Unverified Voracity: RIP, Jim Mandich

Unverified Voracity: RIP, Jim Mandich Comment Count

Brian April 27th, 2011 at 12:34 PM


RIP Jim Mandich. Jim Mandich passed away last night. As with Vada Murray I don't have any of my own memories about Mandich, so I'll just offer condolences to all who do. MVictors republished a post containing a Sam and Ira interview of Mandich from a couple years ago.

An eagle-eyed poster on the board noted that TE Brandon Moore just tweeted he'll be switching from 88 to 89 this fall. While that's just because he's playing special teams with Roh, if they could get Mike Jones to switch away from 27 they might be able to do something with those jerseys this fall.

The resounding chorus. Everywhere you turn these days there's a guy flogging NBA draft analysis telling Darius Morris to GTFO of the draft. Mike Rothstein flags down anonymous scouts:

“If somebody is in good academic standing and still needs to improve his game, which I think he is in both of those categories, then it only makes sense to come out if you’re going to be in the first round.

“And I don’t think he would be.”

So does Luke Winn:

"I can't see him getting picked in the first round," one scout said. "He has a good feel, especially in transition, but there are still some issues with shooting [25.0 percent on threes] and athleticism that leave a lot to be desired."

And Chad Ford($):

Morris is on the first-round bubble. Most scouts believe he should return to Michigan for at least one more year.

Despite that, the vibe out there is Morris will enter the draft anyway, thus thoroughly depressing everyone. Ford does say he's "very much on the fence," for what it's worth. The deadline to withdraw is May 8th.


via MZone

The definition of gamut. Ohio State fans have spent the last few days reacting to the widespread reaction to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations. Responses include:

  • Hey, wait a minute, nothing happened and everyone still talking about how terrible we are. Yes. This is something to get used to. It's going to happen at least twice more before anything is resolved. To be fair to the general alarm sent up earlier this week, the NOA came out at the same time the Dispatch's news side got FOIAs back that revealed a more extensive correspondence about the Cicero emails—we did learn some new stuff, and it was not new stuff helpful to Tressel or OSU.
  • Everyone does it. "In Big-Time College Football Nobody Is Innocent." This may be true. Michigan fans certainly said it during the Jihad, but in that case we had a lot of anonymous and non-anonymous coaches saying the same thing. Here not so much. Certainly there are degrees of innocence and Tressel appears to have lost all of them.
  • NA NA NA NA NA CAN'T HEAR YOU. "Jim Tressel Is Safe and Bruce Feldman Is Wrong" about Jim Tressel not being safe.
  • Heads should roll. "Jim Tressel should resign or be fired." Self explanatory. Author does not get crucified in the comments.

Meanwhile, an Eleven Warriors poll showed OSU fans split right down the middle:


One of those ESPN polls that people drag out when Idaho stands alone shows only Ohio believes Tressel should be retained but it's close: 60-40 in favor. This is kind of like when Michigan fans were 33% fire RR, 33% keep RR, 33% don't know. It's not a fun spot. This is fine by me—OSU fans have had vastly more than their fair share of fun since Tressel showed up.

The comfy chair. MVictors has his season ticket renewals in hand and relates you can now rent your seat cushion if you are fed up with the onerous task of carrying it into the stadium:


Just 32 dollars. Greg frets about what this will do the aesthetics of the empty stadium. I'm not sure it's a big deal but it will be awkward if people in the seats painted yellow hit these up. Maybe they have an inverted version for those?

I won't be partaking because the last three OSU games have featured our section not just standing but standing on the benches for the first quarter or so. That may be comfy but it's probably not great to stand on.

Further adventures in eking out marginal revenue. The Big Ten is considering changing their game times to noon, 3:30, and 7. If those seem like the current game times, they are, but that's like this "central" time zone thing:

If you're one of those Big Ten football fans who despised the frequent 11 a.m. starting times for games, take heart. They might be a thing of the past.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is lobbying hard in negotiations with the television networks to do away with them. If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games next season will start at either noon, 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.

Big Ten noon games are now mostly in the hands of the BTN but it's hard to imagine ABC/ESPN moving their traditional 3:30 afternoon game to 4:30 just because some Iowans want to get drunk. Also this only furthers the conspiracy against fans who would like to see something, anything other than their game before the night games start. Also also that makes 4:30/7 games freakin' cold.

If the BTN wants to show games in the central time zone at 1 the only thing stopping them is their contract with ESPN, so fine. These days the average number of CST Big Ten 11 AM starts that show up anywhere else seems very small. I'm not sure why they have to mess with everyone else's start times to do that.

Etc.: Herbstreit bombs OSU. Spielman is less mean but clearly thinks this is srs. Herbstreit has been excommunicated. DocSat assesses the potential damage. PSU fans wonder how OSU evaded a "lack of institutional control" charge when one of the examples is "The institution fails to make clear that any individual involved in its intercollegiate athletics program has a duty to report any perceived violations of NCAA rules and can do so without fear of reprisals of any kind." Sports By Brooks rounds up additional funny stuff.


RIP Vada Murray

RIP Vada Murray Comment Count

Brian April 7th, 2011 at 12:42 PM

I'm a bit too young to have anything personal to say about Vada Murray. I don't remember him playing, as anything other than a guy with cancer.

It's one of the great things about the internet, though, that the collective can make up for any one individual's shortcomings. Wolverine Historian put together a Murray highlight reel that lets you see what Jamiemac wrote about a couple years ago in HTTV—Murray and Tripp Welborne blocking everything in sight—amongst other things:

RIP. Also if you would talk to God about lightening up on the safeties now that would be good.


Unverified Voracity Scales Mount Indiana

Unverified Voracity Scales Mount Indiana Comment Count

Brian April 23rd, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Bubbly. AnnArbor.com catches up to a smiling Brandon Graham after his selection by the Eagles:

Rarely have I been so happy for a Michigan player. After the last two years, Graham deserves every good thing that can possibly happen to him. I hope he learns how to fly.

(Also: can I take a moment to tout how useful UFRs have been in tracking Brandon Graham's impact? I was a little worried that BG was outperforming Woodley, but there he is in the top half of the first round after the NFL saw how unblockable he is.)

Denard-o. Gerry DiNardo has lost more football games than you've ever watched, but he's still on the television so people ascend to his yurt high up in the Indiana mountains to beseech him for his wisdom. Last year his wisdom was "Denard Robinson is going to start at quarterback," which is a strong indicator as to why he's lost more football games than you've ever watched. DiNardo single criterion for choosing a starting quarterback is "is it vaguely possible this kid was named after me?" By no other measure was Robinson a plausible starter in 2009.

In 2010 things are different. Denard Robinson is still named after Dinardo, though:

"I think it has to be Denard Robinson," he said. "If you think about the way Rich Rodriguez became so successful at West Virginia it wasn't with a drop-back quarterback that threw 50 times, even though that approached worked for him some as an offensive coordinator. He wants to play the game that Denard plays, with a greater emphasis on the running attack than the passing attack. He wants to have that guy that can tuck the ball and make you miss even when the blocking isn't perfect, that can make you miss even if he misreads the read-option, and from everything I've seen, Denard Robinson is that guy.

"In college football nowadays, defenses, as much as they try to practice this, cannot tackle in space. From the earliest age, you're not coached to tackle one-on-one without help. The instruction is always about rallying to the ball and then for your defensive backs to use the sideline as their friend. But when you're stuck in a one-on-one situation, against an athlete like Denard Robinson, most of the time you're going to be left grasping for air.

"So when I see what he can do, and then I see what Forcier did last year - to me there is no comparison for where this offense wants to go."

I'm not sure he's right that Rodriguez is dedicated to running 75% of the time, but his other points are solid. The bit about defenses being unable to tackle in space could be the operational philosophy of Rodriguez's entire offensive system. Tate missed reads on the option plenty last year—most of the time, it seemed—and while he was slippery enough to evade lumbering defensive ends he wasn't fast enough to turn his frequent missed reads into anything more than a few yards. A prime example from the Illinois game:

It's possible Robinson can turn this into another couple yards, or even break something long (although probably not on this particular play). A quarterback who can get that extra couple yards is an extremely dangerous option. For all Forcier's flaws, he was an effective runner. If you cut out the copious sacks Michigan gave up last year (24 for 184 yards), he averaged 4.7 YPC. (This is slightly optimistic since Robinson probably took a couple sacks, so you may want to mentally adjust that to 4.5 or so.) A version of Denard Robinson that can run the zone read and throw well enough to keep linebackers honest will obliterate that.

Keeping the linebackers honest will take some doing, but the nice thing about being Denard Robinson is that when you go to play action, it's time to cheat like a mother for all but the best defenses. I don't think Ohio State is going to be particularly vulnerable to a raw sophomore like Robinson, but I also don't think Illinois or Purdue has much of a chance to stop him.

Merrill rising, talkin' smack. Incoming defenseman Jon Merrill saw his stock slip slightly over the course of his final year with the NTDP, but a strong U-18 tournament (where the US is obliterating all comers) has seen Merrill's stock pop up into the rarefied air of a potential top ten selection once more:

At the beginning of the tournament Gudbranson had the inside edge as the potential top defender to be selected this year, battling it out with Windsor's Cam Fowler, but the gap is closing.  The play of Merrill, along with the struggles of the Gudbranson-led Canadian team, may have catapulted Merrill into that coveted position and certainly into the overall debate. 

Coming into the tournament many even felt Forbort would likely be ranked and selected ahead of Merrill, and even though Forbort has looked strong, the abilities that Merrill has showcased so far during this tournament have pushed him ahead in the eyes of many scouting circles.  Merrill is a tall and lanky player with a lot of room to build on his frame.  He has tremendous speed and has extremely good intelligence with and around the puck.  Merrill has been the kingpin of the US's powerplay and quarterbacks it tremendously well. 

Merrill will jump into Michigan's top four on day one and I'm betting he'll be on the top powerplay and top pairing by midseason at the latest. He was also interviewed by McKeen's, and because he's going to play in college he was asked to justify his existence. He did so with aplomb:

I think a lot of guys make the argument that the CHL (Canadian Hockey League) is the most similar to the NHL in style of play, and you play a lot of games, and things like that, but you’ve got to look at it from my perspective. I’m 18 years old. If I went and played in the CHL, there’s 15 and 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds, in the league. There’s top-end 18 and 19-year-old guys, too, but if you go to college, everyone’s older than you. I’m a freshman in a bigger, stronger, faster game, and you get up for every game, because you only play 35, 40 games, or whatever it is. Every game is a big game. Whereas in the CHL, you’re playing in Sudbury on a Tuesday night, and how do you get up for that, you know?

Tuesdays in Sudbury is a best-seller by Bizzaro Canadian Mitch Albom, but not a particularly attractive option compared to playing outdoors in front of one million people, give or take nine hundred thousand.

Nothing on Moffatt, unfortunately. He has just one assist for a rampant USA. The U18s are the last opportunity to put it out there for NHL scouts and he's not drawing a whole lot of notice. Hopefully he'll slide in comfortably—a mid-round NHL draft pick is usually a good player—but an instant impact is unlikely.

Side note: please don't read anything about Jack Campbell. It will make you sad.

(Interview HT: Michigan Hockey Net.)

About the one million people. Sales for Cold War II have been ridiculous so far:

General ticket sales began Wednesday, netting 14,700 purchases by 4 p.m., according to an athletic department spokesman. When added to the that seats have already been sold or committed to by season-ticket holders, former players and other groups, officials announced Wednesday that close to 80,000 tickets have already been sold.

"This has just taken off. You knew it would when you have something this special at the Big House - the first time ever, maybe the only time ever," Berenson said in a statement. " Everybody wants to be there. I think we'll be sold out before we know it. It'll be a tough ticket to buy."

With the original Cold War still the all-time hockey attendance record, the question at this point is not if this December's game will break it, but if the record shatters with enough force to match the destructive power of a bear dropping a bomb into a volcano.

Probably not. But it will be close, yo.

Cancer, again. Chris Perry's arrest was a family thing in which something went down with a cousin, possibly because Perry's mom is terminally ill with the cancer she was battling when Perry played at Michigan. Irene Perry is the main reason Chris didn't transfer a couple years into his career. Best wishes, for whatever that's worth, to the Perry family.

Etc.: Martell Webb and a tiny child.