Rules: Just like the all-small roster, a player gets equal points for being large and for being excellent. Here however I will count weight on equal footing with height, since most of these guys weren't trying to shed it. This one is going to favor more modern players; Germany Schulz was considered a huge center for his time at 6'2/212 and until the 1980s even the linemen who were over 300 pretended not to be. So there's an all-relative team hanging out in here too.
Quarterback: John Navarre, 6'6"/228 (2003)
What's an arc?
My top quartile rule plus the Age of the Howitzer puts us in the weird position of disqualifying 6'5" Tom Brady, Todd Collins, and Jim Harbaugh, sticking us with a pool of Speight, Mallett, Cone, Kapsner, Sessa, Ziegler, and LURRRRRRCH! The stuff about the campus not being very much behind Tom Brady is so much stuff because the same people were on campus for much or all of Navarre and there's no question who was pined for and who maligned.
Much of that is because underclassman Navarre had to play the bulk of the time we'd carved out for Henson. Navarre broke in as a redshirt freshman when Henson got hurt in early 2000, terrorized a pair of MAC teams, then was awful against UCLA. With Henson off to baseball in 2001, Navarre leaned heavily on Marquise Walker and the offense was, well, Lurch-y. By 2002 he had his feet under him and in 2003, with Braylon and Avant, Michigan got an excellent and high-volume passing season out of the big guy, setting all the passing records and more importantly leading Michigan to a win over defending national champion Ohio State and a trip to the Rose Bowl.
Relatively: Bob Timberlake (6'4/211) was a modern-sized quarterback right at the beginning of the pocket QB era. Forest Evashevski (6'1/198) was huge for the early 1940s.
Honorable Mention: Wilton Speight (6'6"/240)
Running Back: Anthony Thomas (6'2/221)
Note: I have requested that WH change the music. If you mute the above and play the other it lines up well, especially at the bridge when that tom comes in while he's setting up a bunch of Hawkeyes and when Marquise Walker jumps on him.
The roster data have all kinds of lies to add to Bo and his successors' preference for big backs. Picking from a pile of guys who were listed at 6'2/220 and were actually more like 6'0 is virtually naming Michigan's best non-squib back. Some guys we knew were fullback-sized (Askew, Bunch) became fullbacks in the latter part of their careers. So let's not overthink this and go with the full-time running back whose NFL measurement agreed with his roster height, and who was literally referred to in his day in terms of a multi-ton vehicle, IE A-Train.
The size was definitely an issue…for opponents. A-Train had that patented three-yard fall that made his carries +EV even when the line didn't block well, and the added length made him one of Michigan's best pass-blocking running backs in memory.
Relatively: Jim Detwiler (6'3/209) is a mostly forgotten star from the mid-'60s who towered over the other RBs. Crazylegs Hirsch (6'2/190) was such a tall running back he went on to be the first great NFL wide receiver.
HM: Ty Isaac (6'3/228), Wyatt Shallman (6'3/239), Roosevelt Smith (6'3/232), B.J. Askew (6'3/210), Chris Perry (6'0"/228), Tyrone Wheatley (6'0/226), Jarrod Bunch (6'2/240)
In this week's podcast Brian alluded again to his spectrum of blocky-hitty to catchy-outie or whatever. Most of this has been touched on before but I thought I might delve a little further into the Fullback/U-back/Tight end descriptors and what Borges means to do with his shiny new knife set.
The coaches call them fullback (Kerridge and Houma), U-back (Shallman and Hill) and Y-Tight End (Funchess, Williams, Butt and Paskorz). By now you ought to be familiar with all of them but just in case:
Fullback: lines up in the backfield in a position to receive a handoff; may be split, offset, or inline. Kerridge is your pure blocker type; he'll wander out to be a pass option out of the backfield but I've yet to see him run a route more than a few yards from the L.O.S. Houma is supposed to be more of a combo blocker-runner; his quick burst of acceleration and compact body force defenses to respect the threat of a quick dive from him.
U-back: lines up in the backfield but nearer to the edge of the line, usually outside the tackle opposite the Y-tight end. May also line up as an end (on the line) if the receiver to his side is not on it. This position really encompasses anybody between pure fullback and pure tight end. Wyatt Shallman is the more fullbackian as he's more of a running threat than a pass-catching option, though his size makes him a strong edge blocker. Khalid Hill is an interesting guy for the U since he's supposed to be an accomplished pass catcher and route runner, yet can still lay fullback-like blocks.
Y-Tight End: lines up on the line (and thus can't move before snap) next to the tackle. A guy whose skills lean receiver may "FLEX" out, which is a fancy way of saying he's playing possession slot receiver. A.J. Williams and to a lesser extent Jordan Paskorz represent the "more like another offensive tackle who may go out and catch something sometimes" end of the Y spectrum, while Funchess and Butt are both on the "more like another receiver who may block something sometimes" extreme. Getting production from this spot this year hinges on getting somebody to get adequate at the part he's not great at, the most likely candidate being Funchess's blocking.
This plus a wallpaper about the cheat-sheet gloves are available in the thread. Allons enfants de la Michigan, le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Every Time Michigan Loses, George Lucas Writes a Love Scene. The annual if:then prediction thread by L'oeil du tigre gives six different scenarios for the 2012 season rated from Empire to Jar Jar. I'm in agreement on the order of quality, but not that an 8-4 season, even with a fifth loss to MSU, could be as painful as Attack of the Clones. Go with me here. I could see 700, maybe even 800 more Michigan games in my lifetime, yet in all of human history we've had six Star Wars movies. And to wait for two decades of hype to get that… Argh. Honestly, if I was told I had a chance to go back and fix Star Wars Episode I or change the outcome of Football Armageddon '06, I don't know man…
…but I co-sign SO HARD on this, especially Anakin being a teen and a Vader-Padme-Obi Wan love triangle. And Mace Windu…I digress.
What Shall We Do With Fullbacks? A short but potent message by Renault en Ben: We should all start thinking about Hopkins and Houma and future fullbacks recruited by this staff as less like Kevin Dudley and more like Aaron Shea because Al Borges is a West Coast guy and West Coast offenses use their fullbacks as passing options in the flat. Sometimes they can run block too. Short-term I think Hopkins doesn't have the hands or the hop to be a scary passing threat like some TE-ish fullbacks, however he does have a running back's rushing skillz, so they'll use those. As for the future: eventually we'll have a U-Back to be that. Borges and Hoke say they like a low-altitude kind of player who can pop a guy low and get North-South quickly on the FB dive. Watch Houma's highlights—the second half is almost entirely dive runs. That's not necessarily a Dudley, but it's more LeRoy Hoard than Aaron Shea. Hoard was 5'11, built like a tank, and accelerated like a 1970 Boss 302 Mustang V8.
The Defenses are Back. The series that won Monsieur Couer-Vingt a DotW (plus the inaugural "hero" points) continued this week with the Returning Defense of 2012 Opponents part the first and second. He used blanket stats, which I think makes bad defenses look like they're returning more (Purdue & Minnesota) because it doesn't check for how many plays faced. Helpful user euh-tay-ah mille-vingt-deux notes Phil Steele does a similar analysis.
There was also a nice little diary by the same on Bama, ND, and Ohio State, and recent updates on those teams. I'd like something like this—better formatted—to continue throughout the season. You know, like a weekly around the opponents news thing to round up what their blogs are saying about them. Again, monsiuer couerVingt is your Diarist of the Week.
Elsewheres in analysis LSA class de deux-mille is goofing around with a spreadsheet of Big Ten player weights and heights. Part two is by position and I'm just linking to that one because the first doesn't break it up by contributors and thus will just call whichever team with the most lineman walk-ons the biggest.
Where Legends' Jockstraps Lie.
Thanks to phjhu89 (I can't translate that!).That's locker #21 in wood panels and there's a close-up of it and more in the diary (bumped from a thread). The special locker makes it all but certain they're not giving Legends jerseys to young players but using them to reward old ones. I'm with the people against this, but I'm sure it will look less weird when 11 and 48 etc. are all teaked out as well and if it's good for recruiting…
Preseason Polls Have Been Meaningless Since the Time of Louis VII. In 1149, the Associated Scribes submitted a poll claiming the Glorious Franks* would sweep the next season's European battles. Then a coalition of kings released their own poll claiming that no, it was the Holy Notre Dame Empire that would prevail by winterfell. So began pre-season polls. Actually they go back to 1950 and usually rate Michigan too high. Thou hast perform'd well in gathering us this parchment good Sir Dévot du Loup Glouton.
* Yes "Franks." Louis's son Phil was the one who started calling it France.
Best of the Board
AARON SHEA PLUS ALL THE POINTS. UMdad wanted to find video of this one play where Aaron Shea blocked three guys at once…you know, that one:
"… But that's my job, to go out there and block a linebacker, or, you know, all of them."
The hero of the day is helpful reader Carcajous, who found not just the Daily excerpt above but the video too. I highly recommend poking around in the video to relive the setup before the triple-block run and Clarence Williams at his Clarence Williamsiest. I don't recommend poking around in that issue of the Daily because I was 18 and had only recently discovered the long dash.
BETTER NOT TO SHOW THE OPPONENTS
That day once a year when your season tickets come, and you get really excited and put them out on the kitchen table to stare at them until you realize the last four are the only ones you really give a damn about. Sigh, even years.
Badgers pressing with 3 LBs cheated to the eventual playside and a safety up for good measure. Michigan runs right into it (RPS -1). Line downblocks to seal three linemen while a double by Campbell and Jansen (+0.5 each) escorts the playside DE 5 yards downfield. However that safety plus three unblocked linebackers are set up and should have this play dead. The safety tries to leap into the backfield and gets helped by Hutchinson, leaving three LB versus Shea and Thomas. From here it's all Shea (+4) who reaches the first linebacker, then DETACHES TO TO BLOCK THE SECOND LB INTO THE 3RD!!!! (!!!!!) [breathe] (!!!!!!!!). Thomas walks into the end-zone wondering where everybody went. Barry Alvarez quits football.
RUN+: Campbell, Jansen (+0.5), Shea (+4)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-7, 1 min 2nd Q. Since this is 1998 a 14-point lead means Wisconsin is cooked; everyone go back to reading the Kenneth Starr report.