Dear Diary is Directed by Michael Bay

Dear Diary is Directed by Michael Bay

Submitted by Seth on September 9th, 2011 at 5:49 PM



Interior: Pentagon [yes, I completely copied parts of that link]. In a huge dark room full of computer screens and a huge mega screen in the center, displaying a large American flag. It is the operations center for the secret government agency for counter-nuclear robot space terrorism. A beautiful woman is at her station: platinum blonde with a huge rack. She is the hottest woman in the world, but she wears glasses because she is also the smartest woman in the world.

Sir, you'd better come take a look at this.            

We pan to a man in his mid-50's and an expensive tailored suit (note: can we get Jon Voight?) He is the head of this super-secret operation and utterly ruthless.

What is it agent Scarbo?                                       

          There's been movement in the tree sector alpha.         
          Just a blip on the screen; it was moving so fast.            
    But it was blue and maize had a dilithium signature
of one dash six. Sir?                                             

Oh. My. God.                                                       

Sir, do you know what this is?                             

Agent, I want you to forget you ever saw this.   
Send me your files then never speak of it again. 

Sir? Sir do you know what this is?                        

Kelly is already on his phone, ignoring Agent Scarbo.

Get me Agent Te'o. It's back.                              

So if you haven't heard, this game is gonna be epic. The two winningest (this is not a word) teams in college football, the biggest stadium in the game, kicking off at the timeslot calculated by secret government operatives (note: cast secret gov't operatives) to be the most epic possible moment to kick off a football game. It has its own name "Under the Lights," its own logo, and outfits, and Web site, not to mention a squadron of jets which will transform into Decepticons and battle Space Bear at half-time. It's not just gonna be epic (cjm)

It's gonna be monuMental!

All that Glitters – 2011 Game 2 Preview

Imminent Threats to National Security

6122464716_758438c0f7 6122464152_c0c9691b89

So long as BlueSeoul has screen capture, Microsoft Paint, and time on his hands, it's going to be hard for anyone else to win Diarist of the Week. He gets it this week for the EPIC scouting job on ND, but so this doesn't become a '90s Florida State in the ACC situation, every time he posts one of these I'm just gonna award him 200 points and give the DotW to someone else.

In other explosive semi-regular posts resurfacing from offseason burial on the moon to wreck havoc upon the Earth, remember when Chris Danger Logic Danger of Danger is Dangerous or w/e would put Brian's picture pages to video? He's back at it, at least for the freshman vs. power running Picture Page earlier this week.

Also in helpfulness, michiganfanforlife has made a handy Game Chart I guess you're supposed to fill out like a box score. If people were to do this and post it that would be pretty epic. The point:

You can then create statistics that will tell you things like, "On first down, the opposition runs 75% of the time." Or, "This team likes to run the ball in their own territory and pass more in yours."  There are endless ways of breaking down the small amount of columns I used.

The Biggest Most Ever Thing Ever or
What to Read While Waiting All Day for a Football Game

ronjohnson leachandbo

Because of a bunch of pencil-neck bastards (production note: we need to cast some pencil-neck bastards for this movie) at NCAA might not count stats accumulated during the Western game (I have a question in to Ablauf) this MASSIVE EPIC HUGE AWESOME ALSO HUMONGOUS Almanac of Records by Communist Football that took him all of offseason might still be up to date.

Aliens from the Future Are Omniscient Gods

ufo work.7328394.1.fc-550x550-grass_green.v3

The great thing about a badly written movie is that the bad guys will tell you every thing about their nefarious plans. And so it was that Irish, our friendly neighborhood green (sometimes navy and gold – really what the hell are ND's colors?) alien gives us the breakdown of his entire evil secret government organization, split up nicely into:

And then our own resident future alien from the future (line breaks followed by periods are for hiding the lasers for stealing souls), THE_KNOWLEDGE has his thing.

Massive Planetary Storm


Last week a meteor the size of Charlie Weiss struck the Earth at the exact same time as an earthquake along every fault caused 40 tsunamis. This combined with the unfortunate simultaneous explosion of every Iowa running back, every ACL in West Lafayette, and a strange phenomenon scientists (note: cast scientists) call a "Kovacsian Sack" to create a supermassive storm capable of leveling entire football quarters. Various accounts from the survivors follow:

Please help us rescue jhackney, who has been trapped under the ice with nothing but Dick Cheney and a video of the Gator Bowl. Every time Michigan runs POWER ISO out of the I-formation, j is an inch closer to freedom. We did manage to rescue Lordfoul but he's still jibbering.

This thing from Erik in Dayton where he watches the D in slo-mo and takes notes is kind of like a defensive UFR but way shorter and kind of useful for getting a feel for the flow of the game on that side of the ball.

One guy ranked conferences by power (he'll keep doing this). Another guy ranked the Top 15 by resume.

Best of the Board Before EVER!


You know what our epic movie still needs? A David vs. Goliath effect. That's a bumped-to-diaries post by Maize_in_spartyland of best dogs each week. If you'd like a preview of the sequels, he also put together a list of potential snackycakes of the future (THE FUTURE!!!)

For those wishing to re-live the events of the day after a week ago, the Boyz n da Pahookee provide Michigan v. <---Michigan, every snap of the first two quarters (and you can find the 3rd pretty easy in YouTube). And karpodiem posted ND's offense vs. USF, every snap.

Board Etc.

Moe's got his weekly contest going again. The Men's Hockey Team is offering the best job ever. Last chance to help Brian wipe the mat with other metro-D bloggers. And a bunch of people posted the Under the Lights hype video by Old Hat Creative, which is the company that makes a lot of the CGI stuff you see at stadiums, and which knows how to make shit epic. Just look:

Michigan Hockey: Epic.

Michigan Volleyball: Epic.

Kids Quoting Bo: Epic.

Michigan players who actually made it to the Ohio State game in 2009 without transferring: Epic.

Iowa State Football season tickets for under $100: TOTALLY EPIC!

Gratuitous Explosion:


Dear Diary, There Is…

Dear Diary, There Is…

Submitted by Seth on September 2nd, 2011 at 12:27 PM


...more day until the Michigan Wolverines run out under their banner into the hallowed field with a single goal. The field will be Yost's. The helmets will be Crisler's, the philosophy Kipke's. They'll come, athletes with the grace of Oosterbaan, the decency of Elliott, the humanity of Carr, and the heart of Bo.

This team was built by the game's greatest living engineer, who failed in part because he didn't pay homage to the foundation he was building upon. It is now led by a man who married the only girl he ever wanted and after he took the only job he ever dreamed of, she asked him how much he will make and he realized he hadn't even thought to ask.

What legacy will Brady Hoke leave at Michigan? What attributes will he contribute to this program so great that its fans are best known for their arrogance, and that each time Fielding's giant room is expanded, nobody need bother to ask if they can fill it? You are welcome now to ask if the variegated bricks left by Hoke's predecessors are truly attributes you'd choose, or if the moral relativist landscape of college football makes all this talk of morality pure hypocrisy. You tumblr_ll1z9tz1bA1qiqx6jo1_400probably think Kipke's "the best offense is a good defense" needs to be simplified to "score, and don't be scored upon," in much the same way as Aristotle's "it wants to be on the ground" got dropped for Newton's "everything falls."
Those bricks are set; they are part of the edifice's charm, and those perceived as trying to change them will be dealt with severely. They are our traditions, like Denarded being there when the bell tolls to let us know how long until the Michigan Wolverines run out on the field again.

The 19th bricklayer leads the 133nd team into its 132nd season. Each of those players are here because they chose to be. They wanted to play in that stadium, to wear those helmets, to follow that philosophy. They wanted to be counted among the great athletes, the good guys, the smart guys, the victors, the best. They came for the system; they came to become legends. As much as we may click our tongues at mention of the nebulous "Michigan Man," this is what they have come here to be, and this is what Brady Hoke has come here to define. This is our team. Hail them.


Your Diarist of the Week WolverSwede with a sing-along, No Laces Tied.  It may speak for itself:

Look at me, look at me
Scoring and I won't stop
And it feels so good to be alive and top
My speed's unrivaled
My likeness, a blur
My moves are humbling
My passing is pure

It's also kind of ironic since the Flobots song is about arrogance and how it can corrupt you, while Denard is the least arrogant thing about our whole operation. I still loved it.

I also loved this personal Wolverine history of gobluehtown:

Things were never the same after that trip to Eugene. Rumors about Lloyd’s health. Chris Webber in federal court. Tommy Amaker. Antonio Bass’ knee. My freshman, sophomore against Ohio St.  Football Armageddon. Bo gone. Freep Derp. My senior year was the worst. The Horror, Oregon, Losing Chad, Wisconsin, and Ohio St. The rain, the score, Tressel: it all was a massive dong punch.


That's it for the emotional stuff. Now for the helpful: NStank made a trip to Canton to watch Michigan RB target (and OSU commit) Bri'onte Dunn, coming back with the best scouting report I've yet seen on him. He even got us some video.

Last week Bocheezu was writing up summaries of Brian's WTKA show in the thread and in this space I suggested he do a weekly write-up. And dude—he listened! Awesome follows. There's some good stuff in there that hasn't been on the main page.

stubob is back with his Ugly Game of the Week. With so tune-up games against bodybags that pretty much means the whole schedule. This is where I mention I'm pissed I couldn't get the 'Cuse/Wake game last night – it looked pretty exciting on my sports app.

I wrote an addendum to Ace's Thursday Recruiting to predict who would get left out of Duane Long's Top 50 players in Ohio. Spoiler: Wormley and Kalis are probably in, Gant no.


Best of the Board


Bdsisme is trying to get the cadence right for the bell cheer:

Is it tap tap tap taptap taptap tap tap?

I've heard it so many different ways in different parts of the stadium but I agree it sounds like a beat's missing there. Anyway you gotta love a thread where this is peoples' replies:

Side question: For the last verse are you in favor of the seven-hit version:

Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun

Or the the nine hit version:

Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun-dun-dun, da-dun.

I've always favored the simple seven hit version because I think the last rendition is aimed at getting the fans to clap and shout and I don't like the cowbell taking away from it.


Michigan's got by far the best school ads to play during games – I actually walked down the aisle at my wedding to that xylophonic version of The Victors from the hospital commercial. M-Wolverine found the new ones for this year.





Whatever shall you make your wallpaper this year now that monuMental has chosen to have a life instead of making cool backgrounds for us? It took two more threads but the MGoDenizens have managed to create a gallery of options:




Thank Everyone Murders for finding out how the Big Ten will decide divisional ties, and then fixing it when Alton discovered ESPN had this totally wrong. How it breaks down:

  1. If it's a 2-way tie, Head to Head. In a three-way tie:
  2. In-division record (so beating Ohio State doesn't count as much as beating MSU /shakes fist)
  3. Compare records against next highest placed teams (so beating Iowa matters more than beating MSU)
  4. Records against all common conf. opponents
  5. Highest team in BCS (first one at end of conference season /shakes fist at SEC coaches who use their votes to manipulate things)
  6. If the two highest teams are ranked next to each other it's the team with the best winning % not counting "excluded games" which I think means MAC teams count but FCS schools don't so DON'T SCHEDULE FCS TEAMS
  7. Random drawing (i.e. they pick the team that'll get higher ratings)
  8. 1973Bumpersticker_thumb


Dear Diary is Unbalanced Yet Aesthetically Pleasing

Dear Diary is Unbalanced Yet Aesthetically Pleasing

Submitted by Seth on August 27th, 2011 at 12:26 AM


Dear Diary,

What is wrong with this picture? (which Zoo Blue found on the Michigan Football Facebook page)

  • Khoury in for Molk. Omigod something happen to Molk?!?
  • Mike Martin's standing up, like a blitzing WILL
  • Ummm…?
  • Waitaminute: Khoury, Omameh…
  • Is that a tight end in the backfield? Koger?
  • Khoury, Omameh, …, Moore
  • Hey, no right tackle. UNBALANCED!

Way to go board – follow the thread by ZB to pick this apart. And welcome to the new feature of Dear Diary: Things-That-Are-Awesome-From-the-Board-That-You-Might-Have-Missed-This-Week-And-Holy-Hell-Does-It-Need-a-Cleverer-Nickname. But first, to the diaries themselves, starting with a candidate for Diary of the Year.

This is Undefeated dream season of 1992's Ph.D. thesis to show which teams get the most bang for the buck out of their recruiting. Unlike other entries under the "recruiting is legit, yo" tag, the author whom I call "9-0-3" in my head takes into account expectation based on returning starters (especially at QB) and previous FEI performance versus recruiting class ranking. Of course Michigan is terrible:

The top schools in the B1G for outperforming expectations are Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Whatever their methods, they have been successful turning 3 star recruits into 5 star players. Over the past three years, the worst B1G team relative to expectations is… Michigan, and that's despite last year's offensive leap. 2008, for a variety of reasons (including Tacopants), was an offensive disaster for Michigan, and 2009 was still below the model's expectations. Minnesota and Illinois round out the B1G bottom 3. Ohio State is right in the middle, mainly because it recruits so well and performs up to those expectations.

Go ahead and blame Greg Robinson. C'mon, you know you wanna!




He covers the regression angle pretty well – maybe do FEI percentile instead of rank. My other critique is what are you measuring: scheme effectiveness, development, talent evaluation, or a scouts' biases against recruits who don't live within 40 minutes of a Southwest Airlines hub?

You'll Be Hearing From Us


Highly aesthetic upper body-enhancement equipment / prizes for knowing things about football.

A week from now it'll be prediction this and prediction that and I'll eat a loaf of Lembas bread if we actually get through it without somebody proclaiming Michigan's going to run the table. Yet in the penultimate week of this memorable 2011 offseason, it got really kind of metttttta.

Last week Six Zero debuted the new MGoShirts for this year (see above).

Then Jeff introduced the Pick Six, a relic competition from an ancient Domer blog where you pick 5 teams you think will do well from the Top 25, plus one unranked. Originally there was no prize but eternal glory in the knowledge that you know more about football than other people, but then Brian offered some of those MGoShirts to the winners.

Brian made a rare diary appearance to announce we're gonna get pictures of things baby!

And if you haven't yet met the new guys, here's Hello: Ace, and Hello: Heiko.

Best of the Board (needs clever name)


That photo above is just one of several Hoke: The Early Years shots dug up by Wolverine Historian after MGoShoe discovered the Hoke Points at Things site. This is just a sampling of the wonders to be found deep in the belly of the MGoBoard. Since the board is quite big and I can't read it all, feel free to let me know (misopogon at att dot net) if you come across anything 92% Pure Columbian Awesome or higher. Here's some highlights this week:

1: MICHIGAN STADIUM TO COVER 25 PERCENT OF PLANET BY 2060:* Bumped to a Diary, MGoPhotoRod personally interviewed Dave Brandon about the planned further expansion of the Big House. michiganstadiumaerialsRadical adherents of traditionalism and democratic architecture, start your griping:

The specs include all-bleacher seating, which will rise up to enclose the spaces between the sideline structures to the scoreboard at a height that the scoreboard will appear as if it is "set into" the new seating area. The design would also make the seating appear like a second deck, as a concourse will be included in the new construction below the new seating.

I'm going to see it before I judge. Second deck like Joe Louis Arena wouldn't bother me, but a visually separated section for the proles I think would damage one of the most aesthetically nice things about Michigan Stadium, which is that unlike some places it doesn't make you feel like you're walking into an Orwellian novel. I doubt however it will look any different than the concourse that broke up the 'M'.

Anyway can people see from up there? I haven't sat up high since my freshman year when they built that stupid Halo, and from there the game just looked like a bunch of blue and yellow dots chasing a white and orange dot around the field.


* You know who's got the rest


2. PARKING: Speaking of the stadium, DIABEETUS got some info on where you'll put your car when they're all done.

3. WTKA SUMMARY: On a thread during the live broadcast of Brian's WTKA show, Bocheezu kindly summarized the first two of three segments. Bochee- you should totally make this a weekly diary.

4. BEERS AND BARS: Lamest thing ever that a group of college guys would totally come up with: Forming a club called "DBAAA" ie "Drinking Beer Around Ann Arbor." Here's a follow-up thread to Brian's foodie entry this week that's all about Ann Arbor-y suds.

5. MINNESANGS MIGHT HAVE BEEN MORE APPROPRIATE BUT: Mustachioed Gentleman sparked a Haiku thread for welcoming Heiko, wherein everybody posted in Haiku. #ONLYATMICHIGAN

6. PEP RALLY WILL INCLUDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUR BOSS TO FIRE YOU AGAIN: Tell Ablauf when it's time to do the Michigan/App State rematch in 2014, the "Old Wounds" game press release is already written.


Section 1 remembers when the Lions came to play in the Big House. 40 lions 522Not the Nittany kind – the ones that people now use as an example for devastating interior rushing.

Last year Blazefire put his season preview to the theme of "American Pie," and it was almost as good as that "Bye Bye [Name of Fraternity Which Found a Particularly Hilarious Way of Getting Kicked Off Campus]" fwd circulating around inboxes c.1999 that you now wish you'd kept.  This year he outdid himself with Walk This Way:

…Singin’ “hail to the Victors”
at our Irish little sisters at the Big House
In the cool night air!

So we took a big chance, with a Hoke-y romance
Didn’t know if he was ready to lead,
Had us all gone foolin’, Yeah he took us for some schoolin’
Seems that he knew what he was doin ‘ indeed

Next week there's football.

Dear Diary Cites Experience

Dear Diary Cites Experience

Submitted by Seth on August 14th, 2011 at 8:43 PM


Hypothetical activities by a 67-year-old Jimi Hendrix if he were still alive | Lies, Deceit, & Stuff

Dear Diary,

I spent most of today trying to play with this diary by airvipermb, which spent some time yesterday on the front page before I knocked it back. For those who don't remember the Jimi-headed versions from last year, the OP did a tremendous job of going through Big Ten rosters and putting down how many upperclassmen each team was projected to play as starters and on the two-deep. What this doesn't do is provide any predictive information.

For that reason this isn't front page material. Not yet at least. But I'd like to help it get there.

First, upperclassman starters in 2011, in table format. I changed it to percent; starter % of upperclassmen is out of 11, two-deep is % of upperclassmen out 22. Because I'm pretty sure this is how airvipermb did it (likely reasoning: too hard to find data otherwise) a redshirt sophomore is an underclassman while a true junior is an upperclassman.* Your most experienced Big Ten two-deeps next year (UPDATE: added deltas):

Team '11 Starters Delta '11 Two-Deep Delta
Nebraska 90.91% +4 77.27% +5
Ohio State 90.91% +1 77.27% +6
Northwestern 100.00% +1 72.73% +1
Indiana 63.64% -1 68.18% +1
Penn State 100.00% +1 63.64% +2
Illinois 81.82% +2 63.64% +2
Iowa 72.73% -2 63.64% -4
Purdue 72.73% +1 59.09% +5
Minnesota 90.91% +1 54.55% -2
Michigan State 54.55% +1 54.55% +4
Wisconsin 72.73% -2 50.00% -1
Michigan 63.64% +1 50.00% +3

The author was optimistic but this says Michigan's defense is still the youngest in the conference excepting younger siblings. Does that matter? The O.P. suggests it does; the data say NSFMF.

Here's how this all looked last year:

Team 2010 DFEI %ile 2010 Yds/G 2010 Starter% 2010 Two-Deep%
Ohio State 92.3% 262.2 81.82% 50.00%
Nebraska 88.3% 306.8 54.55% 54.55%
Iowa 77.3% 332.1 90.91% 81.82%
Illinois 75.4% 351.3 63.64% 54.55%
Michigan State 67.4% 353.8 45.45% 36.36%
Wisconsin 66.1% 321.8 90.91% 54.55%
Purdue 57.5% 369.0 63.64% 36.36%
Penn State 55.7% 346.8 90.91% 54.55%
Indiana 34.3% 410.2 72.73% 63.64%
Minnesota 34.0% 392.2 81.82% 63.64%
Northwestern 31.8% 426.2 90.91% 68.18%
Michigan 23.5% 450.8 54.55% 36.36%

I showed the Yards per game because that's the sorting metric the author used. I'm gonna talk DFEI from here on since I'm an advanced stats fan but if you're not such, mentally upgrade Penn State and Wisconsin for hard-nosed grind-it-out game planning, and downgrade Illinois, Indiana and Purdue for "not getting it." It doesn't matter because these numbers are all over the place:


No. Correlation.

HOWEVA, if you do the same thing on pure recruiting the results are also bouncy. Here's 4- and 5-stars recruited by Big Ten teams from '06 to '08, out of 22 spots available:


Actually this is pretty un-bouncy except Nebraska and Iowa outperformed by a lot and Penn State and Michigan (infinite ARGH!!!) underperformed. Iowa is our super-duper experienced two-deep so maybe that explains them and Michigan's young roster explains Michigan. But then what's Penn State's problem? This study doesn't say. Future study: I would love it if we could get a spreadsheet of all of the Big Ten players on the 1- and 2-deep.


* Let's use Nebraska 2010 as an example for how this can throw us off. You appropriately call them a great defense and rank them second to Ohio State, which I think we can concur on. Here's Nebraska's defense as of this date last year. I count six upperclassman starters there. However Cam Merideth, Baker Steinkuhler, Sean Fisher, Will Compton and P.J. Smith are all from the Class of 2008, i.e. they're redshirt sophomores. Also from that class: Alfonzo Dennard, counted as a junior. See the problem? You've got returning starters three years removed from high school counted the same as Courtney Avery (a true freshman who was a QB in H.S.) last year, despite there being vast difference between their respective expectations of experience-based contribution.


Still Raining, Still Dreaming


Jimi eat galaxy.

Until a few hours ago, it looked like the SEC was ready to swallow up one of the last quasi-worthwhile bits of the Big XII that doesn't have its own channel. This of course sparked another round of speculating how many galaxies the Big Ten must own to keep up, from oakapple and justingoblue. This being the Big Ten, it's not who would come (except Notre Dame) so much as who can fit the academic criteria without being a.) Ivy League, or b.) Athletically challenged.

Justin took it from an academic expenditure perspective, which is an interesting way to get around having to use academic rankings like U.S. News & World Report's, and avoids the weirdness from endowments-based ranking. The candidates are Duke, UNC, Virginia, V-Tech, Pitt, Rutgers, Cuse, Mizzou and Notre Dame, though all but Duke, UNC and Pitt would be near-bottom in the conference at research spending.

For the wargames route, consult oakapple, who took a more pragmatic, dominos (NTD's) effect approach. After six previous dominos it's the Big Ten's turn and…

VII. What Does the Big Ten Do?

The short answer, at least for now, is: probably nothing. The Big Ten is already in a position of strength. It has no particular need to expand. There are only two institutions that could improve the Big Ten’s current product: Texas and Notre Dame. The Irish have chosen repeatedly to remain independent, and for reasons noted above, the Longhorns are more likely to choose the Pac-12.

Galactic plans are on hold until such time as the Pac 487 annexes China and the Big East is trying to teach the French to play football, or Zoltan demands such, whichever happens first.


Scoreboard! Thanks to M-Wolverine at Fan Day, and M-Wolverine's camera.


EGD had some thoughts for a Top 10 (which means 11 not 12) other ideas for Jerel Worthy tattoos. I'm surprised nobody suggested just getting a chip drawn on his shoulder. I'm also surprised it wasn't the 2008 scoreboard, because that's exactly what my MSU friends/family still troll me with (the reminder of 2008 is what stings). Anyway these are good but I want pics! Those of you with Photoshop/GiMP, or who are Samara Pearlstein, get on this!

And THE_KNOWLEDGE is apparently using up the last miles on his current time machine lease to predict the standout of the 2012 class will be… well I can't ruin it.

Dear Diary Recommends Plenty of Dark Side

Dear Diary Recommends Plenty of Dark Side

Submitted by Seth on August 9th, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Fatcamp darksideflamlips

Dear Diary,

So about that image above. First you should know I've been looking for an excuse to associate Ohio State with Cartman ever since Brian made him Steve Spurrier in 2005. And that makes us…*

I'm so off the point, which is to introduce a ✔++ diary by TSS where he calculated the Body Mass Index of the entire Big Ten (plus some Catholic school I would argue is Butters). Really it doesn't say much other than who's got the biggest team of big guys in the Big Ten, but since this is the man-meat conference after all that's relevant.

This Diary of the Week has a lot going on in the subplots and that's what I love about it. For example which positions are packed into one body type and which have a huge variance in player size?


Your answers are receiver and … dammit TSS: "DL"? That's probably a whole bunch of redshirted freshmen who haven't gotten their T's and E's yet.

As a user noted in the comments BMI is about telling bloggers they need more exercise, and probably not so valuable when you're talking about Barwicized athletes who spend entire semesters working on adding muscle mass. As to usefulness of weight watching in general, if a slimmer, older, more athletic Will Campbell looks like this…


…again in 2011 and 2012 because of a weight regimen I am all for it. As a blogger I still feel like we have no way of measuring more than 18-year-old body < 21-year-old body, but this is a new and noble attempt to do that and I applaud.


*If you've been paying attention at all to South Park and Big Ten football you will have realized by now that as much as we'd like to be straight-man Stan, we are Kyle. As in balancing academics with still being one of the cool kids, embarrassed by our East Coast heritage, wondering what happened to the days when little bro was a prop for "kick the baby," and overly prone to bouts of crushing ennui when Cartman fakes out the principle with fake contrition and is rewarded with his $10 million. Wikipedia on Kyle:

Kyle often displays the highest moral standard of all the boys and is usually depicted as the most intelligent. When describing Kyle, Stone states that both he and the character are "reactionary", and susceptible to irritability and impatience. In some instances, Kyle is the only child in his class to not initially indulge in a fad or fall victim to a ploy. This has resulted in both his eagerness to fit in, and his resentment and frustration.


We Don't Need No Education

In other must-read diaries recently, here's one from IncrediblyBLUE, from when he played for Hoke at Ball State. Astoundingly, in this entire story not once is Hoke described as pointing at something---he makes his staff point at things for him:

"To help you guys remember this, I made these numbers.” Coach Hoke then holds up two pieces of paper with a very large ‘1’ and ‘2’ printed on each piece respectively. “So guys,” he bellows, “Remember….Academics…#1,” he says, while holding up the sign that says ‘2.’ Aaron Wellman stands next to him pointing to the sign. Coach Hoke then switches to the #1 sign and continues, “Athletics….Number 2!”  This time Wellman is using a two fingered point at the sign that says #1. Everyone in tJamie Sabau/Getty Imageshe room is laughing and nodding their head. Coach Hoke then puts back up the sign that says #2 and says again, “So, academics here,” and switching signs back to the #1, “Football here.  Does everyone understand that?”

A few posters got a little nervous at non-quotes making light of "voluntary" practices – and I admit I got a little squeamish too – but I assure you there's nothing in there for a local columnist with a grudge to invent a scandal out of. The next story promises "4AM sandbag carries at the stadium in sub-zero temperatures." Well shit.

Denard-Back or Dual-Threet?

So here's what I've been working on lots.

It's a tracker for the 4-star and higher quarterbacks recruited from 2002 to 2010 based on a question posed in some thread a few weeks ago when both erstwhile 2009 commits Beaver and Newsome popped up in transfer news. There are two tabs, one for drop-backs and another for dual-threats. Feel free to browse through and edit – it's easy to see how far I got.

The point of this exercise is to test the hypothesis that going back to a Pro-Style offense has a (clear?) benefit in greater predictability from recruiting high-profile players at the offense's most important position. If we take as a given that Michigan's Michiganness will net Michigan the highest rated X-type of quarterback, high predictability means those guys will end up the best QBs of their classes in college performance. If there's higher variability, as is hypothesized for dual-threat QBs, the ability to nab the top guys is less of an advantage. The hypothesis goes if you have fewer traits to focus on (poise, accuracy, decision-making, arm) it's easier to rate, and you're less likely to have one essential trait end up a game-changing weakness.

I'm not far enough along on the drop-backs to make anything like a conclusion or even see a pattern yet so you can be my helpers. After all what's Dear Diary all about if not profiting from other peoples' labor collaborating the efforts of MGoCitizenry!



Thanks dahblue for the great shotz.

Etc. from a Long Offseason

I bumped this by m1jjb00 up from the boards and it only got 3 likes. I mean he left out Harry Newman from the core circle of awesome (just 'cause it's not called the Heisman doesn't mean it wasn't a walk-away Heisman), but otherwise his comparison of alumni worthiness for a Michigan Ring of Honor is so worth a look.

THE_KNOWLEDGE is holding tryouts for a General Disarray to his Professor Chaos. All you have to do is correctly predict the outcome of Michigan's 2011 games, plus the bowl games OSU will be banned from. Note: I'm not copyediting TK posts because his formatting is part of the shtick, and how can I judge what they do with commas in the 23rd century?

I bitched at a Gopher working for DetNews (who hasn't written me back – Henning tell him how it's done, man!) about why we don't need a mascot.

And Hoke Saves Lives made a hype movie that's almost as long as a Wisconsin drive, and like things to cheer about last year itself is half-Illinois:

The soundtrack doesn't do it for me. However if you turn off the YouTube volume, then hit play on the Flaming Lips' cover of Dark Side of the Moon right on the 3-second mark, it totally lines up! Run, rabbit, run!

Dear Diary Hunts for Red November

Dear Diary Hunts for Red November

Submitted by Seth on July 29th, 2011 at 3:33 AM


Dear Diary,

I'm sorry that this space has yet to address Ohio State's latest run from justice. A lot of that is I'm still so flabbergasted I don't want to be held accountable later for whatever I write while suffering from apoplexy. Also life bler bler time to really pour through the documents and link all. Anyway in the service of having something here's flabbergasted e-pinion.

The NCAA's response came out last week and it's 139 pages of "aw shucks guys coulda happened to anybody." Noticeably lacking is anything that's been mentioned since, oh, late January. If you want the Cliffs Notes, and you do, user jbr12 kindly posted Michael Scarn's longer-than-an-actual-Cliffs Notes review of the Tressel interviews.

The focus is entirely on the Cicero e-mails and it seemed to me the staff was basically trying to get an answer to one question "did you ever think before the 2010 season that 'Oh these kids committed violations?'" But the whole time Tressel is telling them his primary concern was that the kids were part of this drug ring, and then six to seven weeks pass and Tressel learns the Tat5 were not part of the investigation into Rife and he's relieved. They ask why he didn't tell his bosses then and Jim says he, um, was ready to help the Feds. And nothing. I'm not a lawyer but I've seen a few depo's and this moment just astounded me.

By avoiding the most obvious Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control in ever ever, consider this used, and officially going back in the pile.

To my biased reading, the investigators were taking the (latest) OSU party line in focusing on the cover-up, and Jim was saying his major concern is that he thought his players were likely part of a drug and murder ring.

Nothing about the cars or where the equipment they gave to Rife was coming from…nothing that would possibly implicate anyone but Tressel. The questions did not at all seem intended to find what culpability Smith and Gee and the school might have had. Given the posture of the program since this stuff came out that's a very loud silence.

There is now only the slightest glimmer of hope that the NCAA may look again at the mountain of evidence everyone else piled up nice and neat for them since last January on the free "test drives" and unregistered cars since 2002, many more players trading memorabilia outlined in the SI article, the clear implication of equipment staff involvement based on the volume of material traded, the statements of those who claim Tressel told way more way sooner to his superiors, and the outrageous chutzpah of OSU's president and AD through the whole process, from "he fires me" speech to a 10-day "investigation" which came back and said "it's a training exercise."

If you imagine the Russian Ambassador saying this while the Times is sitting on the table between them with the headline "Russian Captain Intends to Defect," that's a pretty good description of OSU's findings. Which the NCAA…accepted?

What of the 180-degree blame shift of convenience when their initial "sweet spot" of a two-game suspension became Tressel resigning and promising to never return to college football except to recruit for OSU and be at the unveiling of his statue. If there's nothing more to see here, why was Terrelle Pryor, who had already promised to return and serve his 5-game suspension for everything in that report, suddenly out the door and no longer associated with the school when details of his cars and tats and so many free dinners became public knowledge?

That glimmer – the one I mentioned a few paragraphs up before the rambling took over --  is from Pac12 commish Larry Scott, via SF sportswriter Jon Wilner:

And he’s well aware that the NCAA didn’t find Ohio State guilty of Lack of Institutional Control or Failure to Monitor — even though its head coach knowing played ineligible players and then lied about it.

“You can be sure I’m tracking it,” he said.

In fact, he called Emmert after tOSU news broke on Friday.

The takeaway? Scott said there’s “a misperception in the media about the finality” of tOSU situation.

While he declined to get specific, I took his comment to mean that Emmert indicated the NCAA could tack on penalties in the cash-for-memorabilia case.

Scott has USC’s back on this one, no question.

Thin, man. Thin.

This is the part in the movie where you thought the Russian crew was all captured and Sean Connery is making friends with Alec Baldwin, and then the cook shoots the guy from Jurassic Park and he dies never having seen Montana. Then the bad-guy Russian sub shows up and that one dude's like "I think someone just shot a torpedo at us!"

Because we can't just hope a defection in their ranks is going to make this whole thing end happy until the cook is shot and their submarine blown out of the water. Meaning it would be all nice and justice if the Soviets were actually called out for being lying, cheating, and blatantly unapologetic scoundrels, but it's not our job to see that the U.N. doesn't make a fool of itself; it's our job to beat the damn reds.

Because Why Waste a Good Chart?

Yesterday Tim front-paged Rescue_Dawn's study of the Midwesterness of Michigan rosters under coaches since Mr. Schembechler. First I'd like to point out that this is the kind of effort that makes the user-generated content such a cut above on this site. The map especially – that is utterly fantastic!

That said, the conclusions are the opposite of correct. The money shot of the article (other than map of awesome) is a pie chart showing the makeup of all Schembechlerian rosters…


…followed by Mo, Llo, and Ro pies whose national slices don't look like they were cut by my wife during another Carb Inquisition.* The takeaway from these charts is that Bo's teams were made of real men grown right here in the Heart of America. NSFMF.


(click makes it big)

Now this is not at all accurate because like Rescue_Dawn I used data from Bentley and they don't distinguish from walk-ons** and those inflate the local numbers but contribute a disproportionately small amount of playing time. But it tells an important story that the total figures for each coach do not: trends.

Here, have a spreadsheet. The straight line at the top shows the trend (% of total) under each coach's career of total roster Midwest makeup. The squiggly line is the % of total year by year (and uses the same Y axis). The rest is not % but the total number of players on the team. I also split up the states a little differently based on which conference(s) were most local for recruits. Midwest= MN, WI, IA, IL, IN, OH, MI, PA, & Canada; Northeast= New England, NY, NJ, DE, DC, MD, WV, VA, NC; Nebraska's in the central, Arizona's Pacific, etc.01.anthony.carter

You have to kind of mentally extend the previous coach into the next one but the trends show you important things that total % do not. Perfect example: it looks like Rodriguez did a good job keeping a Carr-level smattering of guys from Big XII country. Those guys: Banks, Steve Watson, Jared Van Slyke, Darryl Stonum, Troy Woolfolk, T-Robinson, Stephen Hopkins and Brandon Herron. 75% of that were Lloyd's guys.

You can also see evidence of pipelines, starting with Bo building the East Coast, then getting more and more from the South through the '80s. He and Moeller then got a thick chunk from the Plains States while Lloyd developed (not seen here 'cause I threw it in with Midwest) Pennsylvania and the West Coast.

Ultimately what you're seeing is coaches who were ALL opportunistic, using the national brand to recruit nationally when they could, taking advantage of Midwest recruits' biases when they couldn't, and otherwise being strategic but strategic like a company looking to grow new revenue streams who still mostly focused on its core product.

If you're looking for a coach who believes the world ends at the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, your man is Bump Elliott, and that worked terribly because back then the South was still segregated and their best men were winning championships for all of our rivals. Bo's the guy who either saw Michigan into the age of national recruiting, or took us there, depending on your view of agency.


* Nobody expects a Carb Inquisition. The secret is surprise. And smaller portions. And a fanatical devotion to pointing out that "carbohydrate" is Latin for "wet coal."

** And among many other laughs list a Terry T. Albott, and Obinna Ezeh, and completely cannibalize the Opong-Owusu family. Seriously: Cherie Opong-Owl.

Dear Diary, The Worst is Over

Dear Diary, The Worst is Over

Submitted by Seth on July 20th, 2011 at 9:17 PM


A whole lot of "defense will be better" diaries this week. Rather than steal their thunder, HIT PLAY to listen to my favorite song off my favorite album of all time, and once the strings and charts come in, start clicking things. (Mp3 courtesy of band's official page)

Dear Diary,

Your gentleman caller

Well, he's been calling on another
He loves his forbidden fruit

And as it dribbles down his chin
He cries:

"Baby I've been drinking with some friends now how about a little kiss"

Bad boy
Rub his nose in it, what a mess

And he's playing dumb
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

I'm not looking for a lover
All those lovers are liars
I would never lie to you


You say you wanna get even
Yeah you wanna get your bad man good
Well, are you in the mood?

You bad girl
Does it feel good
Being bad? and get worse
do do do do do do do do




But in the morning
On the sober dawn of Sunday
You're not sure what you have done


Who told you love was fleeting?
Sometimes men can be so misleading
To take what they need from you


Whatever you need to make you feel
Like you've been the one behind the wheel
The sunrise is just over that hill


The worst is over.


Whatever I said to make you think
That love's the religion of the weak


This morning we love like weaklings
The worst is over.


Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

The worst is over.


Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

The worst is over.


The worst is over.

Dear Diary Basks in Hellfires

Dear Diary Basks in Hellfires

Submitted by Seth on July 19th, 2011 at 12:17 AM


Lots of good diaries this week. I'm breaking them up so we can comment, and you know, provide content and stuff.

Dear Diary,

So three guys from Detroit go to hell. The Devil's walking around doing his rounds to make sure everyone's getting the proper amount of torture and finds the Detroit guys sitting out in the open, drinking beers, grilling, and generally smiling at the hell fires.

The Devil is like "what are you guys doing?" and the three Detroit guys calmly explain that they're from Michigan, the land of snow and ice; when you get a warm day you gotta enjoy it.

So the Devil decides to turn the heat way, way up in that sector – enough to melt the rock – and moves on. Later he figures the Detroiters are good and cooked, and goes back to check on them, only to see them out in the middle of the lake of fire, having found a bunch of motor boats and tied them together, drinking and sunning themselves and fishing. The Devil's like WTF and the Detroiters explain again about the snow and ice and enjoying a nice day.Hoke-1

So the Devil's like I gotta screw these guys: He turns the temp way down, to absolute zero. And after enough time he comes back to check on the Detroit guys and there they are throwing a huge party, screamin', hollerin' whoopin', and just celebrating like crazy. The Devil's is apoplectic: "What the HERE guys?"

And they all look at him blankly like this should be obvious and are like "Dude: Hell froze over."

Devil: "Yeah?"

"The Lions must've won the Superbowl!"

Bask, man. Bask

I usually skip those ubiquitous Power Rankings articles that force e.g. Yahoo columnists to come up with (un-)clever one-liners about each team so they're not just posting a table, because without 19 words on Brian Wilson's beard etc. the thing just looks like an arbitrary table. The exception is when my teams are doing well, for the same reason Scrooge McDuck takes daily dives into his silo of gold and people in Michigan will never pass up a chance to put their face in the sun.

When your team is sweeping its region in recruits and steals a 5 star at its greatest position of need from an evil arch nemesis, no matter where everyone thinks you are, you bask. Never mind that part about the offense regressing from arguably sweet because of a scheme change, and a defense that needs to come up 10 levels just to get out of hell. Just follow where Brady Hoke points and get to the good stuff.

The recruiting binge that followed Hokeamania reached a new crescendo this week with our first committed 5-star (except not yet on Rivals), launching a new Diary genre: Let's Rank Our Class. Tim does it regularly for our conference (and teams that play half a Big Ten schedule but claim independence). TomVH took a shot at it last week, figuring how we'd finish. And now the diarists are having at it.

Looking at this list, I created a simple way to estimate where each teams class could end up if they recruited about 2/3 as well as they have so far and every team ended up with about 25 recruits.  We all know this will not be the case and especially for a team like USC but their recruiting class to date deserves to be on this list.

That's from Hill.FootballRecruits, who has Michigan finishing 5th behind Texas, Auburn, FSU and Florida. If you take his Top 12 (based on Rivals) and project onto a graph that is really hard to make on Excel you get:


(click gets you larger)

So that's pretty good, especially when you figure Kalis will be a 5-star in short order. While we're at it, Big Ten:


How much better is Michigan's recruiting than our rivals' this year? Soooo much! And consider a few weeks ago that block of reddish-orange used to be affixed to the end of Ohio State's not nearly as impressive 2x4; tatgate's the table saw, Hoke's the wood glue.

Just for the sake of torture, here's Michigan's 2012 class (in mid-July (!)) versus the hellfires of yesteryear:


Er, if that's hellfires either I've been caught dead at the Jobbie Nooner, or the Lions just won the Superbowl. Only it's mid-July 2011 right now, not mid-February 2012, and Michigan is more likely to add more orange and red to the left side of the axis before all's said. The other thing you can see is that the 3-stars are very yellow-green, contrasting sharply with the greenie-green and even bluish shades which broke that up in the late-Carr classes. This is what we mean when we say the 3-stars aren't like the 3-stars of yesteryear. If indeed Rivals has been recently underrating high 3-stars in the Midwest due to the lack of a scout, perhaps this class is a shade more yellow than we're giving it credit for.

Play us out, Six Zero's Overly Entitled Wolverine MascotYeah, I'm at the game, where you guys gonna be later?  Well, is she hot?

Dear Diary Predicts the Past: D-Lineation

Dear Diary Predicts the Past: D-Lineation

Submitted by Seth on July 10th, 2011 at 10:29 PM


This is exactly how I imagined it would go down, except for the part where Roh is lining up behind them. I mean, that would be silly!

Dear Diary,

Before I get into the historical journey, a word on OSU's idea of appropriate sanctions (pdf): I must be really biased. I mean, I know as a Michigan fan I am not going to be impartial when it comes to Ohio State anything. My understanding of NCAA's "sweet spot" for penalties is to take the perceived benefit of the violation and double it as a negative. If five guys played ineligibly, 10 schollies amortized. If a bowl game was involved, 2-year bowl ban. Here's Gene Smith's latest sweet spot:

In its response to the NCAA, the university addresses the NCAA’s specific allegations and also highlights steps the university has already taken, including:
• Suspending five players for the first five games of next season;
• Accepting Tressel’s resignation;
• Vacating the football program’s wins in the 2010 season, including its Sugar Bowl victory in January 2011;
• Self-imposing a two-year NCAA probation; and
• Implementing additional measures to enhance the university’s already extensive monitoring, educational and compliance programs.

Gene-Smith nixon

Notice how nothing from the above will have any long-term effect on the program. The suspended players were already suspended. Tressel already resigned (and having him promise not to coach anyone else just gives OSU exclusivity on his legacy). The probation and fixing the oversight problem by raising their monitoring of players' cars all the way up to the level of a sleepy MAC school are givens. As for vacating wins, to this History baccalaureate that's an empty gesture which creates more William1problems for historians than the school. If you never see this:

The Queen of England has admitted that William the Conqueror provided improper benefits to Norman knights when seizing the throne of England in 1066, therefore the monarchy is hereby striking the Battle of Hastings from the History books, and removing the Bayeux Tapestry.*

…then why do teams get to cross out history? If the Final Four banners from the '90s still hung at Crisler, wouldn't that just be a greater reminder of their tarnishing?

Through my very biased eyes, it looks like they're asking to walk away with less than Michigan got for clerical errors on practice time. Other than the duh parts, there is nothing here that's substantive.

If I understand this correctly, OSU is basically responding just to the original notice of allegations, and leaving it to the NCAA to prove anything beyond the Original Tat Five and Tressel's e-mail cover-up campaign. Now it's the NCAA's turn: if they don't reschedule the Aug. 12 meeting with the Committee of Infractions it means they don't think they can make the bigger case. Everyone who doesn't live in Ohio knows there's something funky with the borrowed cars, but Ohio State's betting the NCAA can't prove it now that Pryor can't be forced to testify. It's a hardball move, a mobster's move, and puts the NCAA Committee of Infractions in the tough spot of either choosing to respond with the heartless indignation they used on USC, or the wilt. I honestly couldn't tell you what they'll do.


* Yes, I know Bayeux is in France. It's a metaphor.


Defensive Line

From 2007 to 2010 the offense was deconstructed and rebuilt, the secondary was nuked, and the linebackers plinked along with terrible coaching. Faced with replacing Woodley and Branch (plus consummate other-guy Rondell Biggs), the 2007 outlook for defensive line might have been scary had the next generation not been there ready to rock. Well the next generation was there, and they were ready to rock, and as a result Michigan's defensive line churned along through the Dark Times.

Not that everything was rosy. By 2010 the depth beyond the starters was a trio of senior disappointments who, while not disastrous in the way that various walk-ons and freshmen were in the secondary, were a pretty big drop-off from the regulars.

Re-Stating the Premise:

Why are we 'Predicting the Past' again? This series is meant to be a long reply to those board posts that pop up a lot between Spring and Fall practices where we list the young guys and recruits on the depth chart and predict wonderful things for the future. The idea is to take our collective DeLoreans back to 2007 and get a sense of how those expectations turn out. Are the alarmists justified when they see highly regarded juniors backed up by just a smattering of guys who got a 3rd star with their Michigan offers? What happens to the "studs" versus the 4-stars? Next week is a summary piece where I'll try to find any common threads. Bonus: some of the situations that characterized '07 are relevant today. Double-bonus: walk down memory lane.

Depth Charts:

MIKE-MARTIN-112109-1-thumb-320x389-17091Ends: Brandon Graham (So/So), Tim Jamison (Jr/Jr), Adam Patterson (Fr/So), Greg Banks(Fr/So), Ryan Van Bergen (RS/Fr)

Tackles: Terrance Taylor (Jr/Sr), Will Johnson (Jr/Sr), Marques Slocum (Fr/So), Jason Kates (Fr/So), John Ferrara (Fr/So), Renaldo Sagesse (Fr/Fr)

Attrition: Alan Branch (2004), Chris McLaurin, James McKinney and Eugene Germany (2005), Quintin Woods (2006)

Incoming: Mike Martin


LaMarr Woodley and Alan Branch made Michigan's defense one of the best in the country. Looking to open up opportunities for these two (and cover the loss of space-eating DT Gabe Watson), M in '06 moved back to a 4-man front with now-ready Terrance Taylor as 1-tech and Rondell Biggs as other-guy DE. The setup was not so different from Mattison's 4-3 over, and played to the team's strengths. Taylor could sit home and clog, Biggs could hold up his edge, and this left Woodley to scream in from 2011 Roh's spot while Branch feasted upon single-blocking guards from the 3-tech spot.

Opposing offenses were left with the choice of using more backs and ends as blockers, or leaving one of Michigan's monsters one-on-one with some mortal likely to require extensive therapy afterwards. When feeling particularly maniacal, Crable could blitz from the SAM. If an opposing quarterback was lucky, he might be able to launch a back-foot prayer before his respiratory system collapses. Yes, this is a setup for that picture.

That picture.

After '06, Woodley graduated and Branch rode those single-teams to an early NFL departure. The other DE spot was losing its two-deep, graduating Biggs as well as fellow "solid" DE (and RVB Dutch-acronymical predecessor) Jeremy Van Alstyne. Except for Branch, a post-'06 exodus was expected, and the staff had been hard at work building the next generation.

Going into 2007 with one returning starter, the line was young and expected to take a step back as the sophomores took over. DL recruiting was a big thing for M for both '05 and '06, though attrition had already done a lot of damage to that. The '05 group had the highly rated Taylor from Muskegon, plus winter enrollee high-4 Eugene Germany, 4-star 3-tech James McKinney, and a sleeper rush end in Carson Butler. The '06 class, already having lost some of the oh-five-ers, had the high-4 star Adam Patterson, 5-star in-stater Brandon Graham (considered an LB but a move to DE was expected), and four depth dudes in space-eating 1-tech Jason Kates plus three middly 3-star types in Greg Banks (SDE), Quintin Woods (WDE) and John Ferrara (3-tech).terrance_taylor

Then those classes got thwacked by most of the Decimated Defense's Carr-era attrition. Germany was a 4.5-star '04 USC recruit who got squeezed out by Carroll's oversigning and ended up enrolling at Michigan in winter as an '05 guy. In March '07 he was kicked off the team for taking part in the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre, an incident quite similar to the annual Dantonio Dorm Raids at MSU except involving 17% less of the team (other culprits: DB Chris Richards, and Manbearfreak). He ended up at Minn-Duluth and was the best player on a team that made a surprising run to the DII Top 10. McKinney had some medical issues early on, and groused after the '07 spring game about his depth chart spot. By this point in '07 insiders were on to what became an Aug. 12 transfer; he was later dismissed from Louisville. McLaurin left in '06 due to health issues. Quintin Woods didn't qualify. Butler had moved to TE, earned the moniker of 'Manbearfreak,' and was thought to be following Richards and Germany out the door for the Nerd Massacre.

Despite that attrition, and just two DLs in the 2007 class, the immediate future had Michigan stacked at DE and serviceable inside on the 1-deep, but thin on the 2-deep with a major 2008 haul expected to shore that up. The key players all had time logged in previous DL rotations, promising a step back but a smooth transition nonetheless. Tim Jamison had earned playing time as a true freshman in '04 – before Branch did actually – but lost that season and much of '05 to injury. Brian in his 2007 preview:

Tim Jamison is finally the weakside defensive end after three years of nonstop hype interrupted by injury and Rondell Biggs. It is time to step up, as they say. Jamison's featured as a pass rush specialist for the last few years and has done well. Last year five of his thirteen tackles were sacks. Given the constant torrent of practice hype, Jamison's recruiting rankings, and his evident ability in small doses, Jamison should also be an instant star.

With his RS junior and senior years ahead of him, the WDE spot was set through '08. Opposite him, 5-star sophomore Brandon Graham earned time as a true freshman in '06, but as a flabby 290-lb. tackle. Graham slimmed to 262 for '07, and was expected to end in SDE competence with a chance of greatness down the line.

Adam Patterson was supposed to be a big deal. A high 4-star, Patterson was tagged as Woodley's heir apparent in '05, despite a (in retrospect important) quiet senior season in high school. He was a Lloyd Carr Inexplicable Burned Redshirt in '06 and saw erratic garbage snaps.

At DT, Taylor had established himself as a strong, compact, but not very mobile DT, basically what we want Quinton Washington to be (though that's wrong because Q is pretty mobile). The lone returning starter on the D-line, Taylor was expected to be rather close to his ceiling as a super-strong but no athletic redshirt junior, though that ceiling was All-Big Ten. Will Johnson had earned extensive playing time as a freshman and sophomore, even in place of Branch. The coaches loved him and while not Branch, Johnson was expected to more than ably fill Branch's 3-tech spot through 2008.


Depth-wise, Marques Slocum was finally past a two-year, FCK LION-enhanced qualifying odyssey. An OL recruit before, now Slocum was a backup DT with freshman eligibility.

The depth guys were all recruited as depth guys and expected to be depth guys. Among them Greg Banks seemed to be the closest to something that could draw in regularly to the lineup. Ferrara was the hard-working DT-type who invariably brings up comparisons to Grant Bowman. Kates as a 400-pound thing you put in the middle of the defense because nobody can move 400 pounds anywhere it doesn't want to go. In true freshmen, Renaldo Sagesse was a big Canadian who was already in his 20s as a true freshman and thus drew into the lineup immediately. Ryan Van Bergen was a 4-starry 4-star, ranked about even or just above the committed 2012 DEs. Or Anthony Zettel maybe.

For 2008, Novi's Mike Martin (fringe 150 and rumored strongman) had signed on June 5, and M was fighting Ohio State for similarly rated Garrett Goebel. Recruiting hype on Martin:

Out of high school he’s a smaller version of Terrance Taylor, a shortish but stocky NT sort who was a state champion wrestler and powerlifter. A true freshman at DT would normally be cause for concern but Martin is reputed to be a gym rat much better prepared for the rigors of a college weight program than most. His highlight film is pretty impressive, as he shoots through the line and drags down ballcarriers like he’s a middle linebacker.

Detroit Martin Luther King HS's 5-star Nick Perry, a rush DT, visited Ann Arbor on July 2 and named Michigan his leader over USC, Miami (YTM) and MSU, though Dantonio was hard after him.

All told the D-line was set for 2007-'08. After that it would be up to the next generation, meaning one of the 3-stars has to pan out inside or the '08 class provides.

How Did That Work Out?

For awhile, meh. Then came Barwis and…

D-Line is a little different than the other positions. Typically (unless GERG is running a 3-3-5) it's four guys versus five OLs. If you have a weak point and three solids, the offense can double-team your weak link and the rest look more pedestrian. If the offense has to throw two OLs at one star to save their backs' lives, it gives the other DLs more chances to blow up the play. It was hard to judge any DLs for much of 2010 as GERG put them into 3-man rushes so often.

This is most evident when you look at Terrance Taylor next to Alan Branch, versus Terrance Taylor next to Will Johnson. Taylor was exactly what we said he would be. He was no Suh and shouldn't have been the main guy inside, but as a second guy who does his job he didn't disappoint. I've never been able to find it again but at some point Carr called Taylor the "fullback of the defense," which if he actually said that and it wasn't my mind making it up would be apropos.

In 2007 I got down on Will Johnson – my snide nickname for him was the "Yellow Brick Road." This was mostly because I wanted to blame someone for Michigan being unable to stop a shotgun zone running game, which usually seemed to run right by Johnson. His UFRs were usually okay-ish (5+, 3-) but he got splinched often against Wisconsin (mixed in with some great plays) and was ineffective against Ohio State. Versus bad interiors (Minnesota, Penn State) he was spectacular. In the Horror and against Oregon he was victimized by doubles. Less Barwicized than the other linemen in '08 he nonetheless progressed to graduate as a totally acceptable interior player.

Ferrara played the younger-Bowman role of workmanlike backup okay, but in '08 he was called upon to (not terribly) fill the depleted offensive line when neither Tim McAvoy nor the recycling bin he was competing with proved effective.

On the ends, Jamison was not made for spread defending. Then he exploded against Ohio State in 2007, the only thing about that game that's not worth forgetting. He lost a lot of "bad" weight between his junior and senior years and was a plus guy on the 2008 team.

Brandon Graham in summary:

Graham(+3) slants past his guy, explodes into the backfield, and crushes this play singlehandedly. Huge; a play that will go on his NFL highlight reel. Tackling +1, too.

Graham missed the first two games of 2007 (you know how those went) but when he was inserted in Game 4 the defense all of a sudden could stop the run. However Graham was still a bit out of shape and this showed when MSU ran him ragged in the 2nd half with double teams. Then Barwis came in, deconstructed B-Grammy into small parts, and chose the most Woodley-esque to rebuild him. The result: by mid-way through '08 teams were staying away from Graham's side of the field with Woodson-esque regularity. In 2008 and 2009 Brandon Graham was probably one of the best players in college football; a dark horse Heisman campaign for Brandon (then and now I believe Suh should have won that one) appeared on M boards in late 2009. By the time he left as a fringe Top 10 draft pick (he went 13th overall), Brandon had gone from vague hope of another Woodley to winning a head-to-head comparison with a Lombardi winner.

Other wonderful news: Mike Martin = The Incredible Hulk. And Ryan Van Bergen, whether at DT or DE, has proven an effective starter since his redshirt freshman year (and the consummate likeable team guy to boot). You know these guys, and Brian's about to go into detail on the 2011 preview so I'll leave it there. Here's a mid-2010 season eval on RVB:

Van Bergen has also checked in around expectations. He wouldn't look out of place on Michigan defensive lines of yore when the defense was actually good. He's not making a ton of tackles (just twelve) but has two sacks and four of Michigan's eleven QB hurries on the season. He's been hovering around the +4/+5 area that's a decent to good day for a 4-3 DE, and since he's not a 4-3 DE those numbers point towards an above-average player. He was even an impact player against MSU with a drive-killing sack and solid play against the run. He tied Martin's numbers on the day.

RVB is also reportedly the only living human to actually catch and sack Denard Robinson in 3 out of 3 attempts, though this is disputed by Robinson. [EDIT: embedding disabled. Fast forward to RVB's number]:

Samara Pearlstein totally wants to hug them now.

Adam Patterson was the real disappointment, football-wise. A Top-100 recruit in his day, Patterson's quiet senior year of high school now seems a portent. Adam finally played regularly at DT in 2010 after receiving a 5th year for an injury redshirt in '09, and he was not so good. Best guess on him is the speed and size that came before his classmates and made Patterson so devastating as a junior in high school did not mature beyond that. His frame never filled out, and that made him eminently moveable by doubles. When Martin was knocked out/hobbled for the latter part of last year by a late MSU cheapshot, Patterson got to play extensively (he found out minutes before the Purdue game he would start) and Michigan was ripped by teams doubling up on the inside. That said Patterson stuck it out through the transition, and was always good for positive quotes about his teammates – how many Top 100 players can you think of who will stick it out for his teammates after all of that?

Neither Banks nor Sagesse were any better than their quiet recruiting profiles, which that's not their fault either. Coaching might have been wanting here too – Banks had a tendency to not work down the line of scrimmage when the play went away from him, which further exposed the young secondary and linebackers. Both were behind walk-on wee wittle guy Will Heininger in '09, and would have been again perhaps if Heininger hadn't missed 2010 for injury.

craig-roh-crazy-ninja-stanceOther than that it was basically what could be gathered in 2009 and 2010 recruiting. Rodriguez & Co. picked up certifiable crab person Craig Roh (right), rated only moderately shirtless because of his size but otherwise a Ryan Kerrigan-level guy. Michigan also picked up a 5-star 2009 in-state Gabe Watson-like guy in William Campbell, but to date Campbell's technique has never managed to catch up to his talent. Whether the new, DL-oriented staff can turn Campbell into a effective (3-tech) DT this year could determine the fate of the 2011 line.

Nick Perry turned out not to be among them* – the 2008 class ended with just Martin on the line, and two 2009 DT recruits chose to back out of their verbals on Signing Day. M whiffed on an SDE-type in Anthony LoLata (since transferred), and have let in-state 4-stars slip away to Penn State in consecutive years. But brought in a smattering of 3-star guys in 2010 and 2011 who run the gambit from promising borderline 4-stars who probably just needs to add weight (Jibreel Black, Richard Ash) to lots of depth-y fellas. In other words, it looks a lot like 2007 all over again.

Ultimately your defensive line from 2007 to 2010 was saved by several extraordinary gentlemen, all recruited under Carr: Super All Star Brandon Graham, Mike Martin, and RVB, and when those guys weren't available the line suffered. Craig Roh is the most likely star to emerge from the Rich Rod classes, especially as he returns from being miscast as a linebacker in a 3-3-5 to the terrorizing edge rusher in a 4-3 under so like where he was most effective as an underclassman.


* This pissed me off so much at the time that my friends used to call out "Nick Perry!" to psyche me out of disc/darts tosses. This has now morphed into "Steve Perry!" because you try throwing a dart with this in your head.


A Diary

Rescue_Dawn has updated his recruiting map. Behold the Mighty Midwest Kingdom of Hoke the Magnificent:

Since we don't count republished press releases and TomVH can't win it, this is your default Diary of the Week. Not that he doesn't deserve it.

Dear Diary Predicts the Past III: Linebacker

Dear Diary Predicts the Past III: Linebacker

Submitted by Seth on July 3rd, 2011 at 5:04 PM


Previously: The Offense, The Defensive Backs

Dear Diary,

In 2006, David Harris never came off the field for a single defensive play. Then he (and Prescott Burgess) graduated, and the Ezeh/Mouton era was born.

The cheapest thrill in MGoBlogging from '07 to '10 was making an Obi Ezeh joke. Here was a guy with limited ability who was subject to terrible coaching and forced into the center of Michigan's defense – wearing David Harris's number no less – for four terrible years because until Kenny Demens there was no alternative. Since linebacker mistakes are harder to spot than, say, free safety mistakes, you could get a lot of internet cred by intelligently pointing out the flaws in Ezeh's game.

If you hang around enough program insiders, you already know that in all of the important things in life, Obi Ezeh is a spectacular success. On the overwhelming majority of the plays he was involved in, Obi did something other than fail spectacularly. And then there were those times on the field when he failed, spectacularly.

That it took until midway through his senior year to displace Ezeh says a lot about the depth of Michigan's linebacker recruiting, and probably more about the coaching. Four years ago, was this the future we expected?

Depth Chart:

Chris Graham Sr. Johnny Thompson Jr.* Shawn Crable Sr.*
Jonas Mouton Fr.* Obi Ezeh Fr.* Marrell Evans Fr.
Brandon Logan Jr. Austin Panter Jr. Brandon Herron Fr.

Incoming: (Marcus Wither-)SPOON!


But that AUGGGHHHH was a long time coming. M had a string of bad linebacker recruiting years that ended up giving playing time to a Sarantos and the vastly overrated McClintock a few years earlier before the enterprise was saved by Burgess panter-093008_300moving in from safety and a Grand Rapids 2-star running back emerging as all-world MLB David Harris. By 2007 those guys were gone and it was the undersized seniors Graham and Crable, then hope.

The story of 2007 recruiting, other than "PLZ moar DBs!" was "PLZ moar LBs!" Then the LB haul turned out to be a JUCO junior and two fliers, and two of the freshmen transferred, and crippling fear set in. Little bits of happy flakes like "maybe Chris Graham will have a Bennie Joppru renaissance" and "Obi Ezeh practice hype!" and "Jonas Mouton's recruiting pedigree as a safety" were used to provide the necessary optimism to balance the previews that start with a tiny linebacker with Tyrannosaurus arms, yappy trash-talking spear, and blitz-only knife, and end with one guy down the depth chart with any hope of being good.

Tyranno-arms was Chris Graham, who was terrible as a sophomore, didn't play behind Burgess, and came into his senior year expected to raise even more internet ire. The expectation here was for Mouton's loads of talent to push Graham out of the way.

At MLB, Thompson and Ezeh were in a battle. What little had been seen of Thompson led Brian to conclude he was a guy born a generation too late, medium_UM FBC EZEH LONthe best case scenario a Sam Sword who needs to come off the field on passing downs. Ezeh was our knight in Harris-ian armor:

Nobody's seen redshirt freshman Ezeh in the flesh yet, but the indicators on him are good. For one, he is David Harris: a nothing running back recruit out of Grand Rapids who Michigan unearthed and brought in as a linebacker. He even took the newly hallowed #45 once Harris graduated. In the fall he was moved to middle linebacker to compete with Thompson and Panter so he wouldn't spend his year idling behind Crable. Whenever people try to get you on the field, that's a good sign.

We now know that whenever people try to get you on the field, that could be a good sign for you, or a bad sign for the entire unit.

Crable? Ah, Crable. Expert attacker, not made for regular linebacking duties. The SAM position that kind of became Spur and is now again SAM was exactly what Crable was good at. He essentially made Michigan's defense a 5-2, with Crable serving as a sharp knife to terrify bludgeoning offensive linemen and wreak backfield havoc. When he's not doing this, Michigan would go to the nickel, with Brandon Harrison in for Crable. Brian in aa13the preview:

As a 6'6" linebacker with chicken legs and a high center of gravity, he's not the sort to defeat a block and close out a hole. He doesn't make tackles three yards downfield. It's either in the backfield or after long pursuit.

As for depth and future: negligible or less after Mouton and Ezeh. The team was sucking up the departure of Mixon and Patilla, and Brandon Graham's move to DE, leaving just 9 scholarship players, of whom Mouton was the only consensus 4-star or higher. Logan was already a clear Anton Campbell Memorial Special Teamer. Pessimistic practice reports ruled out any immediate usefulness from Panter. Evans was a 2-star reportedly offered on advice that he had a better work ethic than Brandon Minor, according to Brandon Minor. Herron was an athletic project recruit who looked like a receiver. On July 31, 2007, until help arrived from the 2008 class, the future was Ezeh, Mouton, and bleakness:

Mixon transferred, Patilla is likely gone, and Graham is a defensive end. Mouton (who moved down from safety) and Ezeh are both drawing very positive reviews and are odds-on favorites to start next year, but past that we have only the two freshmen, one of whom was a two-star and the other a three-star regarded as a combine freak who needs a lot of work. Depth is also going to be an issue at linebacker going forward; we need at least three in this class.

As for those 2008 recruits, SPOON! was Rival's 160th overall at the time, and the board was full of linebacker prospects. Taylor Hill, a 3.5-star-ish guy was apparently off to Florida (the RR hire turned him back), but M was in good position for 4-star J.B. Fitzgerald, anMarell-Evansd Christian Wilson was close to coming in, but as an H-back. Because the offer list was so rich and large and positive feeling-y, in-state Kenny Demens didn't have an offer from Michigan, and insiders expected him to end up at that school people go to when they want to go to Michigan but don't have a letter of acceptance from Michigan.

All told, expectations were for a dark period that hopefully saw Mouton emerge as a killer to cover up deficiencies in the Ezeh/Thompson platoon, while the coaches schemed around the 3rd LB spot with two-LB sets (nickel/5-2) or sets that basically act like two-LB (3-3-5, 4-3 under) until the fruits of the 2008 haul ripened. The 2008 preview gave a kind 2 out of 5 rating because if Ezeh got better (rather than worse) each year, he'd be Schilling minus the recruiting hype. At that point Mouton was beaten for the starting gig by the workmanlike (pre-transfer) Marrell Evans, and Panter was your 2008 starting SLB. By Penn State '08 it was Thompson at SAM, Mouton terrible in coverage but awesome at blitzing, and Ezeh a convenient focal point for power running teams, which the Big Ten has those, and we talking about how we totally called it.

Ultimately this meant 'eh' to mediocre linebacker play for 2007-09, and then something approximating good in 2010 when Mouton and Ezeh are 5th year seniors with loads of experience, and the 2008 guys were upperclassmen.

How Did that Turn Out?


This is a picture taken from Brian's picture pages of Mouton losing contain again. RB#32 will now cut behind LT#77 and probably have enough time to cue a celebratory animation as he waltzes toward the end-zone as you throw your controller and curse the EAsshole who programmed suction blocking.

Then you realize this is real life and you go looking for a coach to throttle.

The depth chart at the beginning of 2007 fall practice tells a story, but the rest of the tale of linebacker in the 2007-10 is the clearest case in M history since DeBordian offensive playcalling in which the coaches failed their players.

Whereas the defensive backfield suffered from a lack of guys, the linebacker corps had a some guys with wildly varying abilities The truth of that statement can be found in the era's picture pages that weren't about bad DB play, bad backup DL play, or some bit of insight into the Offensive Genius of Mr. Rodriguez, from lining up Demens incorrectly to the consistent fundamental mistakes made by experienced 5th year seniors. It can be confirmed by the incredibly short careers of various linebacker coaches in this time:

2007: Steve Szabo – Former LB's coach for Jacksonville Jaguars ('94-'02) and DC for B.C. and Colorado State before that. Michigan's LB coach from 2006-'07, was let go with rest of Carr's staff when RR took over, and joined the Carr's-Michigan-in-Exile project of Ron English down the road in Ypsilanti.

2008-'09: Jay Hopson – A favorite MGoWhipping Boy, this Mississippi import couldn't a.) coach linebackers, or b.) recruit Mississippi. He was the fall-guy for the 2009 defense. Brian on Hopson postmortem:

Now that he's actually gone, it's no sugarcoat time: Hopson failed at all aspects of his job at Michigan. At least Tony Gibson can point to the walk-ons and whatnot when attempting to explain what went wrong with his section of the defense; Hopson had two redshirt juniors with three years of starting experience between them. They went backwards, and the big-time recruit backing them up also proved unready.

Meanwhile, a—possibly the—primary reason Michigan lacks depth on the defensive line and might have to turn down a couple of recruits who want to come was Hopson getting "commitments" from two defensive tackles who eventually went to Arkansas and Texas Tech on signing day.

This makes Rodriguez 0/2 on his new hires since coming to Michigan, with Greg Robinson currently sporting an incomplete. If Rodriguez doesn't make it at Michigan the guys he picked to run his defense will be a primary factor.

    If the link to that Christmastime '09 post is purple on your browser, it's because I've linked it several times before thanks to this famous bit of prophesy fulfilled: 2010: GERG – You see a man with fantastically groomed white locks who takes the opportunity afforded by his first linebacker ward performing a linebacker play correctly to rub said linebacker's face with a beaver beanie baby. Throttle this man? Y/N
    That's not to say they were working with a roster full of Ray Lewis and Jarret Johnsons (like some people). The transfer bug continued, as Evans and three of the '08 commits (Hill, SPOON!, and former safety Brandon Smith) followed Mixon and Patilla out the door. The recruiting story under Carr was, if you can believe it, even more desperate than the defensive backs, evidence: Panter. But where you can't get away from playing 4 DBs on most downs, you can get away with 2 every-down linebacker-y linebackers if you scheme for it, and that's what Michigan essentially did.
    The result: zero depth behind the two summon creatures played above. At various points along the way, tiny walk-on Kevin Leach became a nominal starter, and not because of injuries to guys ahead of him. Suboptimal options J.B. Fitzgerald, Craig Roh, Brandon Herron, Mark Moundros and Brandon Smith were all forced into the lineup in hopes of plugging some of those holes between Adam Patterson and wherever Adam Patterson's shoes were landing. If the Opong-Owusu family had produced any more sons, they probably would have played as well.
    The real story of 2007 to 2010 though was Mouton and Ezeh. Mouton came to be known in my (fantasy nerdy) head as the Goblin Sapper, equally liable to cause massive to enemies and his own party. Since the NFL apparently thinks they can make a linebacker out of him, and he was actually getting really good coverage drops whenever he knew to do so, I tend to blame the coaches more than Mouton for his 'define erratic' play. We can only wonder if he would have been our best WLB prospect since Dhani. Ezeh? At this point let's just and wish him luck in everything he does.

That's 2/3 of the tale. The third LB position, strongside, turned out fine. Crable was Crablicious in limited duty for English's nickel-happy '07, and in '08 John Thompson got to do his neaderthalish thing when the occasion called for it (which was basically just Wisconsin and MSU). In 2009 the SAM spot became Spur, a straightforward hybrid position that basically combines Brandon Harrison and Shawn Crable into a player who stays on the field for every down. In '09 it turned out to be Stevie Brown's lifetime calling. In 2010 it was the home of a rotating cast of freshmen: two redshirted Gordons and Carvin Johnson, who were not at all disappointing.

5 Point Scale of Expectation vs. Outcome: 3. We knew things were gonna be Mouton, Ezeh and pray for rain, and only hoped that experience, recruiting, plus a breakout or two from among the 2- and 3-stars, would be able to fix that. Ezeh got a little bit worse every year. Mouton had a major regression as a junior from a promising but mistake-y sophomore year, before getting a bit better as a senior. The recruits came but didn't develop. What really nailed this unit was the coaching, both the effects of changing schemes every year, and the overall poor quality of the Hopson/GERG coaching experience. Heading into 2011, the outlook isn't all that different, depending on your excitement level over Kenny Demens in a sensical defense (Brian: high, Misopogon: medium) and trust that one of the WLB guys will be serviceable (Brian: low, Misopogon: medium). For the future, the "I coached Ray Lewis" pitch seems to be working like free ice cream as Mattison has grabbed first dibs on a loaded regional LB class, and Mark Smith, who has followed Hoke around since '03, would really have to work to match the record incompetence of his last two predecessors.

Next week is the d-line and I promise it won't be this depressing again. Look: Biakabutuka going for 313.

Diaries after the jump.