Dear Diary is in the Zone

Dear Diary is in the Zone

Submitted by Seth on January 10th, 2014 at 10:51 AM

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So we've got ourselves a new offensive coordinator. I guess there's no use hiding that I'm on the more ambivalent end of the spectrum of Michigan fans, but I'm a spread zealot, and I admit another gorram transition is just too painful a prospect right this moment. At the very least it was the kind of PR coup that resets the countdown clock on Hoke's tenure. These days you only get to play the "it was my offensive coordinator's fault" card once per Rose Bowl trip, but this was the right time to do so. I'm probably just a cynic who's been sold a bill of Mariucci over Mornhinwheg to believe in any apparent upgrade. Let's see if the readers can convince me otherwise.

Eye of the TIger tried. He found some quotes by an ex-Bama player on how Inside Zone is repped to insanity, which can be taken as evidence of philosophical thinking, or taken as the zone version of Hoke's "Power" philosophy which admittedly never materialized under Borges anyway.

AP All America Team Football
The thing about Barrett Jones is you don't have to make tough decisions about what your OL can and can't do.

Tiger pointed out that Alabama's riches in offensive lineman size allowed them to depart from the typical suite of complementary plays and players that limits you to. It's supposed to be this:

Inside Zone has another advantage--flexibility:

The majority of the time in a zone blocking scheme the tailback will follow the design of the play, but occasionally the tailback will perform a cutback and change direction during the run.  A cutback is when the tailback changes direction and runs away from where the linebackers are flowing (the tailback can only do this once and must not hesitate). This cutback made by the tailback is what makes zone blocking so dangerous because of how easily a cutback can lead to a big play.  The cutback exaggerates the advantages of the zone-blocking scheme.

Watch this video highlighting Texas’ use of Inside Zone to see this point illustrated nicely, not only for cutbacks, but for alternate read options.

Major advantages: You can run an offense with less experienced OL and opens up a bigger growth curve for RBs, who become more effective the more comfortable they get at reading the holes and cutback lanes.

Major disadvantage: It's way harder to run play-action from a zone running look. Reason is nothing gets defenders thinking run like a good running MANBALL (or inverted veer) team pulling a guard. Second reason is the small, cut-rate scatbacks that zone lets you get away with don't typically make very good pass blockers. I probably don't have to tell this to 2013 Michigan fans.

At Alabama they overcame the disadvantage by having massive/quick OL who are naturally difficult obstacles to a pass rusher, and with 5-star running backs who can cut, block, slam, juke, and jet, all for three easy payments of $3,995.95, plus shipping and handler's fee (order now and we'll throw in a free safety). At Michigan, well, actually, we've got just those kinds of guys on campus now. Maybe?

Also there's this:

And here I am a quarter way through UFRing an Alabama game. Anyone got Washington tapes?

P.S. I purposely stayed vague on the Song of Ice and Fire references; you're not off the hook from a season recap.

Etc. A CoFoPoff refresher, Hockey poll update (Michigan is 8th), more on Mary Sue Coleman's heir (I vote Ken Whisenhunt for all openings).

[After the jump: the board goes Borges for Nuss]

Unverified Voracity Says Obvious Thing

Unverified Voracity Says Obvious Thing

Submitted by Brian on November 6th, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Saginaw Valley exhibition things. Highlights:

The UMHoops recap notes that it was an immensely slow 54 possession game, making Michigan's PPP pretty freaking good: 1.4.

All due caveats apply to the below bullets.

  • Trey Burke is good at basketball.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr continued what looks like a concerted effort to become a more complete player with another half-dozen assists. He's being a lot more judicious with his shots—just five in 26 minutes. If that carries over to the regular season his ORtg will rise considerably and Michigan's offensive efficiency will rise with it. I did catch one of those contested long twos that give me twitches.
  • Glenn Robinson was 3 of 5 from three with the two misses coming off the inside of the rim IIRC. If he can maintain a replacement three-point shooting percentage (33% or so) that clears up any concerns about where Michigan is going to get its rain of threes from. In this game over half of Michigan's shots were from deep and M hit at a 41% clip.
  • Nick Stauskas is now 6 of 11 from three after the two exhibition games and he had an impressive take to the basket. Defense needs work etc.
  • Michigan-vs.-Saginaw-Valley-State-221-399x600[1]Mitch McGary is going to be one of those little things guys from day one: rebounds, hard hedges on screens, moving around on offense to open things up for other guys. He seems selfless out there. Doesn't care he's not starting, doesn't demand the ball, just goes out there and tries to win. Also sometimes he steals the ball and throws it down impressively. When he's healthy == Lebron, except bouncy.
    /fredjackson'd
  • The Caris LeVert redshirt debate seems like it will end with a redshirt. With Albrecht and Stauskas coming off the bench plus compressed minutes at the three with Robinson sliding down there from time to time, LeVert would probably end up getting scant minutes anyway, and he hasn't demanded playing time with his exhibition minutes.

I'm excited about the passing—Stauskas, Robinson, and McGary have all made at least one nice assist in the two exhibitions to go with the Albrecht/Burke/Hardaway shot generation axis. They've got a versatile, large, skilled lineup. They will be good at basketball.

[photo HT: UMHoops/Dustin Johnston]

Horford to return. He should get some minutes Friday against Slippery Rock:

"I think he's full-go," Beilein said after Michigan's 76-48 exhibition win over Saginaw Valley State. "Our expectation is that he'll be in the lineup at some point -- he'll probably be rusty -- but at some point Friday."

I was going to say something negative about scheduling what's effectively another exhibition that somehow counts but then I remembered that if you're going to play a team that can't beat you it's better if they're not D-I because it won't drag down your RPI.

Not on board. Not to skip over what promises to be a thrilling and rewarding season, but Michigan's going to have an interesting time when it comes to the early draft entry window. Trey Burke, presumed gone, is still not any taller and checks in 30th on Jeff Goodman's inaugural 2013 Big Board:

30. TREY BURKE, 6-0, 185, PG, SOPH., MICHIGAN

Burke isn't physically imposing, but he can shoot and also excels in a ball-screen offense.

Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary, Hardaway, and Dennis Norfleet do not appear, nor do any of them appear on the most recent edition of NBAdraft.net's 2013 mock. GRIII is currently a lottery pick in 2014, though, so he is obviously a threat to move that timetable up. Hardaway is currently projected to be a second-rounder after a full four years. Chad Ford, meanwhile, has Burke 54th(!), McGary 65th, Hardaway 73rd, and Robinson 91st. I'm guessing that changes radically around midseason.

Michigan actually needs an early departure to fit their three-man 2013 class in. More than that and they could add another guy, but I'm guessing they'd just roll with what they have.

You may see this again. Via The MZone]:

Wreck-It-Ryan MZONE[1]

Looks shopped to me—Ryan's arms are larger than that.

This again, with feeling. Many, many twitter wags piped up that Gardner's performance against Minnesota would start up the Gardner redshirt debate/fretting/confusion again, and lo twitter wags collect your prize:

"I've always been told the process was after the eligibility," Hoke said. "But I don't know if that is completely correct."

Turns out what Hoke had been told is not entirely accurate.

Michigan could have applied for the waiver at any point after Gardner's freshman season and there is no statute of limitations on when the school can file for the waiver.

"Institutions do not have to wait until after a student-athlete's true senior year, but rather, may submit a request as early as the end of the season in which the injury or illness occurs," Big Ten associate director of compliance Kerry Kenny said in an email on Monday. "Although we establish deadlines as to when an institution can submit a waiver request for the purposes of the bi-weekly review schedule, we leave the decision about when during a student-athlete's career to submit a medical hardship waiver up to institutional discretion."

Hoke said Monday that the school has not yet applied for Gardner's waiver.

Apparently it's the conference, not the NCAA, that decides these things. I'd assume Michigan applies for it after this season so they can plan for having him or not in 2014.

OL changes? They have been hinted at:

"Yeah, I am," he said. "I think we had some protection breakdowns that we can't have last week -- that we haven't had, to some degree. I think us moving the line of scrimmage (is an issue).

"We got to do a better job at the point of attack."

Hoke said he has considered making personnel changes to the line, including inserting Joey Burzynski or Jack Miller, but has held off because the current group also has had nice moments.

I know that the coaches have been high on Miller and his nasty disposition for a while now. He's listed at 288; while that's somewhat light it's not like he's 270. He's also been a center for over a year now, which is more than either Barnum or Mealer can say. I'd guess they give him a drive or two the next couple weeks to see if that helps things.

Hatch back on the court. Conditionally, anyway:

Austin Hatch has been conditionally released by his medical team to begin practicing with the Canterbury High School basketball program. The first official practice is today, however, Austin is limited to the types of drills he can participate in at this time. Although everyone is encouraged by the progress he continues to make, Austin and his family ask that you do not approach him for interviews at this time.

He has reclassified to 2014 already. The most likely outcome is that Michigan takes him and puts him on a medical scholarship, but he's got a couple years yet to recover fully.

Angry Michigan Defenseman Hating God progressing towards sated. Michigan had a rough weekend in Marquette, barely squeaking out a tie in game one and losing 4-3 in game two with Jacob Trouba sitting out for what sounds like a devastating hit on Wildcat Reed Seckel. Michigan had to ice Jeff Rohrkemper on D.

Michigan should be getting towards healthy this weekend in a home and home against State. Trouba won't see his suspension extended and Brennan Serville may return after missing the NMU series with a concussion. Emphasis on "may":

Sophomore defenseman Brennan Serville, who suffered what Berenson called a “facial concussion” against Miami (Ohio), should be back for this weekend’s series against Michigan State, according to Berenson.

Berenson said before the defense can live up to its high preseason expectations, there need to be enough healthy bodies.

“We’ve got to get everybody healthy, number one,” Berenson said. “And then start jelling like we thought we would. Hopefully Serville’s back.”

No word yet on John Merrill's potential return.

Lewan quote of the week. It's a goodun:

"I've never focused on scores my whole life," Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan said. "In high school we played in a state championship game, we were getting killed and I had no idea. It was the fourth quarter and I was like 'guys, we got this, we got this.'

"Then I look up and it's 38-0, and I'm like 'alright, I guess we don't got this.' I've never been one to watch scores."

Etc.: Everything you ever wanted to know about CHL/NCAA eligibility issues from the Bylaw Blog. A post-jail Greg Skrepenak profiled by LSA Magazine. UMHoops requests your support.

Unverified Voracity Gawps At Stuff

Unverified Voracity Gawps At Stuff

Submitted by Brian on September 5th, 2012 at 12:02 PM

[Programming note: UFR is coming today, but later than usual, say 4 or 5. For some reason I'm having trouble summoning the willpower to slog through all of it.]

image

Sponsor note. You may be driving in for the Air Force game and wondering where you will park. It hangs over you like a great dark cloud: where will my friends be? Will I have to walk through miles of jungle to get to them? Where did all this jungle come from anyway?

Well, skip that bit. Park 'n' Party solves those issues by organizing gameday parking. You can park next to your buddies, no intervening jungle. You can reserve a space just where you want it. You can do all of these things. Bonuses this year:

Air Force parking awaits you. Soon they will debut a 2.0 website. Soon.

Holgo. I know they hate our guts and went all ex-girlfriend on us when Rich Rodriguez left, but I can't help but want West Virginia to tear the Big 12 up. They're weird, passionate, isolated from all recruiting hotbeds that are not Pittsburgh, they've got a history of putting up video-game numbers, and their coach says stuff like this:

I don't think it would go well if we hired that guy (learning: I has it), but I'll admire them from afar.

I am not sure you are up on recent events. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun on Michigan:

"There are a handful of programs in college football that are guaranteed at least 10 victories every season," Calhoun said, "Michigan is one of them. They clearly are the favorite to win the Big Ten Conference."

I'm imagining a world where this is literally true. I'm so happy, in this world. I wear sunglasses all the time and high five anyone I come across. I make pancakes a lot just so I can put a whipped-cream smiley face on them. If my car breaks down, I exclaim "aw, shucks!"

I chew bubble-gum nonstop.

0902_taxi_fans08[1]

my watch says it is STAB O'CLOCK

How did this not end in homicide? Serious question:

The misery wasn't over for some fans of the No.8-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington when their team took a 41-14 pounding at the hands of then-No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide.

Many who planned to catch a taxi for the return trip to their hotels or other lodgings after the nationally televised football game were in for a long wait. Some complained of standing in line with dozens of other fans and waiting as long as two hours for a cab.

Beer + that game + two hour wait for cab == STABBY STABBY STAB STAB. The local news channel interviewing these folks says this lady is not mincing words!

Michigan fan Elizabeth Jahn minced no words. "If there's a system, and this is where the fans are supposed to be stationed and situated, that should be communicated to the cab companies," she said.

That lady minced those words, TV station. She took those words and made them tiny and even by chopping. If she was not mincing words she would have said "I STAB YOUUUUUUU."

Alphabetical. Spencer kicks it off by talking about how Alabama owned Michigan. At least we're not alone:

Again, it is not a Big Ten thing: disabuse yourself of that notion immediately, Michigan fan. The last thing we want you feeling is special, because what happened to you on Saturday night in Dallas was not special. Slightly different than in past years? Perhaps: Doug Nussmeier's offense appears to be a bit more happy to turn A.J. McCarron loose, particularly in early innings, and the defense didn't pressure so much as constrict Michigan into tiny, useless spaces turning Denard Robinson into a doomed sub captain. Depth charges: Alabama has them

Unfortunately, his assertion that no one died does not account for the Countess injury. Sad face.

Bubble popping? I've muttered about how college football fans are getting close to the breaking point for a while now, and Pat Forde has just documented an opening weekend that was an attendance bust all around. I was shocked at more than one of these factoids:

There was exactly one announced capacity crowd in eight Southeastern Conference home openers. Before the Labor Day Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game, six out of seven Atlantic Coast Conference schools had smaller crowds than their openers last year – some of them much smaller. Attendance was down at six out of eight Big 12 home openers from 2011. Five out of eight Pac-12 schools had smaller crowds as well, and Oregon's 13-year sellout streak was in jeopardy until game day.

I saw the Florida-BGSU game and was shocked at a corner of the endzone in the upper deck that was all but empty. Even the bluebloods are reaching their limit.

Michigan doesn't seem to have similar problems except when it comes to getting the students to show up on time, but they should benefit from this trend. They may have already after snagging one-off home games with Oregon State and Colorado in the near future. Would those have happened ten years ago? Probably not. Increasing ticket prices and the ubiquity of television are pushing the economics of college football back  towards actual games between teams. Tomato cans aren't going away but we should see them gradually recede from their boring-ass apex. High five, epic ongoing recession!

Bubble expanding. Via Get The Picture, the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit that threatens to drain money from the NCAA and give it to the players whose images have been expropriated has decided to aim higher:

O’Bannon seeks a judge’s permission to expand the class action to include current D-I football and men’s basketball players. O’Bannon does not ask that current players be paid while in college. Instead, he wants a temporary trust set up for monies generated by the licensing and sale of their names, images and likenesses. Players could access those trusts at the completion of their collegiate careers.

The O'Bannon plan sends half(!) of broadcasting and a third of video game revenue to the players. Even partial success here would be seismic. I'm in favor, obviously.

Austin Hatch to 2014. Everyone in the world speculated that Austin Hatch would take another year of high school after his tragic plane crash, and now that's official. He's a 2014 recruit now.

Michigan is now at 13 for next year's team will have open spots if Hardaway or Trey Burke head for the NBA, which is why they're still after some 2013 guys. The most prominent is Reggie Cameron, a 2.0 version of Smotrycz hopefully without the existential depression.

As for Hatch, if he doesn't recover to the point where he can play, Michigan will still honor his scholarship. Presumably they would give him a medical; I'm guessing in this situation the NCAA would provide whatever waivers would be necessary lickety-split.

!?!?!?!? Touch the Banner interviews JB Fitzgerald, and he says this!

(3.)  If you had to choose, who was your favorite coach at Michigan, including position coaches?

"So many great coaches I had the privilege of learning from, which I expected going into a program like Michigan. Two coaches really stand out.  First, Greg Robinson - truly a class act and the depth of football knowledge that I was able to gain from him is hard to put a price on. And then of course Coach Hoke."

/gawps

Air Force stuff. Via mgovideo:

Oosterbaan unretirement. MVictors scores an interview with Ben McCready, Bennie Oosterbaan's godson:

MVictors:  As one of the representatives of Bennie Oosterbaan family, did the athletic department reach out to you to ask if the family would be interested in participating in the Legends program?

McCready:  Dave Brandon contacted me last September to see what I thought of the Legends program.  I loved the idea.  He and asked if I could put him in touch with members of Bennie’s family. I was happy to put Dave in touch with Bennie’s surviving relatives (8 in all), most of whom Bennie and his wife Delmas were very close to throughout their lives.  Dave sent letters to all of them. Every member of the family responded to Dave that they loved and supported the Legends Program and the "unretiring" of Bennie’s jersey.

McCready wants Jordan Kovacs to wear 47, which nooooooooooooooooooo.

Seriously, though, as the guy who famously hauled in Benny Friedman's passes, I'd hope Oosterbaan's 47 goes to a wideout. 47 would be a lot more notable on a WR than a defensive player, and Michigan already has to throw Gerald Ford's #48 to someone other than a lineman due to modern-day number restrictions. The Wisterts' #11 should end up on the DL somewhere; Ron Kramer should obviously be given to a TE.

Etc.: Quality diary featuring Hall and Oates. A dinged Rex Burkhead does not need surgery. He may be out a bit but should be fine by the time Michigan hits Lincoln. Texas A&M is going to get pwned. This Week in "John L Smith must stay forever": prank-calls reporter at presser. Comprehensive M blogosphere Alabama react collection. To his credit, Dantonio says MSU players need to shut up.

Unverified Voracity, Founded 1982

Unverified Voracity, Founded 1982

Submitted by Brian on November 30th, 2011 at 1:54 PM

I would pay in diamonds if this was Michigan related. Someone found this in Thailand:

tumblr_lvfmbuQaIv1r1ogzto1_500-480x360[1]

Thailand: not just for sex tourism anymore. That is amazing. The people who take these pictures immediately clean out the store, right?

Well, you can't say never anymore. Since Dave Brandon created The Horror II there is no nonconference scheduling scenario that you can entirely rule out. A six-game series with Washington State on the moon? Someone call Richard Branson to see if that's been floated.

Still, this seems pretty implausible:

"His expression to me was he felt he had a better chance to win the national championship at Arizona [than Tulane] if he recruited properly and they promised him they would put Michigan on the schedule within three years."

That's a Louisiana high school explaining to Tulane boosters why Rich Rodriguez took the Arizona job over Tulane. (He could have just gone with "duh.") So this is a second-hand account of a one-sided promise that Arizona may or may not have actually offered presumably made without actually talking to anyone in Ann Arbor, involving Michigan playing a real nonconference opponent.

If there wasn't a risk of enormous humiliation I'd say there was a zero percent chance of that happening. Since there is, ballpark it at 10%.

Yerk. UMHoops with the grisly numbers from yesterday's game:

Michigan was never able to find an offensive rhythm against Virginia’s Packline defense. The Wolverines scored just .93 points per trip despite shooting 45 percent from three point range. Michigan, obviously bothered by Virginia’s physical play, was unable to convert the two point shots that carried the offense in Maui and converted just 42% of its two point looks. That lackluster two point shooting was accompanied by first half turnover woes and little to no production on either the offensive glass or at the free throw line.

Dylan says the offense "devolved into glorified isolation plays most of the night," and it's hard to disagree.

I am surprise. The guy who runs the book at the Wynn on Hypothetical Sugar Bowl Everyone Is Projecting:

SUGAR BOWL, JAN. 3
Michigan Wolverines (+4.5) vs. Houston Cougars

“The Cougar football program gets center stage for the first time,” Avello said. “The Wolverines have struggled in bowl games losing eight of their last 10.”

Houston's offensive numbers are gaudy as all git out but the one BCS team they played was UCLA, who they scraped by 38-34. I'd think that line would go the other way.

That's the ticket. The #1 Meyer won't destroy us theory is that he doesn't scout, choosing instead to use recruiting lists from the gurus and annihilating the programs he leaves with his crappy recruiting. That's grasping at straws, as all reasons Meyer will not succeed are, but given what went down with Jerimy Finch I think you can make the case Meyer recruits a lot of flakes. Por ejemplo:

One day after the coach who recruited them to Florida was introduced as the new boss at Ohio State, once-hyped recruits Joshua Shaw and Lyndren Trail announced plans to transfer from Gainesville, making them the ninth and tenth members of Urban Meyer's 2010 recruiting class to leave the team in less than two years.

Florida's roster is down to 68 scholarship players. A bunch (11) have taken off since Muschamp arrived, but Jebus, man.

Speaking of flakes, Rich Rodriguez and Urban Meyer are desperately clawing to hire… Tim Brewster. TRY FIGHT WHAT

Hatchdate. Hatch will not play high school basketball this season:

"Austin continues to make great strides in his rehabilitation; this first year is vital to the recovery process," the statement begins. "As a result, it is unlikely that Austin's physicians will clear him to play basketball this season."

I assume this means he's reclassifying to 2014, which would clear any scholarship logjam in future seasons unless no one goes pro or transfers before the 2013 class hits campus—unlikely to say the least.

With the Poke and the man. Oh, good lord, Michigan just recruited a 1996-born hockey player. His name is Dylan Larkin and all you get is stats:

His 13 goals this season is tops on the team, which leads the Great Lakes Division of the MWEHL with a 14-0-3 record. The next highest on the team has 9 goals. He's also second in points (Kyle Connor has 21). Surprisingly, only one of his 13 goals has come on special teams, so he's getting it done at even strength. He also leads the team with 4 game-winning goals.

This is because he is a 2014, Michigan's first. Presumably he's pretty good.

In other hockey news, crap crap crap crap crap. Michigan's losing streak has hit four, the defense is totally clueless, Hunwick isn't exactly bad but he's not playing to last year's standard, and a lot of the games have embarrassingly thin crowds. It's not so good.

Not having Merrill is obviously a big problem. Brennan Serville had his pocket picked for Union's second goal Sunday and sat until the 13 minute mark of the third period. Their third pairing is terrifying and I'm not so sure about the second one, honestly. Not skating Burlon in the title game and the fallout from that, plus the Merrill thing has turned the defense corps from the deepest in the country to one pairing and then Katie bar the door. I don't even know, man. Michigan plays a Michigan State team this weekend that's not much better on paper but has actually won some games recently; if I'm back in the MGoDitch feebly trying to have a real good time after this weekend you know what happened.

The bombs, even more targeted. Dan Wetzel wrote "Death to the BCS," so his take on the latest BCS debacle is not a surprise. It is also not wrong:

No matter what it says, the BCS is not a system designed to choose a championship matchup. It is merely a tool to stave off the inevitable playoff bowl directors fear will cut into their millions in tax-free profits, a casino-style distraction to placate the masses.

It is what it is, and until it collapses (even a four-teamer is a major, positive step), college football is stuck.

That said, if the BCS somehow survives in its current incarnation, the formula to determine 1-2 must be scrapped.

It currently consists of two-thirds human opinion polls that are ripe for political foolishness, full of oft-uneducated voters and subject to groupthink.

I'm waiting for the championship games to play out before doing the Official Tedious Thing I always do around this time, but imagine a six-team playoff with no autobids with the first two rounds played at home sites and the final at the Rose Bowl. Tentative version of that this year:

1. LSU vs 4. Oregon/5.Wisconsin
2. Alabama vs. 3. Oklahoma State/6. Stanford

Or something along those lines. What matters? This weekend. Who can complain about the outcome of that? No one. What does it do the bowl system? Hardly anything. What does it do to the importance of the regular season? Increases it.

Bowls are parasites on college football.

Etc.: Spencer Hall hits up the last Texas-Texas A&M game. Bust details. Rumors that Dayne Crist is going to use the fifth-year transfer rule to become Wisconsin's next free agent quarterback abound. The Big Ten has denied they are employing seat fillers for the championship game, which is true in a narrow technical sense only.

Unverified Voracity Defeats A Virus

Unverified Voracity Defeats A Virus

Submitted by Brian on September 30th, 2011 at 4:27 PM

What was up with Roh. Mike Rothstein has more details on Craig Roh's fall camp malady:

Before Michigan's fall camp started, Craig Roh went back to Arizona and spent time with his family. His brothers had mononucleosis over the summer, but Craig returned to Michigan feeling fine.

Three days into camp that changed. He was tired. By the end of the day, he ended up in bed with the chills.

Was it possible? Could he have contracted it, too?

He didn't know. What he did know, his father, Fred, said, is he was in bed and uncomfortably sick. The next day, Craig woke up with fever of 102 degrees. He went to the doctor searching for answers, and received antibiotics. Doctors had diagnosed him not with mono but a respiratory infection.

He skipped one day of practice and began to feel a little better. Cleared by doctors, even though his energy level wasn't at 100 percent, Roh returned to practice of his own volition. The sickness, though, had done its damage.

Coaches started dogging him, Roh got down on himself when he didn't play that well the first couple games, but he had his epiphany and now he's picked it back up. Hopefully we see him hit the level of performance everyone was projecting before the season.

Hatchdate. Austin Hatch is a few days away from returning home:

Per Caterbury HS head coach (and close friend) Dan Kline… Michigan recruit Austin Hatch will come home Oct. 9. Kline said rehab went amazing.

FCOA costs. The Bylaw Blog breaks down the full cost for full cost of attendance scholarships:

Q: How much would it cost?

Because the proposal covers all sports, cost depends on how many sports an institution sponsors. Stanford’s associate AD of business strategy and revenue enhancement estimated it would cost the school $750,000. Stanford runs the largest athletic department in the country, so that number might be considered to be something of a maximum.

To figure out a rough estimate of cost, we need to figure out the average athletic department. The NCAA’s membership report has the average number of men’s and women’s sports sponsored by FBS, FCS, and non-football institutions. The NCAA’s sport sponsorship and participation report lists which sports are sponsored by the most institutions. So combining the two, we can figure out an “average” athletic department and estimate the costs based on scholarship limits. And those costs are:

  • FBS: $504,400
  • FCS: $436,400
  • Non-Football: $282,400

Obvious in those figures is the effect of football. An FBS football team can expect an increased scholarship bill of up to $170,000 while an FCS program should set aside $126,000. The range for athletic departments that fully fund all their teams would probably be somewhere between $200,000 and $750,000.

Good by me; any schools sponsoring sports can hack a small amount out of administrative and coaching salaries to cover that. And if you can't, the rule is conference-based. Not everyone will have to adopt it. Those that do will have to do it for all athletes.

This won't have much of an impact for Michigan's bottom line or recruiting prospects in major sports since everyone they're recruiting against will immediately adopt the FCOA proposal. It will help a bit in hockey, especially if schools in the NCHC can't make that decision without making it for their entire athletic department. Is the MAC going FCOA? What about whatever conferences North Dakota and UMD are in?

BONUS: The Bylaw Blog shares my skepticism that the four-year scholarship proposal is anything more than window dressing unless the same restrictions on revoking scholarships mid-year are applied for the period.

Break even? I what aah? The Mathlete's numbers on the Hoke fourth and two:

Brian is in love with it, but how much was it worth? Punt from 48 gets to the 17. Team down 14 with the ball around the 17 with 2-3 minutes left in the first half win about 8.0% of the time. A successful conversion gives Michigan a 93.2% chance of victory where a failed attempt drops your chances to 88.2%. To break even, Michigan would need to have a confidence that they had about a 75% chance of conversion. National average on 3rd and 2 is about 58.5%. Michigan has been a top 25 level 3rd and short team so the decision was probably about a break even if you account for Michigan’s offense.

This case is a bit closer than I expected, but if you believe our offense was bound to score, which it obviously did, a 21 point half time lead is good for a 97.1% chance of victory. Even if Michigan can get a field goal and run out the clock, an average conversion rate makes the decision break even

If this seems like a weird result given the other Mathlete chart…

punt-tebow

…it is an effect of being up 14-0. If the score was tied the win percentage effect would be a landslide in favor of going for it. If you're measuring by projected margin in the final score it's a large +EV decision, but if all you care about is having one more point than the other team it's about break-even for average teams going up against each other. At the time it seemed like the defense could fall apart at any time, which still swings the decision to an easy go-for-it to me.

You need to get another MBA. Angelique Chengelis put up a story on In The Big House, which everyone hates, that included this quote from our new Chief Marketing Officer:

"It's gaining traction," Lochmann said. "We know there are people who love it and some people who hate it, but our core customers — the players — they want to hear it."

This sentence displays a lack of knowledge about public relations, marketing, economics, taste, and common sense. The "core customers" are your customers, who hate In The Big House.

Meanwhile, the Defilement is hinted at further in a caption:

“We’d love to get into the Big House and play it,” says Pop Evil lead vocalist Leigh Kakaty, who grew up in Grand Rapids.

Let's murder our brand for WWE entrance music.

pop-evil-grooms-dogs

Yay. This debacle will go down as Dave Brandon's halo.

More Trouba. Local hockey expert Jim Lahey on Michigan's newest commit:

Trouba is a total package defenceman with elite ability. Looked like a man among boys in AAA, and that pretty much continues in the USHL. Has excellent size, will probably grow an inch or so and end up somewhere in the range of 6'2 215lbs as a pro.

Trouba makes a clean, smart first pass out of his zone and plays with perfect position on breakouts. Stays calm, never panics, and consistently loses the forechecker completely behind the net to create odd man rushes. This won't happen at the next level as often, but he shows the poise needed to create good breakouts at the next level.

Takes care of his own end, does not allow himself to get pushed around in front of or behind the net. Superb zone awareness.

And the United States of Hockey:

Jacob Trouba already has four assists on the young season. The recent University of Michigan commit is going to do very well against USHL competition thanks to his tremendous strength and toughness. The big test will come against the college teams where there’s going to be less time and space, forcing Trouba to make quicker decisions. The first major test for Trouba and his teammates comes right away as the U18s will take on Trouba’s future school Monday at Yost. The fellas from The Pipeline Show caught up with Trouba about his recent college commitment and the way he plays.

Another note on Trouba: TPS brought up that some have compared Trouba to former NTDP defenseman and current Anaheim Duck Cam Fowler. If you know me, you know I hate comparison scouting reports. While it may give people a basic picture of what a player might play like, they are often taken as gospel by those that read it and that’s pretty unfair to the prospect.

Trouba and Fowler are similar in these ways: They are American, played at the NTDP, are good offensive defensemen. That’s it. Trouba plays with an edge and brings an important physical element to his game. He has good offensive instincts and a powerful shot. Fowler is a heady defenseman that makes plays with his skills, defends with good positioning and is a pure puck mover. I’ve seen both play multiple times and I just don’t get the comparison. Jacob Trouba plays like Jacob Trouba. /dismount soap box.

Is it just me or does Michigan have a much better track record of reeling in elite, top-ten-pick defensemen than forwards? Michigan's last top ten pick at forward was Eric Nystrom, and even at the time people thought that was a huge reach. Trouba, JMFJ, and Mike Komisarek were all top ten picks.

Etc.: Hockey exhibition preview from somewhere in Canada mostly notable for naming the opponent the "UOIT Ridgebacks." We have declared Minesota a "Maize Out." RIP Maize Outs. Holdin' the Rope takes stock a third of the way through the season.

Unverified Voracity, Forcibly Skeptical

Unverified Voracity, Forcibly Skeptical

Submitted by Brian on September 6th, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Item of the week. A new weekly thing: in conjunction with the Pat Maloy Scholarship fund we'll be plugging Michigan memorabilia on a weekly basis. All proceeds go to scholarship endowments at Michigan. Item!

multi-signed-ball

The above features signatures from blog favorites Brandon Graham, Zoltan Mesko(!), and Ron Bellamy:

This item is a perfect addition to a Michigan collection in that it spans several decades of Michigan football greatness. A white Michigan football adorned with a large blue block M and two winged helmets on either side. The football is autographed by 18 former Michigan stars including Jim Brandstatter, Brandon Graham, Billy Taylor, Jarrett Irons, Buster Stanley, Vada Murray, Harlan Huckleby, Jarrod Bunch, Ron Johnson, Andre Weathers, Greg Mathews, Ron Bellamy, David Moosman, Stevie Brown, Zoltan Mesko, Derek Walker, Greg McMurtry.

Do it for Johnny.

Hatch update. From his Caring Bridge page:

Monday, September 5, 2011 5:25 PM, EDT

Another great week by a determined and hard working student athlete. Austin has a beautiful attitude and is enjoying day visits with close friends and family. We are following the medical staff advice to control the visitor schedule to no more than three at a time to allow him to focus on his recovery. While the length of the rehab program is still unclear, he looks forward to returning to home and normal activities.

 Mitch McGary enjoys torrential downpours. Mitch McGary visited for the Western Michigan game and reportedly had quite a time. Here's MGoUser Max hanging with McGary in the rain:

mitch-mcgary-picture

(BONUS: Just A Simple Minded Football Coach caught a shot in the Detroit News where McGary is going nuts as Herron roars down the field. Also he recapped the Western game.)

Post something like this and you'll be hounded until you give people the full story, so Max did:

I asked him about his official visits; he told me he is allowed to take 10 (instead of the usual 5) since he took a year off after high school.  "You're gonna hate me for this, but I'm going to Duke next weekend."  I asked, "Are you visiting anywhere more than once?"  He replied, "No, but I'll be back at Michigan for camp in [whatever month it was]."

He was going batshit crazy on all the big Michigan plays, waiving his towel and giving out high-fives.  He, like the rest of the student section, clealy enjoyed the rain, too.  He sang and fist-pumped along with The Victors. He even tried to start a cheer, but his "LET'S GO BLU-UE" wasn't very catchy.

Finally, right before he and the others left, I asked him to take a picture with me.  He seemed really excited, throwing his arm around me and joking around.  I got a little too excited and started slapping him on the shoulder. He cringed a little, and I remembered that his shoulder had gotten cut up pretty badly when he broke that backboard.  I apologized, but he just thought it was funny.  After the picture, we all started jumping around a little bit, yelling "Go Blue!" and whatever else.  He said several things to the effect of "I'll see you guys next year!" and then left.

So that's spectacular except for the part where Michigan fans whap him in his fresh wounds. UMHoops points out that McGary's AAU coach, Wayne Brumm, has been talking up Michigan to any outlet that will listen—I'm guessing that's he's the source for the national recruiting guys who keep saying "McGary isn't close to a decision but I'd keep an eye out for Michigan." Sam Webb hit Brumm up for a take on his visit and the resulting Webblog says Michigan is "STRONG" with McGary in the headline. This seems like time to get those hopes off the floor.

If you're like me you'll need to see McGary in a Crisler shootaround before you'll believe Michigan can snag a top five recruit in this modern sleaze-paced basketball recruiting society, but it seems like they've got a shot. McGary's off to a who's who of basketball powers over the next few weeks, whereupon his love for the block M and sea turtles falling from the sky will be tested. The good news: The rumor is Michigan's main competitors are Maryland and Florida and McGary mentioned to people around him that he planned on returning to Ann Arbor for "camp"—November camp? Next year's Elite camp?

Snagging McGary would take Beilein's recruiting trajectory from "we'll be pretty good in 2013" to "Big Ten contender NOW." Fingers crossed.

BAD HEADLINE MONKEY. You're new here at the Detroit Free Press (motto: Metro Detroit's second best paper named "The Detroit Free Press"), kid. So we'll cut you some slack. But this is not cool:

image

Kid, "rigorous" means you are more than doubling NCAA practice time maximums. When you're a headline monkey at Metro Detroit's second best paper named The Detroit Free Press, you have to know these things. I'm glad we had this talk. Now if you could lay out the arts section, clean the bathroom, copy edit* A1, and check the roof for suicidal reporters you can go home.

*[LOL JK]

I've always wanted an opportunity to get sued by Righthaven. Thanks to the rain, I've got one. It turns out that Vegas refunding the world's tickets on the Michigan-WMU game is quite a letoff for sportsbooks:

"It was kind of wacky. There have been some crazy weather games, but I've never seen that," MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said. "I would rather have seen the game get in and played than end the way it did, when maybe some people feel like they were cheated.

"We were going to lose on the game. That was by far the biggest public-backed game on the board. The ticket count was ridiculous, like 20-1 for Michigan."

Wow. Either the sharps or the books were heavily on Western.

WAYS YOU CAN TELL THE NEWSPAPER YOU ARE READING IS BASED IN LAS VEGAS PROTIP: The reporter says "I was on the Wolverines, for the record" and wishes a natural disaster had befallen the Georgia Dome so he wouldn't have gotten taken on the Boise State-Georgia game.

mediachanges_thumb

Time to update the Michigan reporter whirlwind. MVictors's handy movement graph is now out of date since Zach Travis has been picked up by Bleacher Report of all things and is getting paid to write on the Big Ten. Spreading that venture capital love around, they are. If you'd ceased paying attention to Zach's old blog Dreaded Judgment, he's firing it back up.

Are we still talking about this? Well done, Jon Wilner. You managed to get me all the way through your article on yet more realignment without making it clear that your source is a guy in a Pac-12 athletic department who likes messing with journalists:

The Big Ten won’t expand until it’s time to renegotiate the league’s deals with CBS and ESPN, which expire in 2016, according to a source.

At that point, if the Pac-12 and the SEC have grown to 16 teams, then Notre Dame will join the Big Ten.

Guh. I have been expansion-trolled. If you still want to take this seriously, Wilner says the Pac 12 presidents are opposed to expanding but will do it if the SEC jumps off the bridge first, at which point they'll have no choice. I hope the Big Ten is wise enough not to follow them.

Etc.: If you like the arrangement of the Victors for the Michigan Difference commercials, you can download it for your phone or (emo) tailgate or whatever. Holdin' the Rope starts a Michigan Monday analogue focused on the Golden Bobcats. Bruce Feldman is outside the paywall. Tommy Rees will start for ND this weekend.

Unverified Voracity Preps For Yukon Winter

Unverified Voracity Preps For Yukon Winter

Submitted by Brian on August 3rd, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Hatch. A very long ESPN article details Austin Hatch's situation, family, and dual plane crashes. Not blockquotable but recommended.

New tunnel. Via Maize on the MB, this is the new tunnel:

new-tunnel

No longer will there be a hard edge, but the replacement is AOK.

Prepping for Mustaches for Michigan? Thought process: "I'm old. I'm old and bumpy and retired and don't have to impress anyone anymore… anyone except the bears I wrestle in the woods of the UP."

Result:

image

If a wizened old dude is punting for Troy this fall you know what went down.

I see you over there not caring. Discussion of the infamous, perpetually-closing "gap" between the basketball programs of Michigan and Michigan State descended into pure mockery of the Wolverines at some point during the Amaker era. Now it's popping up again what with the season sweep and Beilein snatching Derrick Walton before Izzo could even make a pitch, and this time it might actually have some merit.

The best way to check is through the actions of the rival. We've seen plenty of sarcastic congratulations for beating Michigan State's "worst team in a decade" (sounds familiar, that) and even more predictions of doom without Darius Morris, but have we reached the point where Michigan State fans might be protesting a bit too much about a lack of concern? Yes:

The upshot for Michigan State is that when you can hold off on offering a player like Derrick Walton only to lose him to a rival and still not have a major cause for concern, it's a testament to where your program and its recruiting have risen. So, again, great recruiting week for UM.  "Boo-yah" to them, but, as Pete and others have suggested, there's more prospects like Jabari Parker, Drake Harris, Tyus Jones, Gary Harris, and James Young who should help to keep Michigan State's future recruiting success a likely proposition.

The upshot for Michigan is when you're causing the instate rival to reassure itself that everything is JUST FINE, THANK YOU, you are on the verge of having one of those… what do you call them… programs.

This hasn't actually impacted State much. Michigan's recent recruiting success has had little to do with MSU. Until Walton, no one in Michigan's 2011-2013 classes is a guy Michigan State had pursued. This was largely because it was MSU storming through the Midwest to pick up early commits from Costello/Kaminski/Valentine before Michigan could get a word in edgewise.

Now the pattern is reversed, but more importantly Michigan has put together a hell of a lot of talent over the next three years without having to overcome the Spartans. Both Michigan and Michigan State can be confident in their plan A recruiting by an established coach. Michigan is no longer under anyone's thumb.

Well, maybe. Early skepticism about Marell Evans's ability to contribute after not playing much at I-AA Hampton was muted by rumors he was injured, and via TTB Evans's coach confirms:

"That [lack of playing time] was definitely due to injury...he ended up re-injuring his foot. I think he actually first got injured up there [at Michigan] before he even came down [to Hampton], so he re-aggravated the injury...it was tough on him, as it would be for any young man."

Evans is even more important now without Kellen Jones. If he can be a capable backup for Demens that might give Desmond Morgan the luxury of a redshirt.

In case there was any question. Matt Godin is a defensive tackle, not a strongside DE:

Godin is listed at 6'6" and 270 lbs, but he said he would like to get up to 290 pounds by the time he gets to Michigan.

Pencil him in at three-tech. Also, Godin is looking to double his 28 TFLs from a year ago.

It could have been marginally worse. From Scott Dochterman's epic ten-part series on the Big Ten's divisional breakdown, there were actually worse options than "Legends" and "Leaders" on the table for the Big Ten division names:

“By the time we were done, we were really down to two categories: one that sort of described our geography, Midwestern roots and one that described our characteristics and mission.”

The divisional names that centered on the Big Ten’s mission included Scholar/Athlete, Academics/Athletics and Legends/Leaders. The 115-year-old conference has a storied history of on-field success with 18 Heisman Trophy winners and more than 50 College Hall of Fame players. It also boasts former President Gerald Ford as an alum as well as thousands of political, business and civic leaders.

We should just skip the preliminaries and rename the divisions "Dungeons" and "Dragons." We are the nerds of college football.

Even if the division names weren't going to be Bo or Woody as they obviously should have been I would have preferred Kinnick/Paterno or Stagg/Grange even if Michigan didn't feature because we would at least seem less likely to get our lunch money stolen.

(Dochterman HT: BHGP.)

All this and NBA bloodlines. Glenn Robinson III displays a variety of dunks:

get up

BONUS THING I NEVER POSTED FROM FOREVER AGO:

Maybe he's Tim Hardaway's son, too. For a guy mostly known as a shooter Nick Stauskas can break an ankle or two:

Highlight video disclaimers apply but the sheer variety of drives there is encouraging. Stauskas can go left or right, deploys a crossover somewhere between effective and sick depending on its success rate outside highlights, and can spin his way to the bucket. He appears to favor his right hand to finish but there are a couple of nice baskets with his left in there, too. I even like the music.

Add 6'6" and three-point shooting and that's a nice pickup to go with Glenn Robinson III, who's been garnering steady praise of his own this AAU season. If Beilein can weather Darius Morris's exit the talent pipeline is in place to rip off a run of NCAA appearances… and maybe more. [ed: and then Beilein put together his 2013 class in about a month.]

BONUS FROM FOREVER AGO II:

King Eckstein. I made a joke about this Zack Novak article in the sidebar yesterday but managed to miss this spectacularly clichéd description of Chesterton's favorite son:

Novak, who helped establish a hustling, scrappy work ethic on a team that lacked grit and toughness, has played in 100 games, averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds.

That checks all the boxes, doesn't it? I guess he could have been described as "heady."

EVEN MORE NEWS FROM FOREVER AGO. If you missed it the first time around, a member of the Event Staff posted highlights from their annual meeting on the board about two seconds before I left for France. Items of interest to me:

The Stadium is no longer open to the public on non game days. This has been the during renovations but is now permanent policy. Tours can be arranged through the Athletic Dept.

Boo. I've been to the Stadium on non-gamedays a few times and it's always been fun, with kids and parents running around, trying to kick field goals, etc.

DB says night game is a test and it's for the fans and players. A bad experience would make this the only night game. Good experience = a night game per year.

If you hate night games you can do your part to never have them again by getting arrested.

DB confirms: design completed for filling out bleachers to top of scoreboard in south end. Capacity will raise to 120,000. Opponent tickets will be up at top next to scoreboard.

That latter bit is pure evil, or at least would be if the video board opposite you wasn't big enough to see. I'm a little skeptical they can sell 120k tickets consistently as long as the OSU/ND/Nebraska games are all home or away in the same season (and they refuse to schedule anyone interesting other than ND).

No number retirement due to large squads and number sharing issues.

Word.

Straws and lids are back

Nice.

Etc.: Guess who's just so beyond awful in close games. Go ahead. You'll get it in three. MHN interviews new 2013 D commit Michael Downing, who "110%" disclaims the OHL.

Unverified Voracity Is Unhappy You Found Him

Unverified Voracity Is Unhappy You Found Him

Submitted by Brian on July 11th, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Hurray issues. So this morning an iframe insert got put in the js file. It has been removed and we are monitoring that particular file intently; the good news is that no other files on the server have been changed. I've turned off js aggregation, which will make the site marginally slower for first loads. We are still looking for the entry vector; if a js file gets updated we will know about it and check to make sure it does not have the malicious code in it. We have a request in to Google for a clearance.

If you are concerned, running a noscript module on your browser is a good idea. Apologies.

(Note: this is unrelated to the scattered reports people were having of malware from the Google Ads, which are client-side issues.)

Fun with hats. Ace has it:

1888

There's Waldo. Insane axe-murdering Waldo.

Hatch update. Via his CaringBridge page:

By the grace of God, Austin James is showing improvements everyday. He is comfortable and stable. He has begun opening his BIG BLUE EYES a little bit more! We understand that his healing will be a very slow and gradual process; we're not sure whether Austin has any awareness of what he sees yet.

He's got a long way to go, but it sounds like he's getting out of the woods.

Further evidence for the skinflint theory. The Big Ten continues to pile up the cash:

They continue to not spend it on football coaches:

The SEC paid its assistant coaches an average of $276,122 in 2010, according to figures compiled by St. Louis attorney and agent Bob Lattinville of the firm Stinson Morrison Hecker.

The Big 12 was second at $232,685 and the Big Ten a distant fourth, behind the Atlantic Coast Conference, at $187,055. In each instance, the averages do not include salaries at private schools such as Baylor, Penn State and Vanderbilt.

You may have noticed that Penn State is not a private school, but they have some sort of state law that protects them from FOIA requests. They likely pay their assistants more than the Baylors and Vanderbilts of the world but Northwestern is also omitted and Penn State isn't closing a 50-grand gap with the Big 12, let alone the 90 grand to the SEC.

Not that I have a problem with not heaping even more money on football coaches, but Braves & Birds's theory that the Big Ten is falling behind because they refuse to lay out money for proven coaches is looking pretty good these days. At least Michigan bucked the trend by 1) wildly overpaying their version of Gene Chizik and 2) finding their own Mahlzahn in Mattison.

Dominoes go further. College hockey lurches towards its final configuration apace, with Northern Michigan making the obvious move to the WCHA. Northern was in (an almost completely different) WCHA until the late 90s and returns, renewing a conference rivalry with Michigan Tech and easing their travel burden.

Interestingly, word from Marquette has a surprising second school on the WCHA hit list: Alaska. The WCHA retains Anchorage and the conventional wisdom holds that two Alaska schools are too many for one conference since teams could be required to make more than one trip up north per year. If the WCHA's endgame is an eight team league, you'd think the conference schedule would be 28 games—four each against seven opponents. That would require two trips per year. Even if you go to a division system where you play four teams only twice, you're averaging 1.5 trips to Alaska per year. Lake Superior seems like a more logical option due to its natural rivalries with the other UP teams.

Meanwhile, the smoking husk of the CCHA takes another hit. Notre Dame's gone sooner or later. Western Michigan's openly pleading for someone to take them. Lake State has to be angling for a WCHA invite along with Alaska. Poor Bowling Green and Ferris State are hanging out in Fred Pletsch's basement drinking the cheapest beer on the market until Atlantic Hockey teams start to look attractive.

Current wild-ass guess at what college hockey in the West looks like in two years:

WCHA CCHA Big Ten TCHA
St. Cloud BGSU Michigan Miami
UAA Ferris State Michigan State Notre Dame
Minnesota State Mercyhurst Penn State WMU
MTU Robert Morris Ohio State North Dakota
NMU Niagara Wisconsin Minnesota-Duluth
Bemidji State Alaska Minnesota CC
LSSU     Denver
Air Force(?)     UNO

If LSSU does not move to the CCHA you can insert Cansisius, another Buffalo-area AH team, or UAH into the CCHA to make eight.

Is that viable for everyone in the WCHA and CCHA? I think the WCHA will be okay. Most of the programs there have recent financial commitments from their universities; at all of them hockey is unquestionably the top dog. That's the case for everyone in the CCHA, as well, except for Ferris (no recent insertion of capital) and BGSU (MAC football and basketball probably more important). I think Ferris would be able to keep its footing.

What would really help is having a formal state of Michigan championship. In this new doomsday scenario Michigan teams are split across four leagues, making the previous plan—which relied on a lot of conference games being counted for the championship—dubious. On the other hand, in this new world there are a ton of nonconference games that need filling.

Have fun storming the castle. Even if Russell Wilson isn't certain doom for Wisconsin's opponents this year he's better than whatever the Badgers had before. KC Joyner makes an interesting point, though: Scott Tolzien was one of the most underrated players of the last decade in the league and Wilson won't approach his insane efficiency.

Etc.: Michigan's new white hockey jersey is going to be regrettable in a few years, and I miss the cool Rangers-esque lettering on the maize one. Outrage is low because they'll just change them next year anyway. Yost Built also says "you're out, White Jersey" in a flat sexy German monotone. Holdin' The Rope assembles things.

Unverified Voracity, Concerned

Unverified Voracity, Concerned

Submitted by Brian on June 28th, 2011 at 12:40 PM

austin-hatchHi. I'm back.

Because I am a modern person there is always time to catch up with twitter when the photographer doesn't need you, so on Saturday I periodically felt awful for Austin Hatch after his life endured a plot twist Lars Von Trier would have rejected as gratuitous. Words fail me in these instances; I'm not supposed to say the one thing everyone else says but here there's not another option.

So… yeah. There is a Caring Bridge site up for Hatch if you'd like to sign his guestbook. If you are the praying sort he's a great target. Michigan is reportedly working with the NCAA to provide whatever help they can. In the past the NCAA has allowed people like Ray Ray McElrathbey to get some help as he took care of his brother, so hopefully they'll allow a fund for Hatch. If that gets set up you will of course be informed.

This was inevitable. When Michigan took a grayshirt commitment from Kentucky safety Jeremy Clark it was inevitable an SEC partisan would take a swing at Michigan for doing so. The inevitable has transpired, so the inevitable defense must as well.

The whole grayshirting issue got dragged into the oversigning conversation because of Bernie Machen and Les Miles's "surprise, you have to move out of the dorm" hijinks with Elliot Porter. The former blasted grayshirting in a slightly confused editorial; the latter was a focus of the Outside The Lines piece that bombed LSU for its practices. It's never been a focus of the internet zealots except insofar as it's a symptom of the larger issue.

Clark knows what the deal is and still finds the grayshirt offer from Michigan preferable to his other options. There's nothing wrong with a mutually agreed-upon grayshirt whether its in the SEC or Big Ten.

Meanwhile in the land of excellent public relations. Ohio State wide receiver James Jackson has become Wayne State wide receiver James Jackson and isn't happy about it:

"They had an oversigning issue," Jackson said. "They had to free up a few scholarships, and coach (Jim) Tressel told me I probably wouldn't play and maybe Ohio State wasn't the place for me."

This quote could not be better designed for SEC fans tired of Oversigning.com, but it's a strange one. If that's the conversation he had and Gene Smith is telling the truth (yeah, yeah, I know) when he says this…

"Our policy is as James Jackson stated: As long as a student-athlete maintains his/her academic standing, behaves appropriately and handles his/her responsibilities, he or she will retain their scholarship. We have no proof of any conversation between he and former head coach Jim Tressel," he said in a statement to The Associated Press.

…then the rest of the article's focus on Jackson's misconception that he had a four-year scholarship is misplaced. What policy did Jackson state? It seems like an important quote related to Smith was omitted from the article.

From the context it seems like Jackson said he could have stayed if he was willing to give up playing time, but then why would he say this bit at the end:

"My main goal coming out of high school was to get a degree from a Division I program," said Jackson, who now attends Wayne State, a Division II school in Michigan. "If I had known they wouldn't keep me in school for four to five years, no matter what, I would have gone somewhere else."

I'm confused.

If Tressel said he wasn't going to play and should think about a transfer but Ohio State was willing to sign the scholarship papers if he stuck around, that seems like a reasonable thing to do. The implication in the article is that they wouldn't. But it's never directly stated and it seems that even Jackson said something to the effect that they would have, except then he says they wouldn't. So… great job, Pat Eaton-Robb, you've confused the hell out of everyone.

Ohio State, meanwhile, has an outstanding alibi: from 2002 to 2010 they averaged 20 players per class, tied with Notre Dame for fifth-least amongst BCS schools and behind only the nerd factories at Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Stanford, and Northwestern. If they are having "oversigning issues" everyone is, system fundamentally broken, etc.

Future relevance. Brady Hoke has said Michigan is planning on taking 26 kids in this recruiting class, which is five or six or seven spots more than they currently have. They've only got a couple fifth year seniors they can reasonably give the Firm Handshake, so unless there is a cavalcade of medical issues and other convenient transfers there are going to be some tense conversations that go like this:

BRADY HOKE: So how do you like Michigan despite never playing and never having any prospect of playing and being way too short to ever play?
SLOT RECEIVER: I love it. Angelo's hollandaise sauce, man. I put it on everything. I took a bath in it last night.
BRADY HOKE: /closes Angelo's by fiat
SLOT RECEIVER: And I am very close to getting my degree in astrophysics.
BRADY HOKE: /turns off the stars

If you can't tell, I'm uneasy about this. The system is full of perverse incentives; if the big conferences are really keen on student welfare above all they should move to a system where the only cap is on the number of signees per year, Title IX be damned.

High five! There are three Big Ten teams who can be perfectly happy that former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson has parachuted into Madison to fill the radioactive hole at quarterback that was the only thing standing between the Badgers and breathless, top-five preseason hype. They are the ones who don't have to play Wisconsin this year. Michigan is one of them. (West divisionmates Iowa and Northwestern are the others.)

In the past month we've seen Michigan's schedule go from relatively friendly to large, face-licking dog: Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor exited Ohio State, leaving the Buckeyes without a coach or experienced/not awful option at QB. Michigan State and Nebraska now have to face a souped-up version of the Badgers. If six things go right and Denard can fuse with Al Borges there's a possibility Michigan could get smoked by Wilson in the Big Ten Championship game.

In old news. Michigan has just about blown through its practice time penalties from the jihad:

"We're very close to the end," Brandon said. "We've done a really good job and picked up a lot of hours. We're well ahead of pace, and we're very close to being done."

Presumably they'll get through the remainder by the Western game, and then be in the clear.

Etc.: Chengelis not a fan of mascots. Andy Staples likes the graduate transfer rule. Former Florida linebacker Channing Crowder is all like "I was Terrelle Pryor except not subject to a federal investigation."  Michigan State was really bad on passing downs last year. Golf course will allow groups to park for an extra fee, just like everyone said they should last year. Doctor Saturday features Brady Hoke in their "mandate for change" series and is pitch-perfect.

Michigan's athletic department again has an inexplicable, meaninglessly small amount of university support. I wonder what that is.

Recall The Basketball Commitment Kraken

Recall The Basketball Commitment Kraken

Submitted by Brian on June 15th, 2011 at 3:31 PM

2013 offers went out today and two 2013 commitments came back within a few minutes of each other—Brady Hoke's ark act is spreading. They are:

Austin Hatch

Hatch is a 6'6", 214 pound wing from Canterbury, Indiana.

You may remember Hatch as the guy who declared Michigan his outright leader in a local profile article from a while back. The question with him was whether the feeling was mutual; it evidently is. Hatch is a three-star-ish unranked dude who hasn't got much pub yet because his high school is small and an injury held him out of the early part of this AAU season. Beilein's been all over him, though, and he just shot up two inches so he could still be expanding.

UMHoops got some scouting in at the recent elite camp:

At around 6-foot-6, Hatch has a solid frame to go along with his smooth and quick jump shot. He hit a pair of deep back-to-back threes during his time on the main court and had a couple strong takes to the basket – using his strength and body position very well. He appeared to be the most consistent shooter of the wings at the camp in both game action and shooting drills.

He did a good job on the glass and was assertive offensively without trying to do too much. His handle isn’t quite what you’d like to see out of a wing guard at the next level but it’s good enough to get in the lane and keep defenses honest. His dad has told us that he’s still growing and depending on how much he grows he should have a very interesting combination of size, strength and shooting ability.

aaand…

Mark Donnal

Donnal is a 6'9", 200 pound post—yes the post is 14 pounds lighter than the wing—out of Wayne, Ohio. He's 81st in the current ESPN top 100 and appears to be moving towards more Big Time status, as late-developing, skinny bigs are wont to do. UMHoops camp scouting again:

The camp wasn’t loaded with big men but Donnal was the most impressive of the bunch. He has very solid footwork and makes the most of the opportunities provided to him, which can be few and far between in a fast paced camp setting.

Knowing how to play the game is often an overlooked trait for big men. Reading situations, rolling to the basket at the right time, pivoting the right direction and making the right move are reactions that have to be made quickly and that most young bigs struggle with. Donnal, like anyone, makes his fair share of mistakes but he seems to embrace coaching and make the necessary improvements quickly.

He had a nice dunk in 3 on 3 play and seemed to always make the right play every time. He’s not a jump out of the gym athlete or a tremendous shot blocker, although he did have a few nice blocks in full court play, but he has a good motor and is an above average rebounder. He showed off a strong drop step in the post on a couple of occasions but surprised me more with his face up game. He’s not going to be a true face-up four man at this point, or ever, but he’s surprisingly coordinated at putting the ball on the floor for a sophomore big. He’s also confident enough to step out and knock down a jump shot from 18-feet.

There's more from ESPN and others at the UMHoops commit post.

This technically fills Michigan's roster for 2013 but that assumes Hardaway stays four years, Blake McLimans gets a a fifth year, and there's no other attrition. More realistically Michigan is looking for another two guys in the class. Monte Morris is obviously a priority, and then the fourth guy could be anyone.