One Frame At A Time: UCF

One Frame At A Time: UCF

Submitted by Ace on September 13th, 2016 at 3:01 PM

This play didn't crack the top five this week. I still want to talk about it, though. Not that you need to be told this, but watch Jabrill Peppers, who starts the play lined up on the block M.

The rest of the defense is caught flat-footed on this play. The D-line is slanting away from the running back. The force defender is nowhere to be found. The playside corner is caught in man coverage and has his back to the play. Peppers's first two steps are towards deep center, then he has to alter his path to avoid running into Delano Hill.

With a speedy running back around the edge unimpeded, this play looks destined for a first down. Peppers not only reads the play and covers a ton of ground to get to the back before the sticks, he cuts down the angle and finishes the play by literally throwing the RB out of bounds.

Savor every moment you get to watch this guy—excuse me, this Dude—play football. He is truly a once-in-a-generation athlete.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the UCF game in GIFs.]

UCF Postgame Presser: Players

UCF Postgame Presser: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 12th, 2016 at 10:00 AM

28970886283_048d02da47_z28971068383_07e6eb1781_z

[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

Wilton Speight and Chris Wormley

Wilton, if you could talk about what you had to do early in kind of a quick-strike offense. They were stacking up and you took it to the air and had a lot of success.

“Yeah, we went into the game knowing that we’d be able to take some shots, especially in the [?] and I was really excited about that. And the defense came out and it was a look we were expecting, so we were able to air it out a little bit.”

Wilton, how much of the struggles to run the football do you think were attributable to how much they were crowding the line and trying to stop that?

“Yeah, they were teeing off and bringing a lot of people, and that was a result of the success in the play action game, so when we would hand the ball off they were coming hot. That was just the defense, and we knew we were going to rely on the play action and deep shots a lot more this week than we were the run game, so it’s really nothing to worry about.”

Chris, a lot of yards rushing against you guys today, a lot of those on scrambles. How much of that is contain and what was the issue?

“Yeah, they had those four big plays which led to almost 300 yards rushing, which is not what you want as a defense, especially as a defensive line. But yeah, it was those rush lanes on the scrambles. Not keeping contain and not staying in rush lanes were the big parts.”

Wilton, you talked about how they were coming hot and thwarted the rushing game, but as far as the passing game, what have you done to develop chemistry with your receivers to have this kind of game today?

“Um, what have we done to develop chemistry? Just throwing routes and working our tails off back since January after the Florida game. No real special recipe or secret, just working hard.”

[After THE JUMP: Rashan Gary jumps in]

Michigan 51, UCF 14

Michigan 51, UCF 14

Submitted by Ace on September 10th, 2016 at 4:15 PM


Tyree Kinnel got his hand on not one, but two punts. [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]

I can't sum it up any better than this guy did:

Tyree Kinnel deflected two UCF punts, Chris Wormley blocked two field goals, and Khaleke Hudson demolished a kick returner who appeared to be going out for a light jog. The Knights took an illegal block penalty on a kickoff touchback, sent out 12 players for a punt return, and muffed a short kickoff for a Jordan Glasgow recovery.

So that covers the special teams.

Wilton Speight took advantage of a UCF defense intent on loading the box against the run with several pinpoint throws downfield, finishing 25-for-37 for 312 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. The usual suspects led the way among the receivers; Jake Butt had two touchdowns among his seven catches, Amara Darboh cross the goal line twice and broke the hundred-yard mark, and Jehu Chesson needed only four receptions to tally 84 yards. That more than made up for the running game, which couldn't get much going agianst eight- and nine-man boxes; even with sacks and a punt gone wrong removed, Michigan averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. Fullback Khalid Hill plunged in for two touchdowns, at least, so it wasn't all bad on the ground.


Upchurch

The defense, meanwhile, limited quarterbacks Justin Holman—who exited the game in the first half with an apparent injury—and Nick Patti to a combined 6-for-22, 56-yard performance. A few errors—one of which may have been on the officials—led to an 87-yard touchdown run for Adrian Killins, and the Knights were able to rack up 275 yards on the ground, with a healthy chunk of that coming when the QBs broke contain.

While many fans were concerned about the line play, one Jim Harbaugh didn't share that worry.

"I thought the lines really took care of business today," said Harbaugh. "Both the offensive and defensive lines did a very good job."

Quarterback contain, he admitted, was an issue, but one that he believed Don Brown made the proper adjustments for in the second half.

Rashan Gary had his first big game as a Wolverine, tearing off the edge for his first career half-sack (Ben Gedeon arrived simultaneously) and had two more tackles for loss. Seven different Michigan defenders tallied tackles in the backfield, and Jabrill Peppers was everywhere—he led the team with eight tackles (two for loss), had two QB hurries, and returned a line-drive punt 35 yards deep into UCF territory to set up Butt's second score.

If there's any indication that Michigan has returned to form, it's that the crowd didn't seem satisfied with a 37-point win. Against an overmatched opponent that couldn't even reliably get a kick in the air untouched, the coaches had no need to utilize much of the playbook, which led to some ugly plays but won't reveal anything to Colorado, next week's opponent and Michigan's first that appears to have a pulse.

Wednesday Presser 8-31-16: Greg Mattison

Wednesday Presser 8-31-16: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 1st, 2016 at 2:00 PM

22261258373_94ebe3c286_z

[Barron/MGoBlog]

Your defensive line’s got some depth this season. Why is that depth going to be important for this team?

“I think depth’s really, really important with any defense nowadays with the way people like to run spread offenses and fast-paced offenses. A lot of them try to do that to try to negate a good defensive line. They try to tire them out, they try to get them running from sideline to sideline, and then they try to make them down to their level or average by being tired.

“Nowadays these D-linemen are bigger than they used to be and they’re carrying a lot of weight, so to have guys that rotate is really, really key for us. You saw that last year. We were a better defensive team when we had rotation, and when we got hit with some injuries it brought us down to not having the ability to rotate.”

Why do you see defensive linemen rotate and not offensive linemen?

“Well, offensive linemen don’t run to the football sideline to sideline. I mean, ours do. The good ones do, but there’s a lot of people that if you watch a defensive line, every play, whether it’s a pass all the way downfield or a sweep wide, you expect your defensive line to be running as hard and fast as they can to get there. Offensive guys are behind the ball sometimes so it doesn’t really matter to get down there that close.”

Have you found eight that have earned the right to be in that rotation at this point?

“Yeah, I think we have eight for sure, and there are more and more guys that are coming on. I would never rotate probably nine or 10 guys, but you always want the ability that if something does happen that another guy can come in and be one of those eight. That’s what we’re working for. Working for the ability to have a true rotation of guys.”

You really haven’t had a full, true eight guys here, have you?

“I think last year during the middle we were there. Then when Ryan got injured and Mario got injured, we bounced down under that.”

Who will you put out to start on Saturday?

“I really try to tell them that we have two starting lineups. You know, who goes out there for the very first play, we still have a couple days to decide that. Chris Wormley’s had a very, very good camp. Glasgow’s had a really good camp. Mone has really done well. Matt Godin’s doing very well. Taco. The whole group. I don’t want to single out one guy, because as we watch the film there’s an expectation, and to be in that first unit that takes the field very first of who’s in there the third or fourth play, they all have to do the same thing. I’ve been pleased with the effort and the work of all of them.”

[After THE JUMP: on communication during substitutions, working in Rashan Gary, and more Onwenu praise]

Preview 2016: Defensive Tackle

Preview 2016: Defensive Tackle

Submitted by Brian on August 31st, 2016 at 1:35 PM

Previously: Podcast 8.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line. Defensive End.

21546952285_d675035ddf_z

[Eric Upchurch]

 
STRONG DE Yr. NOSE TACKLE Yr. 3-TECH Yr. WEAK DE Yr.
Rashan Gary Fr. Ryan Glasgow Sr.* Chris Wormley Sr.* Taco Charlton Sr.
Lawrence Marshall So.* Bryan Mone So.* Maurice Hurst Jr.* Chase Winovich So.*
Carlo Kemp Fr. Michael Dwumfour Fr. Matt Godin Sr.* Reuben Jones Fr.*

Holy pants, you guys. This is bar-none the best situation Michigan's had at defensive tackle since… I don't know. Probably since scholarship limits came into effect. Michigan has three guys who should go in the top few rounds of the NFL draft, plus a Tongan who was generating more hype than any of them before an injury robbed him of his 2015 season. And on top of that they've got a fifth-year senior who's been productive and would be a strong rotation contributor on any Michigan DL of the last ten years.

Just stay healthy. Knock on all available wood, ladies and gentlemen, that Michigan will get to the Ohio State game without having to unearth Michael Dwumfour.

NOSE TACKLE: DAMMIT IF YOU DOUBT A GLASGOW YOU HAVE ONLY YOURSELF TO BLAME

Rating: 5

22093216459_8886e7e237_z (2)

[Upchurch]

No. Shut up. Stop it. I know Harbaugh said that thing. I still insist that you cease flapping your mandibles about in some misguided attempt to denigrate the play of Ryan Glasgow, who yes was a walk-on upon his arrival but is no longer. Glasgow was long ago awarded the Order of St. Kovacs and if you insist on talking about Bryan Mone even an instant longer I will have no alternative but to unlock his cage. A cage for robot Vikings.

You still doubt, sir? Reap the pointy-helmeted whirlwind:

Glasgow was good as a sophomore, when he ascended to the top of the depth chart in front of former five-star Ondre Pipkins. Pipkins was coming off an injury, so people assumed that was a temporary thing. It was not. Glasgow held up in the run game excellently but provided close to zero pass rush, and that was fine with Frank Clark coming off the edge a ton. Michigan used Glasgow as a screen or draw spy frequently of the time, and coped with the fact that he wasn't having much impact in that department.

Then Glasgow got better, DJ Durkin deployed a ton of stunts, and dude blew up.

Game Opponent + - TOT Comment
1 Utah 7.5 2 5.5 Added interior pass rush.
2 Oregon State 6 2 4 Partially culpable on first big run, otherwise good.
3 UNLV 11   11 Two very impressive TFLs.
4 BYU 13   13 Just wrecked BYU's C.
5 Maryland 7.5 3 4.5 Slightly off day.
6 Northwestern 15 1 14 This poor damn center.
7 MSU 8.5 2 6.5 Blown out once, otherwise Glasgow.
8 Minnesota 17 1.5 15.5 This will be a trend.
9 Rutgers 2.5   2.5 Injured relatively early.

Glasgow alternated solid performances with center-wrecking exhibitions until leaving for good on a harmless-looking tackle early in the Rutgers game. The previously nonexistent pass rush showed up in a major way. Against Utah he ripped his way past their center more than once, and by Northwestern he'd started deploying a deeply unfair technique scouting sorts call "push-pull" where you blast the dude in front of you as hard as you can, then grab his jersey and rip him forward.

Glasgow wasn't quite dominant enough to rack up a ton of counting stats; no longer was he sitting back and waiting for screens. He forced a lot of scrambles and helped other guys get their numbers, especially as a dangerous man in Michigan's stunt game. Despite the lack of stats PFF had him the #18 pass rush DT in the country a year ago, a huge step up.

Meanwhile he was a rock as a run defender. He's explosive and he's smart as hell. After he and Hurst spearheaded the goal line stand against Minnesota, Adam got a brief one-on-one with him. Michigan won that game largely because Glasgow read the Gophers' intentions on the last two plays:

I really want to talk about isn’t the last play but the second to last. When they motioned what were you thinking, and did you expect that to happen?

“I mean, you can kind of tell by an offensive lineman’s demeanor what kind of play to expect, and they were all in loaded stances the whole game when they were coming off a run and they were sitting back. I was kind of confused at first when they were in their tight bunch set and everyone’s like really close splits but didn’t look like they were ready to fire out."

Over the course of the year guys will vacate their gaps or a rush lane and open it up for the opposition; I don't have a single clip from last year in which a Glasgow mental error was worth noting. Like his brother, Glasgow thinks the game at an advanced level.

While he's not 330 and occasionally succumbed to a double team his terrific technique allowed him to stack and shed most single blocking. Guys got hurled to the turf:

And not just jabronis from Minnesota:

With his stamina and lightning quick penetration I started comparing him to a star nose tackle of recent vintage. After BYU I compared him to Mike Martin thanks to plays like this:

I was chided for this take, and now I will have my revenge. Glasgow's Martin vibe only got stronger as the year went on and he blasted through and knifed past OL after OL. After Maryland:

Meanwhile, Glasgow did not have a day that was spectacular statistically (just one tackle) but contributed to the general defenestration of the Maryland offensive line. We talked about his crazy ability to pursue on that Delano Hill TFL. There was a also a screen on which he made a tackle outside the numbers after getting knocked over. His range and endurance are major assets.

The first play linked in that section is worth an embed:

That is simply absurd mobility from a 300-pound nose tackle. The only other guy I've seen play the spot and regularly involve himself with plays outside the hash marks was, yes, Mike Martin.

By midseason UFRs had a section in which Glasgow was praised in ever more fulsome terms. Oregon State:

Right now not so much. Glasgow has built on a promising first year as a starter and is now a highly consistent, disruptive interior DL. He's got a great feel for the game. Here he catches a downblock and rips through it almost automatically:

I don't think he even bothered to look at that guy.

Glasgow is capable of blowing guys up with raw power as well…He has terrific endurance and has even added a little pass rush this year. Michigan is lucky to have him.

Northwestern:

Dude is elite. … He is playing out of his damn mind. Last year he'd flash talent and battle most of the time; this year he is violently discarding anyone put in front of him.

Like Hurst, his explosive upfield motion was occasionally used against him, but as you can see in the chart above minuses for him were close to nonexistent.

Glasgow was the linchpin of a ridiculous run defense, and it drove off a cliff immediately after his injury. Michigan gave up 864 rushing yards in nine games with him and 725 in four games without him; their yards per carry plummeted from third nationally to 26th. That's partially on Durkin's inability to deal with spreads and is still a stark reminder of just how important Glasgow was to last year's team.

Goals for Glasgow this year include "stay healthy," which is 1-100, and then to get that increment better so that his rushes that were previously effective at making the quarterback uncomfortable become rushes that deposit Glasgow's helmet into the quarterback's midsection. He'll be elite against the run. I'm loathe to project postseason accolades for a position that often gets overlooked so people can throw four DEs on the All Big Ten team, but Glasgow will absolutely deserve them on his way to the second or third round of the draft.

[After the JUMP: four more potential/extant dudes. And Jabrill Peppers! Really! He's the very next thing!]

Jake Butt, Chris Wormley Named Captains

Jake Butt, Chris Wormley Named Captains

Submitted by Ace on August 26th, 2016 at 10:45 PM


[Patrick Barron]

Jake Butt and Chris Wormley are Michigan's co-captains this year, according to Chris Wormley:

There were many suitable candidates—Jehu Chesson and Jourdan Lewis come to mind—but it's hard to argue with those choices.

Neck Sharpies: Goldilocks and the Three Reach Blocks

Neck Sharpies: Goldilocks and the Three Reach Blocks

Submitted by Seth on August 26th, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Once upon a time, there was a little girl with hair wings the color of goldish yellow, kind of like corn, or maize, or maybe the 14th most populous city in Texas if that makes sense. (She also had a phase where she dyed it neon. A lot of people bitched about what color this was, actually).

Anyway, one day she went for a walk in the forest. Pretty soon, she came upon the house where lived three bears. She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.

Earlier this week I went over what a reach block is. There's actually a play where they're trying to reach block all three relevant linemen. It's called a zone stretch, also known as outside zone. And no, it doesn't actually rely on everyone getting reached; in fact all sorts of things are expected to go wrong, with guys getting help and offensive players coached to react to defensive reactions.

Those links cover what the offense does, but how should the defense play it? Indiana ran a lot of zone stretch against Michigan in 2015 and on one in particular I thought we got a nice example of the actions and reactions that go into these plays.

image_thumb[37]

Zone blocking asks the OL to get the best block they can based on what the defense does, and as you might have guessed a reach block is the best block you can pull off. On a stretch play the OL will ID the defender they need to get playside of by how the D aligns, and the way they play the block is determined by how the guy getting block reacts. The RB then picks whatever hole materializes.

There are three different reach attempts going on here:

image_thumb[33]

  1. The LT (Jason Spriggs) will reach/cut Godin (top)
  2. The LG (Jacob Bailey) will try to reach Willie Henry (middle) with a minor assist from the C (Jake Reed) as he releases.
  3. The RG (Dan Feeney) and RT will try to scoop Chris Wormley.

A scoop is a combination block where the OL lined up outside blocks the defensive player until the guy doing the reaching can get in position. Once they've got another guy around, the outside man releases to block someone else. Teams that run a lot of zone will get good at combo-ing with each other, and it's rare that any reach block is purely the work of one man. Even in our last example Braden lent Mason Cole an arm.

[After THE JUMP, too soft, too hard, and just right]

What Is: A Reach Block

What Is: A Reach Block

Submitted by Seth on August 24th, 2016 at 12:00 PM

This is a new series I've begun to serve as an ad hoc glossary of specific football concepts/terminology that get thrown around in our articles. The plan is to discuss as they come up and then (probably forget to) link them when we're talking about this stuff down the road.

REACH BLOCK DEFINED

When an offensive lineman blocks a defensive player who's lined up playside of him. For example on this play Mason Cole is going to block this guy:

image

…on a play going to the right of him.  In other words this play is going to the defender's left, and it's Mason Cole's job is to be in the way of that defender going left.

HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

There are lots of O-line technique videos out there but here's the simplest:

The reaching blocker takes a short (that's key) step at an angle toward the defender's opposite shoulder. That puts him in a stance sort of like that of an Olympic sprinter, so his next step can launch him across that defender and get your helmet across the defender's torso. Lock in that victory by putting the inside arm into the defender's outside number, and pivot around to seal. The key is quick feet and a wide stance to not get off-balance—remember the defender is also fighting.

IS THAT HARD?

Yuh huh. The lineman has a fraction of a second between when the ball is snapped and the defense starts to read the blocking to get around that guy, get leverage, and seal the dude being blocked before dude can put a stop to this. It is the hardest of blocks.

Coaches emphasize different talking points but the basics are a short first step toward the outside shoulder, get your arms into him and your head across to seal, all the while keeping your feet apart so don't get knocked off.

Back when (IU OL coach) Greg Frey was at Michigan under Rich Rod, Michigan would try this a handful of times a game, and Molk was better at this than just about anyone I've watched closely. In fact Brian had a Picture Pages in 2008 to show Molk getting a guy lined up outside the guard.

image

Michigan tried a bunch in 2007, when they were a zone stretch team. This had varying results: Jake Long and (former tight end) Adam Kraus could pull it off occasionally; Justin Boren, Jeremy Ciulla, Alex Mitchell and Reuben Riley were comically bad at it. Against FBS competition it takes a very agile player.

[After THE JUMP: running it, and defending it]

Media Day Player Interviews: Ben Gedeon, Chris Wormley, and Amara Darboh

Media Day Player Interviews: Ben Gedeon, Chris Wormley, and Amara Darboh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on August 11th, 2016 at 3:59 PM

21522218266_616ebc1e9a_z

[Barron/MGoBlog]

Ben Gedeon

[I didn’t label these MGoQuestions because it was a one-on-one interview]

Where would you say you’ve made the biggest gains from last year to this year as far as technique’s concerned?

“I think just kind of honing in on the little details of my technique. That was big for me, going back and watching past years and seeing where I need to improve and kind of honing in on the smaller details of things. Getting off blocks, finishing tackles, finishing plays were the biggest for me.”

With Don Brown coming in, are you guys going to be dropping into coverage a little bit more or is it about the same as what you’ve done in the past?

“Pretty similar. But his motto is ‘Solve your problems with aggression,’ so we’re going to get after the quarterback. We’re going to be blitzing a bunch. We had aggressive defensive coordinators in the past as well. Coach Durkin got after the quarterback as well, so it’s not too much of a change for us.”

Technique-wise, what does Coach Partridge or Coach Brown preach to you most often?

“Just really getting off blocks and finishing tackles. That’s the art of playing linebacker. You’ve got to get off blocks. You can’t stay on blocks, you can’t trade one for one. You’ve got to finish plays.”

You were saying you feel like you’ve made pretty big strides as far as shedding blocks?

“Yeah, I think so. Spring’s a big fundamental time for us and I think altogether us linebackers got a lot better in that regard.”

How do you get better at that? Is it through drills, is it through live reps, or can you study it on film? What helps the most?

“I think it’s a combination of all of them. You start with the drill. You start not against another person and you hone in on the technique, but once you get to a live period sometimes you forget all that and you fall back on your technique and you evaluate it at film [sessions] and try to improve.”

What, if any, differences are there from last year’s defense to this year’s defense as far as your assignments are concerned?

“The biggest difference?”

Yeah, if there are any.

“Pretty similar. I mean, for me personally it’s just being more vocal and making the calls as a Mike linebacker. Play a lot of man coverage. No secret there. We’ll be blitzing a lot so we’ll play a lot of man.”

[After THE JUMP: Learn how Carlo Kemp became Chris Wormley’s psedo-son and which NFL players’ film Amara Darboh watches]

Unverified Voracity Still Doesn't Get It But Whatever

Unverified Voracity Still Doesn't Get It But Whatever

Submitted by Brian on August 1st, 2016 at 2:12 PM

Event reminder. We're having a Hail To The Victors kickoff party/thing on Friday at Circus Bar. Hopefully it will be as crazy as last night.

About last night. I don't get WOO NIKE. I have no strong feelings about clothing brands, except insofar as I would like them to put the sports teams I like in uniforms that 1) stay in one piece, 2) are legible from distance, and 3) don't make me envy the dead. I'm in the same realm of bafflement Dan Murphy was last night:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- They lined up for T-shirts.

All day, Michigan fans stood in line for T-shirts. And when the sun went down they chanted and painted their faces and counted down the last few seconds like it was New Year’s Eve for T-shirts, ones with a tiny lopsided parabola in the corner instead of a striped triangle. ...

“I’ve lived 52 years, a lot of them right here in Ann Arbor,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said into a sea of fans recording on their cell phones. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

But I'm happy you're happy, and happy that recruits and players are bonkers for the stuff. There are many many variations of this on Michigan player twitter:

It's probably better that Michigan's back with marketing folks who can inspire the kind of devotion that results in a walk-on basketball player crowdsurfing like he's 1992 Eddie Vedder. The gap between the Only Incompetent Germans and that 190-proof blast of capitalism is obvious. While the headline number* on Michigan's apparel contract has been beaten by a few different schools since it was signed a year ago, Jumpman exclusivity looks like a big deal for players and recruits—you know, the people who help you win on the field.

I have one hope, and that's a football version of Jumpman. Pick one of Desmond or Woodson:

Desmond-Howard-CatchBvr06d2IEAEDaUT

A permanent logo swap ain't happening, but if Nike wants to do a special edition thing that will sell a lot of merch and not piss off traditionalists this would be killer. (I think? I obviously have no idea what I'm talking about in this department. Later today I will advise rappists on the finest iambic pentameters. The very best.)

I have one concern. The hockey jerseys look weird and wrong.

Michigan_6829

Mismatched blues, a weird sheen on top, really not digging the jersey with one maize stripe across the top and nothing else anywhere. A closeup of the hockey jersey does seem into indicate it's regular jersey material and not, like, shimmery. I'll reserve final judgment until I see them in the wild, but I'm not hopeful.

*[I say "headline number" here because it looks like various other schools have structured their contracts such that theirs is the "biggest ever" to the press but not in reality. For example, OSU's "biggest ever" deal with Nike is actually worth $13 million less in cash than Michigan's over the same timeframe. They just pad it out with more gear at an inflated price. I haven't looked into the details of UCLA and Texas but it's possible—probable in UCLA's case—that the same thing is going on there.]

This is completely rational. I retract my tweet at Nick Baumgardner yesterday:

"I definitely think its symbolic, it's a new age for Michigan," Gozdor said. "A lot of my friends are saying they're going to burn their Adidas gear and forget the whole entire thing ever happened."

He was right.

Jeremy Gallon finally gets to be taller than some people. An alert reader points out that the Nojima Sagamihara Rise, a team in Japan's "X-League," is currently listing Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon on their roster. (Also included is former Illinois safety Earnest Thomas III.) Thorough research* reveals that only two foreign players are allowed to be on the field at any one time; the Rise must be planning on Gardner to Gallon for 50% of their plays. This is a good plan.

[Update: now there is an article on this occurrence:

“Everybody here is so respectful, so nice. It’s almost like a compete 180 from in America,” said Gardner, who made 27 starts at quarterback for the Wolverines, with a smile. “They (the Americans) are nice people but I’ve never been to a place where everybody is so kind and so respectful, and it’s just part of the way everyone is here. It’s pure refreshing to get a chance to experience it.”

No Michigan State or Ohio State fans in Japan, I take it.]

*[googling the league's wikipedia page]

I'd be happy to be wrong here. Erik Magnuson doesn't strike me as a guy who the NFL will consider drafting early unless he takes a big step forward as a senior, but CBS's Dane Brugler disagrees with that take, naming him one of the top ten senior OTs in the country and saying he "played like a legitimate NFL prospect":

...moves with a smooth shuffle and wide base, transferring his weight well in his kickslide to mirror edge rushers. He stays low off the snap and prefers to use his hands to control the point of attack to out-leverage and out-power defenders. Magnuson is able to secure downblocks and anchor at shallow depth, driving his legs to finish in the Wolverines' power offense. He has also been praised by the coaching staff for his leadership and consistency during the week.

Although hustle and effort aren't an issue, Magnuson has sloppy tendencies with a bad habit of lowering his head and losing sight of his target, ending up on the ground. He tends to be a waist bender and lacks ideal length to compensate, which allows savvy rushers to get him off balance and leaning. While powerful when squared to defenders, Magnuson will struggle to recover once defenders attack his shoulder.

I thought Magnuson was okay, and only that, a year ago. I get the vibe that PFF agrees with me since they haven't posted anything about him, or the rest of the Michigan OL not named Mason Cole. They tend to have an "if you can't say anything nice..." policy.

I'd be happy to be right here. Ryan Glasgow makes ESPN's list of the top 25 Big  Ten players... at #25, which I'm sure I'll find is an outrage once they get around to putting a punter at 16 or whatever. Even so, thank you, ESPN, for not consigning Glasgow to a Wally Pipp role just yet. PFF also names Glasgow their #3 breakout player this year, though they do admit that's a bit of an injury-induced slam dunk:

2016 grade: 84.8 | 2015 snaps: 332 | PFF College 101 rank: 72

The argument could be made that Glasgow has already broken out as he boasted the nation’s No. 19 run-stopping grade before going down to injury last season, but since he only played 332 snaps, he still qualifies as a breakout candidate. He’s seen the field for 753 snaps the last two seasons, posting a strong +32.7 grade against the run, and last year he improved his pass rush grade to +9.0 on the strength of a sack, four QB hits, and 12 hurries on 179 rushes.

Taco Charlton shows up at #7 for the same reasons we're hyped about him around here: a lot of production in under 400 snaps. There are scattered Big Ten players to round out the list plus a couple of old names for recrutniks: both Cal RB Vic Enwere and Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage make the tail end of the list.

Spreading the wealth. Michigan probably has four guys on that aforementioned top 25 B10 players list (Lewis, Peppers and Butt are probably locks and Glasgow snuck in) so it's not exactly crazy that these gents missed it...

Michigan DL Chris Wormley and receivers Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson: Wormley is one of the more versatile defensive linemen in the league, with the ability to move between end and tackle, and he had 14.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in 2015. Some of us argued for his inclusion, though we ultimately went with a different player in his position group. As for Darboh and Chesson, they are clearly two of the better wideouts in the league. Yet neither had huge numbers last season, and even Jim Harbaugh will tell you it's a coin flip on who is the better player. They sort of canceled out each other for purposes of this list.

...but since two of those guys are seniors getting first round draft hype it is a little bit crazy. Also:

Meanwhile Feldman named Michigan's receiving corps the #3 unit in the country. Michigan could be all right this fall.

Etc.: Peppers gets votes from current Big Ten football players as the Big Ten's best defensive player... and its best offensive player. PSU fans expect a punter to be their biggest impact freshman... and they're probably right. Y'all probably don't know how bad PSU punting has been the last few years. TV networks not a big fan of the Big 12's naked cash grab. Always weird when some guy you remember as like 15 is now writing for the Daily. I'm old and DEATH DEATH DEATH.  ND contract details.