot to fill. A spot that easily could have been filled by a '12 recruit, because (unlike Hoke and other pro-style offenses) Rodriguez proved he could bring linemen up to speed pretty quickly (e.g., Omameh, Lewan, Schofield).
The needs of his offense were different than the needs of this offense for OL, like other positions.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||Good catch on Morris motioning to down it||
|2 weeks 5 days ago||2 years away!||
Every program in the country is 2 years away from being so much better than they are now, always.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||Great point||
Everyone assumes that a red-shirt is better, but you get 25% more players if you don't red-shirt anyone, vs if you red-shirt everyone. That's 25% more chance you get an all-conference player. [overly simplistically assuming no attrition - everyone is either here for 4 years or 5 not realistic - but you get the point]
Red-shirts are valuable, obviously, but overrated by fans who don't acknowledge the opportunity cost of the scholarship year spent not contributing to the team. And while, yes, you can always ask a non-contributer to not return for their 5th year, in practice this rarely happens.
To give a specific example - is anyone upset that Jeremy Jackson's red-shirt was burned? He'd certainly be invited back for a 5th year, if he had the eligibility left. But instead, we'll take an extra receiver in the '14 class (Freddy Canteen).
There's a lot of value to getting 4 years of contribution in 4 years (rather than 5). The red-shirt is only valuable if the 5th year payoff is large enough to offset the cost.
|2 weeks 6 days ago||Still harping on size?||
Gallon and Black still playing great, but we have to keep hearing about how small they are. Whatever.
Whiteman can't jump. Call the short one a slot! Have you tasted the quinoa at this midwestern Mexican restaurant? Devin Gardner sure looks like a WR to me. etc.
|2 weeks 6 days ago||Nice work||
Thanks for looking up and running the numbers.
I thought it was the wrong call at the time for this team, but that's a convincing argument.
Glad Hoke was aggressive and I hope he doens't change just because it didn't work that time.
|3 weeks 3 days ago||This is a good idea.||
Doubt you'll get much info directly from calling other recruiting analysts directly, but reading their stuff rather than just michigan-centric stuff will provide a little more objectivity. Every fanbase is delusional when it comes to recruiting, but you can tell more about a recruit you think you have a great shot at from what he says to another team's analyst than your own, I would say.
One of the things I don't like about recruiting info on the Michigan blogosphere is that it is very tilted toward Michigan-centric views.