Mailbag: OL Shuffle, Hoke 2008, Do Not Poke The Bubble Bear, Base Offense

Mailbag: OL Shuffle, Hoke 2008, Do Not Poke The Bubble Bear, Base Offense Comment Count

Brian November 2nd, 2011 at 12:14 PM

With Barnum getting healthy and Schofield playing well any chance we see one of two scenarios: Barnum takes over left guard, Schofield moves to right tackle and slide Huyge down to left guard or Barnum takes over right guard for Omehmeh? I'm partial to the former simply because of two 6' 7" 300 pounders on the edges, yes please.


It might be too late to make that change. While Huyge has some experience at guard, that came under Rich Rodriguez, when pulling was not a major part of the offense. Putting him at G seems like an invitation to have the same issues Omameh is having with a different player.

I could see the straight Schofield-for-Huyge swap if the coaches believe Schofield is a much better pass protector. We have no evidence that's the case since he's only played guard, but if I had to bet I'd guess he is. It's tough to take a senior who's only had one bad game out, though.

Dear Brian,

Do you think Borges is leaving our base offense (and by that I mean Denard at QB, lots of RB runs interspersed with a few Denard runs and passes) too early? Against Michigan State and Purdue, our first drives worked to perfection and our run game seemed effective.

Immediately thereafter, we started running a lot of crazy reverses, reverse fakes, and Devin-centric chicanery instead of sticking with what worked. Why? it drives me crazy every week. Also, we seem to love to fake the run before we've even established our running threat. For obvious reasons, this hasn't been effective.

For coaches that talked a lot about man ball and the desire to establish a RB, we seem pretty eager to abandon Toussaint and the run game.

Mark Heid

I addressed this topic in a picture pages yesterday and got a couple inquiries about whether or not I thought Michigan's seeming lack of a base offense was a good or bad thing.

I'm not able to answer that yet. It's a thing. Whether it's good or bad is something we won't be able to tell for a while. I am sure I like it better than DeBord's zone offense, which was predictable and seemed to save every interesting tweak for the Citrus Bowl. I'm not sure if I like it better than the style of offense Michigan was using last year when the omnipresent threat of Denard's running often led to free touchdowns, or at  least long drives before Michigan would turn the ball over. (YAY LAST YEAR.)

But you need opinions, no matter how flimsily justified. So: if I never hear "they did what we expected them to do" again it will be too soon. The only time someone's tried that this year was when Dantonio said something about how Michigan will run tunnel screens when Gallon is in the game as if he's a Calvin-Bell-style designated reverse guy. That is incorrect, so, like, thumbs up. Tentatively.

Why was Borges so terse on the bubble screen question – (btw did you ask it?).  I wonder if it was because he expects the QBs to check into that play and it hasn’t been happening – perhaps he was protecting the players a bit?..


The process by which questions about football—as opposed to feelingsball—are asked at press conferences is like so: Heiko goes to the pressers and sometimes asks questions that I've asked him to ask. Sometimes he just reads a bunch of blogs and asks questions the  blogosphere has implied he should ask. The option responsibility Q posed to Mattison after NW was the former. The bubble screen Q was the latter. This is what happened:

Is the bubble screen ever going to be a part of your offense? “I’m not saying one thing about any bubble screens.”

Heiko is in intensive care recovering*. In lieu of flowers you can donate to the EFF.

So… why did the normally accessible Borges fire that off when asked about the lack of a bubble screen? I'm guessing he thinks the bubble screen is stupid. I'd like to find out why he thinks it's stupid since everyone from Dantonio to Rodriguez to Lloyd Carr made it a part of the offense to punish teams that tried to cheat inside or deep. His perspective on the thing would be interesting.

I doubt that it has anything to do with the players not making that check. For one, the alignments that seem to open up the bubble are usually trips formations featuring the #2 WR on the line of scrimmage. The latest BWS bubble complaint:


That makes for an awkward backwards orbit by the potential bubble guy and puts the main blocker in a less advantageous position than he would be if he was on the LOS. It seems clear that the bubble is just not installed.

As to why Borges isn't saying word one about the bubble, there seem to be two possibilities:

  1. He is vaguely aware of the fan zeitgeist about this and is sick of these laymen bothering him about a stupid play.
  2. He is going to bust it out as part of Michigan's ever-evolving baseless offense.

Meanwhile, between morphine doses I'm trying to get Heiko to ask questions that are less confrontational.

UPDATE: has a slightly longer version of the quote.

"I'm not saying one thing about any bubble screens," Borges said. "Everyone wants to ask about that play."

Door number one, then.

*[This is actually the second time Heiko's gotten acid in his face asking about something  strategic. He asked Hoke whether he'd ever considered a spread punt and got this answer: "no." End of answer. It's not a surprise that coaches don't take kindly to random people implying heir decisions are not optimal, but it's kind of fun to ask anyway. As long as you're not Heiko.]

Hindsight in re: Three and Out.


I know your criticism of the Hoke hiring, and I am not trying to bait you on this.  With the benefit of hindsight, however, I keep asking myself whether a Hoke hire in 2007-08 would have been all that risky given what appears to have transpired (and actually did).  It now seems like it would have been the safe move -- kind of like Bo elevating Gary Moeller, despite Moeller's horrendous record as a head coach at Illinois -- i.e., you don't lose to Northwestern in the late 70s solely because Illinois doesn't recruit well.

Obviously, what's done is done.  But my opinions of Bill Martin and Lloyd Carr have been altered dramatically.

Let's just hope the Notre Dame coaching carousel of fun is not in UM's future. . . .


I just don't see how you can hire a guy who is vastly under .500 in the MAC. At that point Hoke hadn't had his 12-1 season or turned around the perpetually moribund San Diego State. He was 22-36 in five years at Ball State.

I mean, envision this situation: the fanbase is even more up in arms about than they were in the brief period between Hoke's hiring and kidnapping Mattison from the Ravens. Martin does not want to shell out for Mattison. Mallett still probably leaves. The team is just as much of a tire fire in 2008. You probably get Threet to stick around the year after, but did he prove himself much better than Tate even given another year to redshirt and learn a system? Eh… not really.

Michigan still turns in a losing season its first year and is 7-5 at best in year two, at which point the coach has had one winning season, period, and has overseen the worst period in Michigan football since the 60s. Can Hoke recruit in that environment? Can anyone?

Unless you believe Hoke turns the tattered roster in 2008 and 2009 into significantly more wins than Rodriguez does—like five or six—he's doomed. I think that's a stretch. You can't cure John Ferrera flipping from DL to start at guard, can't cure the Threet/Sheridan QB combo, can't do much about the disaster zone in the secondary.

Michigan ran a guy with two BCS bowl wins out of town after three years. Were they going to keep a guy whose high water mark was a 7-5 MAC season longer? This is a fascinating hypothetical, actually. They just might have.


It has been mentioned on the front page twice that Dungy was a broadcaster in 2007. This is off by a few years. 2009 was his first season out of coaching and in the role of studio analyst.

Er. Sorry about that, Bill Martin. Your coaching desires were crazier but less easy to evaluate than I expected.

Approved by NASA.

Hey Brian

I was on Uni-Watch this morning, and this ad popped up:


Finally, the Elvis Grbac simulator we’ve waited 20 years for!

Shane Styles

I'm all like… is that guy wearing #45? I don't understand.


Three And Out Takes: Carr, Rodriguez, Martin

Three And Out Takes: Carr, Rodriguez, Martin Comment Count

Brian October 26th, 2011 at 2:14 PM

imageSo. It's out.

I'm impressed with the large numbers of people who seem to have already blazed their way through Three and Out. It took me a while. I stopped for a few days after "Honeymoon from Hell" because it was too depressing; every chapter featuring a game I knew they'd lose spectacularly required a little bit of willpower to start.

But I'm done and a large number of you are done. It is time to talk the turkey.

We've got this document. What does it say about major players in the saga? I was planning one part here but this got long, so today we'll cover Carr, Rodriguez, and Bill Martin, with various players with less prominent roles in the story covered in a post tomorrow.

Lloyd Carr


It says a few things about Lloyd Carr that are not nice, and implies more. Bacon's said he left a lot of things out that he could not get multiple sources on, which is both his responsibility as an actual journalist and horribly frustrating.

The main strikes:

  1. Informing his former players he would sign any transfer papers they wanted at his meeting with them after their bowl game, a marked contrast from the Bo-Bump transition.
  2. Telling Mallett he "needed to leave".
  3. Having zero control over his former players, or—worse—tacitly endorsing their behavior by not jumping down their throats.
  4. Offering something short of the fiery defense Bo would have launched once the program started taking fire.

That's aside from the state of the roster when Rodriguez took over, which wasn't specifically directed at the new man.

Those seem like major strikes. Screw it: those are major strikes, particularly #3. I find it inconceivable that Eric Mayes would made it thirty seconds into the embarrassing "we own this program" speech before Bo burst from his chest like a Xenomorph. Carr does nothing. Multiple former players trash Rodriguez in public. Carr does nothing. The 2009 golf outing that even guys like Chris Balas* come back from disgusted at, naming specific names of players (Marlin Jackson, Dhani Jones) who embarrassed themselves with their behavior. Is Carr even at it? It's worse if he is.

So, like, whatever. Carr doesn't owe anyone anything except the 400k a year he was pulling down as associate AD. But he's no program patriarch. He's just a guy who used to coach here. His loyalty is to an incredibly specific version of Michigan only. The difference between the Bo guys and the Carr guys is obvious. Bo guys organize a weird counterproductive rally for RR; Carr guys go on MNF and state they're from "Lloyd Carr's Michigan" or storm the AD's office to demand RR's firing after every loss**. There are exceptions, obviously. The trend is clear.

I have no sympathy for arguments the guy is being painted unfairly when he was offered the opportunity to tell his side a dozen times. If history is written by the losers here it's because the winners don't care what the public thinks. They can't be surprised when the public thinks they're not Bo.

Carr did a lot of things for the program but his legacy is significantly tarnished by the pit it found itself in immediately after his departure. It was his lack of a coaching tree, lack of serious coordinators, and lack of tolerance for Les Miles that caused Michigan to hire Rodriguez in the first place. It was his lack of a roster—seven scholarship OL!—and lack of support that provided Rodriguez with two strikes before he even coached a game. We can argue about how much is Carr's fault and how much is Rodriguez's, but figuring out the latter is pointless since RR is gone and everyone hates him. The former is "far too much."

*[By this I mean guys who work for publications for whom access is lifeblood. They're naturally more circumspect. The reaction on premium sites to this golf outing was unprecedented, with people moved to call actual former players out by name after years of dark mutterings.]

**[Not in the book; something I got from a good source.]

Rich Rodriguez

123110_SPT_Gator Bowl_MRM


If you left a goat in the locker room after a Michigan loss and then locked Rodriguez in it for five minutes, you would return to find the walls smeared with blood and feta. There would be no trace of the goat.

Rich Rodriguez was obviously not a stoic guy. His sideline tantrums proved that. The extent of his leg-gashing, table-throwing, goat-cheese-making post-loss hissies is probably the thing that Rodriguez is pissed about. They don't make him look like a stable dude. Neither does his descent into J. Edgar Hoover-esque paranoia, no matter how intent the university was on making that paranoia seems reasonable.

By the time I got through it, my reaction to Rodriguez's portrayal was different than that of the media reviewing the book. It doesn't paint Rodriguez as a guy I would want in charge of my football program. I can deal with one goat-annihilating postgame tantrum a year. Rodriguez seemed to have one after every loss.

So why do most neutral accounts play up the Rodriguez sympathy angle? They do not take the truth that the local media is dominated by agenda-laden twits to be self-evident. When Mike Rosenberg—who comes off as a real winner—bombed Rodriguez with a bunch of half-truths and misrepresentations I bombed back, stating that it was obvious the buyout kerfuffle was university-directed. Surprise: it was university-directed as they tried to get out of their 2.5 million dollar hook. Similarly, Free Press Jihad is re-exposed as a bunch of half-truths at best run by a couple of guys who "had countable hours in there at some point" but had it edited out, no doubt because that's not at all important in a discussion about whether Michigan was more than doubling their allotted time on Sundays.

If you go into the book knowing Rosenberg and Snyder published an embarrassing hack-job and that a large part of the media firestorm surrounding Rodriguez was a combination of University incompetence and the tiny lizard brains of certain folk in the local media*, the main takeaway from the book in re: RR is the sheer height of the plumes his emotional volcano shoots up. I mean, Bacon spends pages and pages on Rodriguez playing up the traditions of Michigan to his players. That's an obvious reaction to the Michigan Man business. I assumed Rodriguez was not an idiot when it came to firing up his troops, I guess, and that stuff shot by me. Beating a bleating ungulate against the wall of the Notre Dame locker room until it bursts into a kaleidoscope of viscera… that stays with you.

I feel bad for the guy. I'm glad he's gone.

*[The rest a combo of Rodriguez never winning any games and his remarkable ability to stick his leg into the press conference bear trap.]

Bill Martin

University of Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin watches over Thursday afternoon, August 20th's football practice at the Michigan practice facility outside of Schembechler Hall. 
Lon Horwedel | Ann

Good Lord, man. I find it hard to believe that a guy who dragged Michigan kicking and screaming into massive financial success and smoothly hired John Beilein (admittedly after making a questionable hire in Tommy Amaker) was really as incompetent as… uh… I believed he was after the sailboat incident. That's Yogi Berra right there but it's also true.

Here's the the story of the post-Carr coaching search from the perspective of this site:

  1. Kirk Ferentz is reached out to and either is or is not offered; if offered he may have been given an offer that was a paycut. Ferentz fades but it seems like there was truth to the rumors.
  2. Flailing. Miles heavily discussed. ESPN reports Michigan contacts him after Ferentz falls through. They agree to wait until the SEC championship game is over. LSU boards buzz that Les has told his team he's out. I would be "surprised if it was not" Miles.
  3. Infamous ESPN report.
  4. Sailboat. "Have a great day." Sailboat.
  5. Conclusion reached in the aftermath is that M "essentially passed on Miles."
  6. Tedford and Schiano now start getting thrown around along with odder names like Grobe and Pinkel. Also some guy named Hoke. So much Hoke.
  7. Kirk Ferentz momentarily back. Then gone.
  8. Schiano talked to, offered, accepts, changes mind, offered again, says no.
  9. Sean Payton!
  10. Miles again! Seriously!
  11. Miles out again.
  12. Jim Grobe. Jim Grobe does not get an exclamation point.
  13. KC Keeler! Lane Kiffin! Seriously!
  14. Rodriguez out of nowhere.
  15. Sigh… Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

It seemed like a clown show, and behind the scenes… clown show. Martin wants Dungy, has no idea if Dungy—who is a broadcaster and can be contacted by anyone at any time for any reason—will take the job. Wants Ferentz, has no idea that the president of the university will stab him if he hires Ferentz. Wants Miles, has no idea that Lloyd Carr will stab him if he hires Miles. Somehow misses on Schiano, then has Rodriguez fall into his lap and grabs him before anyone can think about it, which sets up the whole buyout fiasco the media will spin for six months. The sailboat incident is even worse since Bacon asserts one of the main problems was Martin had a new cell phone and didn't know how to use it.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh /dies

Martin himself drops out of the story shortly thereafter, which is another indictment of the guy because what enters is a vast institutional incompetence that starts the Rodriguez media cockroach katamari rolling. Everything from the buyout to the Dorsey situation is mishandled not only by Rodriguez (sometimes not even by Rodriguez, as with the buyout) but by the people who should be telling him what is and is not possible. When Rodriguez went to bat for Dorsey with a guy in admissions the guy in admissions should have looked at the guy's transcript before saying yes, and then when he did look at the transcript he should have said no.

Instead we actually sign the guy—opening us up to the most cynical and loathsome of all the lizard-brain media attacks—only to find out he is nowhere near eligible. And don't get me started on the CARA forms, which was a special brand of idiocy all on its own. Martin did a lot of big picture stuff very well, but he was totally unprepared to fix a department that had started downhill long before he arrived.

For all the crap I give Brandon about his failure on big picture stuff, he cleaned out the deadwood with alacrity.

TOMORROW: Players, reporters, me/us(!?).


200 Days: Rich Rod vs. Hoke

200 Days: Rich Rod vs. Hoke Comment Count

Seth July 26th, 2011 at 6:11 PM

 Venting  108007682_crop_358x243

xkcd / Hoke pointing at xkcd / EDIT: which means you should click on it dammit so you will get the point!

This morning His Dudeness posted a throwaway discussion topic for the board comparing Rodriguez's 2009 recruiting to Hoke's 2012. This was taken by some as an attempt to reopen 2008-'10 wounds but really it's another "how many ways can we talk about how awesome our 2012 recruiting is going?" (So so awesome). Anyway this started as a reply to fisk of that thread and ended up at 2,000 words plus charts. Hi, I'm Misopogon, have we met?

It's been almost 200 days since Hoke took the job. That's not much to go on when trying to judge a coach. Basically there's 1) his previous resume, 2) the process of how he was hired, 3) how he built his staff, 4) how he integrates into the program, and then 5) a few months of recruiting. I literally wrote up the first four then figured what the hell would we want to go over that again, so let's skip right to recruiting.

Finishing the Class of…


Rodriguez additions to Class of '08:

Name Pos State Stars RR Pos Rk Nat Rk State Rk Rec'd By
Michael Shaw RB OH 4 stars 5.9 7 NR 6  
Taylor Hill LB OH 4 stars 5.8 21 NR 16  
Terrence Robinson RB TX 4 stars 5.8 9 NR 34  
Ricky Barnum OL FL 4 stars 5.8 5 NR 37  
Roy Roundtree WR OH 4 stars 5.8 44 NR 17 Bruce Tall
Justin Feagin ATH FL 3 stars 5.7 41 NR 71  
Martavious Odoms WR FL 3 stars 5.7 71 NR 77 Rod Smith
Patrick Omameh DE OH 2 stars 5.1 NR NR NR Bruce Tall

Hoke additions to Class of '11:

Name Pos State Stars RR Pos Rk Nat Rk State Rk Rec'd By
Chris Barnett TE TX 4 stars 5.8 14 NR 32 Jeff Hecklinski
Raymon Taylor ATH MI 4 stars 5.8 14 NR 6  
Antonio Poole LB OH 3 stars 5.7 26 NR 20 Mark Smith
Frank Clark LB OH 3 stars 5.6 NR NR 52  
Thomas Rawls RB MI 3 stars 5.6 NR NR 19 Fred Jackson
Russell Bellomy QB TX 3 stars 5.5 NR NR NR  
Tamani Carter DB OH 3 stars 5.5 NR NR 60 Mark Smith
Keith Heitzman DE OH 3 stars 5.5 NR NR NR Greg Mattison, Mark Smith
Matt Wile K CA 2 stars 5.3 NR NR NR  

This is unfair to judge the coaches against each other. Rodriguez was hired in November and was taking over a Citrus-bound program with a retiring Hall of Fame coach, while Hoke was hired in the middle of January after a blowout Gator loss and following a fired guy. Rodriguez had less time than would have been optimal given the breadth of his transition, but it was no more of a transition than Hoke faces, and RR got a good two months, including the all-important December period, to bring the current class home.

The recruiting is reflected in that. Other than bringing Hill from W.Va., Rodriguez mostly grabbed guys to fit his offensive system. Shaw's a speed-back, T-Rob, Roundtree and Odoms were slot receivers, Barnum and Omameh were the kind of agile offensive linemen who fit best in zone blocking, and Feagin was a last-minute consolation prize when Pryor decided he'd get more out of attending Ohio State. Hoke on the other hand found a handful of Michigan and Ohio State Sad Joshes (Clark, Carter, Heitzman, Rawls, Poole, Bellomy and Taylor), at positions of great need, replaced the kicker lost in the transition, yanked the requisite Purdue recruit (Bellomy) to ensure Danny Hope stays petty, and pulled in a last-minute coup on a national tight end.

Both did okay, not fantastic. Hoke got a kicker back, which was a big deal, but needed to flip someone's 5.9+ OT and pick up another good-to-great linebacker to avoid scary depths at that positions starting in 2012; RR's failure to get more help at defensive back (Carr had Brandon Smith, J.T. Floyd, and Cissoko) would haunt him the rest of his Michigan career (nobody planned on losing 2/4 LBs by next summer). Oh, and, ahem, quarterback.

Recruiting the Class of…


Rodriguez 2009 recruits as of July 26, 2008:

Name Pos State Stars RR Commit'd Pos Nat State Rec'd By:
William Campbell DT MI 5 stars 6.1 Oct. 2007 5 26 1 (Carr's staff)
Justin Turner DB OH 4 stars 6.0 Mar 28 3 35 1 Bruce Tall
Bryce McNeal WR MN 4 stars 6.0 May 1 10 75 1 Tony Dews
Kevin Newsome QB VA 4 stars 5.9 Apr 24 4 163 9 Fred Jackson
Jeremy Gallon ATH FL 4 stars 5.9 Jun 05 11 NR 31 Rod Smith
DeQuinta Jones DT LA 4 stars 5.8 Jul 21 NR NR 10 Jay Hopson
Shavodrick Beaver QB TX 4 stars 5.8 Apr 29 8 206 24 Rod Smith
Fitz Toussaint RB OH 4 stars 5.8 Apr 18 8 NR 14 Tony Gibson
Michael Schofield OL IL 4 stars 5.8 Jun 16 18 NR 6 Scott Shafer
Teric Jones RB MI 3 stars 5.7 Mar 29 37 NR 12 Tony Dews
Isaiah Bell LB OH 3 stars 5.7 Mar 31 26 NR 27 Tony Gibson

Hoke 2012 recruits as of July 26, 2011:

Name Pos State Stars RR Commit'd Pos Nat State Rec'd By
Kyle Kalis OL OH 4 stars 6.0 Jul 10 4 18 1 Greg Mattison
Royce Jenkins-Stone LB MI 4 stars 5.9 Apr 16 7 87 1 Fred Jackson
Erik Magnuson OL CA 4 stars 5.9 Jun 10 8 34 6 Dan Ferrigno
Blake Bars OL TN 4 stars 5.8 Jun 26 34 NR 6 Mark Smith
Joe Bolden LB OH 4 stars 5.8 Apr 29 16 NR 11 Greg Mattison
Pharaoh Brown DE OH 4 stars 5.8 May 07 20 NR 17 Greg Mattison
Terry Richardson DB MI 4 stars 5.8 May 19 18 NR 4 Greg Mattison
James Ross LB MI 4 stars 5.8 May 2 4 NR 3 Fred Jackson
Tom Strobel DE OH 4 stars 5.8 Jun 10 18 NR 14 Greg Mattison
Jarrod Wilson DB OH 4 stars 5.8 Jul 8 NR NR NR Greg Mattison
Ben Braden OL MI 3 stars 5.7 Mar 24 59 NR 9 Greg Mattison
Devin Funchess TE MI 3 stars 5.7 Apr 22 17 NR 6 Fred Jackson
Allen Gant DB OH 3 stars 5.7 May 31 22 NR 29 Al Borges
Matthew Godin DT MI 3 stars 5.7 May 12 27 NR 7 Fred Jackson
Kaleb Ringer LB OH 3 stars 5.7 Apr 12 11 NR 25 Mark Smith
Caleb Stacey OL OH 3 stars 5.7 Mar 26 12 NR 22 Mark Smith
Anthony Standifer DB IL 3 stars 5.7 Jun 01 37 NR 14 Jeff Hecklinski
A.J. Williams TE OH 3 stars 5.7 Apr 22 16 NR 28 Mark Smith
Mario Ojemudia DE MI 3 stars 5.6 May 7 NR NR 14 Fred Jackson
Jeremy Clark# DB KY 3 stars 5.5 Jun 24 NR NR 6 (Camp offer)
Sione Houma RB UT 0 stars NR Jul 25 NR NR NR Dan Ferrigno

# = entering as grayshirt

By the way those are end-of-cycle rankings so it's not an exact match, e.g. Newsome was at one point rated the 20th player in the country by Rivals and was around 40-something by mid-summer. For our purposes it gets the point across: RR had some great gifts for the tree had they hung on, but still needed a lot of stocking stuffers.

Both coaches worked quickly to over-address positions of the greatest whiffs in years previous. Rodriguez got two of the top QBs in the country signed on, and had 5-stars or near enough at cornerback and DT. To the groans of smurf-haters everywhere, RR also had secured two more scat-backs and another (highly rated) slot receiver. Schofield was considered a good system OT; Isaiah Bell was a S/LB sleeper adored by one Ohio site but not the national scouts. Hoke meanwhile has killed, already havingzrtn_011n1fb05fc4_tn secured five OL commitments, three of whom are already past the "just a 4-star" threshold, and also swept the region in LB recruits, faring almost as well in DEs. Hoke's clearly got the advantage.

You'll note a lot of the 2008 haul never made it to campus. The 3-9 year was partly to blame of course, however as of late July 2008 many of RR's guys were soft. Will Campbell (right) committed to Carr in the middle of his junior (2007) year and remained a softie; he eventually de-committed in September only to re-up after a long and pulmonarily destructive flirtation with SEC schools. Bryce committed but looking around; he lost interest in October, presumably after many sleepless nights spent thinking of Nick Sheridan passing to him. Newsome was entertaining a camp visit at Virginia Tech this time three years ago, but turned it down and sounded like he was rock. He and Beaver gave up around the same time (right after you mentally gave up on the 2008 offense) and were immediately replaced by Tate and the hard pursuit of some supersonic kid in Florida who Urban wanted badly and nobody thought was a QB.

And then there's DeQuinta Jones, a 4-star DT from Louisiana who just kind of randomly pretended to commit to M without visiting, kind of the way that my buddy once announced that he was in love with the hottest girl in camp, whom we will call L.H.*, so that other girls in camp would take him more seriously. If this seems at all weird to you welcome to the wild and wacky world of Louisiana recruiting; bring a funny hat. The DeQuinta/LH gambit worked surprisingly well in both cases, except not for the faux commit-ee.

If you take away the guys who de-committed from RR's 2009 class it looks more like this…


…and it's Hoke like whoa. A bad year in 2011 and maybe his class starts falling apart as well, but it is important to note that nobody on that list above is considered soft except the grayshirted Jeremy Clark** if he gets something better than high-ish MAC offers, whereas that label applied to half of RR's first full class by July.

Stick their late additions to the hybrid class with their first-year recruiting by July and you get:


Not hugely dissimilar except that Hoke's got a lot more 3-stars and is missing four blue chips. In a worst case scenario the 2011 team starts losing a la 2008, while Ohio State's dancing along having gotten off virtually scot-free from the most obvious case of Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control I've ever witnessed in 20 years of college football fandom, and Hoke's Goodwill Ride of 2011 comes to a crashing, sudden stop, and then entire position groups are destroyed, and the 2012 guys start decomitting and the university hires Freakbass to rebrand us. If all those things don't happen, well, this probably turns out better than the last time.

Brian penned a State of Recruiting article in early August '08 that's worth a look-back so you can remember your comparable state of mind. How does that compare to now? And I didn't even make you compare "Denard: The Upperclassman Years" to "gee I hope this Sheridan guy really is a Basanez."

--Summer Glau

P.S. Don't miss the next exciting episode of 'Alphas' on Sci-Fi!


* Fellow period Tamakwans will agree that this wasn't debatable. Maaaybe a few votes for E.C. or L.C. (EDIT: L.B.!!! HT Schram, Schram, Schneider, & Luria)

** He'll get a YMRMFSPA Charles Stewart if he makes it, but the Phillip Brackins comparison is so go, unless we decide you can all remember Eric Rosel.