fair point that
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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
|1 week 3 days ago||Oh yeah, he has arm strength too. Can make every throw already.||
Oh yeah, he has arm strength too. Can make every throw already.
|1 week 3 days ago||Only limitation I see is his||
Only limitation I see is his long delivery. And that's being nit-picky. He has accuracy, touch, poise, pocket awareness, and even speed. Bold prediction: he will go down as the best statistical QB in U-M history if he stays healthy.
|3 weeks 16 hours ago||John Beilein is the best||
This is excellent news. There is no coach I would rather have.
|4 weeks 15 hours ago||Coaching Level||
This is a great interview, and I loved the MGoFollowUp question. This team is being coached at an extremely high level, and the results on the field reflect that.
What's amazing is that it usually takes a couple of years for excellent coaching to have a big impact. If we keep guys like Greg Jackson around, we'll have consistently good play that will be elite play if the talent is there (which it should be at Michigan).
Today is awesome. Tomorrow is almost certainly going to be awesomer.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||He was Peyton's QB Coach for||
He was Peyton's QB Coach for one season. It's not like he developed the guy.
I am a Lions fan, and certainly wish JB Cooter the best, but can you honestly say Stafford looks like he's made much improvement under Cooter?
Please have fun with that last sentence.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||TRUTH||
You just can't make this stuff up. Only the Lions.
|4 weeks 5 days ago||Welcome to the Family! Can't||
Welcome to the Family! Can't wait to see you strap on the winged helmet. GO BLUE!
|5 weeks 5 days ago||He is definitely not as||
He is definitely not as shifty as Mike Hart.
He is a one-cut runner with very good acceleration and speed, but not nearly as shifty as Mike Hart. More like De'Veon Smith.
|5 weeks 5 days ago||De'Veon Smith||
He reminds me of Smith. He's more compact, has better accelration, but doesn't appear quite as strong or balanced. Then again, he's still a junior.
EDIT: Actually, love Harbaugh's Frank Gore comparison. Same build and very similar running styles.
|6 weeks 16 hours ago||This is amazing||
This play is even better than it looked--I thought the ball bounced to Lewis, but he just snatched it.
Ace...there was a Harbaugh rant earlier this year where he threw his play sheets on the ground (may have actually happened twice). I HIGHLY recommend a rant montage to this song (perhaps including some of U-M's "magic" plays and Smith tossing defenders aside):
|6 weeks 1 day 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.
|6 weeks 2 days 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.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||Fitzgerald is "little goody||
Fitzgerald is "little goody two shoes." Have proof:
|6 weeks 5 days ago||AGREE||
He's like getting 100% in AP Calculus--should be weighted as a 4.33 or higher.
|6 weeks 5 days 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]."
|6 weeks 6 days 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.
|7 weeks 12 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.
|7 weeks 12 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.
|7 weeks 14 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.
|7 weeks 14 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...
|7 weeks 1 day 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.
|7 weeks 1 day 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.
|8 weeks 1 day 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.
|11 weeks 13 hours 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.
|12 weeks 13 hours 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.
|12 weeks 15 hours 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.
|12 weeks 15 hours 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.
|12 weeks 1 day ago||An iPhone up vote for you sir.||
An iPhone up vote for you sir.
|12 weeks 1 day 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.
|12 weeks 2 days 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.