Jim, couple misses today but the new guys that you did get, what do you think about the class?
“Very excited about the class. First time we’ve had two signing days, so many that you know about and proud to announce, officially, Shea Patterson—talked about him; Ronnie Bell, can officially announce Ronnie; Casey Hughes, who’s also a graduate transfer; Vince Gray; Michael Barrett. So, welcome to the Michigan family.”
You started talking about Ronnie the last time inadvertently, but what is it that you like about Ronnie?
“Love all his athletic ability. Start off with production: 86 catches, close to 1200 yards, Simone Player of the Year in Kansas City, player of the year in football. He’s also an excellent basketball player and…love the family, love him. Production. Production being the key thing.”
MGoQuestion: What are you getting in Michael Barrett and do you envision him starting off at quarterback or running back or somewhere else?
“Envision him getting the ball in his hands. Wide receiver, slot receiver, running back: those two areas primarily for him. Spent some time with Anquan Boldin, who was also a high school quarterback. Played some quarterback in college, and eventually wide receiver. Somebody that can get the ball and make yards after the catch or yards after contact. A receiver who can run like a running back and, also, I think he’ll have the ability to be a running back. So, different areas that Michael could get the football, including quarterback.”
Now that it’s all over and you’ve had the two signing days, you’ve had the coaches moving in between, with all of it together, what did you learn about this…new world, I suppose? What did you take away from it overall?
“I don’t know what the numbers exactly will be but somewhere around 80% seemed to sign on the first signing day, and then there was 20% more that signed throughout college football. I think our numbers will be pretty close to that. There was a priority for the youngsters to sign on the first signing day. That’s the biggest thing, the biggest takeaway.”
[After THE JUMP: possible positions for Ryan Hayes and Casey Hughes, another spring abroad, and thoughts on new staff additions (including those no longer here)]
Keith Jackson remembered by several people. At SBN:
That training meant calling everything ABC threw at him, but college football was different. One of Jackson’s gifts that made him so, so good at college football games was to make the viewer feel at home wherever the game might be. Ann Arbor became the Big House, Nebraska became the friendliest town in the world, and even beneath “the broad shoulders of the San Gabriel Mountains” you could feel at home, because ... well Keith did, didn’t he? Nowhere wasn’t home on a Saturday if Keith was calling it, because he had a map with a single line connecting everything.
This was all part of a whole to him. The things with names had definite pronunciations only Keith could nail; the things without names would be given them in time. The language of this sport — right down to the love for the great, the ugly, the undersized, the local, and the brutal — is his.
"That big smiling face, and just the thrill and the love he had for doing college football," Bob Griese told SportsCenter when asked what he'd remember about Jackson, his longtime broadcast partner whom he started working with in 1985.
"He did it for a long, long time. ... He never intruded on the game. It was always about the kids on the field. Never, never shining the light on himself. And that was one of the things that I most admired about him."
It was probably on some lazy Saturday afternoon or evening in 1990 when the sound burned itself into my memory. I was in seventh grade, and a Notre Dame linebacker with a previously checkered career was in the midst of an All-America season. He must have been playing on the road, because if he’d been in South Bend, Brent Musburger would have been the one saying his name. Instead, Keith Jackson was calling the game, and when that linebacker made a tackle, Jackson said…
And there it was.
From that point forward, the quintessence of college football in my mind was Keith Jackson saying the name Michael Stonebreaker as a drumline pounds out a beat between plays. I can’t think of the sport without hearing those two words uttered by that voice. I cover college football for a living, so I think about college football a lot. Consequently, my brain frequently serves up the memory of Keith Jackson identifying a 225-pound middle linebacker from Louisiana playing for a Catholic university in Indiana.
"I can't get them any more open than that." You may have had some similar frustrations midway through the Maryland game:
@ ND, @ OSU, @ MSU plus crossover games against a couple ten win teams in Wisconsin and Northwestern will do that.
Priority one: don't pay anyone. This would be an insane way to defuse the increasing media heat on the NCAA for restricting player mobility:
I spoke w/ an NCAA official this week who was “95% certain” transfers will soon be allowed to play immediately in basketball & football. Could be a one-time freebie, plus grad transfer option. So in theory, a student-athlete could play for three different schools w/o sitting out.
The grad transfer rule already sucks out loud for lower-level schools. Creating open season on every all-conference football and basketball player turns the MAC into a collection of JUCOs, essentially. It's far worse for competitive balance than paying kids would be, because you get to swoop in on anyone you missed and yoink them. You're also inviting kids to leave whatever degree program they're in for sports, damaging your hoary claims to academic integrity.
But it would eliminate a set of arguments against amateurism, so full speed ahead. Because keeping the money is all they care about.
"He's probably one of the most detail-oriented people I've ever met," Ragnow said. He then paused. "Actually, he is the most detail-oriented person I've ever been around. The first thing he's going to do with his players is a thorough individual evaluation of them. He'll learn their tendencies, strengths and weaknesses and try to get a feel for how their body reacts to different movements and different processes. Nutrition-wise, I'm guessing the Michigan players are going to learn a lot. Coach Herb is always finding new ways to gain an edge on the nutrition side of things and it was probably the one part of how he did things that I learned and took the most out of."
In addition to being good at S&C stuff, Ragnow "wouldn't let" Steve Lorenz hang up until he'd expressed what an excellent dude he was as well.
Exit various Irish. In addition to a few NFL departures, Brian Kelly booted four dudes. Three are offensive skill guys and will be relevant for Michigan's upcoming series against the Irish:
Stepherson was arguably Notre Dame’s most explosive receiver last season, finishing with 19 catches for 359 yards and five touchdowns. However, he was held out of the season’s first four games for a suspension that Notre Dame never publicly acknowledged.
The departures of McIntosh and Holmes come after a single public rules violation and seriously dent Notre Dame’s running back depth chart. With Josh Adams off to the NFL Draft, the Irish will likely open spring ball with just three scholarship running backs in Dexter Williams, Tony Jones Jr. and early enrollee Jahmir Smith.
The fourth is a DL who wasn't going to be in the rotation anyway.
The best-case scenario here is that Minnesota pulled a Brendan Gibbons: they played a guy who they had to know was very likely to be booted off campus, telling no one and hoping that they could sweep it under the rug. That does not appear to be the case:
Gopher athletics knew about Reggie Lynch & his behavior from the beginning. I literally sat them down last year & brought it to their attention even further. They know there are multiple victims. They knew about this active report. They still did nothing https://t.co/7rnHrzYtFb
Honold said Friday that she told Coyle months ago that she knew of “multiple other victims” of sexual misconduct involving Lynch.
“This is a pattern,” she told Coyle and urged him to investigate further.
“But it did not really fall on open ears,” Honold said. “The only person who really responded told me, ‘Well, this sounds awfully personal, how would you even know all of this?’ And, ‘This is irrelevant because they didn’t report to police.’
Minnesota's athletic director pleads incomprehensible corporate nothing-speak:
University of Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle's responses when asked about a meeting with @abbyhonold in which she said she, "literally sat them down last year & brought (Reggie Lynch's behavior) to their attention even further." pic.twitter.com/bfl4H2rRmp
“From a weight room development standpoint, the most important thing right out of the gate for our young guys when they come in is developing their lower body and developing their back,” Herbert said. “A lot of guys spend a lot of time (bench) pressing in high school. They don’t spend a lot of time pulling and they don’t spend a lot of time training their lower body. That’s where we see our biggest gains.
“Teach guys how to eat well, teach them how to hydrate properly, teach them how to train the right way, focusing on lower body and back development, and we set them up for a great result.”
One of Herbert’s biggest success stories at Arkansas, former tight end Hunter Henry, tweeted out support of the hiring on Dec. 30.
“One of the best hires in the country!” Henry, a second-round NFL Draft pick, wrote. “This guy is legit. Might have to make a trip up to Ann Arbor now.”
I'm looking forward to the inevitable war between Herbertites and Anti-Herbertites that erupts the first time anyone has a ligament injury.
I did not know this. Apparently when Kirby Smart was hired at Georgia the first guy he wanted to call was Dan Enos, but Jeff Long had created a contract that prevented him from making a move:
“Kirby called me early (Monday), asked me for permission to talk to Dan," Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema revealed. " (I) just basically said … ‘I understand if you’ve got to talk to Dan if that’s something you want to do, but he’s got a non-compete clause in the SEC. So that kind of null and voids those things from really becoming real within our conference.”
It's tough to judge Enos's ability in a vacuum since he's going up against Alabama with a shooter and only one bean, but he appears to be well-respected in the SEC.
TV Teddy has a sad. Embarrassing toolbox Ted Valentine may have finally gone too far with his on-court antics after this flatly disrespectful action in the aftermath of a call he obviously missed:
UNC's Joel Berry tried to discuss a non-call with referee Ted Valentine.
Valentine was yanked from a couple of Big Ten games this weekend, including OSU's surprising mud-stomping of MSU, and now THREATENS TO RETIRE as a result.
"I'm thinking about retiring," Valentine told The Athletic's Seth Davis. "I've had enough of people blowing up stuff. I think I've had a stellar career, and I think it's time to get ready to walk away."
At least he thinks he's making a threat. The rest of the world sick of his histrionics looks at that as a promise. Valentine might not be the worst ref in the world, but he is the most annoying. It's long past time for that dude to hit the bricks. Hopefully his Big Ten ban is permanent. Something ain't right with that man.
FWIW, Lukas Samuelsson was a Michigan commit but is now a WMU freshman... with zero games played. He's got to be a walk-on. Tremendous, tremendous screw-up on Michigan's part to let Lukas walk for another program where he wasn't going to play. Since Samuelsson dropped off Michigan's commit list more than a year prior to his enrollment at WMU this is more of a Red thing than a Mel thing.
Michigan does still have a top-ten-ish pick coming in in Bode Wilde, so it's not a crisis or anything. But the mega-D does not appear to be happening.
David DeJulius gets after it. He took on Clarkston, which features MSU-bound PG Foster Loyer, and went to work:
Very much a Walton vibe there. He's comfortable pulling up from three and the midrange and attacks downhill like Walton did early in his career. Dunno how well that aspect of his game will translate to college—Zavier Simpson was a huge scorer in HS and that went away—but the shooting and all-around dawg-ness should stick.
Former Wisconsin and Arkansas S&C coach Ben Herbert's name has been floating around as a possible replacement for Kevin Tolbert, for fairly obvious manball related reasons, and now that hire is official:
Michigan has identified a candidate for its strength and conditioning opening.
First referenced by The Michigan Insider's Sam Webb on our premium message boards last week, the Wolverines intend to hire former Arkansas S&C coach Ben Hebert to take over the S&C opening left behind by Kevin Tolbert.
Herbert was at Wisconsin for S&C coach for 11 years, the last four of which as the head S&C guy, before leaving with Bret Bielema to go to Arkansas four years ago. That didn't work out quite as well as Herbert might have hoped, but Arkansas did have some consistently enormous offensive lines, just like Wisconsin did before him. Herbert's time at UW is probably more instructive since the Badgers aren't operating at a severe talent deficit to most of their opponents, and picking someone up from the program that makes the most out of the least recruiting in the Big Ten, and possibly the nation, seems like a good plan.
Post-Barwis I'm skeptical that there's a big difference between any reasonably up-to-date strength coaches, FWIW. I didn't think Michigan's team seemed like it had any major S&C issues—the defense was dominant and the offensive line started mashing guys about midway through the season. Harbaugh's post-OSU comment that Michigan needed to get stronger didn't really mesh with what I saw, which was a team that went toe to toe with the Buckeyes and would have won with a C- QB performance. If anything might have been an issue under Tolbert it's conditioning, not raw gert-orf-me strength.