Those Who Stayed

Those Who Stayed

Submitted by Brian on October 3rd, 2011 at 11:56 AM

10/1/2011 – Michigan 58, Minnesota 0 – 5-0, 1-0 Big Ten


via Mike Martin and Marissa McClain of the Daily

In the depths of Michigan's worst season ever (if you can't divide) or in a damn long time (if you can) they travelled to the Metrodome to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Michigan was 2-7 and without the services of their starting quarterback. Minnesota was 7-2 and in possession of a functional offense. I was posting pictures of Death because Nick Sheridan was going to play the entire game. We were going to hit rock bottom when the Gophers picked up the jug they see once a decade, if that. "Henry Kissinger" was amongst the things projected to be more fun than the Jug game.

Because football is strange, Michigan waltzed into Minneapolis and annihilated the Gophers. The final score was 29-6; total yardage was 435-188. Nick Sheridan completed 60% of his passes and almost eclipsed 7 YPA. Justin Feagin averaged 7 yards a carry.

It was a crazy exception to the nigh-unrelenting misery of 2008. Yeah, they fluked their way into a win over Wisconsin despite getting outgained by 100 yards. Minnesota was different. If you had no knowledge of the context you would have thought it was a year like any other, a Michigan team like any other. Michigan did what they do to Minnesota: beat them without a second thought.

This week multiple newspaper folk took the time to tell people the Jug doesn't matter, but when that awful Michigan team locked arms and walked over to Jon Falk to lift up the only thing they'd held onto, it mattered. Paul Bunyan, the bowl streak, most people's sanity, all of the street cred, and huge chunks of the dignity were gone. The Jug remained.


Martin, Koger, Molk, and Van Bergen were freshmen on that team. Molk started. Koger, Van Bergen, and Martin played but didn't acquire stats. Recruited by Carr, they stuck it out under Rodriguez. Many of their teammates didn't.

As a reward the four above started down a path towards the least rewarding Michigan careers in decades, through little or no fault of their own. You can win Big Ten championships with those four guys as prominent starters. You have to have other people to play football around them, though, and maybe a coach or two who can tell the difference between a stuffed beaver and a 4-3 under. Michigan didn't.

In 2008 they had little on the field and even less off it. According to John Bacon's Three and Out, Lloyd Carr signed off on Justin Boren's transfer to Ohio State and upstanding citizen Jim Tressel. Morgan Trent half-assed his way through the season and tossed bombs at Rodriguez afterwards. Toney Clemons and Greg Mathews would act as sources for the Free Press jihad shortly after the season. Given the result of that investigation it's clear they did so entirely out of spite. Brandon Minor would rail on about how leadership was going to happen in 2009 as people whispered that he was a major source of its lack in 2008. There's probably never been a more dysfunctional Michigan team, and it started from the top.

Freshmen learn from seniors. This is the way of the world. Usually they learn how to be, how to maintain the standards of the program they walked into. The four guys above did it a different way: they learned what not to do. When it came time to meet for the first time in the Hoke era, they decided not to repeat the recent past. Mike Martin:

"‘What are we going to do as a team? Where are we now? We can either not be all in and do what we need to do, or we can work hard together and make sure we’re successful.’ ”

Hoke was also in the room. He remembered Robinson being upset at the media speculating his departure. He remembered fifth-year senior center David Molk getting up in that same meeting and telling everybody the team was going to stick together. …

“When (Robinson) came to us, he was addressing that we as a group — including him — need to make sure that none of the younger guys have doubtful thoughts or might want to stray away,” Martin said. “We didn't want there to be a repeat of last time there was a transfer of a coach.”

Meanwhile, Van Bergen called out the program alums who'd drifted away when times got tough. The message was clear: this is our program. We've been here for four years and gotten nothing but crap. We've paid more dues than anyone in the last 40 years of Michigan football, and now we'd like some payoff.


That payoff was going to be an Alamo Bowl at best. But the seniors' effort, Greg Mattison's expertise, Denard Robinson's existence, the Big Ten's complete horribleness, and Brady Hoke's rectal horseshoe now tempt hope.

Michigan State can't run or stay within three scores of Notre Dame. Nebraska can't throw or keep a good running offense under 30 points. Iowa can't beat Iowa State. It may be a division race on par with one of those years Wake Forest won the ACC, but by God there is a tinny flimsy division championship there to be acquired. Even if it wouldn't be much—in all likelihood it would be a historical footnote after a curbstomping at the hands of Wisconsin—it would at least somewhat fulfill a promise Bo made when he arrived in 1969.

No one's deserved it more than the four guys above. It's relatively easy to be a "Michigan Man" when it's handed down to you. Koger, Martin, Molk, and Van Bergen had to figure it out on their own. They stayed, and figured it out when available evidence suggested being a Michigan Man was endorsing transfers to Free Tattoo University, telling recruits to go to Michigan State, and selling out your own program to a couple of hacks.

A few years ago on the eve of the Ohio State game that ended to that miserable 2008 season I wrote a thing about being an anchorless mid-20s person who is uncertain of where to go or who to be and is sad as a result. In that piece I envisioned Michigan's coaches telling their charges how to get out of this hole:

Some of you will stay. And you will go insane. You will work, and you will work, and we will build something here from nothing. Because, make no mistake, this is nothing. You will build something out of this. If you're a senior next year and you teach some freshman something, you will build something. If you're a freshman and you refuse to quit on your stupid decision, you will build something.

What you build will be yours. Few in the great history of his university have had that opportunity. Everything came based on what came before. They were part of a great chain, now broken.

Those of you who stay will forge a new one, starting today. When we are done we will fix the last link to the broken chain, and break the first link, and tell those who come after us to live up to it.

Whether or not Michigan manages a championship, flimsy or real, Michigan's seniors have done this. This Is Michigan again because they stayed.

Non-Bullets Of Domination

Photogallery. Via the Ann Arbor Observer and Eric Upchurch:

A favorite:


The two QB formation thing. So that was something. That and the double pass touchdown reminded me of that Indiana game prior to Football Armageddon (IIRC) when Michigan dumped out a zillion trick plays to force the opponent to prepare for extra stuff. I didn't like it then and hope that's not the case now, not least because after the first play the thing seemed pretty effective. Gardner implied that was not the case:

“It’s really, really dangerous. We’ve also got Fitzgerald Toussaint back there and Vincent Smith," he said. "You’re going to have to wait and see. It’s going to be pretty dangerous.”


What to call it? Hoke refused to answer a direct question about what we should call it, so it's up to us. Vincent Smith suggests "two," which is a little bland. Ace got a "diamond of doom" suggestion on Twitter; while that's catchy it's also long and jinxtastic. Naturally, Ace wants to extend it to "Denard and Devin's Diamond of Doom" because it abbreviates to DDDD and if there's one thing Ace likes it's repetitive hexadecimal numbers.

But that's long and a bit awkward. Since it's a goofy, misdirection-heavy everyone's-a-QB thing that reminds people of the Mad Magicians I propose calling it "Fritz." It's not exactly what Crisler used to do…

…but what "Fritz" lacks in outright accuracy it makes up for in Getting-Itness.

[BONUS extreme history nerd BONUS: This has set frequent correspondent John Kryk alight with references to not Crisler but Notre Dame's Frank Leahy, who deployed a T formation with a close resemblance to Fritz.


Michigan sort of ran the above. Kryk actually has a diagram in which the T looks identical to Fritz:


I'm pretty sure we'll all way too abuzz about a formation we'll see maybe a half-dozen times the rest of the season, but old-timey football is always cool to see in the flesh. It's why Georgia Tech games remain an abiding fascination.]

Why does the outside pitch not bother me so much in that formation? When we run the I-form fake-dive-to-pitch it's just asking the opposition to key on the running back flying out to the corner because Michigan never runs the dive, and even if they did defenses are like "BFD." When we ran it from Fritz it played off the earlier speed option.

Is it a tenable package against real opposition? If the wildcat can work I don't see why this can't.

Triple option? May be on the way.

Records. Some happened. Smith's touchdown cycle had not been accomplished in the modern era:

It was the first time a player has ran, thrown and passed for a score in modern Michigan football history (post-World War II).

That seemed like a given. I'm waiting for MVictors to dig up the dude who managed it in 1923, because I know it's happened and I know he will.


via Eric Upchurch and the Ann Arbor Observer.

Our helmets have wings… and numbers! Let's avoid the inevitable Rodriguez tradition rehash. It's already been done. Personal opinion of them: whateva. On a scale from 10 to –10 where 10 is Denard, –10 is Pop Evil, and 0 is total indifference I'm a –0.1. I'd rather not have the uniforms futzed with but the numbers have some history to them, don't look terrible, and are a minor adjustment.

I think Hoke should say he'll yank 'em if they lose, though.

On-field takeaways. Minnesota is very not good—we were playing a pretend game where the Gophers got a touchdown every time they crossed midfield and a point every time they succesfully fielded a kickoff and they still lost by 30. So disclaimers apply.

That said: Denard throwing to his receivers—and getting the opportunity to hit some short, confidence-building throws—was encouraging, as was the almost total lack of I-form even deep into the third quarter. That seems like an abandonment. If they were still working on it they would have pulled it out just to practice it, no?

Short stuff.'s Kyle Mienke notes that of Michigan's first 11 passes, eight were five yards or less. He categorizes that crazy seam to Hopkins as "another was over the top to a leaking fullback," which is a goofy thing to try to lump into easy passes for Denard confidence. That was pure DO.

Patrick Omameh. Some evidence he might be struggling in the new offense: he was left on the field much longer than any of the other starters save Schofield, who was forced into the starting lineup by the Barnum injury and was granted time at tackle late.

Possible liberation society addendum. I'm so over the rollouts. It seems like the only way to get Denard Robinson pressured is to roll him out into unblocked contain defenders, which Michigan does plenty. If you leave him in the pocket people are terrified to get out of their lanes and he usually has a lot of time. If you put him on the edge against defenses keying on him he doesn't get outside and he has to make rushed throws on the move that seem to be more inaccurate than his usual ones.

I guess the rollouts do open up the throwback stuff, which has been very successful. And they did insert a heavy dose of sprint draw (AKA That Goddamned Counter Draw), something I've been pleading for since Rodriguez's arrival. So they might be developing a package there. They've got to figure out how to block it.

FWIW, I wasn't a fan of showing the sprint draw against an incompetent opponent. I'd rather Michigan's future opponents not prepare for a potentially game-breaking play. But I've got no evidence behind that.

Field goals. We haz them?


Hoke for tomorrow is getting a little ahead of itself:

It is not hard to see the qualities of Bo in Brady Hoke.  At first I cringed at his seeming overconfidence, at his seeming overuse of Bo-isms, and wondered if he was trying too hard to win Michigan fans' hearts with his bravado.  I don't doubt the man any longer. Brady Hoke has a Bo-like level of expectations for those he leads.  He has expectations of effort, execution, and yes "toughness" that no coach since Bo has required from both his players and his staff.  Hoke isn't making Michigan great again by being an innovator on either side of the ball; he is acquiring the best available parts, constructing a beast-machine, and driving the thing to eventual domination.

These feelings must be fought until the Michigan State game. ST3 goes inside the box score:

This is the section where I discuss turnovers and other momentum changing plays. There was one burst of impetus in this game. Minnesota kicked off to start the game. That's it. They were never in it. I bet that "adjusted winning percentage" diary shows us pegged at 100% for the duration.

Lloyd Brady is unstoppable.


Media as in files. Melanie Maxwell's Ann gallery.


i… I was just trying to field a kickoff

MNB Nation gallery and some pregame shots. MVictors gets various field shots, including one of Will Hagerup's shoes:


I think he may have altered that shot but will check. Greg also has a bunch of jug pictures. Troy Woolfolk posted this on his twitter:


The explanation: "My girl is always experimenting on me." I have no idea? I have no idea.

And finally, eagle-eyed mgouser M Fanfare caught an epic double point from Hoke:


In other Brady Hoke Points At Stuff news, Brady Hoke points at stuff.

Media, as in unwashed internet rabble. I have no idea what "Everybody pants now" means, but if you watch Parks and Rec you probably do. Amongst Adam Jacobi's things he learned in the conference this week:

So while it's easy to just say "But 2010" whenever someone mentions the fact that Michigan is still undefeated, there's one difference that's crucial to point out: the defense is showing up too. Last season, Michigan gave up over 25 points per game in its first five games. This year? 10.2. Yes, it's relevant that 31 points came against Notre Dame in a game the Wolverines had zero business winning and 20 came against tomato cans like Eastern Michigan and Minnesota, but consider that Michigan also spanked Western Michigan 34-10, and that's a Broncos team that came up just shy in a 23-20 loss at Illinois and just took a 38-31 win at Connecticut. So yes, given the context we've got, Michigan is not just pulling a 2010.

Jacobi's still not banking on Michigan "surviving" our "brutal November," but if not surviving means not winning the division instead of collapsing to 7-5 I don't think Michigan fans are going to be too peeved.

Touch the Banner:

Blake Countess is the next Leon Hall.  Yep, I said it.  Minnesota doesn't have the greatest talent in the world, but Countess has looked pretty darn good for two weeks in a row.  Courtney Avery had a nice 83-yard fumble return for a touchdown, but Avery has been getting beaten more regularly than any of Michigan's other corners this year.  He's still not bad, but it looks like Countess will grab a starting spot sooner rather than later.

The Hoover Street Rag notes it was appropriate that Michigan tried a transcontinental-type play on the same day they honored John Navarre, though in that case they were attempting a double pass, not a run. Was anyone else OUTRAGED that the Navarre highlight package didn't include the Buffalo Stampede? That's like having an Alan Branch highlight package without the Morelli elimination.

Holdin' the Rope:

That was an old school Michigan blowout, like the ones you'd watch on ESPN Plus (memory lane, you are there now) back in the day, where nothing was ever in doubt and The Law was that Michigan would average a billion yards a carry under a grumpy Michigan sky. It's always the ideal of overindulgence, and if anything it's a reminder of how far we've come since 2008 when beating Minnesota on the road was considered an upset.

Maize and Go Blue likes getting it. BWS hates RR for not getting it.

Media as in newspaper type things. Brian Bennett's take from the ESPN Big Ten blog:

f and when Minnesota can get back to being competitive in the Big Ten, the Gophers can use Saturday's game as a motivational tool.

Hopefully for them, they'll remember this as rock bottom. Because Michigan blew the doors off Jerry Kill's team in a 58-0 humiliation at the Big House. The Wolverines have dominated this Little Brown Jug series for the last 40 years, but Saturday's margin of victory was the largest in the long-running semi-rivalry. It was the fifth-largest win in Michigan history, and that's a lot of history there.

Are we seriously declaring a knee to end the game as a failed redzone opportunity, News?

For Michigan, this game was a chance to flex its muscles offensively and defensively, add a few wrinkles and give as many players as possible — in this case, 71 — an opportunity to play. Michigan was 8-of-9 in the red zone against the Gophers and is now 21-of-22 for the season (17 touchdowns and four field goals).

No, we are not.

Via the Daily, some facts that sum up last year's field goal kicking:

The three field goals were each career longs [for Gibbons] at the time, starting from 25 yards and going to 32 yards and to 38 yards. In five games this season he’s missed just one field goal — a 40-yard try against San Diego State.

Jennings on Vincent Smith's diverse day. Rothstein on Michigan's domination.

Unverified Voracity Ran This With Navarre

Unverified Voracity Ran This With Navarre

Submitted by Brian on August 24th, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Countdown: 10.


I figure that if the children are alive when I get home, I've done my job.
Roseanne Barr

Hatch encouragement. Austin Hatch's latest Caring Bridge update is very encouraging.

Pick Six: the return. Notre Dame blog Blue-Gray Sky used to run an annual contest wherein blog users would pick six teams, five from the AP poll and one unranked, that users thought would do well. Because they know what verbs are and can count, they called this Pick Six. (Ohio State fans would have called it "Ramming Speed.")

One user around here has been missing it since BGS called it a day a few years ago and finally stopped waiting for me to do something about it. Presenting Pick Six: The Return.

Contest king Jeff does not have a prize, but I do: the top five all get a free MGoShirt from the MGoStore and the winner gets three.


click for store

All these could be yours. Or other items, like maize versions. Hit up the google doc to get registered, and don't pick Michigan if you want to win.

U MAD, media? Brady Hoke is trolling the media. They hit up practice and get to see a bunch of stretching and Brady Hoke punting, and then:

The media saw only one snap from organized drills, and it was a carry by running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is among the seven players vying to become Michigan’s first lead tailback since 2007.

That's worse than not opening practice at all. Someone photoshop Trollface onto Hoke pointing at something.

Tangent: I wonder if the Fort is back in earnest after watching a significantly lamer edition of the BTN's tour show. We got hardly any insight and they were so hard up for video they showed the same plays a half-dozen times. Will Michigan still issue an injury report this year?

No need to hit play. This is Hoke talking about his team from yesterday:

But I'm just putting it here so I can compare him to Towlie.


He's even pointing.

Q: How is will Campbell doing? A: I have no idea what's going on.

Send this to Borges a thousand times. Smart Football's latest post is on the speed option, something we've never seen the good side of Michigan. We've been annihilated by it time and again; never have we used its powers for good.

Apparently it's just what we already run with added oopmh:

What further makes the play so good is that these concepts are universal; they are not tethered to a single offense or system. The play works from under center or shotgun, and has been effectively used by teams with great running quarterbacks and it has been used by teams with more pedestrian quarterbacks as just a cheap way to get the ball to the outside.

In modern form, the play is simple. The line outside zone blocks, which means they step playside seeking to cut off the defense and to even reach them as they can. The linemen work together to double-team the defensive linemen before sliding off to block the linebackers, and the idea is to create a vertical crease somewhere between a spot outside the tight-end and the sideline. The offense leaves an outside guy unblocked, typically either the defensive end or the strongside linebacker. The quarterback takes the snap and runs right at the unblocked defender’s outside shoulder. If the defender stays wide, the quarterback cuts up the inside crease (and typically looks to cut back against the grain). If the defender attacks the quarterback or simply stays inside, the QB pitches it.

To everyone except the runners that's a read option or outside zone. Meanwhile, the quarterback is attacking the same side of the defense the line is and is moving towards the LOS when he makes his decision. The lack of true option plays last year was likely an artifact of Denard's rawness; adding them is a good way to suck defenders to that threat without getting him killed. (You can get killed running the option, of course, but speed options from the gun seem less likely for that to happen because the QB has more time to make a decision.)

Additionally, the speed option seems like a good way to combat scrape exchanges. If that DE is hammering down the line he's blocked himself when the play heads the other way, and then another defender gets optioned off.

Chris praises the speed option as a simple, economical wrinkle you can put in even when your quarterback is not particularly fleet of foot. Even if Borges is not an expert on running quarterbacks, adding a true option to Michigan's repertoire seems doable. As a bonus, the speed option gives Michigan a run play that uses Denard from under center. An example:

Michigan's existing zone system paired with under-center running that uses Denard. Sex? Sex.

You can take things back. If only the Big Ten had the humility of Iowa Corn:

"The overwhelming feedback has been negative," he said. "Because we've listened ... people want something different than what was proposed last week. And we as Iowa corn growers and the farmers we represent, we want people to be happy."

A temporary trophy will be designed for this year's game on Sept. 10. Fans will be able to suggest a design for the more permanent replacement.

"The new Cy-Hawk trophy, we trust, will truly be something fans will embrace," Floss said.

The vetoed trophy is en route to the third world, where it will become the African Cup of Nations. The temporary trophy will be briefly labeled "interim" until that hurts recruiting; then it will be not interim, but not hired, either.

If Jim Delany was in charge of this, the new trophy they debut for the 2012 game would be exactly the same instead of what it should be: a hawk in an F16 shooting a missile at a tornado.

Evanston: so hood. I saw this on twitter but dismissed it as a joke. It is not a joke:

Does Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa have a limp or not?

‘‘Your limp could be somebody else’s pimp walk,’’ Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

You'll have to forgive me a moment of regret that Michigan didn't score Fitzgerald during its coaching search.

(HT: Rittenberg.)

Even more Hart. Man, Mike Hart takes a coaching job and everyone's all up in his business. This time it's the Syracuse press reliving his high school days and publishing an extensive interview with him. Hart's career goals:

“As I look forward, I want to be a head football coach of a college program that wins a national championship. My next goal is to go down as one of the best-known coaches. I’d like to be on the level of Lloyd Carr. I plan on being a great coach one day.”

He also says his exit was because he couldn't stay healthy—"If it was my business, I wouldn’t risk my money on somebody who got hurt every fourth game, either"— and flatly refuses to ever work for OSU or MSU. Recommended.

Etc.: The Dayton Daily News has just discovered that Terry Talbott got a medical scholarship a month ago. Do not panic about Terrance's status—at least don't do so because of that. Bill Connolly throws up his hands when trying to project OSU's season. Corn Nation previews Michigan—hey, that's us! Their poll about the game is split nearly 50-50 as to who wins. Weird. Just Cover looks at MSU and their Vegas-set over under of 7.5 wins.

Where's the Manball?

Where's the Manball?

Submitted by Brian on August 11th, 2011 at 11:42 AM

brady-hoke-pointing someMAN IN BALL

Even before Brady Hoke started answering questions like this…

Q: How will Denard Robinson fit in this offense?

A: This is Michigan!

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

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

Q: What kind of off—


Q: You—


/teaches journalist about Mad Magicians

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

So… like… WTF?


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

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

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

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

In short,


Where's the manball?

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

Is the manball in previous teams?

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

How about the apex of his Ball State career?


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

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

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

Is the manball in the offensive structure?

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

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

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

So how does that jive with this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The things that are said contradict each other

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

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

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

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

Some Justification For The Recruiting Tizzy

Some Justification For The Recruiting Tizzy

Submitted by Brian on June 14th, 2011 at 1:21 PM


he wants you (probably not you unless you're 6'6")

Brady Hoke's swashbuckling recruiting start has put Michigan fans in a tizzy, yrs truly included. Whenever anyone's in a tizzy there's someone there to say "hey, wait a minute," and this is no exception: amongst the many threads that can be summed up with three punctuation marks—!!!—is a small cadre of very rational people who note a significant number of three stars and lack of top 100 types.

One of them did some research:

I looked at Rivals data for every year since 2002, when they first started rating. I looked at the total number of 4 and 5 star recruits each year, and then calculated that as a percentage of the overall class. As we know, 4 and 5 star recruits are what fans think of as "elite" recruits, and if you look at elite recruits as a percentage of the overall class, you can get a rough idea of the "quality" of that year's class.

There are major caveats with this approach, starting with a huge one; this year's class isn't finished being rated, since none of have even played a game as a senior in H.S. Also, the class isn't, like, complete. Finally, the usual caveats of recruiting ratings apply as well. But since fans are typically using ratings to proclaim their happiness with recruiting, it seems fair to at least look at the early ones, just as we do around here in Tim's "Hello' posts. So here goes:

YEAR- #4/5* of # in class (%)

2002- 11 of 21 (52%)

2003- 13 of 17 (77%!)

2004- 13 of 22 (59%)

2005- 10 of 23 (44%)

2006- 11 of 19 (58%)

2007- 7 of 20 (35%)

2008- 17 of 24 (71%)

2009- 14 of 22 (64%)

2010- 6 of 27 (23%)

2011- 6 of 20 (30%)

2012 to date- 7 of 16 (45%)

So of the 11 years that Rivals has recruiting rated, there have been 4 of those years that, by looking at 4 and 5 star percentage of class, this year's class so far has beaten. And of course 6 that had a higher percentage of the class rated as elite by Rivals. Again, I don't draw any conclusions here because of the above caveats, but I do find it interesting. What do you think?

I think the above guy does have a point. Michigan is not suddenly recruiting on par with USC at its apex. That's fine. We are a beaten down fanbase that reached for the spread stars and melted its bowl streak and self respect. A return to, say, the #6 program in the country—its record during the Carr era—would be a welcome change. Michigan's recruiting from the early part of the survey contributed to that and a return to it is a good thing.

But just glancing at the number of four stars sells Michigan a little short. Here's why:

Rivals Is Relatively Down On The Class

247 and Scout are higher on Michigan's commits. The original poster returned to make this point when asked by commenters: 56% of Michigan's commits have four stars on Scout, which puts it above six of the previous ten classes.

Big Classes Are Tougher To Fill

Michigan is apparently headed to 26 this year, a number that should strike fear into every 5'8" guy on the roster other than Vincent Smith*. There's a set number of highly touted guys interested in you no matter how big your class is, so getting to 16 so early with seven four stars (or nine or whatever) should mean Michigan can hold out for bigger fish and come to rest with an impressive, large class.

*[This does make me uncomfortable: they have about 19 spots now and while a standard attrition rate gets them close-ish to that number, outright planning on sending guys out is approaching Saban territory. I hope there are completely legitimate reasons the guys who leave do so but that's getting into "but he really wanted to go to South Alabama!" territory. We'll see.]

Not All Three Stars Are Created Equal

Rivals actually breaks down players into eight tiers: a five star gets 6.1, four stars 6.0, 5.9, or 5.8, three stars 5.7, 5.6, or 5.5, and two stars 5.4. Michigan's committed three stars all get a 5.7 from Rivals save Mario Ojemudia, who gets a 5.6. They've all got good offers from program established at a BCS level:

  • Ben Braden: Wisconsin (and Michigan State)
  • Devin Funchess: Nebraska (and Michigan State)
  • Matt Godin: Wisconsin (and Michigan State)
  • Kaleb Ringer: Iowa
  • Anthony Standifer: Notre Dame
  • AJ Williams: Arkansas (and Michigan State)
  • Ojemudia: Iowa, Stanford (and Michigan State)
  • Allen Gant: Stanford

Only Caleb Stacey (best other offer: BC or Illinois) doesn't have an offer from a program that's done pretty well for itself over the last five or so years.

While none of those offer lists says "you have obviously ranked this prospect wrong (or he's fibbing about who wanted him)" there's a big difference between a 5.7 three star Nebraska was after who is a four star to the other sites and the three stars in Michigan's 2006 class. Only Quintin Patilla got a 5.7. Patilla and Obi Ezeh were snatched away from the MAC; Quintin Woods had an Iowa offer but didn't qualify, something that no current commit seems to be on watch for—certainly no three star. John Ferrara (Penn State) and Perry Dorrestein (Nebraska) each had one other good-ish BCS offer but didn't get that 5.7 and Nebraska then was Callahan Nebraska. Greg Banks shows an Oklahoma(!) offer on his profile but I'm not buying that; he was nondescript 5.6.

Similarly, of Michigan's 11 three-star-or-worse commits in 2005 only two (La Terryal Savoy and Mister Simpson) got a 5.7.

This is where some light Carr tsking has to go: Michigan's strike rate in the late Carr era was dismal. Exactly one three star* from 2006 or 2005 can claim to be anything other than a desperation starter: Mark Ortmann. In just 2005 Ohio State dug up Brian Hartline, Malcolm Jenkins, James Laurinaitis, Anderson Russell, Donald Washington and Brian Robiskie. That's six guys currently in the NFL rated three stars or lower by Rivals. We can talk all the crap we want about Terrelle Pryor but the current Buckeye dominance wasn't just built on loaner cars and birthday parties. They annihilated Michigan when it came to unplucked gems.

Similarly, Rich Rodriguez's classes were laced with academic washouts, insta-transfers, and guys with offer sheets nowhere near the solid lists Michigan's current commits have.

While we've got little evidence Hoke can manage the same trick OSU did the chances he comes up as empty the Carr regime did towards the end are slim, and the chances he suffers as much attrition as Rodriguez are zero.

*[Other than Zoltan Mesko, who is a punter. He got three stars but for recruiting sites giving a kicker three stars is the equivalent of giving anyone else five.]

Michigan State: Goo

This has already been established. Brady Hoke has turned Michigan State recruiting into a national endeavor. Good luck with that, kids.

Notre Dame Is Not Invincible

Recruiting against Notre Dame became virtually impossible for Michigan after Charlie Weis (of all people!) ascended to the top job in South Bend. Throw a rock at Notre Dame's highly touted, highly disappointing offensive line and you have about an 85% chance of hitting a guy who Michigan had offered and pursued heavily. (Don't worry: in response he will only mewl pitifully and see his draft stock plummet.) When Michael Schofield committed to Rich Rodriguez, this was a tremendous outlier.

Notre Dame always did well against Michigan since they had an edge with upstanding gentlemen from Catholic schools and upstanding gentlemen from elsewhere were a dogfight, but in the late Carr/Rodriguez era that went from a slant to an avalanche.

Hoke hadn't fought with Notre Dame much early but four of the last five commits—Erik Magnuson, Tom Strobel, Anthony Standifer, and Terry Richardson—had offers from Notre Dame. Richardson is Cass Tech and his buds are commits and etc etc, but

  • Standifer is from Chicago, where Notre Dame has been kicking Michigan's head in for decades,
  • Magnuson is from the West Coast, where Michigan recruiting had evaporated under Rodriguez and Notre Dame does pretty well, and
  • Strobel is from the Cleveland area, which is historically one of the least-friendly places for Michigan recruiting. (Information per Misopogon, his past diary, and his upcoming Hail To The Victors article.)

That's a burst of success against the Irish unlike any Michigan has seen in a long time.

Ohio State: Self-Immolated

This is impossible to judge in a vacuum; recruiting against the Buckeyes is going to be a lot easier for the foreseeable future. Does Tom Strobel swing to Michigan if Jim Tressel forwards that email to compliance? Maybe, maybe not. Probably not. However, even if Ohio recruiting's skids are considerably greased the next few years Hoke has an opportunity to become an equal(-ish) force in the state comparable to the Bo/Mo/early Lloyd era when recruiting an Ohio player was like going up against Notre Dame: yeah, there's a subset of that population you're basically Sisyphus with but you are going to win a sizeable chunk of those battles.

Shane Morris

Shane Morris. In a similar vein, the things people are hearing about Wormley, Pipkins, Diamond, and even the buzz on Adolphus Washington.

Evaluating A Proper Level Of Giddiness

I do think the research guy above has a point. While Rivals is the most pessimistic data point at the moment, Michigan killing the Midwest without pulling in any of the truly big time recruits from Ohio, Illinois, or Pennsylvania (yet, anyway) is a  baseline for Michigan's success if it's going back to a This Is Michigan strategy. Hopefully over the next eight months we'll see them pare back to an elite corps of guys they're after and close out with VHTs. If they don't it's going to look like a pretty good Carr class. If they do it's going to crack the top five and set the stage for a major realignment of power in the region.

Unverified Voracity Summons Chris Hansen

Unverified Voracity Summons Chris Hansen

Submitted by Brian on March 7th, 2011 at 4:13 PM

So there's this.


There you go.

Screening. Very cool article from Mike Rothstein on the increasing use of ball screens and pick-and-roll in college basketball going all the way back to the days when LaVall Jordan was helping run it at Butler. It comes complete with pithy epigram:

The ball screen forces defenses to choose where they want to recover.

John Beilein has started using it frequently, getting Jordan Morgan a wide array of dunks and others various open shots—I wonder if that's Jordan's influence? Here is where we compare and contrast Beilein's program reboot after last season with Rodriguez's defensive flailing. [comparison] [sadness/frustration] [basketball team swept state] [woo]

Literally less than nothing. I was away when SI came out with a story about college football criminals heavy on the research and light on the context. The blogosphere duly blew it up. I'm with Braves & Birds in that I'd rather have a big media organization doing research instead of, you know, not doing it, but I'm also with Orson when he rips it. Two main takeaways:

  1. Journalists are terrible with numbers. It's appalling. I bet there isn't a journalism program in the country that requires a statistics course. They are the equivalent of dog groomers once you bring out a decimal point.
  2. Journalists will not stand for doing a lot of research and declaring "nothing to see here."

SI found nothing but still made the monkey dance:

Of those seven percent, "nearly 60 percent…were guilty or paid some penalty". If we assume "nearly 60 percent" means 57% (shockingly, the actual numbers and survey methods aren’t given), then 4% of players on top 25 football teams have been actually convicted of, or plead guilty to, a crime.

The number of average college students with the same criminal record? According to this article from Corvallis, Oregon’s Daily Barometer, 3.45%. That’s right: Your typical college football player is one-half of one percent more likely to have a criminal conviction. To put that in perspective, a team of 85 players has half a person more convicted criminals on it than a sample of 85 students drawn randomly. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife.

"Nothing" is actually generous. Consider that the kids on college football teams are disproportionately male (duh), black (45% as of 2006), and poor (presumably, right?) and that male, black, and/or poor groups tend to have more criminal activity. SI really discovered that putting someone on a college football team is a good way to keep them out of trouble. Which, duh. You're giving them something to lose.

Braves & Birds criticizes a lack of "solutions" in the SI problem, but how do you solve the opposite of a problem? (Other than hire Greg Robinson.)

BONUS: Remember the Free Press going ape that Michigan didn't do a juvenile background check on Demar Dorsey? Yeah

…when the nut graf of the piece mentions that only two out of 25 programs conduct background checks on their incoming recruits, there's two instances of serious slippage here. First, programs probably don't do them out of negligence and cost, not because they know that juvenile records searches are sketchy business at best. Second, they assume this means anything when they also write this in the middle of the piece:

Nor did SI and CBS News have access to juvenile arrest records for roughly 80 percent of the players in the study.

The issue of background checks for most recruits in most states is dead before you finish the first page of the article.

BTW, Feldman's latest features a bunch of quotes($) from coaches and administrators citing the same problems bloggers did.

The way it had to end. MSU's hockey team did get swept in Fairbanks, ending Rick Comley's career, but it wasn't easy. Both games went to overtime. On Friday Michigan State had a potential game-winner ruled out and suffered a seemingly controversial UAs game winner. This caused an epic fit of bitching on MSU player twitter feeds—Derek Grant hashtagged "awful," "embarrassing," and "disgraceful" in a single tweet—that suggested Comley had complained to his players about the call in the locker room. The disgraceful event: the MSU net lifted up momentarily but was settled on its moorings before the shot was taken.

MSU's season ended the next night with another overtime goal, and thus ends Rick Comley's career. That's karma. This is something beyond it:

Michigan State hockey head coach Rick Comley reportedly was involved in a physical confrontation Friday night in the Carlson Center with Alaska Nanooks fans Robert Downes, a Fairbanks Superior Court judge, and his daughter, attorney Amy Tallerico.  …

Downes, during a telephone interview Saturday, said he talked to Comley after the game. “It was a comment on his complaining about every goal that was scored,” Downes said.

The confrontation reportedly turned physical and Tallerico allegedly was struck. Speaking Saturday night, Tallerico said they exchanged shoves. Her father said she filed a complaint with the CCHA.

I'm not inclined to believe a random fan who dispenses frontier justice over Comley—never been anything but stonefaced in my experience—but for Comley to get into a confrontation with a fan in the last weekend of his career is a weird echo of the Kampfer incident that was the beginning of his end. May it haunt his dreams.

Meanwhile. Other than State getting swept it was a bad week for Michigan on the TUC cliff. OSU and NMU both lost, ending their seasons. Michigan's 5-1 record against them is now gone. Compounding matters, NMU's loss against BGSU sends the Falcons to Yost for a second-round series that can't do much to help Michigan. Sweeping gets them .001 for their RPI.

mfan_in_ohio broke down the comparisons in a diary bumped yesterday, but a brief recap:

  • Michigan is still the last one-seed but lost a comparison against UNO. That will be tough to get back unless Bemidji State starts winning games.
  • Denver lost over the weekend, keeping them behind M. Michigan can probably stay in front of them by doing at least as well as they do but pulling BGSU complicates things. Denver has a much better opponent this weekend and could pass Michigan in RPI if they win the WCHA.
  • Any chance of stealing the BC comparison is gone after the Eagles swept UNH.
  • Miami will be dangerously close to passing M if they sweep this weekend but since one or the other will have to lose it's kind of a moot point.
  • Ferris is safe as a TUC.
  • Lake State can become a TUC by beating ND.

In simple terms, if Michigan wins the CCHA they will very probably be the last one-seed. If they don't they'll be a two.

More dudes. A local newspaper article on 2013 commit Tyler Motte lists offer-type substances:

Motte committed recently to the University of Michigan, choosing the Wolverines over Miami (Ohio), Ferris State, Western Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State.

It's even more difficult to sort fiction from reality when it comes to college hockey offers since their recruiting cycle is so accelerated, but Miami was Motte's "second choice" so that's probably legit. They're a good team to snatch a recruit from. Knock on wood, but Motte does not sound like he'll give the OHL half a thought. Backing that up: his older brother is ticketed for Ferris.

Michigan continued its run of getting commits from kids who will hit campus after the Mayan apocalypse with 2013's Alex Talcott, a teammate of Alex Kile on Honeybaked's U18 midget major team. He had an 0-10-10 line at the recent Select 15 camp and was the seventh-best forward there according to USHR. All they said was "good hands," though. Michigan Hockey Net has a full googlestalk of Talcott waiting for you; FWIW, The Scouting News claims he's an NTDP "cinch."

This is a bit convoluted. But Simmons's latest column on the NFL is a compelling takedown of the sort of shortsighted thinking that plagues NFL owners specifically and, more generally, anyone who is obsessed with getting the highest Financial Oligarch Pacman score at the expense of the future. That people like Daniel Snyder and Dan Gilbert can own incredibly expensive sports franchises is a condemnation of the whole system. If those comic-sans-deploying, Mark-Shapiro-hiring idiots can make billions of dollars just so they can prove their ineptness in games with a score the idea this is a meritocracy is fanciful, isn't it?

Etc.: Yost introduces $38 "all you can eat" seats. Seriously. Red Berenson will be honored by the Blues today. All Big Ten teams from UMHoops; Morris second, Hardaway third, Morgan and Hardaway all-frosh. Kellen Russell wins a Big Ten championship in wrestling. Even tackles can be too tall.

Spock And A Hoke Place

Spock And A Hoke Place

Submitted by Brian on January 14th, 2011 at 3:16 PM

In a van down by the river. Yes, okay, in a van down by the river. You can stop emailing me this.

In a van down by the river. Hoke's talked to Adam Rittenberg. Here's yet another image of Brady Hoke pointing at stuff:


This is good. This makes him basically Urban Meyer.

As far as the actual WORDS Brady Hoke was SAYING, I get the feeling that in six months we're going to be able to do this in our sleep:

I want to make sure we're crystal clear on the direction we want to go. They have to understand the goal of the program and how we're going to go about achieving that goal, the accountability to each other, the toughness that we want to play the game with, the mentality we want to play the game with and the demeanor that you play the game with.

He also says Denard is definitely staying and will be "the lead part of our offense." In part two he says "represent Michigan," "represent the University of Michigan," and "play Michigan football." This man is on message.

Dollarz. Michigan's buying out the remainder of Hoke's contract for a million dollars, which you knew. They're also going to be paying out an extremely precise sum for next fall's game against the Aztecs:

Michigan agreed to pay $1,016,800 for SDSU to play the game in Ann Arbor. “That will be a fun one,” Sterk said.

The tomato cans are getting expensive these days. Actually, with SDSU sporting a senior quarterback in 2011 and Michigan's secondary still trying to figure out which way "left, left, LEFT GODDAMN LEFT AAAARGH" is dubbing SDSU a "tomato can" might be getting ahead of ourselves. The last time they came to town it took a who-dat freshman tailback named Mike Hart to pull Michigan's ass out of the fire in a too-narrow 24-21 win.

Also from that article: SDSU's 22 verbals are not wavering according to their new coach. Just in case you were wondering if we could pick off players from the fifth-ranked class in the MWC.

A (the?) defensive coordinator candidate. The name being thrown around at the moment for Michigan's open defensive coordinator spot is former Michigan assistant Vance Bedford, who was the DBs coach from 95-98. After that stint he had a six year tenure as a DB coach with the Bears, was hired by Oklahoma State to be DC, was fired after two years, returned to Michigan for Carr's final season, left for Florida to be DBs coach, and was named Louisville DC when Charlie Strong got that job.

Louisville put up some nice numbers this year but when the head coach is Charlie Strong it's questionable how much impact you're having. Also, playing in the Big East had an impact on that—they're a good-not-great 40th in FEI, one slot behind UConn. Bedford's previous tenure as a DC did not end well. Just a few games into his second season as AD he unleashed this

Monday, after OSU's defense surrendered 509 yards in a loss at Houston, Bedford said: "People are saying, ‘Well, same 'ol Oklahoma State.' Go tell those people that told that same 'ol lie to go ahead and jump off the ship like a bunch of roaches. That's OK because that's what they are, a bunch of roaches.

…and then refused to back off of it later. This probably did not help his case to keep his job; neither did finishing 95th and 89th in total defense in his two years. Oklahoma State got worse after he left, FWIW.

Hiring Bedford would be another shrug-your-shoulders moment. There's no reason to expect he's awesome but he's not Greg Robinson.

Campbell spins like a top. According to ESPN—weird source for this obscure news—Will Campbell will move back to defensive line. That might be an indication Hoke is planning a 4-3, where Campbell might fit better as a planetoid-sized NT whose job is to be the unmovable object.

The problem with this is that Campbell was very moveable in his brief stints on the field and people generally thought Bruce Tall was the one defensive assistant who could find his ass in three tries. Since Michigan has a couple of quality candidates to replace Steve Schilling they might as well try Campbell out in a scheme that fits him better than the 3-3-5 did. I'm still doubtful he's going to suddenly figure things out.

The Hoke file. Your long fluff piece on new coach X fell to Lynn Henning and reveals a strange opinion about vegetables:

"He didn't like vegetables. His favorites were two of the dumbest: cooked spinach and Brussels sprouts."

What's your problem with spinach and brussels sprouts, Mother Hoke?

BONUS: Phrases deployed include "crackerjack recruiter," "sublime hire," "astonishingly pure love for Michigan," and "the fun, the glory."

Etc.: Headlines you'll see. MVictors has handy sound clips you can embed whenever a thing Brady Hoke said in his introductory press conference aligns with your thoughts and feelings. Podcast appearance on Bucknuts, though you still have to login to hear it. San Diego is slightly more laid back than West Virginia about football.