Unverified Voracity Gets Invited

Unverified Voracity Gets Invited Comment Count

Brian February 16th, 2017 at 12:40 PM


Braden invited; Magnuson not invited [Patrick Barron]

All the combine folks. 14 Michigan players will participate and even so there are a couple surprising omissions:

Braden but no Kalis or Magnuson is odd, and I thought Dymonte Thomas would be the kind of guy who could improve his stock significantly with impressive testing numbers.

That's a hell of a lot either way. Michigan's total is just four fewer than the entire Big 12. On the one hand, Michigan did not capitalize on that talent (by an inch, or a negative inch). On the other, Michigan's recruiting edits are going to be straight fire emoji in the immediate aftermath of the draft.

Speaking of the Big 12, Chris Vannini has an interesting article about the long term talent decline in the league. The state of Texas is getting raided hardcore:

The last factor is recruiting, and it doesn’t look better for the future. Only one Big 12 team signed a top-25 class in 247Sports’ rankings earlier this month: Oklahoma at No. 8. The next-closest Power 5 league was the ACC with four top-25 classes.

The league relies on the state of Texas, but Ohio State signed three of the top six players in the state. It was the first time since 2005 that an in-state school didn’t sign a majority share of the top 10 players in the state, as noted by the Dallas Morning News — and the third time since 2000 (the other two were Oklahoma). Only two of the top-10 players stayed in-state, and one of those left the Big 12 by going to Texas A&M.

Tom Herman should start turning that around—recruiting concerns about his finish at Texas should be mitigated by the fact that he landed Ed Oliver and a smattering of other four stars at Houston. It probably won't be enough to get back to parity.

"Offer" versus OFFER, part billion. I'm all for dumping on Nick Saban but this seems like a big bowl of nothing:

"LSU's welcome in my school anytime," Feaster said. "The only school that can't come to Parkway is Alabama. And there's a long story behind that, but it had to do with not being ethical in their recruiting.

"They can't come. Everyone else is 100 percent welcome."

The reason?

There is a difference between an offer and a committable offer, something he found out the hard way in the recruitment of former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris.

Alabama "offers" Harris, his coach gets persnickety about it, and then Alabama says he has an OFFER, only for that offer to be back to scare-quotes status by june:

"Napier calls me the next day and says, 'Coach, I have some good news for you. Tell Brandon to call me on this phone during this period and I'll put Nick Saban on the phone,"' Feaster said. "We do that and Saban says, 'You have a scholarship at the University of Alabama.' So, they gave him a scholarship offer. It was a committable offer.

"By the time he gets to campus in June -- and I'm not saying Brandon was going to commit to Alabama -- it wasn't an option. Basically what they told him is that we got other guys that are going to come through here, and I promised them a shot. So we have to wait and see then."

As far as malfeasance on the recruiting trail goes, this is small potatoes. Whether or not a kid is a "take" changes constantly for every school, including Michigan. Getting upset because Alabama changed their mind about a kid before he even committed is some special snowflake stuff. (Also that guy lost his job to a Purdue transfer, sooooo...)

MSU update. The gymnastics coach was forcibly retired and now faces three allegations that she downplayed sexual assault reports from Larry Nassar:

The allegation — the third made specifically against Klages — was first made in a court document filed Jan. 27 seeking to add the athlete to the federal lawsuit against Michigan State University, Nassar, USA Gymnastics and Twistars gymnastics club in Dimondale.

Those documents, filed by attorney Jamie White, didn't identify Klages, but said it was "a member of MSU’s coaching staff."

White, the attorney for the gymnast who says Nassar sexually assaulted her during medical appointments, confirmed on Tuesday that it was Klages who spoke to his client's mother.

He also confirmed that it was Klages who told his client's mother that "Nassar’s digital penetrations of (the athlete's) vagina was a proven medical treatment."

If you believe the reports sufficiently to "retire" her you should be firing her for cause.

Michigan State has suspended Curtis Blackwell, a recruiting staffer. They won't say why, but it's not too hard to draw a line between that and this:

Blackwell's suspension comes as a criminal investigation into three Michigan State football players is ongoing. Michigan State announced last week that a member of the football staff also had been suspended pending the completion of that investigation.

The police have requested warrants for the three players in question.

Also Demetrius Cooper was charged with spitting on a parking enforcement officer. Oh and Malik McDowell fell out of Mel Kiper's first round for reasons other than his talent. In a normal year this would be part of the rivalry pointing and laughing. This year not so much. That whole athletic department looks to be in total chaos.

Stop with the video, fergodsakes. Interesting piece on the demise of Scout media, which was accelerated by a push towards making everything a video, even the things that should definitely not be videos:

Advertisers might also have been skittish because of where most of Scout’s traffic came from. Despite a costly thrust into video, part of a massive, costly overhaul of Scout’s CMS, nearly 80 percent of Scout’s traffic comes from visits to its message boards, which are reserved for subscribers. Though the developers team claimed the addition of video in 2015 drove tens of millions of views within six months of its launch, Scout’s traffic was relatively flat or declining year-over-year from 2014 to 2015, according to comScore data.

Almost all of those videos were worthless. They're still doing it. I can't tell you how many Scout tabs I open and then disgustedly close because they're a hundred words trying to induce me to watch a recruit get interviewed for five minutes—a video that would already be autoplaying if I hadn't sought out a Chrome extension to disable said feature. ("Disable HTML 5 Autoplay," FWIW.)

Autoplay video is a scam. Person opens page, video plays, person does not watch video, counts as a hit anyway, publisher tries to leverage those numbers into high CPM video ads that no one will ever watch.

Etc.: Here's a video with athletic directors, including Warde Manuel, discussing a potential student protest. I did not watch it despite having interest in the subject matter, because it is a video.


Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Indiana

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Indiana Comment Count

Brian November 24th, 2016 at 12:06 PM


SPONSOR NOTES: oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god oh god

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Ace trips tight bunch was the most relevant formation of the day.


Michigan invariably used two tight ends in the bunch.

Indiana's response to this was to have only six guys in the box with and OLB flared way out to the field. This is one of Michigan's favorite crack sweep formations; Michigan ran one crack sweep that got buried for a loss of five yards and repeatedly gashed IU up the middle.

Michigan also went with a lot of big formations; Indiana usually lined up with an even front, a SAM linebacker, and increasingly aggressive safeties. By the third quarter it was MSU out there:

indiana creepin

This run performance was against a statistically good outfit in difficult conditions.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: OL per usual. O'Korn the QB save one Pepcat snap; Peppers got two other plays on offense. Butt (57 snaps) and Darboh(54) got the most run amongst the skill position players, with Chesson (43) running third.

RB snaps were about half Smith, with Evans in second place; Higdon and Isaac got slightly less than ten each. Wheatley(30 snaps) was suddenly preferred over Asiasi(8) as the second TE. Bunting(11) actually came in third. Poggi got 28 FB snaps to Hill's 18; Hill did have another very bad pass pickup that might explain that.

Crawford, Perry, McDoom, Bushell-Beatty, and Harris all got a few snaps.

[After THE JUMP: De'Veon Smith and a buncha nothin'.]


Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Iowa

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Iowa Comment Count

Brian November 17th, 2016 at 12:03 PM


SPONSOR NOTES: You're in big trouble, Sauce Castillo. Not Nik Stauskas. User Sauce Castillo, who we are blaming for this. We also blame Sauce Castillo for a pending FEDERAL INTEREST RATE HIKE that means you should get a mortgage now.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Hey, it's Iowa.


4-3 over with two high safeties on just about every play. Iowa will insert safeties into the box post-snap like Michigan's done with some frequency this year; they are a cover-two-heavy 4-3 defense like they have always been and will always be.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: The usual at QB and OL. Darboh got almost every snap (55 of 61), with Butt not far behind at 48. Chesson was at 37. Smith got two-thirds of the RB snaps with Chris Evans getting the bulk of the remainder; Higdon(5 snaps) and Isaac(1) saw reduced usage. Hill had an edge in FB snaps with 19 to Poggi's 12.

Rounding out the offense were scattered snaps for Perry, McDoom, Crawford, Wheatley, Asiasi, Drake Harris, and Juwann Bushell-Beatty.

[After THE JUMP: plane, meet mountain]


Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Maryland

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Maryland Comment Count

Brian November 10th, 2016 at 3:07 PM


SPONSOR NOTES: We're going to Iowa thanks to Matt, and he's going to be tailgating prior to the game. If you're going, hit him up and stop by. We'll be around for a few hours before the game, traffic and weather willing.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Maryland switched between fronts a bunch, seemingly because they were trying to find anything that could possibly work. A 3-4 was their base set through the middle of the game; late and early they were mostly four-man fronts.

None of this went well. Here is an obligatory picture.

offset i big

Michigan didn't do anything wacky with formations aside from some pistol stuff that is pretty standard at various places around college football.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: 59 snaps for the line before they were pulled on the final drive. Braden-Bredeson-Cole-Kalis-Magnuson for the third straight week; Kugler got two RG snaps after the Kalis personal foul. Butt and Darboh were close to omnipresent with 47 and 44 snaps; Chesson got 33.

De'Veon Smith usage surged to two-thirds of Michigan's snaps, with Ty Isaac limited to four. Evans and Higdon had 13 and 11. Peppers got four. Hill and Poggi continued to split FB snaps about down the middle. Asiasi, Bunting, and Wheatley all got around 20 snaps; Crawford, McDoom, and Harris got around 10.

[After THE JUMP: many, many touchdowns.]


Wednesday Presser 11-2-16: Tim Drevno

Wednesday Presser 11-2-16: Tim Drevno Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 3rd, 2016 at 10:19 AM



You guys didn’t punt until the fourth quarter Saturday. I’m guessing you’re pretty pleased with the way things went offensively.

“Yeah, went well. Good to get a win on the road like that. Guys played well. Always good to come back with a victory. I was pleased with the offensive performance. It’s a new week. Kind of forgotten about that. The problems that occur here with the next opponent we face, so just moving on.”

Mason seems like a very dependable guy. Talk about that side of him and what he gives you every game, every play.

“Mason, football’s very, very important to him, [and] that he’s right. He’s got great football awareness. Can really fix problems. He’s a competitor. He loves to compete. Great leader. Really gets it. Once you tell him, he’s got it. Really locks in his brain. He plays at a very, very high level and it’s just a real pleasure to have him. He’s a real great team leader, especially on the offensive line with what we’re trying to do.”

What went into the decision to have Bredeson in there and have Juwann [Bushell-Beatty] with the second team?

“We just felt like that was the best thing for us. Juwann’s doing a nice job. Ben’s done a nice job. We just felt that that was a good combination in there, best for us to be successful.”

How far has Ben Bredeson come from that first game to now?

“A long way. Just, he understands what we want to do, how we’re going to do it. Processes quickly on his feet. Just, he’s played a lot of reps in there. The maturity level, the confidence in his eyes. Anytime you go out in a game and suit up and go play another game and start, you grow more and the more practice reps you get the better off you’ll be, so he’s really made a great transition.”

[Hit THE JUMP for more]


Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs MSU Comment Count

Brian November 2nd, 2016 at 4:18 PM


SPONSOR NOTES: Matt reminds me that there is some chatter that the Federal Reserve could finally raise rates in the near future, which would be bad for your mortgage.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan broke out the 'bone a couple times:


That is a bonafide flexbone. One of these snaps was a jet sweep, the other a trap that coulda shoulda worked in the fourth quarter but for McDowell blowing Cole up.

Pistol diamond with MSU in their very standard arrangement:

pistol diamond

4-3 over, two safeties sitting at 8-10 yards, on damn near every play.

Late MSU did split their LBs and blitz them as they threw the kitchen sink at M in an attempt to get the ball back.

split lbs

But it was mostly "here we are running quarters."

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Starting line with the Braden/Bredeson left side for the second straight game, Speight your QB. Peppers got six wildcat snaps and one as a WR; Morris got thee QB/FB snaps. JBB got five snaps as a TE-type substance.

Darboh led the way at WR with 54 snaps; Chesson had 40 and Harris, Crawford, and McDoom got the scattered remainder. Poggi and Hill again split FB snaps about down the middle. Smith got 60% of the RB snaps with Higdon and Evans splitting most of the rest; Isaac was only used on four snaps, three of them sweeps.

Butt got 57 snaps as the primary TE; Asiasi (31) and Wheatley (18) also got significant action. Bunting was briefly on the field as well.

[After THE JUMP: three quarters of up and down the field followed by (correct) turtle time.]


MGoRadio 2.7: Good in Traffic

MGoRadio 2.7: Good in Traffic

1 hour 25 minutes


[Where I was at 10 minutes to airtime]


A big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes. Check out the new Bo Store on Main.

Our other sponsors are also key in the expanding empire: thanks to Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Deo Bookkeeping, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, and Tailgater Concierge.


1. Illinois After Review

starts at 0:30

Ace was stuck in that M14 traffic so Seth jumped on to talk post-Illinois thoughts. This means we talked mostly about Higdon and interior line play, specifically Mason Cole’s just okay transition to center. Ace arrives to talk about ceilings with vs-Illinois Speight, and Michigan’s 3-3-5 defensive package. Say McCray jumps to the NFL—and we’re not saying he will—would Michigan’s entire defense get drafted?

2. Across the Crooked Blue Line with Steve Lorenz

starts at 23:05

Amoeba Class continues with two more commitments. Losses for rivals are good when tracking national guys—need Washington to go. Michigan still in it for Jordan Elliott?  Najee Harris decision won’t be until December but seems trending Michigan-Alabama. This class probably won’t come together until the Army Game.

3. Michigan State Offense

starts at 49:42

Piesman voters take heed: there’s going to be some trick plays here. Quarterback trio should be O’Connor, who’s better than Lewerke and far far better than Terry. State’s offensive line is breaking down. They do have Donnie Corley, who’s going to be trouble down the line. And then there’s those running backs, who’d be a factor if they ever get a block.

4. Michigan State Defense/Special Teams

starts at 1:09:07

The defensive line had some red flags but man are they bad. We tracked one guy against Maryland who had three plays and got blown back like seven yards each time. Linebackers miss Reschke at star (their version of WLB/hybrid space player). Chris Frey is good. Riley Bullough picks up a ton of penalties. Ed Davis is behind Frey and the guy in for Reschke (Dowell). has barely seen the field. The secondary grades out positively except Demetrius Cox, who is good against the run, and the worst player in PFF history against the pass. Hicks and Copeland are eh at corner. MSU has been trying to replace them; Justin Layne was starting at corner vs. Northwestern and looks alright as a freshman. Not getting much from their special teams.


“The Train”—Outkast

“The Turning”—Kettleflower

“Tomorrow We Will Kill You”—Not Waving

“Across 110th Street”


Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Illinois

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Illinois Comment Count

Brian October 27th, 2016 at 4:11 PM


SPONSOR NOTES: I was struck when we were hanging out at the Bo Store that it was very cool that some of our main sponsors were very much like us: small businesses in the Michigan community run by guys who are just dudes, you know? I like to think that UGP and Homesure are the MGoBlogs of their respective fields: small, detailed, involved, pantsless.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Illinois loaded the box the entire game, usually in an over front

illinois 4-4

They played with one safety exclusively and had 8 or 9 in the box depending on whether M was in a big formation or not.

Michigan didn't have anything too weird except a slightly modified T:


This was one play only. Oh, right, and TRAIN.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Starting line of Braden-Bredeson-Cole-Kalis-Magnuson went most of the way, getting 66 snaps each. The backup line now reads JBB-Runyan-Kugler-Onwenu-Dawson, FWIW. Ulizio got bumped by JBB, must be primarily a tackle.

Butt got the most snaps of any skill player with 56, and Asiasi wasn't far behind with 41. Wheatley had his most extended playing time in a while with 31 snaps; Bunting returned on a single snap. With Perry out the main beneficiary was Kekoa Crawford, who had 35 snaps; Chesson had 33 and Darboh 44. McDoom had his usual deployment.

Poggi and Hill again split snaps about down the middle.

[After THE JUMP: a diversity of items.]


Monday Presser 10-24-16: Players

Monday Presser 10-24-16: Players Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 25th, 2016 at 5:50 PM

players 10-25

Ben, you guys looked like you worked pretty well together, you and Bredeson. Talk about that transition and how hard or easy it was and what you thought of it.

“I wouldn’t say hard or easy. It was different. Obviously I haven’t played tackle in a few years. Bredeson’s done really well as a freshman. He’s doing really well. Smart kid, knows what’s going on in the film room. I was very happy with his effort and very proud of him. We’ll see what happens. It was a fun transition. I always liked being a tackle, but whatever’s best for the team we’ll do that.”

Chris or Jourdan, you guys win 41-8 but you give up a late touchdown and you give up the long running play. How much does that help your coach Don Brown to be able to get in that film room and say, ‘Okay, here are some things we need to clean up’ and not to get too confident after a big win?

CW: “Yeah, I think we played pretty good as a defense as whole against Rutgers and Wisconsin and Penn State, going back a few weeks. We obviously know we’re a good defense, but at the end of the day there’s always things we can get better at, always things we can improve on as a D-line. And linebackers and secondary, obviously, as a whole. So, we’ll watch film today and see what we can do. Obviously want to stop those long runs, the late touchdown, but like I said, there’s things to get better at.”

Jourdan, Coach reemphasized every game’s a championship game, [and said] we prepare like we do for everybody. Especially for an in-state guy, does it take a conscious effort to control emotion when it’s a rivalry like this?

“I’m not really an overemotional guy. I really just love the game of football and always prepare for every single game like it’s my last. So, that’s what all of us do, especially on the defensive end of the ball. Not saying that Michigan State—not trying to slight them or anything, but it’s just another game, really, on the schedule.”

Ben, what’s this rivalry mean to you as an in-state guy?

“I mean, as everyone knows as a kid I was a hockey player, but when I first got to college and hearing about it from Taylor Lewan and Mike Schofield and Elliott Mealer and what the rivalry meant to them, it just kind of set the standard for what the rivalry is. At the same time, we’ve got to focus on this week just like we do every week. It’s just another obstacle we have to get across that’s going to take us to our end goal, and that’s just to win as many games as we can and be the best that we can and play the best of our game. So, I think as a team we’ve done really good at that this season and I’ve been really proud of the guys and how they handle every game.”

[More after THE JUMP]


One-Play One-on-One: Ben Braden

One-Play One-on-One: Ben Braden Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 25th, 2016 at 10:00 AM



If you asked me back in August where Ben Braden would play if he wasn’t at left guard, I probably would have told you tight end because, I mean, trains and things. I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have mentioned left tackle, yet that’s where Braden started on Saturday. He did a nice job in his first game on the outside, and after rewatching the game his smoothness working to the second level stood out. I found a play in one of the highlight videos where Braden flings a DE upfield before taking off and getting into a guy long enough for De’Veon Smith to get at least 10 extra yards, and I figured I’d ask him about it.

It’s hard to tell exactly from the camera angle, but it looked like he got his arm into you and then you were able to use that to push him past you. Is that what happened, and do you want him to make contact so that you can throw him upfield a little bit more?

“On that one I’m just trying to reach and get to him. It’s kind of whoever makes contact first but yeah, once you’re locked up with a guy you kind of feel how he’s moving and move off that. That goes for second level and the D-line as well.”

So there’s not one thing you want him to do so much as just feel the momentum and use it against them?

“Yeah. I mean, it depends on how the play’s designed, but yeah.”

What were you guys doing in the game that made that draw so successful?

“Practiced it a lot during the week. Tried to focus on little things. Like, talk with coach and say ‘What do I need to do to make this as fast as possible?’ It’s something we’ve had in our pocket for a while. Just working and trying to be the best I could during the week on it so when I got to the game it was natural.”

Conversely, what was their line doing that made it effective?

“They were a penetrating defense. We knew they were going to rush up the field and just kind of tried to play off that and use that to our advantage when we can, but you know, just try to prepare for it as best as possible.”

With them using the Tampa-2 as their base, when you released to the second level were you expecting that linebacker to be there, or when you were releasing were you just looking for a white jersey and somebody to hit?

“Well, that one I was kind of expecting him to kind of be in that general area, but it depends on our backfield and what we’re doing,”

What’s the most difficult aspect of blocking on the second level?

“Usually guys are quicker. You know, just trying to keep your feet moving up to the second level and staying on your block and moving your feet through your block once you make contact. A lot of guys like to kind of think about—they’re kind of thinking about it on the way up there and they’ll get there and once they make contact they’ll stop their feet. So, just trying to keep the little things moving once you get up there and practicing that and getting repetition at it so that way you can naturally do it.”

This is outside the scope of one play, but what’s the biggest difference between tackle and guard? Is it footwork or hand placement?

“Footwork’s a little different. Obviously things are on the edge. The speed is definitely different. Guys are defeinitely quick on the inside, but as far as general overall speed, you just see a lot more things that are going on [outside] as opposed to inside, where you’re working with the center or you’re working with a tackle. As a tackle you’re kind of more on an island.”