"You know how Kyle Flood still has a job? Yeah, all Jourdan."
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- Special Teams have improved the most--great punting, higher return averages, and more net yards. WIN - WIN - WIN.
- Defense. It's a group effort, and DJ Durkin deserves more accolades. I believe he is highly likely to get hired away this offseason. Think about this for a moment: Jabrill Peppers is an amazing talent who is having a good season...and might not even be a top three player on our defense (Lewis, Morgan, Glasgow, Wormley, and even Henry can make an argument).
- The Offensive Line play has taken a quantum leap. Nussmeier--whom you may have noticed has taken Florida from the #72 S&P offense to #24--is a capable coach who had our line playing competently by the end of 2014. This year is entirely different: we already have 15 rushing TDs, compared to 17 total for 2014. We're 34th in yds/game vs. 64th last year. And YPC average is higher than last year's, even though we've spent a huge chunk of our season killing the clock with predictable runs.
- New Ownership. The Ford family has repeatedly hired under-qualified, overwhlemed candidates at every level of the organization. Jim Caldwell IS the NFL version of Brady Hoke (I could write an entire post on how eerily similar these two are). Martin Mayhew worked on Matt Millen's staff. Joe Lombardi's only coordinator experience came at Mercyhurst College. Yeah, I've never heard of Mercyhurst either. Things won't get better without more competence in the front office and on the coaching staff.
- New GM. Martin Mayhew hasn't done everything wrong (see Roy Williams trade) but he his drafts have been average at best (second round has been a tire fire), and he has not managed the cap well. It's nearly impossible to be a winner when you're always at the top of the draft, thought that is changing now with the draft-slot salary structure. But his biggest error? Hiring Jim Caldwell. Jeff Ireland, Tom Heckert, and Scott Pioli would all be potential fits here. Ireland has a great drafting track record, Heckert has experience as a GM (and actually did pretty well with the Browns) and is now part of a winning culture in Denver, and Pioli lost his job because he screwed-up the QB situation--which can happen to literally any GM.
- New Coaches. This is the toughest, but most important change. For now, I would make Teryl Austin the interim HC and see how he does--if we don't, he's likely going to be hired by someone next year anyway. He would immediately fire Lombardi and hire Joe Philbin, who could implement Green Bay's offense, which I believe Stafford could conduct well and would boost our running game.
- De'Veon Smith
- Amara Darboh
- Houma and Poggi
- Chesson on carries/blocking
- All TEs not named "Jake Butt," who is simply performing as expected
- Everyone on the defensive line
- Clark, Stribling
- Delano Hill
- Tim Drevon, Jedd Fisch, DJ Durkin...the whole U-M staff
- Ty Isaac
- Derrick Green
- Chesson on long passes
- Rudock starts the whole year and turns in a season like last year at Iowa except more efficient: 60% completions, 8 YPA, excellent TD/INT.
- Glasgow and Kalis perform excellently, with Glasgow getting drafted in the middle rounds.
- Both Braden and Dawson play early in the season, with Braden eventually winning the battle.
- Jake Butt leads the team in receptions and wins the Mackey award.
- De'Veon Smith and Drake Johnson emerge into the two main backs, with Smith getting a plurality of carries because he's healthy to start.
- Ty Isaac functions as a weird H-back hybrid guy and third down back and makes 30-40 catches.
- The run game moves up to good-ish, as Michigan approaches five yards a carry but doesn't get there.
- 9 wins - 45% chance
- 8 wins - 30% chance
- 7 wins - 13% chance
- 10 wins - 12% chance
|10 hours 47 min ago||Biggest areas of improvement||
2015 has been an amazing year so far, and the improvement has been galactical. Here's my quick take:
If we can get to the point where we're hitting on 40% of our long pass attempts, we will become an elite team capable of beating anyone.
|1 day 7 hours ago||Think he'll end-up on offense||
Watching his film, you see a lot more offensive highlights, and the only defensive highlights are free runs to the ball carrier. I think he would be a SS or LB, but I think he'll find a home on offense--he just loves to make plays with the ball.
He sort of reminds of De'Veon Smith--great balance, loves contact, nose for the end zone. Except he can pass. Not sure if he'll be a QB, but he could be a RB or even H-Back in our offense. Would be an amazing wildcat option.
Regardless, I think he will be an impact player for us before too long.
|4 days 10 hours ago||Fitzgerald is "little goody||
Fitzgerald is "little goody two shoes." Have proof:
|4 days 11 hours ago||AGREE||
He's like getting 100% in AP Calculus--should be weighted as a 4.33 or higher.
|4 days 11 hours ago||How to Fix the Lions||
Unfortunately, these probably need to happen in reverse order. But promoting Teryl Austin and hiring Joe Philbin would be a good start.
Seriously, how does Caldwell keep his job, considering he is an offensive coach whose team can't score points with Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Tim Wright, Ameer Abdullah, Eric Ebron (now injured), etc.?
Caldwell is the epitome of a Lions coach: a resume just good enough to get hired and mediocre enough not to get fired until he's done real damage to the organizaiton.
I wish I could somehow become a fan of another NFL team, but I can't. I love the Lions, and I am therefore doomed to NFL misery until the Fords sell the team or get lucky with a GM/Coach that are competent despite being approved by the Fords.
I will leave you with this quote from Bill Ford, Jr., which tells you all you need to know:
"I'm willing to stake my reputation on Matt Millen's success [as a GM]."
|5 days 12 hours ago||Durkin will be the first of||
Durkin will be the first of this staff to be offered a HC job, possibly as soon as next season, but almost certainly by 2017.
|6 days 8 hours ago||Unless something crazy||
Unless something crazy happens, Glasgow will get drafted, or, at the very least, signed as a UFA.
Could see two drafted next year among Kalis, Braden, and Mags (or even Cole).
EDIT: Houma could also be a UFA this year.
|6 days 8 hours ago||Mea Culpa||
You were right: Morgan is the better LB. He has been lights out this season and will get drafted. He reminds me of a Patriots ILB: smart, good tackler, lacks measurables. He is sort of like Brandon Spikes in this regard.
Bolden has been a disappointment. I thought with this coaching he would be a star. To be fair, we don't even need him on the field all that often, and he hasn't been awful, but I was thinking/hoping we'd see blitzes and TFLs from him.
I will put some lemon juice in my pasta tonight to atone.
|6 days 10 hours ago||Michigan version||
There are many, many more names on the top list, and that is how we need it to stay the next two weeks.
|6 days 10 hours ago||Tom Herman||
Brian is spot on: Ohio State misses Tom Herman. They miss him as much are the Lions are missing their expectations for this season.
Herman has Houston--a team that fired their head coach last year--is tied for #25 in ESPN's power rankings. They are averaging over 600 yards and 45 points per game on offense. Maybe he would have been the second-best choice for Michigan...
|1 week 12 hours ago||It is delightfully surprising||
It is delightfully surprising that every game on our schedule appears well within reach.
It is awful that I am still nervous about Northwestern.
|1 week 12 hours ago||Agree, and I would add||
First, great breakdown by Seth, and I love the format (and title).
What I would at to SC's remarks is that one of your best clues for play design are the steps the RB and QB take. In this play, Smith's steps (and Rudock's) are telling you where this play is going: exactly where it went.
If the play was designed to go to the backside, Smith would have taken a counter-step and received the hand-off on the other side of the QB, heading for the backside hole. In this play, Rudock is obstructing the backside cut, which tells you that is NOT Smith's first option.
Here's a good video of what a true counter-step (and handoff) looks like:
In the play Seth diagrammed, Smith fakes an outside, or toss step, then immediately cuts toward the hole he chooses. This play was not designed to go backside.
|2 weeks 6 hours ago||Not sure||
That will depend on how Maryland tries to defend us. I would expect a few wrinkles--we have had them every game so far, even the jet sweep vs. UNLV.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||Much to learn||
Oregon State will actually be a good test for this defense. Don't get me wrong--I expect us to win comfortably, but their offense has enough wrinkles to test us.
One thing I REALLY liked about this UFR was how well we adjusted after we busted plays. That's a sign of great coaching.
I dearly wish we had Utah as our fourth OOC game instead of our first. If we started with Oregon State, then had UNLV, then BYU, then Utah...I think that would have been much better for us.
Can't wait for Saturday--feels good to say that after almost dreading it last year.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||This Year's Stupid||
This Year's Stupid Predictions
YES. I believe Rudock will be highly efficient, probably #3/4 in the conference (Cook, OSU, Hackenberg)
YES. The OL will be a pleasant surprise by season's end. Despite the tougher schedule, Michigan will improve from last year's 4.60 YPC, and improve on last year's middling protection numbers.
NO. Unless you mean spot duty, I don't think we'll see much of Dawson this season. Braden will hold the job.
YES. The boldness of this prediction makes it much less likely to occur. That said, I love it, and believe it's plausible.
YES. That Smith is listed without an "OR" on the depth chart is getting less attention than it should. I think Johnson will be a true back-up, though.
WTF? Do you know something I don't know? Without insider information, this is an extremely bold prediction. Would love to see it happen, but I think Kerridge will be the main backfield receiving threat.
YES. See above.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||Special Teams||
This is one of the many reasons I believe the computers are wrong: I think our new ST coach is probably worth at least half of a win on his own. If we had not lost our kicker and punter, I'd say a 1-win increase.
9 wins...it's very doable.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||AGREE||
I am on board with 9 wins. All of the models out there say 7.7-ish wins, and do not take into account the impact of the coaching changes. I would say that Harbaugh & Co. are worth an extra win, maybe more.
My prediction is 8.7 wins. I believe 7 wins is far less likely than 9, but more likely than 10 because of the tough OOC schedule. Here's my best guesstimate:
All other regular season win totals would be outliers.
|6 weeks 1 hour ago||An iPhone up vote for you sir.||
An iPhone up vote for you sir.
|6 weeks 8 hours ago||Love it||
This is great stuff, thank you Ace.
Ross looks pretty good to me. I would agree that he is probably a more natural fit outside in Michigan's scheme, but he could be a good player at any LB spot.
Hamler is the real deal. He is explosive and could play WR or CB. I think he looks more like a college CB, but he could have success at either spot.
|6 weeks 1 day ago||Amazing game||
This looks like just about the most fun HS football game ever. Wish I could have been there to see it.
Peters is ridiculous, and Evans looks pretty good as a slot or perhaps a safety. Some great athleticism there.
Happy to have both of these guys in the fold. Peters looks like he'll be the recruiting steal of 2016, considering that he was a fringe four-star when he committed in April and unranked by Rivals as recently as December.
|6 weeks 1 day ago||Ace||
Ace's team is the best. Rudock is competent and Ferguson is serviceable, but everywhere else his team is strong, particularly on D-Line.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||Hi Buddy||
Welcome to the family. GO BLUE!
|6 weeks 5 days ago||Hi Buddy||
Welcome to the family. GO BLUE!
|7 weeks 3 days ago||Did Hurst play?||
Did Hurst play?
|7 weeks 6 days ago||Great post||
Brian nailed it. If you are a sports junkie, ESPN insider is super cheap and has loads of content. If you are a U-M football junkie, any of these are worth a subscription. If you are a U-M basketball junkie, Scout is the choice. If you are a college football recruiting junkie, 24/7 is probably your best bet. And if you want in-depth recruiting content (and, I believe, the most accurate ratings that are NOT the 24/7 composite) then Rivals.
And always, always MGoBlog. And for goodness sakes, people, at least by HTTV. This site has the best (not necessarily the most or most in-depth) content, and they have earned your business. Or buy a t-shirt. Just pay for something you want anyway, even if it's not much.
|8 weeks 1 day ago||Hate to say it||
But I'd pick Ace's team. Rudock may be the worst starting QB of the bunch, but he's also got Braxton Miller as an option, and with Thomas, Hamilton, and even Carter and Breneman, whoever takes the snaps has plenty of options. A dominant defensive line helps with any back-end problems, and the LBs are a strong group. The lone weakness here is his OL, which is just okay, but the weapons and possibilities of the offense overcome that weakness.
But I can't wait to see Ace photo-shopped into a Buckeye jersey, because he's earned it with his selections.
2nd Place: Seth. Not only did he find value with his U-M picks, his defense is bolstered by two HSPs that are All-B1G talents in Caputo and Peppers. Of course, Peppers is still just "potential," but if he's half as good as advertised, Seth's team will be able to control the middle of the field. Offensively, Carroo, Price, Marshall, and Geronimo (it should be illegal to ever use his last name) are more than adequate targets for the efficient Cook, and Clement is a ridiculous talent at RB. Add in a strong OL...this is a good team, and there are no gimmicks.
3rd Place: Adam. A weaker OL (comparable to Ace's) is helped by a great selection of skill players, but I'm not sure it's enough. Westercamp and Butt would be the stars of this passing game, with Barrett and Jackson combining on the ground, but I don't see this team can beat Ace's. Seth's squad can match-up because Caputo or Peppers can neutralize Butt, and Likely can handle Westercamp. Then what? Seth's defense is built to stop the option, and really only lacks a pass rush, but Turay can come in on obvious passing downs to add spark there.
4th Place: Brian. I don't know, man. Hated the Cardale Jones pick (has no value other than as a back-up QB) and the Cole gimmick. But there are bigger problems: you have the best passing QB and no real threats at WR/TE. Yes, Elliott is a beast and your OL is good, but in todays CFB, you've got to be able to throw the football effectively, and Kugler leaves a weakspot for the DTs to attack. Defensively, Zettel and Collins are good, but Johnson and Ngakoue are just fine. Biegel and Wartman-White are strong, but Ross has been a pernnial underachiever. I like the secondary, but I'm not sure the pass rush is giving them enough time to do their job, and the safeties are solid-not-spectacular types.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||Someone needs to vouch for this campaign. Looks like a scam.||
Someone needs to vouch for this campaign. Looks like a scam.
|8 weeks 6 days ago||Wish him the best||
Always liked Norfleet and hoped for that return we knew he was capable of. Hope his career finishes well at Tuskegee. I don't think he would have contributed much this year, so perhaps this is best for everyone.
|9 weeks 8 hours ago||YES||
Logged in to post the same thing. He was an amazing coach--111-43-4 at Ohio State--but just could not beat Michigan, especially when it mattered most. In '93 and '96, Michigan accounted for their only losses and kept them from winning a MNC. When he finally managed to beat Michigan in '98, he blew a 15 point lead to a 6-6 MSU team that Michigan had handily dispatched earlier that season.
It was an era of dominance for us that fliipped almost exactly during the Tressel years, and it was the last time it was easy to be a Michigan football fan. The year 2000 is a long time ago now...
|9 weeks 12 hours ago||Rams or Raiders||
I'd pick these two as the most likely, but I think we'll go another year without a "worst-to-first" team. If the Rams played in a different division, I think they'd have a real shot. The Raiders' division will be down this year, but Manning, Rivers, and even Alex Smith are all pretty damn good QBs, and Denver and KC have reloaded on defense. That division is going to be a mess, IMO.