Sonic Survey Results

Sonic Survey Results Comment Count

Brian October 5th, 2011 at 10:58 AM

After about a week we had just over 3000 responses, 2983 of them male and 120 female. We are all dudes.


  • high school or younger: 16
  • undergraduate: 287
  • 22-34: 1874
  • 34-49: 760
  • over 49: 166


  • Student: 283
  • All or almost all games: 659
  • A few games a year: 1173
  • Every once in a while: 920
  • Never: 68

If anyone wants the full dataset it is available as a csv here.

Graphs? Graphs. I had to shorten some of the Qs so they'd fit on the axis.

Piped In Music: If And When





Where's the Manball?

Where's the Manball? Comment Count

Brian August 11th, 2011 at 11:42 AM

brady-hoke-pointing someMAN IN BALL

Even before Brady Hoke started answering questions like this…

Q: How will Denard Robinson fit in this offense?

A: This is Michigan!

Q: What do you think about the goings-on in Columbus?

A: Though we have great respect for the Akron State Golden Bobcats, this remains Michigan.

Q: What kind of off—


Q: You—


/teaches journalist about Mad Magicians

…he expressed a certain disdain for fancy things like zone running, which is neither fancy or new or soft and has been used by teams from the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos to, you know, Michigan under Lloyd Carr. He swore up and down to everyone who attended the coaches' clinic that "A-gap power"—three yards and a cloud of dust, think Jehuu Caulcrick—would be Michigan's signature play. He has expressed a certain approach to offense that sends spread friendly folk like yrs truly and Braves & Birds into twitchy fits. His stated approach is neolithic.

So… like… WTF?


Date Opponent Surface Result Rush Pass Penalty Total
09/04/10 Nicholls St. Grass W 47-0 10 12 1 23
09/11/10 @ New Mexico St. Grass W 41-21 8 13 3 24
09/18/10 @ 18 Missouri Turf L 24-27 5 10 2 17
09/25/10 Utah St. Grass W 41-7 9 9 0 18
10/09/10 @ Brigham Young Grass L 21-24 3 9 0 12
10/16/10 Air Force Grass W 27-25 8 8 0 16
10/23/10 @ New Mexico Grass W 30-20 8 12 2 22
10/30/10 @ Wyoming Turf W 48-38 2 15 3 20
11/06/10 Colorado St. Grass W 24-19 8 10 1 19
11/13/10 @ 2 TCU Grass L 35-40 1 6 0 7
11/20/10 Utah Grass L 34-38 2 25 2 29
11/27/10 UNLV Grass W 48-14 14 13 3 30
12/23/10 + Navy Grass W 35-14 14 12 1 27
  Totals 92 154 18 264

San Diego State passed on 63% of its first downs. In tight games* SDSU passed on 79% of first downs. This was not a catchup effect. Missouri led by more than one score for all of 41 seconds; against Utah SDSU ran out to a 27-10 lead before bleeding it away down the stretch. This has something to do with Ryan Lindley and some all-conference receivers but SDSU was very slightly run biased in 2010 (51%), managing a respectable 4.8 YPC. In 2010, especially when it counted, San Diego State passed to set up the run.

Where the hell is A-gap power? Why the hell did The Mountain West Connection write this about Hoke's candidacy for the job?

Hoke would bring in another non-traditonal Big 10 offense to Ann Arbor. It would be a spread offense, but instead of having an offense where there is a dual threat quarterback he plays three, four and five wide receiver sets.

In short,


Where's the manball?

*[Missouri, BYU, Air Force, TCU, and Utah. CSU excluded because the narrow scoreline was due to a touchdown with 2:43 left.]

Is the manball in previous teams?

Hoke's previous SDSU team threw even more but was not very good. They were especially un-good at running, so numbers from that season reflect necessity instead of philosophy. And Hoke only had two years in San Diego, so maybe he wasn't able to mold his team into the A-gap power six fullback monstrosity he yearns for. 

How about the apex of his Ball State career?


Date Opponent Surface Result Rush Pass Penalty Total
08/28/08 Northeastern Turf W 48-14 12 12 2 26
09/05/08 Navy Turf W 35-23 12 13 1 26
09/13/08 @ Akron Turf W 41-24 14 13 3 30
09/20/08 @ Indiana Turf W 42-20 12 9 3 24
09/27/08 Kent St. Turf W 41-20 8 17 1 26
10/04/08 @ Toledo Turf W 31-0 11 13 0 24
10/11/08 @ Western Ky. Turf W 24-7 9 9 3 21
10/25/08 Eastern Mich. Turf W 38-16 8 11 2 21
11/05/08 Northern Ill. Turf W 45-14 7 14 4 25
11/11/08 @ Miami (Ohio) Turf W 31-16 9 12 0 21
11/19/08 @ Central Mich. Turf W 31-24 13 8 2 23
11/25/08 Western Mich. Turf W 45-22 8 11 0 19
12/05/08 + Buffalo Turf L 24-42 10 19 1 30
01/06/09 + Tulsa Turf L 13-45 3 6 0 9
  Totals 136 167 22 325

Hoke's first downs under Stan Parrish were also pass-biased. Again, Nate Davis had something to do with that but Ball State was significantly more run-biased than 2010 SDSU: 520 rushes to 405 passes, with those rushes picking up 5 yards a pop. A team that ran 56% of the time threw on 55% of first downs.

HOWEVA, that's not a huge difference from late-era Carr behavior. I know this surprises you. I clicked the link three times just to make sure it wasn't having fun, but in 2007 Michigan passed on 54% of first downs despite playing Ryan Mallett for significant chunks of the season. They also ran on 56% of all plays. That may be an artifact of Michigan not being able to run very well (4 YPC; insert infamous stretch against OSU here). In 2006, a monstrously run-biased outfit (62% at 4.3 YPC while the passing game was averaging 7.7) was 50-50 on first down.

Is the manball in the offensive structure?

Meanwhile, Chris Brown has the most interesting single factoid in Wolverines Kickoff 2011. It's about SDSU's bowl game, the one after which Ken Niumatalolo said "that's as good of an offense as we've seen." In that game, the Aztecs ran more zone-blocked plays than gap-blocked plays en route to a rout. Here's an inside zone:

A few plays later the Aztecs would bust out their first power of the night. Notably, it was a "constraint" play—one designed to keep the defense honest. They lined up in a pro set and handed it to the fullback for the second time all year. On third and two they manballed up. Result:

Starting running back Ronnie Hillman averaged 8.1 YPC without any distorting 80-yarders (long of 37) and finished the day with 228 yards. San Diego State's defense did not appear to have a stroke while watching this.

So how does that jive with this?

When asked recently about the influence of Oregon’s offense, Hoke subtly revealed his disdain for the tactical shift Michigan experienced under Rodriguez. He is convinced that modern spread option offenses can be counterproductive to the core values of smashmouth football and are, therefore, to be avoided.

“Right, wrong or indifferent, when you’re zone blocking all the time -- when you’re playing basketball on grass -- you practice against that all spring, you practice against it all fall and then you’re going to play a two-back team that wants to knock you off the football,” Hoke said. “I don’t think you’re prepared.

It… like… doesn't. Unless Hoke just wants to have some power around so his defense doesn't turn into a bunch of lily-livered ninnyhammers and doesn't actually care how much it gets deployed in actual games. This would be good for the next couple years when what Hoke wants and what Hoke has will be severely mismatched.

Is the manball curling up in the fetal position with a narrow lead?

Unfortunately for manball-is-just-talk theorists, that above-mentioned close-ish Colorado State game featured an event familiar to Michigan fans. After Colorado State scored with about three minutes left to draw within five, SDSU ran three times for two yards and gave the ball back to the Rams having run only 53 seconds off the clock. They ran on 2nd 7 and 3rd and 9. Very MANBALL.

The way the Aztecs lost the Missouri game is also terribly familiar. They picked off Blaine Gabbert with 1:47 left, ran 25 seconds off the clock, and punted on 4th and 8 from the Missouri 35. It took the Tigers two plays to score the winning touchdown. To be fair, freshman Ronnie Hillman caused coaching blood vessels to explode when he ran out of bounds on the first play of the drive and the Aztecs did throw on third down. To be ruthless, that throw was a screen or something equivalently conservative (it lost a yard) and once it was completed the situation was 4th and 8 for the win or a 20-yard punt. Hoke chose the punt. He chose poorly.

Against Air Force the Aztecs faced a 4th and goal from the two with about nine minutes left. They led by eight. Hoke called for the field goal team. That's not indefensible*; it is conservative. Hoke watched his kicker Broekgibbons it anyway.

On the other hand, in the Utah game San Diego State kept firing after leaping out to a big lead (obviously). There's no evidence they ever put the scoring offense away except in a couple of end-game scenarios.

*[It's probably the right call. Going from 8 to 11 forces the opponent to score two TDs to win instead of one and a two-point conversion. Getting the touchdown gives you a tie in the unlikely event an option team with 12 points so far gets two touchdowns and a conversion in the final nine minutes. A failure does leave the opponent on its own two.

As it happened, Air Force did score two touchdowns in the final nine minutes. Unfortunately for the Falcons, sandwiched between them was a one-play SDSU touchdown drive and they lost anyway.]

The things that are said contradict each other

Hoke says he wants the team to act in a certain way—toughness toughness toughness—while simultaneously saying he will not futz with Al Borges. Al Borges has shown a predilection for lots of vertical passing and apparently does not care one way or the other about gap vs zone blocking. Hoke says he dislikes zone running and uses it plenty. He's recruiting large men to squash men who are not quite as large but has maybe 1.5 tight ends and Denard Robinson right now.

What Hoke wants is clear, and what he has is not what he wants. The record implies that he'll be relatively flexible. Michigan will still see a drop in yardage/fancy metric performance because they're spending time revamping instead of refining, but if under center isn't working they'll ditch it. Hell, against Navy SDSU's first drive formations looked like this:

  1. Shotgun 3-wide
  2. Shotgun 3-wide
  3. Shotgun 3-wide
  4. Shotgun 3-wide
  5. Shotgun 3-wide
  6. Shotgun 3-wide

They even ran a zone read. It went for a yard, but by God they ran it. When push comes to shove I think Michigan will go with what works, whatever that is.


A Brief History Of Instate Recruiting: Late Carr Era

A Brief History Of Instate Recruiting: Late Carr Era Comment Count

Brian May 4th, 2011 at 3:56 PM

The recent spate of instate commits and the buzz that Michigan has two or three more likely on the way in the near future caused me to wonder if Michigan hypothetically pulling eight of the top ten players in the state was unprecedented in the star era of recruiting. As almost always happens when I do something like this it got long, then got longer, and then I split it into two parts. This part covers the late Carr period from 2003 to 2008*; tomorrow's bit will cover what happened under Rodriguez and how Hoke appears to be doing so far.

*[By the time Carr announced his retirement in late 2007 Michigan had acquired all the instate prospects they were going to. Rodriguez didn't lose any, so there aren't any ambiguities there.]

2003-2004: The Old Boss Is The Old Boss

Lamarr Woodley, Jake Long, Will Johnson (with hair!)

  Touted Recruits Head To Head Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other Mich MSU Mich MSU
2003 4 0 3 5 0 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 13, 17
2004 3 2 1 4 1 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 4, 5, 10, 13-16, 25

(MSU H2H win: TE Kellen Freeman-Davis.)

Yea, the long long ago when Michigan had a half-dozen four stars on an annual basis and Michigan picked who they wanted unless they were a bit weird. In 2003 Michigan locked down the top eight with the exceptions of Illinois-bound Lonnie Hurst and Purdue-bound Doug Van Dyke and Garret Bushong. Bushong would later find fame as the "'we run this place" [Ed-M: link was broken, hope I got it right] guy; Van Dyke would have some sort of freakout and leave school to work construction; Hurst had three career catches after a nice freshman year. Meanwhile, Michigan State's haul consisted of Kaleb Thornhill, Derek Outlaw, and a couple of guys who didn't make the top 25. (One, Will Cooper, was a former Michigan commit who didn't qualify.)

The next year was much the same. Michigan got five of the top eight. The escapees did not have Michigan offers and didn't do much in college. Carl Grimes had seven career catches; Justin Hoskins transferred to CMU from Notre Dame; Dwayne Holmes bounced from TE to DE and finished his career with a 14-tackle season.

This year did see instate #10 Kellen Freeman-Davis pick MSU over a Michigan offer; in college he dropped the "Freeman" and was honorable mention All Big Ten as a senior. You may remember him as a two-way player—he was a pass-rush specialist DE, too. Michigan's main whiff in this class, though, was physical freak Vernon Gholston. Michigan was tardy with an offer and lost him to Ohio State, whereupon he turned into a monster until people started testing him for steroids.

This period and the many years before it in which recruiting rankings weren't as codified represent Michigan fans' opinion of The Natural Way Of Things. Michigan gets who they want. When they pass over a four star sort they're generally right about it. Every once in a while something slips through their fingers, but that's life.

2005-2006: The Great Wasteland


Brandon Graham, Patrick Rigan, Antonio Bass

  Touted Recruits Head To Head Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other Mich MSU Mich MSU
2005 3 0 0 1 0 1, 2, 3, 7, 12 4, 5, 8, 11, 13
2006 1 3 1 2 0 1, 6, 11, 12 2, 3, 4, 15

This period of relative fecundity was followed by a couple years in which no one wanted anyone. In 2005 only three players picked up four stars and it's not like the offers defy that. #4 Ryan Allison had a smattering of mid-level BCS offers of which MSU, BC, and Wisconsin were the best; #5 Andrew Hawken had only MSU, Wisconsin, and Indiana; #6 Evan Sharpley ended up at Notre Dame, but this was during the Great Willinghamming when a Notre Dame offer was more indicative your ability to caddy than anything else. The rankings were largely borne out—thanks to Antonio Bass's mysterious leg explosion only #3 Terrance Taylor and #11 Otis Wiley were all-conference-ish players.

2006 was probably worse. After Brandon Graham the top three players in the state were Charlie Gantt, Eric Gordon, and Patrick Rigan. All went to Michigan State. Michigan didn't offer any, and neither did anyone else. Gordon had one other BCS offer, that from Missouri. Rigan had one from Indiana. Gantt had Duke and UNC. While Michigan screwed up their talent evaluation by taking Obi Ezeh and Quintin Patilla over Gordon, it's not like there were a bunch of other schools who were vying to prove Michigan wrong. Talent evaluators were again validated: other than Graham, Gantt, and Gordon the only player to start in at a BCS school was Ezeh, and we know all about him.

These years sucked, but Michigan got everyone they wanted and picked off a few sleepers here and there. That their sleepers were not useful may have been the first sign of the degradation the program was to endure over the next half-decade. "Trust the coaches" was no longer in effect. The Natural Way Of Things seemed to be, however.

2007: Disaster


Ronald Johnson, Dionte Allen, Joseph Barksdale

  Touted Recruits Head To Head Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other Mich MSU Mich MSU
2007 2 1 10 2 0 10, 12, 19, 23, 25 7, 21, 24, 27

The next year Michigan rebounded massively with 13 four-star-or-better guys. Michigan got all of two: #10 Ryan Van Bergen and #12 Martell Webb. Michigan State did worse with one. While both would eventually reclaim four-star QB prospects from the class when Keith Nichol and Steven Threet transferred home, Nichol eventually ended up a WR and Threet a Sun Devil. Everyone else was all like "I'm GTFO."

Michigan botched the recruitments of Joseph Barksdale, Mark Dell (who didn't even get offered because Michigan was after Zion Babb and Toney Clemons, although FWIW Clemons was highly ranked), Ronald Johnson, Dionte Allen, and Chris Colasanti. They wisely avoided Taurian Washington and Cedric Everson and never really had a shot at Nichol, who didn't fit Carr's offense, or Darris Sawtelle, a third generation Vol. They filled in their class with sleepers who did not pan out. Meanwhile, Michigan State grabbed #27-ranked Kirk Cousins.

The end result for Michigan was the infamous class that's been dissected ever since. Four years later it's clear this was the moment when Wile E. Coyote ran off the cliff. While the legs still pumped a while longer, inexorable gravity was now in control.

2008: Transition


Fred Smith, Mike Martin, Nick Perry

  Touted Recruits Head To Head Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other Mich MSU Mich MSU
2008 4 1 3 3 2 1, 2, 7, 8, 11 5, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17-20, 25, 26

(MSU H2H wins: Fred Smith and Tyler Hoover, though Hoover is disputed.)

Michigan maintained most of its gains in the evaluators' eyes the next year with seven four-stars and a number of additional guys with solid BCS offers. Michigan grabbed their usual number of four stars. They passed on Jonas Gray in favor of Mike Cox, lost Nick Perry to USC, and lost Southeastern WR Fred Smith in a "shocker"—yes, people can be surprised by high schoolers with hats on the table—that was the first indication Detroit Southeastern had been colonized by Spartans.

When Rodriguez came aboard he had to re-recruit Mike Martin; everyone else stuck around. Gray is in about the same place on Notre Dame's depth chart as Cox is on Michigan's. Smith decided he liked ham more than football and is now a fullback or something. Perry was a freshman All-American but has only played part-time since because of concerns about his size.

While Perry represented the continuing bleed of talent outside state borders and Smith was a harbinger of things to come, this wasn't too far off the early years. The problem was that instead of getting great players at the top Michigan's guys blew up: Boubacar Cissoko hates cabbies and Dann O'Neill was massively overrated and transferred to WMU. Meanwhile, Michigan ignored Mark Ingram and Keshawn Martin, and probably passed on Hoover. Michigan was got no one of note from the bowels of the Michigan rankings except for the occasional interior OL.

But whatever combination of bad luck, bad scouting, and bad recruiting affected Michigan in 2007 and 2008 was nothing with the rain of hellfire* Michigan would experience in 2009.

*[I believe this is called "the hard sell."]


Reviewing The 2006 Recruiting Class: Top 50

Reviewing The 2006 Recruiting Class: Top 50 Comment Count

Brian April 26th, 2011 at 4:08 PM


Brandon Graham and Ricky Dixon

A few years ago I took a look at the Rivals top 100 and attempted to evaluate the success or failure of the kids in it, ranking each player on a five point scale and coming up with an average. It was pretty interesting but an enormous pain in the butt and the vague desire to repeat that study for future classes paled in comparison to the mountain of tedious research it required.

But if ESPN is going to do the tedious research for me, I'm on board. What follows is a reprise of the earlier post's methodology. Players are rated on a five point scale:

  1. Total bust.
  2. Contributor but a marginal one, or a not-very-good starter.
  3. Average starter.
  4. All-Conference-ish player in a BCS league, likely NFL draftee.
  5. All-American-ish player, likely to be drafted in top two rounds.

These should roughly correspond with star rankings. Players on the borderline will be assinged a 3.5 or whatever. Players who don't make it for reasons other than talent—injury, grades or being a total knucklehead—are noted as such. It's a bit much to expect recruiting analysts to project who is going to rob a liquor store.

This post covers the ESPN top 50. The table below has rankings from the three major services and a brief explanation of what happened to them.

Player School ESPN Scout Rivals Rating
Myron Rolle FSU 1 7 12 4
Three year starter and second-team All ACC at FSU; left for Rhodes Scholarship before senior year. Sixth round pick of Titans, NFL backup.
Percy Harvin UF 2 8 1 5
All-purpose Florida ninja. First round pick of Vikings, offensive rookie of year.
Vidal Hazelton USC 3 5 7 Inj
50 catches for USC as soph, injured, buried on depth chart, transfer to Cinci, injured in first game at UC.
Andre Smith Bama 4 2 2 5
Three year starter left to be top ten pick after true junior season.
Matt Stafford UGA 5 11 6 5
Instant starter at UGA, first pick in 2009 draft.
DeMarco Murray OK 6 37 35 4.5
Part of backfield platoon for first three years; 1200 yards at 4.3 YPC as senior, two-time AB12, expected to be 2nd-3rd round pick
Sergio Kindle Texas 7 6 5 5
Three-time AB12, AA as senior, second round pick of Ravens, Butkus finalist
Taylor Mays USC 8 21 16 5
Brutal headhunter was four-time AA. Second round pick of 49ers.
Micah Johnson UK 9 9 36 3.5
Three year starter had some injury problems but was 1st team All SEC as junior; undrafted, practice squad type in NFL.
Antwine Perez USC 10 43 29 3
Transferred to Maryland after one year, worked way into starting lineup as junior, probably won't be drafted.
Maurice Evans PSU 11 62 46 3.5
Monster sophomore season (12.5 sacks, Hendricks finalist) followed by minor legal trouble, disappointing junior year, early NFL draft entry. Went undrafted and is a practice squad guy.
Mitch Mustain ARK 12 10 10 1
Left after Las Cronicas Locas, transferred to USC, sat on bench, lost to ND in only start.
Jevan Snead Texas 13 68 61 3
Beat out by Colt McCoy, transferred to Ole Miss. Mediocre two-year starter there. Idiotically entered NFL draft after 20-int junior year. Surprise: undrafted.
Stafon Johnson USC 14 13 18 3
Member of USC diverse but mediocre backfield as soph/junior. Dropped 275 pounds on his throat before senior season. Entered draft anyway, made team, immediately destroyed ankle.
Tim Tebow UF 15 29 22 5
Is Tim Tebow.
Jai Eugene LSU 16 17 #12 CB 2
Started nine games as a sophomore but was LSU's nickel guy after that; bacup safety as senior.
Al Woods LSU 17 12 20 4
Contributor for four years, starter as senior. No college accolades but a fourth round NFL draft pick.
Marcus Ball FSU 18 67 37 TKE
Problem-ridden LB suspended three times before transfer to JUCO, then Memphis. Was starting for Tigers before getting suspended again.…
Sam Young ND 19 3 11 4
Four year starter surrounded by utter incompetence. Sixth round pick of Dallas
Brandon Warren FSU 20 #7 TE 24 TKE
Contentious transfer after excellent freshman year; booted from Tennessee; at North Alabama.
Gerald McCoy OK 21 4 4 5
Two-time AA was third pick of NFL draft.
Eddie Jones Texas 22 20 25 3
Started as senior, contributed before that. Six sacks, one honorable-mention AB12. May go at the tail end of the draft.
Allen Walker Miss 23 89 60 3
Three year starter but not a notable one. No accolades, won't get drafted.
Carl Johnson UF 24 39 28 4
Three year starter and enormous human; projected to go in the fourth to sixth rounds of the upcoming draft.
Reshad Jones UGA 25 #13 S 14 4
Two year starter was twice second-team All SEC; picked in fifth round.
Allen Bradford USC 26 28 9 3
Another member of USC's consistently mediocre backfield. Had bust-out senior year until sidelined by injury.
Markeith Summers Miss 27 #81 WR #38 WR 2
Mostly a backup; did start as a senior but finished fourth on the team in receptions.
Jim Barrie UF 28 #58 OL #15 OT Inj
Career ended with ACL explosion.
Jermaine Cunningham UF 29 #13 DE #4 WDE 4
Three year starter was second team all SEC as a senior; second round NFL pick.
Chris Wells OSU 30 1 3 5
Human battering ram was brutally effective when healthy. First round pick.
Brandon Graham MICH 31 14 15 5
The best player in the history of awful defenses, Graham was an AA in 2009 and a first round pick of the Eagles.
Richard Dickson LSU 32 #13 TE #6 TE 3.5
Three year starter had 30 catches as soph/junior. Dropped off a bit as a senior. Second team All SEC twice; undrafted but stuck with Lions.
JB Walton PSU 33 #28 OL 72 Grades
Transferred to D-II school after academic issues.
J'Marcus Webb Texas 34 44 63 Grades
Played in every game as a freshman, then succumbed to academic issues. Got drafted in seventh round and started 12 games as a rookie.
Damon McDaniel FSU 35 #29 WR 69 1
Seven catches in two years; transferred to Hampton; didn’t do much there.
Adron Tennell OK 36 91 42 2
Vague contributor didn't do much until he was a senior and even then just 24 catches.
Emmanuel Moody USC 37 75 70 2
More mediocre USC tailbacks. Moody had about 400 yards each year he was at USC; he transferred to Florida and did little.
David Ausberry USC 38 46 66 2
Started as junior but was unproductive; moved to TE; played a bit. Won't get drafted.
Jeremiha Hunter Iowa 39 #19 LB 78 4
Three year starter was second team AB10 as senior. Probably will get drafted at tail end.
Byron Maxwell Clem 40 #20 CB #18 CB 3
Nickelback until his senior year, when he was a decent starter. May get drafted.
Terrence Austin UCLA 41 81 #14 WR 3.5
Second team AP10 as kick returner; also a decent receiver. Seventh round pick who stuck with Redskins.
Dustin Earnest Texas 42 83 #14 ILB 2
Career backup. Did contribute a decent number of tackles as an upperclassman.
Raeshon McNeil ND 43 92 74 3
Okay two-year starter was passed over by NFL.
James Aldridge ND 44 34 27 2
Mediocre runner averaged under 4.0 YPC for career; moved to FB as senior.
Mike Goodson A&M 45 18 32 3.5
Started off with a bang but production tailed off. Fourth round pick.
Konrad Reuland ND 46 40 81 3
Transferred to Stanford, started as a senior in TE-mad Harbaugh offense. Won't get drafted.
CJ Spiller Clem 47 16 8 5
Insanely explosive do-everything RB/KR/PR was a top ten pick.
Ricky Dixon LSU 48 #46 WR #23 WR 1
Two catches in two season; tranferred to Texas Southern.
Akeem Hebron UGA 49 32 65 1
JUCO, then three years at Georgia where he didn't do anything.
LeSean McCoy Miami 50 22 43 5
Prepped, went to Pitt, and was the Panthers offense for two years. Second round pick.

So what does this say?

The 44 players who didn't bomb out for unrelated reasons averaged a 3.4. On average a player from ESPN's top 50 turned out to be a borderline All-Conference type. In buckets:

5: 11
4 (and 4.5):  8
3 (and 3.5): 14
2: 7
1: 4

75% of ESPN top 50 players were at least average-ish starters on big time college football teams or Notre Dame. 43% of them were All-Conference types, and 25% were All-American types. That's a good strike rate at the very top.

It's not as good as it was when I looked a the 2002 class. That Rivals top 50 averaged 3.5 and only had 13 guys 3 or below. However, three guys were punted on and twelve more weren't rated for one reason or another. Only six dropped out here. Sites may be more careful these days about character/grade rumors.

Who won?

Can't say yet until we get through the whole 150 and check out Rivals and Scout lists to see their embarrassing misses, but the above looks ugly for ESPN. There are four flat out busts on the above list. On two all three sites were fooled; on two they weren't. Those two were

  • Ricky Dixon, an LSU receiver two did nothing and transferred. ESPN had him 48th. Scout had him a generic three-star; Rivals had him towards the tail end of their four stars.
  • Damon McDaniel was 35th to ESPN; Scout had him 29th amongst WRs and Rivals had him 69th. All were somewhat wrong, but ESPN was more wrong.

There are seven meh guys, and on most ESPN was more wrong. Some of them are moderate differences that we'll probably see when we run across outliers in the Rivals and Scout top 50s, but on a few ESPN whiffed hard:

  • #27 Markeith Summers was a generic three star to Scout and just hanging on to a fourth star at Rivals.
  • #42 Dustin Earnest was 83rd on Scout and a generic three star ILB to Rivals.

Rivals was also considerably less wrong about Jai Eugene; both other sites got Clemson CB Byron Maxwell, LSU TE Richard Dickson, TX QB Jevan Snead, USC S Antwine Perez, MI DE Brandon Graham, OSU RB Chris Wells, and USC RB Emmanuel Moody better pegged than ESPN. There aren't many examples of the reverse, just small gaps in evaluations. We'll see if that holds up once the whole picture is tediously put into Excel.


Fall Roster Overanalysis

Fall Roster Overanalysis Comment Count

Brian August 10th, 2010 at 2:38 PM

In the spring I combed through the roster for weight changes in an effort to read the portents included therein. Today, on National Overreact To A Tiny Slice Of Information Day, we return to the Ouija board.

Unfortunately, the spring roster has been obliterated in favor of the official fall roster so I can only do the full comparison on players whose weight changes from fall 2009 to spring 2010 were deemed "significant." I do have the previous fall roster and have included any players of note from that; anyone who didn't appear in the last edition was one or two pounds off.

Presenting MANY NUMBERS. Projected starters are in bold; I didn't bother trying to guess at QB and RB:

Player 2009 Spring 2010 Fall to Spring Spring To Fall 2009 to 2010
Denard Robinson 185 -- 193 -- -- 8
Tate Forcier 188 194 192 6 -2 4
Player 2009 Spring 2010 Fall to Spring Spring To Fall 2009 to 2010
John McColgan 227 -- 231 -- -- 4
Fitzgerald Toussaint 185 -- 200 -- -- 15
Michael Cox 208 -- 211 -- -- 3
Michael Shaw 178 -- 187 -- -- 9
Vincent Smith 168 -- 180 -- -- 12
Player 2009 Spring 2010 Fall to Spring Spring To Fall 2009 to 2010
Junior Hemingway 220 227 225 7 -2 5
Darryl Stonum 196 193 195 -3 2 -1
Je'Ron Stokes 181 187 193 6 6 12
Jeremy Gallon 165 171 180 6 9 15
Kelvin Grady 168 -- 176 -- -- 8
Martavious Odoms 172 -- 175 -- -- 3
Roy Roundtree 170 169 176 -1 7 6
Terrence Robinson 171 -- 175 -- -- 4
Player 2009 Spring 2010 Fall to Spring Spring To Fall 2009 to 2010
Kevin Koger 249 -- 255 -- -- 6
Martell Webb 245 257 255 12 -2 10
Brandon Moore 243 260 250 17 -10 7
Player 2009 Spring 2010 Fall to Spring Spring To Fall 2009 to 2010
Mark Huyge 288 305 306 17 1 18
Michael Schofield 268 281 293 13 12 25
Quinton Washington 325 307 315 -18 8 -10
Ricky Barnum 275 282 286 7 4 11
Rocko Khoury 283 291 295 8 4 12
Taylor Lewan 268 283 294 15 11 26
David Molk 275 270 285 -5 15 10
Elliott Mealer 299 310 313 11 3 14
Stephen Schilling 304 -- 308 -- -- 4
John Ferrara 279 -- 286 -- -- 7
Patrick Omameh 276 293 299 17 6 23
Perry Dorrestein 306 -- 321 -- -- 15
Player 2009 Spring 2010 Fall to Spring Spring To Fall 2009 to 2010
Adam Patterson 263 272 276 9 4 13
Anthony LaLota 256 263 270 7 7 14
Greg Banks 266 274 285 8 11 19
Craig Roh 238 249 251 11 2 13
Will Heininger 261 271 267 10 -4 6
William Campbell 318 324 333 6 9 15
Ryan Van Bergen 271 280 283 9 3 12
Steve Watson 257 -- 268 -- -- 11
Mike Martin 292 -- 299 -- -- 7
Renaldo Sagesse 279 285 289 6 4 10
Player 2009 Spring 2010 Fall to Spring Spring To Fall 2009 to 2010
Brandon Herron 220 -- 220 -- -- 0
Isaiah Bell 220 237 245 17 8 25
J.B. Fitzgerald 232 239 244 7 5 12
Kenny Demens 236 244 250 8 6 14
Jonas Mouton 228 -- 240 -- -- 12
Kevin Leach 206 200 205 -6 5 -1
Mark Moundros 233 -- 233 -- -- 0
Mike Jones 203 207 208 4 1 5
Obi Ezeh 243 240 250 -3 10 7
Player 2009 Spring 2010 Fall to Spring Spring To Fall 2009 to 2010
J.T. Floyd 183 -- 183 -- -- 0
J.T. Turner 187 197 198 10 1 11
Troy Woolfolk 193 -- 195 -- -- 2
James Rogers 182 -- 183 -- -- 1
Player 2009 Spring 2010 Fall to Spring Spring To Fall 2009 to 2010
Brandin Hawthorne 198 -- 203 -- -- 5
Floyd Simmons 185 -- 200 -- -- 15
Jordan Kovacs 194 200 195 6 -5 1
Cameron Gordon 208 -- 207 -- -- -1
Mike Williams 188 -- 200 -- -- 12
Teric Jones 193 -- 195 -- -- 2
Thomas Gordon 205 -- 205 -- -- 0
Vladimir Emilien 198 -- 204 -- -- 6

Bullets on the contents herein:

  • Holy productive summer (and previous fall), offensive line. Molk bounced back from his injury-caused loss and is now at a respectable 285. The kids, meanwhile, are all pushing 300 after coming in significantly smaller than that. They're still a little light in the shorts, but they'll be significantly bigger than they were a year ago.
  • Similarly, the front seven is going to be a lot bigger even if it's Greg Banks taking over for Brandon Graham. The three returning starters put on an average of 11 pounds and Banks is 17 pounds heavier than Graham was. Not that anyone's happy about losing Graham. The linebackers, meanwhile, are all up significantly, with Isaiah Bell well on his way to becoming his own country.
  • Jeremy Gallon wins the Biggest Anti-Loser award for gaining more weight as a percentage of his starting weight than anyone else.
  • Fitzgerald Toussaint and Vincent Smith are getting up there for guys their size; hopefully they'll have the durability to last after putting on 15 and 12 pounds, respectively.
  • Turners extra 11 pounds may be the reason he's stuck behind Floyd.
  • The beefy tight ends must have been a bit too beefy; they've started backing down.
  • Not sure what to make of Quinton Washington and Will Campbell going back up after freshman years spent shedding weight. Similarly, Perry Dorrestein's 321 seems too heavy, especially for a guy who had plenty of trouble pass blocking last year and is trying to lock down the left tackle job. The other seniors-to be put on a few pounds here and there; Dorrestein's 15 is out of proportion. The Lewan-Dorrestein battle may be over before it even starts.
  • All college teams increase the size of their players year-to-year but if I had to bet, Michigan's has to be near the top in terms of beef added on. A symptom of youth.


Names Named, Heads Should Roll

Names Named, Heads Should Roll Comment Count

Brian May 26th, 2010 at 10:06 AM

stocksMichigan's epic document dump provides a harrowing window into the world of TPS reports, staplers, and increasingly alarmed emails that is the University compliance environment. I started reading these things and I could not stop, delving deeply to 73-page Exhibits that are little more than compliance folk making heroic efforts not to bludgeon the football administration and hardly getting responses.

A couple things are clear.

Brad Labadie should be fired. Now. I'll leave the decision as to whether he should be put in stocks on the Diag up to Brandon, but I vote yes. The vastly ineffectual management of Scott Draper should also see him go out the door. If either of these individuals had competently executed his job, there is a strong possibility this whole thing never happens.

Brandon said yesterday that none of the seven people who got naughty notes put in their permanent record would see further repercussions. I strongly disagree with this decision.

Here's why:

You Can Take This Job Description And Shove It, Except You Can't Because It Doesn't Exist

The CSO made several attempts to obtain written job descriptions for the quality control staff from Scott Draper and Brad Labadie during 2008 and 2009. A copy of the written correspondence related to these efforts is attached as Exhibit 15. Draper provided the first version of the job descriptions on August 28, 2009 after the University began its investigation following media inquiries. See Exhibits 3 and 4.

Exhibit 15… good lord.

April 2008

Judy Van Horn asks Ann Vollano to get job descriptions for all sport-specific administrative staff. Her only sin here is saying "Let's strategize on how to implement."

July 2008

Van Horn emails Draper about a meeting that Draper may or may not have to attend about "compliance monitoring systems that are under Brad's purview":

There have been some glitches with systems that Brad thought would work better under Rich but haven't as well as times where Brad has felt hounded by CSO staff and CSO staff have felt him to be nonresponsive. I think we need to touch base to make sure we can close out 2007-08 and have a workable plan and strong relationship moving into 2008-09.

In this email Van Horn mentions the CSO is expanding monitoring of QC-type people, a "growing employment area" subject to "increasing NCAA scrutiny and controversy" and they are proactively attempting to get these agreements in place in order to avoid any troubles.

Draper responds:

If there is an issue with Brad, I need to know about it. If he was disrespectful or anything along those lines that is something I need to address. If it is not, then as his supervisor I should be made aware of it and handle it with Rich. … Please help me understand what is going on I am in the dark. If there is an issue I need to be made aware of it. Brad reports to me.

August 2008

Vollano sends a memo requesting job descriptions for all sport-specific staffers in an effort to ensure Michigan is "meeting NCAA coaching staff limit requirements," asking for a response no later than August 22nd.

September 2008

Vollano emails Draper, reminding him to turn in the form requested in August. Draper says he did it, asks Vollano to look for it again. Vollano says it is not present and the CSO has been "on high alert looking for it." Draper says he will re-do it and bring it in in the morning. Rich Rodriguez is CCed on this email. He does not receive further correspondence.

October 2008

Vollano emails Draper having received football's "limitations form" but still needs the job descriptions.

December 2008



I have left a couple of messages but I thought that maybe email would be easier. I want to remind you that I need job descriptions for all of your non-coaching-specific staff members, As you may recall, the "Designation of Coaching Category" form for the 2OO8·09 academic year was changed and to include space for each member of your non-coaching sport specific staff to sign. In addition, a copy of each sport specific staff person's job description was to be attached. I have your form but I do not have any job descriptions for any of the non-coaching sport specific staff. The job descriptions should include the title of the position and a description of duties. Once we have the job descriptions, we will have the staff members sign an agreement related to their role with your sport. The role of non-coaching, sport-specific staff continues to receive increased scrutiny from both the NCAA and Big Ten Conference staff. These agreements will ensure that we are meeting NCAA coaching staff limit requirements. Thanks for your attention in this matter. An Email would be sufficient if it is easier for you, Take care! Ann

P.S. I have attached a copy of the form with all of the signatures and positions that you turned in. lf there are any people missing, please let me know. Thanks!

Labadie responds that he "just listened to the voicemail from earlier where you said you are not taking it personally" and asks for the people who need job descriptions… that Vollano has already told him twice already on the memo.


August 2009

The 28th: Draper submits a job description for QC staffers. It is a hastily slapped-together piece of crap.
The 29th: Free Press report published.
The 30th: Draper submits another job description for QC staffers.

You Say CARA, I Say "Shut Up, I'm Playing Halo"

You know the CARA forms? Yeah… about them:

The CSO made repeated requests for the CARA forms during 2008 and 2009. Most of these requests were made to Brad Labadie by email. See Exhibit 18. Scott Draper received a copy of several of the e-mail requests to Labadie. The CSO also notified Joe Parker, Senior Associate Athletics Director, Development/Corporate Relations, about the football CARA forms issues in early 2009. After the requests to Labadie produced no CARA forms from football, on May 19, 2009, the CSO office again informed Parker about the absence of CARA forms for football. Parker contacted Labadie and Draper about the issue the same day. Van Horn also notified University auditors of the issue, and the auditors found no CARA forms for football when they reviewed CSO records in April and May 2009. …

CSO officials did not meet in-person with Rodriguez to notify him of football's failure to provide CARA forms until July 30, 2009. The University is satisfied Rodriguez was unaware of the problem until he received the auditor's memorandum dated July 24th, 2009.

… The CSO was persistent in its efforts to gather CARA forms from football, including eventually seeking the assistance of the direct of athletics. The University believes, however, t he CSO should have met with Rodriguez to alert him to the CARA forms issue and seek his assistance much sooner than it did. The University believes that had the CSO done so, the CARA forms issue likely would have been addressed at a much earlier date.

The next section details what Rodriguez's part was in this. The U did not believe Rodriguez knew about the specific CARA procedures; RR states that he was not briefed until the summer of '09, but the matter was on multiple rules education agendas. Van Horn stated she and RR "agreed that Labadie and Draper would continue to be the administrators responsible for football compliance issues."

As you'd expect, the compliance issues are sheltered from the coaches as much as possible since they have more important things to be doing. The U is "satisfied Rodriguez did not know that the football program had failed to submit its CARA forms for more than 18 months."

Let's go to Exhibit 18, then. It's 73 pages.

January 2008

"Compliance assistant" Rachel Strassner sends a general email asking for telephone recruiting logs, off campus contacts, and CARA forms for December '07—before Rodriguez was hired. On the 31st, Strassner specifically emails Labadie asking for CARA forms from October, November, and December of '07, telephone logs for December, and a bunch of other stuff. Again: before Rodriguez is hired.

February 2008

Monthly reminder from Strassner. On the sixth, Strassner emails Labadie again requesting missing docs: one week of CARA forms from November, recruiting logs from Mike Debord, December telephone logs from all coaches, and October contact logs from most of the coaches. On the 12th she emails again asking for the missing CARA week, a number of contact logs, and everyone's telephone logs. On the 20th she's still missing the single CARA week and believes one other week has an overage.

March 2008

Reminder ping. Strassner now sending emails with the subject line "Compliance Documents – STILL MISSING". The November 18th week that has been outstanding for months is still outstanding, as are contact logs and telephone logs. Questions about possible overages have not been answered.

A week later, Strassner sends an email to Michael Parrish, cc-ing Labadie and asking for CARA forms for January and February, February telephone logs, and February contact logs. Vollano replies to this, noting the university's auditor will be in on Thursday and "Auditors like to find things missing so they can put them in their reports." A week later, both Vollano and Strassner request the missing logs again. A week later, the email mentions the auditor "is in the process of reviewing football's records"; it does appear that the rogue November CARA form has been submitted along with most of the missing Carr-era documentation and the contact/eval logs from the first couple months of the Rodriguez regime.

April 2008

Ping. Strassner now trying "Compliance Forms Missing – DELINQUENT." We have our first Labadie sighting as he emails that Carr and Rodriguez didn't make calls in certain months and that the CARA forms are "being completed." Quiet month after this.

May 2008

Ping. Apparently everything except the CARA forms has been submitted because Strassner's gone down to DEFCON 3: "CARA Forms – Delinquent" and all the telephone/contact log mentions have been dropped. Unfortunately, as time passes the CARA forms keep building up. Labadie has not submitted CARA forms since January 6th. At the end of the month Strassner asks again. Also, CSO still needs Fred Jackson's telephone log from December.

June 2008

Draper is now getting CCed on "Football CARA forms MISSING"; Strassner has taken the desperate, futile step of using the little doohickey that makes your emails "high" importance. CARA forms and the rogue Jackson telephone log have not been submitted. Getting slightly snippy: "Please let me know when I can expect these."

July 2008

This is the point where Brad feels "hounded by CSO staff" and CSO staff feels he could be a tetch "nonresponsive." The department stops asking about the 2008 CARA logs here so it seems like they were submitted at this point.

August 2008

Michigan sends a memo to all coaches and admin staff reminding them about CARA forms for 2008-09.

September 2008

Strassner has either moved on from a student job or an internship or thrown herself off U Towers, leaving one Roy Shavers Jr the thankless task of attempting to get CARA forms from Labadie. He takes up the monthly pings. The U reduces the submission frequency from weekly to monthly. It is the CSO's hope that this will simplify the process by "avoiding the need to ask you at the end of each year to account for past weeks of your team's countable athletically related activities."

October 2008

Just a ping.

November 2008

Ping, and then Shavers emails Labadie to remind him he needs to turn in CARA forms for August and October.

January 2009

Ping, ping. The U has pinged Joseph Parker at this point and he now (Jan 8) asks Draper, Labadie, and Parrish to get the CARA forms completed, mentioning that "we need to put a process in place to ensure this information is delivered to the CSO staff in a timely manner." Bill Martin is CCed. Labadie responds that he will get CARA "cleaned up" at upcoming meetings/workouts.

Twelve days later, Parker emails Labadie again asking about CARA.

March 2009

Ping, ping. Parker emails on the fifth noting that "as a follow-up to our conversation yesterday, compliance has not received any CARA Forms for football for 2008-09." Draper replies that Brad is acquiring the "last remaining signature[s]" from the seniors.

April 2009

Ping. On April 3rd Vollano asks "any idea when we can get the CARA forms?" Incredibly, she then adds "I do not want to bug you about it but as an FYI, the university auditors are going to start their audit of CARA" instead of "if you do not give me the forms I will chop your head off."

On the eighth Shavers emails Vollano noting that they are missing all CARA logs and the telephone logs from November, December, January, and March. Vollano pings Parrish.

May 2009

Ping. On May 7th Vollano emails Labadie with a last-ditch plea: "I just wanted to let you know that the auditors are here doing CARA. They have an empty folder for football. Any chance you bring them over?"  Double incredibly, she ends the email "Thanks for your help" instead of "I hate you so much."

Labadie actually responds here: "Figured out what the voicemail was about. Sorry I've been out this morning and I just got the auto reply that you are out later today." Vollano replies the next day asking for the forms ASAP so the auditors can review them, nothing that their report goes to "Bill, the President and Regents."

Two weeks later, Parker emails that Vollano has been requesting the documents for "several months" and asks if they can submit the CARA forms by tomorrow. Labadie replies "Yep. Had them finished yesterday at workouts and they should have been delivered today."

Poor, sweet Ann G.Vollano the next day:


For this, she has been officially censured. Poor, poor Ann G. Vollano.


August 2009

Van Horn and Draper set up a meeting. Unclear why, but "CARA forms" is on the agenda. A week later, Michigan sends out the annual CARA memo. A meeting agenda with Martin on August 18th summarizes the "formal communication" regarding the 2008-09 CARA Form fiasco, noting that "at the time of audit during may 2009, no football CARA forms from the 2008-09 academic year had been submitted to the CSO," that "all other varsity sports" had submitted the forms, and that an "inordinate amount of communication occurred between CSO, football administrative staff and sport administrators regarding football CARA forms."

A section later it notes that "having student-athletes provide written verification of the time they spend in CARA activities protects the head coach and institution from unfounded allegations."

August 28th: CSO finally receives CARA forms for winter and fall of 2008. They are signed by Rodriguez, but not student-athletes.
August 29th: Free Press report.
August 30th: Vollano emails Labadie a special individual ping stating they need the August 2009 CARA forms. Labadie replies in 21 minutes. Subsequent CARA reports are submitted monthly with student-athlete signatures.


You'll note a few things other than a torrent of email from poor, sweet athletic department compliance personnel virtually begging Labadie for CARA forms: the documentation problems started before Rodriguez even arrived, that Labadie had been "hopeful" the bookkeeping processes would be better under Rodriguez, and not even the freaking auditors being in the office looking at an empty folder could get a response other than "ohhhhh, that's what that voicemail meant." The main document also states that Labadie was the responsible party for the warm-up and stretching time that put Michigan over on Mondays during 2009, although Labadie said that this opinion was based on conversations with Barwis. Why the person in charge of football compliance administration thinks he should talk to Barwis instead of compliance is unknown.

Most importantly, either Labadie lied to Draper when he said he was just getting the "last signatures" from the seniors for the 2008-09 forms or Draper lied to CSO. The main document states the CARA forms, hastily submitted the day before the Free Press report, have no student signatures. Draper, for his part, made zero effort to check up on his employee despite his apparent desire to play Tropico at work all day. He had no idea there was anything going on for months, and complained to compliance that he needed to know what was going on with the person who reports directly to him.

The worst part of all of this is how comprehensive, intelligent, and concerned the compliance side of all this was. CSO constantly badgered Draper and Labadie for the missing documents and was in the process of putting together a system that would hopefully have clarified what the QC assistants could and could not do. They anticipated potential problems with the QC staffers! Judy Van Horn just won a prestigious award and it's not hard to see why: Michigan's compliance department was machine-like in its precision. Its primary flaw was being far too polite to the unresponsive Draper and Labadie—not once did Strassner threaten to mail Labadie's pets to Albania, or shave his head in his sleep, or put him in a bun and leave him on Justin Boren's doorstep. If they had been cut-throat about it and immediately raised holy hell with Martin, Rodriguez, and others this may not have occurred.

Maybe there are things yet unrevealed by 100 pages of emails. Maybe there were behind-the-scenes reasons Labadie could not put the documents together. However, if there were the proper thing to do was to express this. Labadie didn't even get them in when threatened by an audit; it took  the freakin' Freep report to get the sloppy, unsigned CARA forms in—the ones that Labadie claimed he was just getting the last signatures on five months earlier. The main document specifically states that when Rodriguez took over it was decided to leave the CARA process exactly the way it was under Carr, and Labadie still completely failed to file reports for a whole year when the system had been in place for several years and was apparently not an insurmountable task for anyone else in the department. Rodriguez's response makes it explicitly clear that no one informed him the already-prepared job descriptions for QC people had not been submitted and that the lack of CARA form submissions was also unknown. Why was it unknown?

Labadie told the enforcement staff that he did not tell Rodriguez that he had failed to submit CARA forms because he did not want Rodriguez to look unfavorably upon him.

There is no possible excuse for the massive breach in protocol here and the missing CARA forms and QC assistant job descriptions are the primary reasons Michigan is reporting major violations instead of a selection of secondary ones. Everyone involved with Michigan football compliance administration has failed massively and should be fired. Now.


Unverified Voracity Is Bombed Without Provocation

Unverified Voracity Is Bombed Without Provocation Comment Count

Brian April 26th, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Summary. The Rodriguez transition as expressed by Smurfs:

That is all.

Second edition? There's been a disconnect between the recruiting buzz on incoming defensive end Jibreel Black (major talent, say mods at the usual sites) and the recruiting services who placed him on the three/four-star borderline. Michigan's coaches had been after Black from early on in his recruiting cycle and pursued him through two(!) commitments to other schools, so they seem to be on the former side.

Maybe a couple more people are sidling over there after Black's performance in the North-South Ohio All Star game:

The star of the night, however, was Jibreel Black. He was constantly in the backfield and pretty much controlled the entire second half. He’s not the biggest guy (6’2” 255) in the world, but then neither was Brandon Graham. And when pressed for what was going to happen the next time he plays in the Horseshoe as a Wolverine, Black didn’t hesitate to answer.

“I’ll be doing the same thing,” he laughed. “Pryor better watch out.”

Insert all the usual caveats about all-star games here—who knows if the kid he was going up against is even going I-A, for one—but anything that causes an observer to mention Brandon Graham in the same sentence as someone with eligibility remaining is all right by me.

Antonio Kinard had a pick six and was reputed to have played well; the other Michigan recruits didn't draw much mention except someone calling the matchup between Courtney Avery and 6'7" OSU WR signee Tyrone Williams "unfair." His quarterbacks were exceptionally good sports about it, though, and he finished with just two catches for 19 yards. Tim has more detail in a mini-Friday Night Lights post coming up later today.

This year's hot stuff. Ace follows up on last year's "Weapon of Choice" video with the Denard Robinson show from this year's spring game:

It's the circle of life.

Catching up with defectors past. Penn State's quarterback situation is not so good. Kevin Newsome, who you may remember as one of the defectors in the defection-laden class of 2008, is the only scholarship quarterback on campus right now. His competition is Matt McGloin, a walk-on(!), and neither is burning up the field:

McGloin (10 of 23, 110 yards) threw two interceptions and should have had a third – a drop by new defensive back Chaz Powell – returned 90 yards for a touchdown in the first half.

Newsome, a righty with a near-sidearm throwing motion, finished 5 of 12 for 50 yards and lost 12 yards rushing. Dual threat? Not so much Saturday.

Neither is the offensive line, apparently:

To be fair, the QBs didn't have much time to set their feet. Or duck. …

“We're trying different combinations and we're trying to get the best five guys in there,'' Paterno said during a news conference right before the scrimmage.

“The tackles are a concern for us. … We're not really sure who the tackles are going to be.''

Before you go cackling to your Penn State friends, remember that 1) Penn State's defense is not Michigan's defense and 2) IIRC, the author of this article is one of those dinosaur local columnists whose schtick is relentless negativity.

However, a softened version of the snark above has been related by generally positive outlets like the PSU's Scout and Rivals sites. It's safe to say that a certain level of disquiet exists in Happy Valley. Many people are openly speculating about how JoePa is going to have to grit his teeth and start one of his two true freshmen this fall. One of them, Paul Jones, did enroll early. Whoever starts is going to be protected by a couple of converted guards at tackle.

In other spring games:

  • Is it good news or bad news that MSU's game, which was an actual game, ended 17-10? I don't know. Kirk Cousin remains an effective passer. The offensive line gave up eight sacks but the starters were split across teams.
  • Notre Dame beat Notre Dame 27-19, spawning a number of thread on the message board about how they were terrible and will die against us in the fall. The ND side of things is less resigned to doom. You could even call them encouraged. I think your walk-on second string QB going 18 for 30 for 223 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT is not so good, but as always to read too much into spring games at your peril.

Other future warrior-poets. Meanwhile on the AAU circuit, Carlton Brundidge may have developed a jumper:

Give credit to Carlton Brundidge, the kid is putting in work. The only knock on him in the past has been the lack of a consistent jump shot from three point range, but that looks to be coming along nicely. With defenders playing a sagging zone designed to stop Amir Williams, Brundidge was hitting from deep with ease. As always he still finished going to the rim off the dribble, but Brundidge really looks improved shooting the deep jumper.

UMHoops has video of Brundidge going off for 44 in last weekend's AAU tournament, in which his team made the final before falling. It's impressive even if #15 on the opposition has a dedication to defense that can be described as "hilariously lacking."

Also,'s Mike Rothstein has an interview with Bacari Alexander:

Q: What was the best Globetrotter experience you had?

BA: “You don’t realize what the significance of the Globetrotter experience is until you travel abroad. When I went to Stockholm, Sweden and there was a capacity crowd in the arena to the tune of 18, 19,000 sold out, I said ‘Wow.’ You don’t realize that you’re a part of something so much bigger than yourself.”

This is all right and good. Sweden loves the quintessentially American Globetrotters. America loves Carl Hagelin. We'll call it even. Full profile coming later today.

Updating crush rates. MCalibur updates his QB fragility study, finding that 1) last year was a bad year for everyone except pocket statues and 2) there's still no statistical significance in the numbers. Note that this doesn't mean people who assert running QBs get injured more are definitely wrong:

At first blush it looks like there’s a difference in the injury rates of level 1, 2, and 0/3 but the fact of the matter is that there is insufficient evidence to support this. I actually ran hypothesis tests this time and that was the outcome (failure to reject the null hypothesis that A=B=C=D). Note that this does not mean that no difference exists, simply that there is no reason to conclude that a difference does exist. The differences observed are statistically insignificant.

This is a lesson David Berri could stand to learn. Still, whatever increase there might be in running quarterbacks is minimal if it exists at all:


After six years of data, the guys who run more than anyone else are 2-3% more likely to get injured than pocket throwers and the least-injured quarterbacks are guys who run a little.

Etc.: Women's tennis brings home a Big Ten title and is in the range where a national title isn't out of the possibility. Ann Arbor voids all those parking tickets from the spring game. Nebraska is now making noises about the Big Ten. So is Paul Tagliabue; his are very silly. You are now bowl eligible if you are bowl eligible.


APR: Schools Potentially In Trouble Next Year

APR: Schools Potentially In Trouble Next Year Comment Count

Brian March 31st, 2010 at 1:06 PM

A glimpse into the future: here's a table of schools that would fall under the 925 line if we just look at the last three years of data. These schools could be subject to contemporaneous penalties if they lose a kid because he is ineligible unless they improve this year.

Columns are mostly self explanatory. APR XX = single-year APR. SS XX = squad size for a particular year. 09 APR so far is a combination of the APR scores weighted by the squad sizes, so UAB's 756 counts more than their 931 because the 756 saw 97 players and the 931 just 80. I think I might be slightly off on the weightings here because squad size may not directly correspond with points available, but these should be close.

The last column is the score the school needs to break to get out of the contemporaneous penalties zone. Obviously, the top four teams are not going to climb out in one year. BCS teams have been bolded.

School Conf. APR APR 08 SS 08 APR 07 SS 07 APR 06 SS 06 09 APR
UAB CUSA 875 931 80 756 97 908 93 860 1119
Florida International Sun Belt 904 965 81 891 77 822 90 890 1030
San Jose State University WAC 888 952 78 876 82 853 86 892 1024
Louisiana-Monroe Sun Belt 906 886 87 934 87 869 86 896 1011
Washington State University Pac-10 918 922 84 874 88 921 90 906 983
University of Mississippi SEC 910 891 85 945 76 890 85 907 978
University of Idaho WAC 905 938 77 880 87 911 90 909 974
New Mexico State University WAC 905 900 95 920 87 913 89 911 968
University at Buffalo MAC 908 921 80 933 81 884 86 912 964
University of Minnesota Big Ten 915 887 89 935 88 924 86 915 955
University of Colorado Big 12 929 935 90 893 90 918 94 915 954
University of North Texas Sun Belt 911 914 87 917 87 924 85 918 945
University of South Florida Big East 909 938 85 937 85 879 79 919 943
Temple University MAC 891 960 90 893 91 910 88 921 937
Florida Atlantic University Sun Belt 913 935 85 918 77 911 85 921 936
University of Arkansas SEC 927 918 91 937 91 910 96 921 936
SDSU MWC 914 943 87 894 87 929 87 922 934
University of Akron MAC 926 948 90 906 90 912 89 922 934
Florida State University ACC 932 871 91 960 83 938 94 922 934
Bowling Green MAC 920 912 91 931 95 923 91 922 934
UNLV MWC 929 960 84 922 95 889 95 922 933

Ole Miss is the most relevant team in the danger zone, and it looks doubtful they will be able to avoid a small penalty or two. Florida State's ugly 871 will be an anchor for a few years but if they bounce back with numbers similar to their record to date it won't be a serious problem. And Tim Brewster's gift to whoever replaces him in two years is going to be that 887.


APR By Conference, 2009

APR By Conference, 2009 Comment Count

Brian March 30th, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Data ho. Current four-year rates for eligibility and retention plus squad sizes and overall APRs for all of I-A, organized by conference. This was always hard to get out of the PDFs and prevented wide-scale comparisons without enormous amounts of grunt work.

Conference Comparison

Conference APR Eligibility Rate Retention Rate Squad Size
ACC 951.4 947.0 950.3 351.3
Big Ten 947.5 932.9 947.4 354.7
SEC 947.3 942.8 938.6 357.4
Pac 10 946.4 935.8 945.0 357.2
Big East 944.5 938.8 942.8 357.6
Mountain West 944.3 929.0 944.8 358.0
Big 12 940.5 927.3 936.0 360.7
CUSA 940.4 929.3 940.8 359.8
MAC 928.8 908.0 937.7 349.2
WAC 928.6 907.7 930.2 349.0
Sun Belt 922.6 895.8 938.8 348.0

The ACC is your APR champion by a healthy margin; the rest of the BCS is virtually indistinguishable from another (and the Mountain West) save for the Big 12, which lags. The MAC, WAC, and Sun Belt bring up the rear, with the Sun Belt's appalling eligibility rate standing as yet another reason that conference is a blight on I-A.

Individual conference numbers after the jump.


APR, Raw And Wriggling

APR, Raw And Wriggling Comment Count

Brian March 30th, 2010 at 2:01 PM

apr-books gollum-book

So I was planning on putting up a post at the usual time and then I fell down the rabbit hole at the NCAA's new APR data-dump site, which happens to be a joint project with Michigan itself. After pounding at their online interface for a while, screaming "why?" the whole time, I just downloaded the whole dataset and set about doing stuff in Open Office's Excel clone.

First, a clear explanation of how the numbers are calculated from the site's Codebook:

A team’s APR cohort for a given year is composed of student-athletes who receive financial aid based on athletic ability; if a team does not offer athletics aid, then the cohort consists of  those student-athletes who are listed on the varsity roster on the first day of competition.  Each student-athlete in the APR cohort has the ability to earn two points for each regular academic term of full-time enrollment.   One point is awarded if the student-athlete is academically eligible to compete in the following regular academic term.   The other point is awarded if the student-athlete is retained by the institution (i.e., returns to school as a full-time student) in the next regular academic term.   Student-athletes who graduate are given both the eligibility and retention points for the term.  Squads can also earn a delayed graduation point if a student-athlete who left the institution without graduating returns to the institution and graduates.

At the start of each academic year, each Division I team's APR is calculated by adding all points earned by student-athletes in the team's cohorts in each of the previous four years, dividing that total by the number of possible points the student-athletes could have earned and multiplying by 1,000.  Thus, an APR of 950 means that the student-athletes in the cohort earned 95 percent of the eligibility and retention points that they could have earned. 

This answers a few questions I had before: walk-ons don't count, but walk-ons who pick up scholarships do. They even include a handy football example:

Example of APR Calculation for a Men’s Football Team (n=85 at start of year)

Semester 1 (Fall) Points Earned

75 student-athletes eligible and retained to next term (or graduate in that term)
75*(2 of 2) = 150 of 150
3 student-athletes are retained to next term but are academically  ineligible
3*(1 of 2) = 3 of 6
5 student-athletes leave the university while academically eligible
5*(1 of 2) = 5 of 10
2 student-athletes leave the university while academically  ineligible
2*(0 of 2) = 0 of 4

Semester Total 158 of 170 (929 APR)

There are also separate rates for eligibility and retention provided as part of the data set that only consider the appropriate halves of the equation. For example, the retention rate above is 78/85 or 918.

Also: it is super hard to get serious penalties. The 925 Mendoza line everyone has been throwing around is indeed the cutoff above which a player leaving ineligible does not hurt you, but falling below that line does not immediately bring penalties with it. It only hurts you if 1) you are below 925 and 2) you have a player leave ineligible. The punishment is an inability to use that player's scholarship the next year. You have to get below 900 before the NCAA comes in with a stick looking for trouble. Only three schools (Temple, San Jose State, and UAB) fell below that line.

Nevermind The Panic

A drumroll for Michigan's exact numbers:

Year APR Eligibility Rate Retention Rate Squad Size
2008 940 912 936 85
2007 918 889 930 94(!?!)
2006 979 965 970 96
2005 949 953 940 92
2004 954 955 954 99

A couple oddities are immediately apparent:

  • Michigan's 2008 APR is higher than either of their individual breakout scores, which should be mathematically impossible. This also happens in 2006.
  • Squad sizes somehow range from 85—the theoretical maximum—to 99. Early departures from mid-year graduates and transfers could bring the numbers up somewhat if the second semester has a bunch of new faces, be they freshmen or walk-ons, but those numbers seem abnormally high.
  • Lloyd Carr's last year: guh. Remember that picture where Mike Hart is staring down five Buckeyes? "889" is that in numerical form.

Also, the NCAA official numbers confirm my back-of-envelope doodling: despite the flood of transfers over the last few years, Michigan is nowhere near even the "contemporaneous penalties" cutoff line. It would take a 2009 APR of 863 or worse to get into trouble. This is actually four points more buffer than this site's previous estimate.

863 is spectacularly low. Only four teams have managed that over the past three years: SJSU, UAB, Temple, and Florida State(!). Those are three mid-major schools who specialize in the marginally eligible and a school that endured a massive institutional cheating scandal. Michigan is not in either situation. We can officially stop worrying about this. Not that you would have been worrying about it without my prompting.