Unverified Voracity Grows Evil Beard

Unverified Voracity Grows Evil Beard

Submitted by Brian on March 5th, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Basketball

The only reasonable explanation. Michigan State lost the outright title, still won a share, and collectively reacted like this…

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…the likely explanation is that they were more focused on denying Michigan than their own team. That game meant very little in the grand scheme of things to MSU. It mattered to OSU and Michigan.

No, it wasn't hard to root for Ohio State yesterday. I didn't even notice.

Irrational optimism getting less irrational. Michigan has two five-star sorts in its upcoming recruiting class and the guy I'm most excited about may be the other dude. That is 6'6" shooting guard/potential Burke backup Nik Stauskas, who just outdueled Nerlens Noel, a 6'10" center who recently reclassified to 2012 and instantly became a top five player after doing so, for tournament MVP at the NEPSAC championships. He is not just a shooter($):

Nik Stauskas (Mississauga, Ontario/St. Mark’s)
2012, SF, 6-6, 205
College: Michigan

Stauskas finished with 19 points but his impact on the game far exceeded that total, as he not only scored the ball in different ways but also facilitated for others in both pick and roll as well as drive-and-kick action. While the complete versatility of Stauskas’ offensive repertoire was on full display, the most impressive part of his performance was that innate star quality that allowed him to make big play after big play at the most pivotal moments of the game.

The main thing keeping him from being another five-star type recruit is his athleticism. That shouldn't prevent him from being a shot generator at the college level—he'll enter with far more skill than Stu Douglass had, for one. I mean, look at his evil beard:

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IF that does not fill you with confidence, nothing will.

Stauskas also drew raves from NERR. Meanwhile, Mitch McGary's Brewster team suffered an upset while Glenn Robinson III helped his team win their first sectional title since '97. All that and more at UMHoops.

Football

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McCray/Gedeon/Levenberry: Linebacker is the new offensive line

A brief comment on the linebacker crunch. My trapper keeper with Michigan's projected recruiting class surrounded by hearts has at least two slots for linebackers, but if the third guy is going to be O'Daniel/Levenberry/Gedeon it probably has three. Sam Webb first thought this was not the case, but recently reversed course.

It should be clear why after a quick glance at the depth chart by class. With announced positional rearrangements taking Beyer and Paskorz away from the SAM spot, that is now the sparsest position on the depth chart. Insert First World Problems GIF here. Michigan has three more years of Jake Ryan, two of Cam Gordon, and nothing else. Even if you figure one of the 2012 recruits is destined to move down—something the coaches denied on Signing Day—that would seem to make a third linebacker a reasonable acquisition.

Even if that's the case now, if O'Daniel and Levenberry hew to their current plans and take their decisions to Signing Day there's a pretty good chance room opens up for one of them. The current assumption on this site is 22, but that assumes Michigan only loses two players to attrition*.

That's an extremely conservative estimate. If Michigan gets up to 24, they can take…

  • Another RB
  • Two more WRs
  • A third TE
  • Another CB
  • Two DL

…and still have a couple spare scholarships. You may have spotted the assumption here: Michigan will only take one three-tech/SDE type in this class. I think that's reasonable after taking four (Wormley, Godin, Strobel, Henry) last year, especially with two 2011 recruits coming off redshirts and the possibility/likelihood that Wyatt Shallman ends up weighing 280 by his sophomore year.

When all is said and done the bet here is Michigan has a couple scholarships to play with in January and SLB is an excellent candidate to use one of those spares even if Michigan already has a couple linebackers committed. It sounds like McCray and Gedeon are about to drop; if Levenberry changes his mind and attempts to commit on his Spring Game visit he's not getting turned down.

BONUS HYPOTHETICAL EXTRA SCHOLARSHIP DISTRIBUTION DESIRE: Cornerback. Michigan… uh… has fewer blue chip guys there than anywhere else in the last two classes.

/runs around laughing maniacally
//falls in trough
/continues laughing maniacally

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We do it better than Todd Graham.

*[Two more players are assumed to not be getting fifth years.]

A rule to live by. Orson just tossed this off and I'm thinking of embroidering it on a sampler or something:

Never have anything to do with a recruit who wants to sign after Signing Day.

This may be sour grapes.

June building stuff. The Washington Post highlights Cato June, new head coach at Anacostia High School in DC. He's filling his staff out with a familiar name:

June quickly turned to [retired HC Willie] Stewart, asking him to help coach the Indians next fall. He also named his close friend and Michigan roommate Walter Cross, the 1997 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year from Oxon Hill, as his offensive coordinator — the same position Cross held at Potomac (Md.) this fall.

Apparently anyone in DC can transfer without a reason, so if June gets things off the ground Anacostia could be a fertile ground for recruiting—not that Brady Hoke needs another one.

Hockey

Bye-week hockey events. Michigan pulled the worst possible opponent in the second round thanks to Northern Michigan going down in flames against Bowling Green and all other higher seeds holding. They go against Notre Dame, who gave them a very tough weekend about a month ago. The Irish are 19th in the Pairwise and entering a do-or-die weekend for tourney hopes.

The key for Michigan will be watching Notre Dame's goalies play as poorly as they have in all games not against Michigan. Steven Summerhays put up a .945 in the M-ND series; for the year he's at .908.

Pairwise. Michigan's off weekend saw them move up thanks to a one-point weekend from Minnesota-Duluth that cost them the regular-season WCHA title and put their one-seed in flux. Michigan still doesn't win that comparison—I told you it would be tough—and still wont even if they sweep next weekend despite UMD drawing 12-22-2 Minnesota State. Michigan can win the comparison by sweeping ND and doing better than UMD at the conferences' respective finals… as long as UMD doesn't lose this weekend.

Weird system: you are rooting for UMD to win this weekend and get annihilated at the Final Five.

BONUS CCHA BIDS ODDITY: remember that period in the season when seven CCHA teams were destined for the tournament? That's been whittled down to four as of today. Five of the first six teams out of the tourney are CCHA teams. Western, Lake Superior, and ND can still play themselves in.

It's March, so it's time for huge Daily profiles. Luke Glendening is first up:

It was late April 2008, and the Michigan hockey assistant coach had just extended a one-year tryout offer to Luke Glendening, a forward recruit from The Hotchkiss School, a prep institution in Lakeville, Conn.

“You’re on a one-year tryout,” Powers told Glendening. “If you’re good in practice, you’ll stay.”

Powers left him with one last word of warning.

“If you have somewhere else to go, you should probably do it.”

We're living in the golden age of angles, I'm telling you.

A fantastic idea. Mike Spath proposes a new format for the NCAA tournament:

To start, the NCAA should collaborate with the NHL to form six permanent sites, rotating among the six for the four yearly locations: Boston, New York, Detroit, Minneapolis, Denver and Toronto. The Frozen Four would also rotate among those six cities instead of taking us to Tampa Bay or Washington D.C.

That would be excellent. You might want to add a Philadelphia or Pittsburgh but that's fine. No more Green Bay, St. Louis, Tampa, etc. Take the money the NHL is giving you and use it to lower ticket prices so you get a local crowd—part of the horrendous attendance in Fort Wayne was the $90 session passes—and try to fill those buildings as much as you can. If you want to "grow the sport" you can promise a local regional/FF to areas considering the addition of hockey programs.

In response to this idea, the NCAA announced the next six Frozen Fours would take place in New Zealand.

Miscellaneous

Retconned history. The New York Times has a look at how the Big East fell apart featuring this tactical error back in the day:

Tranghese tried to tell the Big East’s university presidents and athletic directors as much as early as 1989 when he was Gavitt’s assistant. Gavitt thought the conference needed to bring Penn State into the fold. Penn State was an independent at the time, looking for the security of a conference.

The membership voted no, with St. John’s, Villanova and Georgetown leading the resistance. At the end of the meeting, Gavitt asked Tranghese what he thought about the decision. “I said, ‘We will all rue the day about this decision,’ ” Tranghese said. “I understood how big football was. I didn’t understand how big it was going to become.

“At that point, the Big East had so much success in the ’80s, everybody sort of forgot about it.  But I felt looking back on the history of the Big East, that was probably the biggest mistake we made.”

The conference has been regularly pillaged since and will be a nationwide amalgam of mid-major football schools minus flagship Syracuse as a result. I wonder if the Big Ten would still be ten teams today if the Big East hadn't screwed it all up in the late 80s.

Etc.: Wojo on Sunday's events. I bet a dollar Burke and Cody Zeller end up splitting the freshman of the year award. From Old Virginia takes a look at where lacrosse is headed, speculating that Michigan will eventually end up in a "Western" conference with OSU, PSU, Detroit, Air Force, and Denver. BSD recaps the PSU-M game from their perspective. Michigan engineers elect Bender to school board.

Unverified Voracity Executes Ref Bump

Unverified Voracity Executes Ref Bump

Submitted by Brian on September 21st, 2011 at 11:31 AM

The full Hebner. If you've got a Scout account I highly recommend their latest video of Kyle Kalis($). It has many examples of Kalis burying some poor high school kid, sure, but the main attraction is a ref bump worthy of Wrestlemania:

image

At this point in the film I was expecting Luke Fickell to rush in from behind and deliver a low blow, then roll Kalis up for a pin.

In other news, holy crap Kyle Kalis hates people. Molk will be proud.

Will Campbell tackled Thomas Gordon after his INT.

Q: "Did he say anything do you?"
A: "Get off me."

My name is Boris. Michigan let Pryor golf partner and all-around weirdo Dennis Talbott in, but he was calling himself "Tennis Dalbott" and could not be identified:

"I actually spoke to him and told him he would no longer be credentialed," Dave Ablauf, Michigan senior associate athletic director for media and public relations, told ESPN.com. "He came in under a different name than what we were familiar with. Had the name I knew popped up, I wouldn't have credentialed him."

He's been booted, as has the organization he was working with. So… have a free spot on the sideline, do you, Michigan? #callme

Welcome to our pit of shame and despair. Amongst Eleven Warriors' constantly shifting cast of writers is a man named Danny. Danny seems new. Danny seems untouched by trouble, a happy-go-lucky fellow just raring for another bite at life's apple. This is going to last another two months, tops:

In a recent B1G conference power ranking by Adam Rittenberg of ESPN, the Buckeyes are listed at number six in the conference behind Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, and Michigan State.

I expect these numbers to change in OSU's favor by the time B1G play opens up against Michigan State on Oct. 1. Yes, Ohio State had a major meltdown against Miami, but this team will get better if the offense can gain some consistency coming out of this week's game against Colorado.

Rittenberg's rankings are pretty reasonable with the way the Buckeyes have played up to this point, but I expect to see OSU ahead of at least Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State later this season. Ohio State has endured much hardship stemming from last December, but this team is much better than sixth in the conference and time will prove that.

That's right: despite barely cracking 200 yards and only eclipsing 13 passing yards because of two pity throws allowed Braxton Miller at the end of the Miami game, OSU is "at least" better than Illinois, MSU, and Michigan. Danny's not sold on this Wisconsin business, and Nebraska's passing game? Eh… a little shaky.

He may actually be right about Michigan but when The Game is played for that all-important eighth win this guy is going to be a mite peeved, and by "a mite peeved" I mean "catatonic on the floor of a 7-11 in Euclid." At least he's not the guy who thinks a 9-3 projection is "worst case."

The 'freude! You like it this week, too. On Bauserman:

I got 3 lil boys all who can kick his ass and get nothing since they got clean records. honestly I bet someone on campus is going to kick his ass.if I knew where he lived he would take a ass whipping for laughing during that gm and f--- all u lil bitches who got somethin to say on here supporting him

Luke Fickell doesn't understand how time works. He doesn't think you can save timeouts, but he does think that he is going to run off as much time as a team trying to kill the clock:

“We still knew we were going to need two scores. Our thought was if we’re going to need two scores, we’re going to need to have the ability to stop the clock offensively,” Fickell said. “They were running (the clock) out.

“If we look back in hindsight, the very last (third down), maybe it would have saved us 30 seconds in our minds and maybe we could have got a little bit of a breather (for the defense, which) is something that I always look back at. Our thought was, ‘Hey, we’re going to do the best we can to try to make sure we have a couple (of timeouts) to score twice.’ ”

This is a breathtakingly stupid thought. Hire this man, OSU. (HT: DocSat)

ND pregame. We missed an impressively overwritten Tom Rinaldi intro for the Michigan-ND game never got aired because the SEC game went late. Bonus bits include full pregame festivities and Brent Musberger rambling semi-coherently despite no one watching him.

I bet Musberger does this on planes. YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE at a half-ounce packet of peanuts.

Road trips. An Ole Miss fan did the wise thing a couple weeks ago and hit up Ann Arbor instead of watching the Fighting Ackbars go at it one week before they'd feature in Vandy's biggest SEC win in 40 years. Overall gist:

Aside from being an incredibly exciting football game punctuated by a tense, high-flying fourth quarter which featured the Wolverines coming back from a 17-point deficit on the back of Denard Robinson's heroics, this number made the trip itself worth it. 114,804 is the largest attendance number ever recorded in the history of NCAA football. I'm sure that, in time, that record will be broken, but until that happens I will be able to proudly boast that I was a part of the largest crowd to ever watch a college football game. That's cool, dammit.

Bell's is enjoyed. He did us the service of getting a good shot of the U MAD Kelly sign:

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Also, Orson hit up the LSU-Mississippi State game and reports back with what's left of his cowbell-shattered sanity.

You think we're wafer thin? I'll show you wafer thin. Michigan State's offensive line was a sore spot going into the season and has just been poked by Notre Dame to the tune of 27 rushing yards. That ain't good. The injury situation is worse:

A day after Michigan State announced starting right tackle Skyler Burkland will miss the rest of the season following left ankle surgery, Dantonio said starting center Blake Treadwell and backup tackle Jared McGaha will be sidelined with knee sprains.

Both of the latter are questionable for the M-MSU game on the 15th of October; MSU does get center Travis Jackson back this weekend. Dantonio got his customary shot in at Michigan about it, but if I had to pick between OL situations for that game it's a slam dunk for M, which has two solid backups and a complement of experienced starters. Michigan State just flopped a third defensive tackle—one who was seeing playing time!—to offense in less than eight months.

Michigan's situation. With Toussaint and Barnum's apparently healthy returns the injury situation for Michigan is not bad at the moment. Cam Gordon's has been out but is expected to play against SDSU, as is Brandon Herron. Then you've got Woolfolk's array of comically obvious minor injuries and… that's about it. Knock on wood.

Unfortunately shoddy. I was about to be all about Nate Silver's stab in the dark at the relative sizes of college football fanbases because the Big Ten made out like gangbusters and the M-OSU-PSU troika finished 1-2-3, but a little deeper poke into the numbers reveals they fail some basic sanity checks. Braves & Birds:

I love Silver's writing on politics and baseball, but you can tell from his post that he is not a college football fan. If he were, then he would know that he needs to go back to the drawing board when his methodology produces a conclusion that Georgia Tech has 1,664,088 fans, while Georgia has only 1,098,957 fans. Anyone who follows college football in this market …immediately knows that this number is wrong. Georgia sells out every game in a 90,000 seat venue, regardless of opponent. Georgia Tech struggles to fill a 50,000 seat stadium unless the opponent brings fans. Georgia has a fan base that will make massive donations in order to have the right to buy tickets; Georgia Tech has to offer ticket packages to get casual fans in the door.

That highlights a major bias towards 1) metro areas and 2) nerds, and while we joke about Ohio State's fanbase most of the counties in that state do have power. Can't say the same for a lot of places college football is popular.

There's also this:

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When your data includes a note that it is "highly inaccurate" and your results defy common sense it's back to the salt mines.

A ridiculous picture of Ron English for no reason.

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Via Philly.com. EMU is at Penn State this weekend.

Etc.: Big East folks are just bombing everything around them. Jim Boeheim more than anyone. On The Banks is in full Kelly mode, except they're seemingly justified because their ham-handed attempt to force Villanova football into the Big East blew it all up. My favorite part is Jack Swarbrick complaining about people doing things that have "very negative consequences" for other schools. Notre Dame has long been known for its teamwork and spirit of share and share alike, which is why they voted down a big rights increase for Big East football.

Jamiemac tries to say nice things about the Big Ten. A couple of cool counter plays Texas ran against UCLA. SEC expansion remains stupid. Craig James media awards are extra spicy this week. Silver featured.

Unverified Voracity Tents Fingers

Unverified Voracity Tents Fingers

Submitted by Brian on January 7th, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Is there a space ray of some variety that explains this? Mark my words: sometime in the next couple years Jim Tressel will be revealed as a Bond villain whose nefarious plot was to create and deploy some sort of negative PR black hole in Ann Arbor.

Unlike all other Bond villains, his plan has been wildly successful. It took freshly minted Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon two days to land a tiny cameo on the Colbert Report in the midst of a segment on Domino's ballsy decision to admit that their core product is terrible:

www.colbertnation.com

Getting hired as Michigan AD opens the floodgates. By this time next week Brandon will see a real estate deal go sour, various critical members of the athletic department leave for Arkansas, and a pack of velociraptors with digital recorders tear his tasty flesh into long, delicious strips.

Mmmm. Athletic director velociraptor horror bacon.

At least Brandon is well versed in admitting that the core product is a shambolic mess and taking steps towards actual pizza, be it in food or bowl game varieties.

It begins. Black Heart Gold Pants promises "more on this later," which causes a slight tingle in my tingly bits. This is for real, people. It's for real.

leman-stanzi

Yes. This is happening.

Time to call Charles Atlas. Yesterday on the Sporting Blog I pointed out that the Big Ten's bowl performance was somewhere between good and outstanding, depending on whether you want to take peripherals like yards into account, and asked anyone else who writes about college football to notice. Whether they will is yet to be seen.

In the course of it I linked to Rutgers blog Bleed Scarlet's sarcastic reaction to the Big Ten expansion hoopla in an effort to prove just how much crap the Big Ten has been fielding since Ohio State faceplanted against Florida three years ago. When a team whose main accomplishment in the 141 years since it played in the first college football game has been not ceasing to exist is talking smack, you have an image problem that goes beyond rational discussion.

And indeed, Bleed Scarlet notes the post and responds with one of its own that ends like so:

Even if Michigan ever does improve to the point that Big Ten football isn’t a national punchline, the conference as a whole can never fairly receive enough ridicule and disrespect.

What the hell? BS's main complaint appears to be that more people watch Big Ten football even if it's Illinois-Purdue (which was on ESPN) instead of USF-Pitt (which was exiled to Somalia), as if this was a choice ESPN had instead of a long-term contract the Big Ten earned by virtue of having teams people like to watch on television. I mean:

That’s why it’s so maddening that even today, Brian celebrates that the Big Ten is on equal financial footing with the SEC – how is that warranted at all on the merits?

What merits? The Big Ten earns a lot of money because they have a ton of alumni, a culture in which football is important, and a history of success that doesn't evaporate because the conference has struggled through some tough years. Nobody votes except with their dollars and eyes. This isn't a democracy. We're not having a recount. Whine about a lack of Big East respect all you want when it comes to automatic BCS bids—not that the Big Ten has ever spit out the dreck the Big East has with its automatic qualifier—but complaining that it's not fair when it comes to money makes you sound like a fake nihilist with a nine-toed woman.

The Big Ten's recent poor run in the bowls have to do with six letters: USC, which the Big Ten has had to play just about every year since the Trojans can't be bothered against one Pac-10 opponent per season, and BCS, which has dragged more Big Ten runners-up into the big time than any other conference and set up unfavorable matchups down the chain. A few years ago 9-3 Texas played a 6-6 Iowa outfit that had gone 2-6 in conference. Texas won by 3, and somehow the Big Ten's reputation took a hit.

A name to ignore. Probably. I don't think this qualifies as actual information about the mysterious assistant coach opening for reasons that will be bolded. It's an article about Marshall's open defensive coordinator spot:

Is it Chuck Heater?

The University of Florida defensive coach seems like a longshot. Yes, he is the father-in-law of new Marshall defensive line coach Rich Cronin, but this is business.

That's why Heater reportedly is interested in Michigan's vacant defensive coordinator job. ... and vice-versa. Besides that, there still are rumbles about the possibility of Heater staying with the Gators as co-defensive coordinator.

Michigan, obviously, does not have a vacant defensive coordinator job. And since Heater is the "assistant defensive coordinator" on a staff that just lost its defensive coordinator, chances are he's in line for a promotion at a school that isn't Marshall or a poor season or two away from a coaching change. Heater has no history with Rodriguez or Greg Robinson—he's bounced around a lot but never to a spot where either happened to be—and wouldn't be getting a promotion at Michigan. At best he could be the assistant defensive coordinator. The only way this happens is if Meyer brings in a new DC who sweeps out some or all of the existing folk in favor of his own guys.

Harumph. This was covered somewhat in the recruiting post yesterday but a follow-up from me: six players, all on offense, enrolled early but safety Marvin Robinson and quarterback Devin Gardner did not. That's unfortunate because if you asked me to pick the two guys I wanted in early most, I would have picked Robinson and Gardner. I'm still hoping that Gardner can find a way to redshirt this fall—this news definitely increases the chances of that—but if Forcier gets injured, having a slightly more experienced Gardner could be the difference between Rich Rodriguez taking root and getting swept out the door.

That's still less likely to have an impact than Robinson's absence. Robinson is either a safety or an OLB (or "spinner"; from now on I'm just calling the two non-spinners MLBs and the spinner and OLB) and would obviously have been in contention for a starting job somewhere if he enrolled.

Still, it is good to have both Stephen Hopkins and Austin White in early; with the seniors out the door and presumed starter Vincent Smith laid up with an ACL tear that may last into the fall, those two, Mike Shaw, Mike Cox, and Fitzgerald Toussaint will go to war to be 1B to Smith's probable 1A.

Boo, but in a yay way. Hockey picked up a big commit for 2012 in forward Cristoval "Boo" Nieves, who the Hockey News interviewed about a month ago. He was the top player at the USA Select 15s and, FWIW, a guy on Hockey's Future relays that one of the OHL draft scouting services ranks him in the top ten. Apparently he has no interest in that route. That can change, obviously. Please allow me to go weep about Jack Campbell over here.

Etc.: Jim Delany likes it, he really likes it. Billy Taylor on Brandon's hiring. UMHoops revisits the Big Ten freshman class.

UConn in 2009… And Beyond

UConn in 2009… And Beyond

Submitted by Tim on August 17th, 2009 at 3:35 PM

You want UConn to be a good team this year. Seeing the Huskies do well this fall will vindicate the selection by the AD. The Huskies are young on offense this year, with nearly all of the projected starters at the skill positions in their sophomore or junior seasons. They're young defensively as well, though the seniors are distributed a bit more evenly across the three units. Make no mistake: UConn might have a decent team this year (especially with no dominant team in the Big East, as there was during the Rich Rodriguez tenure in Morgantown), and they should be even better in 2010. Bill Martin didn't schedule a doormat.

When To Watch Them

The Huskies don't play in any of the now-traditional Big East Thursday night games, but they'll be on TV enough to catch a game or two over the course of the year:

  • 9-12-09, 12PM: North Carolina, ESPNU
  • 9-19-09, 5PM: @ Baylor (No TV yet)
  • 10-24-09, TBA: @ West Virginia
  • 11-21-09, 2:30PM: @ Notre Dame NBC

You'll See Him

frazerZach Frazer (RS Jr QB) - Frazer was a 4-star QB in the class of 2006, and he signed with Notre Dame. After spring practice in 2007, it became clear that he wasn't going to be out Jimmy Clausen for the starting job (which, lol how that’s turned out), and he decided to transfer to UConn. He sat out the 2007 season in Storrs, and became the team's #2 in 2008. He will take over for Tyler Lorenzen as the starter in 2009, and will be a polished 5th-year senior in his second year of a new system by the time Michigan sees him next year. 

Jordan Todman (Soph RB) - With the departure of workhorse Donny Brown, the Huskies will look to a new source to power the running game. Todman only carried 47 times last season, though in the Brown-centric UConn offense, that was the second-most by a running back. This will be fans' first time to seriously evaluate Todman as a feature back.

Kashif Moore (RS Soph WR) - Moore burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman last year, and became the Huskies' leading receiver (which didn't mean much in last season's offense: he ended up with only 1 touchdown). He'll continue this year, and perhaps develop into a pro prospect by the time Michigan sees him.

Zach Hurd (RS Jr OG) - Hurd played in every game as a backup in 2007, and started every single contest at right guard last year. He's the only starter on the UConn OL who started at the same position last year as he will in 2009, and also returns for the 2010 game. Considering the Huskies' offense last year was run-run-run, a new offensive line probably bodes ill for this season. However, the UConn coaches are hoping that a more highly-touted QB and a lutrus developing, young, receiving corps might allow them to be a little more creative and move the ball in other ways.

Scott Lutrus (RS Jr LB) - In 2007, Lutrus was a (redshirt) Freshman All-American, and he reprised it last year with a team-leading 106 tackles. Most fans outside of Big East country may know him best as a friend of Fat White Guy Rob Lunn. He'll be a team leader in his redshirt junior season, and have tons of experience when Michigan faces the Huskies.

CB Jasper Howard (Jr CB) - Howard will be in his third year as a starter when Michigan faces UConn. He picked off 4 passes last year, and started every single game. He has also acted as a a punt returner for the Huskies' special teams unit, taking one all the way back in 2008.

But Not Him

Mike Hicks (5th Sr RT) - Hicks will be a 4-year starter for UConn. As a redshirt freshman, he started 9 games at right tackle, to go along with starting every game the past two years (the vast majority of them, again, at right tackle). He'll help UConn succeed this year, but if he's a standout for the Huskies, Michigan fans can breathe easy, as they won't have to face him.

Robert Vaughn (Sr FS) - Vaughn hasn't been a longtime starter for UConn, only having started 14 games over the past two years, but he was able to excel last year, named as a second-team all-Big East performer. He was third on the team in tackles with 67, while picking off two passes. He'll be done roaming the secondary after this year, so Michigan fans won't have to worry about him.

The Takeaway

Connecticut, after a resurgent year behind Donny Brown in 2008, will be rebuilding this year. Every preseason magazine picks them to finish 6th in the Big East. They graduate a fair amount of talent, but aside from Brown and the offensive line (and of course Lunn), it doesn't look like they're losing too much that can't be replaced. With a new offensive coordinator and a guru-approved quarterback, they might pass the ball a bit more this year (and a bit more successfully). The team is laden with sophomores and juniors in the 2-deep, so 2010 should be a pretty good year in Storrs—just in time for Michigan to face them. There's a decent chance Michigan fans' perception of this game changes by the time 2010 rolls around. For a bit more on the Huskies, check out a diary and forum post by the_white_tiger.