Dear Diary Demands You Watch More Trey

Dear Diary Demands You Watch More Trey Comment Count

Seth March 20th, 2015 at 3:09 PM

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Five Star Characters. Vincent Smith's event happened. In a Q&A Smith shared his favorite block ever was getting concussed by J.J. Watt, and led us to believe for about a minute he was going to make comparisons between Rodriguez and Hoke. Sometime after Brian left to catch a bunch of highly padded MSU students stand lazily in front of a net and get a hundred pucks shot at them, a bunch of former and current players showed up: Willie Henry, Thomas Rawls, Justice Hayes, Al Backey, Christian Bryant, and Floyd Simmons, with whom I shared the Never Forget banner. Campbell was a hit. The shot above is Big Will making a show of excitement over Thomas "Jimmy" Rawls. Then he acquired a newborn, because every iphone collection needs a giant teddy bear in a casquette holding a baby.

More importantly Vince and Will and the rest helped raise several thousand to go toward a new community garden in Flint.

You Might Remind Us Of Such Former Players as…From the diarist who brought you "I wonder if Ole Miss is doing something different" and "20 years without good basketball" comes the latest in postseason player analysis approach technology, as AC1997 reviews the 2014-'15 cagers by which former Michigan guy they ought to watch on YouTube. Sample for the biggest X factor next year:

Derrick Walton

  • FMPHSWOYT:  Trey Burke
  • Clips: 2012-2013 Highlights, 2011-2012 Highlights
  • Explanation: Again with the all-time great, but there’s a specific reason.  As much as Burke was our best player in ages, he actually struggled at times as a freshman with running the ball screen offense in part due to his size.  I think that was what we hoped to see Walton adjust to as a sophomore but he struggled in some of the similar ways that Burke did (height, explosiveness, inconsistent big men, etc.).  Watching how Burke adapted and ran a masterful offense as he became a sophomore is what Walton should look at – with realistic expectations obviously being far short of POY results.  
  • Also Considered: Daniel Horton, Gary Grant, Demetrius Calip

It's kinda like "YMRMFSPA" in the recruit previews. The usefulness is limited since we're restricted to a small sample size of Michigan players people other than Craig Ross remembers. Burke comparisons for Walton are bountiful, and still unfair. Trey came in a scorer who liked going to the rim, and became an excellent distributor (and Kobe Assist-er) as a natural extension of his ability to attack the basket more so than mastery of the two-guard offense. Watch where these assists come from:

Also the subs we had. That was so crazy you guys.

Walton came in better at distribution and I think with a leap forward from his scoring game that'll really shine. His handle is fantastic but that toe kept him from being able to attack the lane; the same second he would have to stop and make a pass is when the shooting pain would hit.

A penny for a shot at a twenty. The other diary this week was Lanknows arguing with me about burned redshirts. After much discussion I declare points 1, 2, 3, 8, and 11 ancillary considerations that shouldn't affect the decision except in extreme situations, and all the other points wholly incorrect, and he conceded that it's okay to redshirt quarterbacks and offensive linemen if you don't need them. There's no need to go in there if you're planning to call his stupid points stupid—MaizeandBlueWahoo has the official fisk in the thread—but I'm all for attempts to pick holes in my arguments.

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MGOMEMES

Offseason threads are a good opportunity to catch up the newcomers and remind ourselves of things like Fck Lyons and Tacopants and the pain Alan Branch leaves in his wake.

Still needs a lot of filling in.

RULES FOR WEARING A JERSEY

Same guy who started the above thread also asked whether adults should be wearing team jerseys, which, and when. I have given this a lot of thought over years of mainstream sports fandom and have come up with a few personal tastes.

Everyone likes the kid who wears team gear, at least until high school demands a higher level of sophistication. For adults however I have created this handy formula: Take the number of times you thought the player is awesome while he's playing for your team, plus the number of times you expect you'll think the player is awesome in the future while playing for your team times 0.5. For college player also do this again for his pro career divided by 30. Divide the result by the number of people you will ever encounter who own that jersey. Then multiply by the percentage of people you expect to be around that day who are fans of that team, and subtract from this a percentage point for every year you've lived past 14. Add and subtract circumstantial percentage points as you choose.

The highest score on the Seth-o-Meter ever achieved was a guy who wore a Brookens jersey (and accompanying handlebar mustache) to Comerica Park before Tommy was re-hired by the Tigers. The lowest score ever was a 400-pound dude wearing a Yankees A-Rod jersey to a Mets game. The highest score at a Michigan game is:

tacopants-jersey_thumb

Your Moment of Zen:

vincesmithguns

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Dear Diary Sprinkles Cheese

Dear Diary Sprinkles Cheese Comment Count

Seth March 13th, 2015 at 5:34 PM

Several large bright objects have been reported in the skies above Ann Arbor this week. One is almost certainly this "Sun" the ancients were always going on about. But before we declare spring and release the frisbee people from their hibernation deep inside North Face jackets, we should rule out several other possibilities, like:

A Tiny Running Back Who Blocks and Makes the World Better

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We will be in Ypsi tomorrow afternoon with Vincent Smith to benefit #EATING's Flint Garden. Corner Brewerey, 4-8pm.

A Basketball Team That Looks Like Spike Albrecht

Surely after a stretch that looked thusly:

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in LSAClassof2000's seasonal four factors table, and that before losing Walton and LeVert, this season wasn't likely to end in the dance. Once those guys were out too, the step-back year because the Year of the Albrecht.

He has another left, but I think this season will go down as, metaphorically, the Spike one. They are too short, overlooked, worse offensively than they look, prone to the mistakes one makes when trying to do things outside the realm of normal basketball, and once in awhile pull something outside the realm of normal basketball:

albrecht

click for Ace's gif

The artistry of Albrecht is the ridiculousness of the feint. In the above Spike takes two steps like he's about to posterize Ravote Rice. Unless they installed a trampoline in Chicago, Spike's Michael Jordan imitation will fall several feet below the rim. But Rice's brain isn't prepared for Albrecht to attempt this, because Albrechts don't attempt this, so Ravonte's body automatically does the thing it's been taught to.

When Spike would dribble the baseline you'd have two posts watching him whiz by like "is he serious?" And yet their bodies have been taught to twitch angrily at such attacks from far more plausible people. Because Spike was a sideshow, it took a year of this before coaches finally taught the collapsing guy to go for the steal instead of challenging the front of the basket.

Spike's shtick is the basketball version of that time Gardner took an Ohio State defender off his feet with a pump fake to nobody. You take advantage of the fact that a defender is a tightly wound spring of muscle memory. But it's not sustainable. In today's game Spike feinted like he was coming off a double on Dekker, then popped back on him and forced a turnover to help Michigan claw back in it in the 2nd half.

A Meatball All Covered With Cheese

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sprinkle sprinkle!

Specifically one off the bat of one Sierra Romero. She's hitting .545 with 30 RBI in 55 at bats. Meanwhile the pitchers went through the first half of the season—all spent on the road because that's life as a northern team these days—with a 1.62 ERA.

Michigan is ranked #4 in the country, with two losses to #1 Florida, and a loss to Arizona State. The home opener is a doubleheader tomorrow vs. Kent State, and some MGoCrew are trying to make it out there for Sunday afternoon.

If you're going to follow this season, you need to know about the pizza. No, this is not a Gittleson diet; it's the most charming thing in Michigan sports since that rainbow smiling Iowa safety ankle breaking dude. Via junior catcher Lauren Connell:

We began to call Lindsay Montemarano "Monte Pizza" after she went on and on about all the reasons why New York pizza is better than Midwest pizza, as she deems herself a pizza expert. Every time Monte Pizza got on base, we would "Sprinkle the cheese" in the dugout, and thus, a new Team 38 tradition was born. Soon, we were sprinkling the cheese for everybody after a nice hit. We then rediscovered our love for the greatest food item on Earth as it quickly became the topic of all jokes and Instagram captions. Throughout the course of the season, we have developed a system involving pizza for singles, doubles, triples and home runs

Single they roll out the dough. Double they sprinkle cheese. Triples they make it rain pepperonis. She who hits it out gets to come home to sprinklers, and…

she *CHOMP* eats the pizza.

Michigan has 44 pizzas this season, nine of which the work of Romero.

Most Harbaughs Since Harbaugh

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1985 quarterbacks, courtesy of John Kryk

WD noticed that the roster this year will include more QBs (walk-ons too) than any season since 1985. It makes sense since the roster was pretty bare when Harbaugh assumed the starting job in 1984, so this was the reload. In the comments markusr2007 tracked the '84 depth issues to when Steve Smith was the apparent starter for the foreseeable future, putting a dent in recruiting behind him. I'm sure Harbaugh appreciated the situation then, and certainly appreciates the value of QB depth and competition now.

My friend is married to Kyle Anderson, who saw the post and said there weren't really that many guys competing for the job since a few of them were playing other positions that season, and he himself was on crutches. Cernak was the nominal backup to Harbaugh but he'd looked pretty overwhelmed at the end of '84. One guy not on WD's list was Mike Gillette, who was listed as "QB/P" on the official roster.

Etc. Hockey was in line to win the Big Ten and perhaps an at-large bid with a good tournament showing but bombed at Penn State: thanks Oops I Crapped My Pants. Dallas radio gave us a shoutout, got our numbers right. Passing game video. SEC recruiting isn't all dollars and sense.

Your Moment of Zen:

(by me. original image via Angelique)

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Dear Diary Makes More Banners

Dear Diary Makes More Banners Comment Count

Seth March 6th, 2015 at 10:59 AM

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Paging Marge: Get Your Sewing Machine Out. Wolverine Devotee discovered while watching a Big Ten Elite on 1989 Illinois that the cagers used to have a banner. I found video of that game on Youtube but unfortunately the banner ceremony didn't make it into the tape.

WD then suggested the banner be brought back/expanded to other sports and I am for it. The intended meaning when Al Renfrew's wife Marge and her friend sewed the original was all of the lettermen from various sports coming to support that one. That sentiment is certainly genuine—throw a dart at the outfield bleachers of a Michigan softball game and chances are you'll spear an offensive lineman (MGoBlog does not support the throwing of darts at offensive linemen).

One argument against is it's been the football team's thing for so long, but remember football wore wings on their helmets since the Thirties and didn't start adding them to other sports until Brendan Morrison. When I posed it to Brian he suggested it'd be kind of impractical for e.g. hockey, but as you see in the pic above banners are adaptable to the building and conditions (have a six-foot one they skate under when they come out for warmups).

When Can I Eff this Ess-Aech? Like the rest of you in this winding down the Red Era, I've been having a hard time really looking away even though every so often there's an event that causes you to swear up and down that you're going to look away. For Canadian, it was when the team blatantly deleted all the text in his MGoDiary after painstaking work on pairwise updates and html charting.

Look, we all know that it's not up to the high standards you've come to expect from your weekly This Week in College Hockey diary. In fact you may even be tempted to read Wolverine in Exile's pairwise diary instead because he's been doing some excellent work over there. But then Wisconsin beats Minnesota, and basketball…, and you think maybe there's a spot after all, and Gee Dee it, we're watching hockey again. What I wouldn't do for some sustained good news from a major sport right now.

Baseball?

Is still an improving mid-major team and will be until either the Big Ten secedes from a league run by people too cowardly to live around snow, or that league decides to play baseball when non-silly places aren't covered by the stuff. But you still should start to recognize the name Jackson Glines. Michigan's senior center fielder gets on base three times a game, gets a hit in the majority of his at-bats, and scores a run a game. The other guy to know is lefty leadoff hitter and closer Jacob Cronenworth.

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SOFTBALL!!!!

…yesterday suffered its first two losses since falling 2-1 on opening day to No. 1 Florida in Tampa. The first was to Arizona State before another Florida loss; starting to not like those girls. Until then Michigan climbed up to #3 in the country, with two-game sweeps over top ten powers Florida State and Alabama. The Judi Garmon continues today with #9 Baylor the evening game. They come home a week from tomorrow.

BO IN THE LOCKER ROOM

Bauhlieve has assembled 12 pre-game, half-time, or post-game speeches in the locker room by Bo. Surprisingly few gems but some definite themes: proud of resilience, let's win the Big Ten championship, and the greatest fight song in the world is…. If you watch one, 1971 post-Iowa:

Your Moment of Zen:

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Dear Diary Has a Marvelous Tenacity of Life

Dear Diary Has a Marvelous Tenacity of Life Comment Count

Seth February 27th, 2015 at 1:08 PM

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But No That Blocked Punt Against CMU Was Totally Worth It.

Alum96 decided to go into excruciating detail on the upcoming cliff, and which spots will need to be addressed. Like “two OL recruits in two years” he also pinpointed the situation:

we only recruited 9 defensive players in 2013 and 4 in 2014.  That's a middling 13 players - of which one is already gone (Ferns).  12-ish defensive players is what you generally get in 1 class, not combined in 2.

Two years out you want to have more in the tank than:

  • DEs: Poggi, Marshall, S.Johnson, R.Jones
  • DTs: Hurst, Mone, Pallante (if he doesn’t stay at FB)
  • LBs: McCray, Winovich, Furbush, Wangler
  • CBs: Dawson, Watson, Washington
  • S: Kinnel, Peppers if he isn’t in the NFL

Some of these guys are not going to work out. Attrition happens. And if by some miracle both are avoided this is a one-deep. There’s time to fill the gaps if Harbaugh can find in the 2016 class the kinds of guys who can ball like an All-Big Ten player before they can buy a beer. Of course he can do that because HARBAUGH.

Another way to mitigate this would be to get redshirts on some of the juniors or sophomores they don’t need as much this year. No way: Taco and Jourdan Lewis are starting, Dymonte is the current guy they roll in for the nickel (at safety; Peppers moves down to the slot). Probably no way: Gedeon is the first LB in after the starters (but if McCray…), Mone is currently 2nd on the NT depth chart (but if Pipkins…). So Michigan could maybe late-shirt Delano Hill and Channing Stribling, leaving six scholarship cornerbacks and four safeties available for 2015.

/shakes fist at 2013 special teams

Bring Back the Molly McGannon Memorial Children of Yost Section

Our official chronicler of the student section SaddestTailgateEver addressed the changes at Yost as the student section was shrunk, split, and shoved off to the (wrong) side, while prime property was roped off for the usually empty opponents’ parents section:

That is a full-blown, fully mapped DMZ that you better keep stepping through and not stop. So now we have students that don’t fit in Section 17, stuck above row 10 in Section 18, and a bunch of needlessly empty seats below them. And for what? So these parents can have some elbow room to look at their sons’ backs?

This also puts the parents right in front of the “c-ya” cheer, and has led to altercations, and staff stepping in on behalf of the parents who usually started it. To that I’ll add that the glare in the revamped old barn is like stepping onto the bridge of the J.J. Abrams Enterprise.

R.I.P. Spock.

I don’t have the heart to tell him what that place was like when I had season tickets circa 2000. Yost would be best if it acknowledged what it is—a raucous throwback to 1920s-style sports fandom—but it’s hard to see the administration trying to re-engineer that feel since the Goss/Martin ADs barely tolerated the Children of Yost.

What they can do is cut the feed to the RAWK MUZAK they blare in your face, put the opponents’ families in the obstructed overhang seats (this is a compromise; I would prefer gibbets), and put the students front and center, then look away and let the atmosphere fill in organically.

[Hit the jump for people talking about bad calls and the 1997 Championship]

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Dear Diary for a Better Diag

Dear Diary for a Better Diag Comment Count

Seth February 20th, 2015 at 1:01 PM

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Tremendous Lloyd quote!

That's a young-looking Lloyd Carr from the 1990 recruiting pamphlet that Bauglieve found on Ebay. In case the photos come down from there eventually I put them on the MGoServer for posterity (click for each):

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bowl gamesthe campuss and c

The comments have mined all sorts of nuggets from these. Count my vote with those who want to see Harbaugh bring back one-handed, shirtless pushups on the Diag. The football fans would feel more connected to the players, and I'm sure the student body would appreciate the peck show way more than the usual entertainment in that space.

Team 138 offers its sarcastic gratitude. Originally posted in the forums, I moved Qmatic's walk through the wasted redshirts on Michigan's roster to the diaries because this is something we're going to be referencing all too often for the next few years. Morris is on there although he had to play once Bellomy tore his ACL because Gardner's ribs were becoming…you know what, let's not get into what Hoke did with Gardner.

I can show you how Hoke's redshirting practices compared to his predecessors because it's tracked on my spreadsheet:

classthatredshirted

Circumstances played a role in this certainly, but by Hoke's third year the rate of redshirting should have shown a climb into the 70s that a healthy program has. I'll probably address this in a Jimmystats sometime this offseason.

How to Man Your Baughlls

Just a glance at his formations screams old-school, smash-mouth, 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust SPARTAAAA:
stanpower1
Thing is, these offenses are notorious for being predictable in an era of S&C parity.  So why does it work?

Tell us, dragonchild.

Deep head trauma is bad. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a horrible, progressive, degenerative disease of the brain long known to the sports world as "punch drunk." The provable link between it and repetitive brain trauma (specifically deep trauma, i.e. not all concussions) is meaningful to football especially because there is a clear moral dilemma in rooting for people to do a thing that can do that to them.

Neurologists released a study awhile ago that linked the age of first exposure to football and cognitive impairment. As happens with released studies, a few people who read the peer reviewed journals pour over it, and media folk read the title, decided if it fit their favorite narrative, and either canonized it or ripped it.

TSS wrote a diary this week to walk you through the study and what it actually says, which is that the progression of CTE is suggestively linear from the point you started playing football.

Diary etc. Canadian's weekly college hockey update. Introducing grad transfer Wayne Lyons.

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BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE ITS OWN LOGO

Over the last couple of weeks it came out that the extremity of the student body's distribution of doucheiness is trying to Create the Future™ of Michigan-themed game day music. What I mean by that:

douchitude

My best friend was not being hyperbolic about his freshman roommate.

Wolverine Devotee decided to use this as a reminder that we have traditional songs beyond The Victors. Hot Time might have been relegated to history, but we still sing Varsity during the pre-game, and Let's Go Blue!, and the cowbell cheer, as well as several covers the band has adopted (Blues Brothers, Temptation, Hawaiian War Chant), and the alma mater. If, like me, you've been singing "Denard Robinson, Robinson oh Robinson" to Varsity since Brian suggested it, maybe it's time we all learn the lyrics. They are (music):

Men of Michigan onto victory, Ev'ry man in ev'ry play.
Michigan expects her Varsity to win today!
Rah! Rah! Rah-rah-rah! Win for Michigan!

Varsity, Down the field.
Never yield, Raise high our shield.
March on to victory for Michigan,
(And the Maize and Blue)
Oh Varsity, We're for you,
Here for you to cheer for you.
We have no fear for you. Oh Varsity! (repeat)

At the risk of moving myself incrementally rightward in the douchechart, I posit that Michigan's second fight song is a better composition than 90% of fight songs.

COYLE V. SCHEMBECHLER

Michigan House '75 has a brother in law who played from '69 to '73 with, among other legends, 1972 captain and right guard Tom Coyle, who passed away in 2012. This was how Coyle was recruited to Michigan:

He and Tommy had just gotten back from a job and were covered in paint. This and twelve other kids running around when Bo and Malony arrive. Old Man Coyle proceeds to pass beers around to everyone including Tommy. Bo is shocked, turns to Mrs. Coyle and says, "Excuse me Mrs. Coyle," and then turns to Tommy - "If you drink that beer, I'm going to kick your ass!"

Bo was no teetotaler, but he did refuse to do Michigan Replay if Budweiser was sponsoring it. So guess what happens then, or read on.

Your Moment of Zen:

via Dr. Sap

"I think we'll always run the option because what it can do to defenses." –Jim Harbaugh

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Tu Quoque, Dear Diary

Tu Quoque, Dear Diary Comment Count

Seth February 6th, 2015 at 11:11 AM

On Wednesday morning, under pressure to do so in time to headline a Signing Day ceremony at his school, Cass Tech running back Mike Weber decided on Ohio State over Michigan by the slimmest of margins. On Thursday, Weber's position coach and lead recruiter for Ohio State left for the Chicago Bears. Weber:

Weber

He also removed all references to Ohio State from his profile.

Michigan fans jumped on this because it's in our interest that every recruit and coach of a recruit and parent of a recruit believe Urban Meyer a slimy salesman (he's not). Ohio State fans jumped to defend it by characterizing Drayton's departure as a surprise to everyone including Drayton, and equating it with signing a junior transfer quarterback after Gentry's LOI was in.

When Ohio State does something shady (or not shady but treated as such in the weird morality of college sports), Ohio State fans will be the first to tell you that everybody does it. They're right to a degree, but the degree is the difference between how much heat the Earth radiates into space, and the Sun. Regardless of whether Urban knew Stan Drayton was leaving beforehand, or if Drayton knew he'd get the job until then, what's clear is they didn't let Weber know the coach he was committing to was likely to walk away as soon as they had his signature on the dotted line.

Purposely fraudulent or unbelievably unfortunate timing, the real lesson here is that coaches are free to make the best decision for themselves, and players are manipulated into signing away that liberty.

And for nothing. Signing Day, really, is only the first day of a period that stretches through April that schools may receive official commitments, in the form of a "Letter of Intent." That letter is merely a non-compete agreement in which the school the player signs with provides nothing in return. The scholarship offer is a completely separate deal.

Since Weber already sent in his LOI, his choices are to stay at Ohio State, wait a year for the LOI to expire then transfer and wait another year, or ask Ohio State to release him, in which case he still has to wait out a year under NCAA transfer rules CORRECTION: would be free to choose any school. Ohio State can hold him to the LOI, or release him only to schools they choose. They can also rip away his scholarship for just about any reason.

The recruits are finally starting to get wise. Roquan Smith is still unlikely to end up at "Michigan University," but he was moments from sending in his LOI when news (that reporters meant to embargo until after Signing Day) broke that his coaches might not be there. Because he waited, he can now take another week to consider his options.

A Florida commit's father yesterday explained why his son is holding off too, tweeting "…Florida making too many coaching changes this is not a game it's my son's life." He followed up in response to angry idiot-who-tweet-at-recruits fans with the central moral question:

ccjefferson

It's not, except in the warped morality of the NCAA and its apologists who think "amateurism" means players shouldn't be entitled to the same rights as every other citizen.

Signing Day is a total boondoggle. Recruits who have any sort of leverage should never sign a LOI, and should never feel pressured to commit on Signing Day. They should ask to sign a financial aid agreement only.

Meanwhile the NCAA should look at allowing players to transfer and play immediately if their head coach or primary recruiter leaves the school. It would prevent players from getting bait and switched, give coaches more job security, and ultimately plateau coaching salaries as schools come to value longevity instead of flashiness in their hiring of them.

How Karan Came. Michigan did get a highly rated running back in the class. Brian already linked to it in yesterday's recruiting post but if you missed it, Karan Higdon's coach is a MUST READ for anyone interested in how this process plays out:

I immediately called the Michigan football office and spoke with a secretary.  I told her that there was a running back in Sarasota that may be worth a late look and she advised me to send and email with his profile.  I sent his recruit profile and his HUDL highlights.  I was contacted almost immediately afterwards and spoke with Chris Singletary.  The first thing he asked was what type of kid is Karan and what his grades were.

Meta: Cumong! Brian's eye dialect for "come on!" has an origin. That diary is way more investigative and thorough than you thought it was when you saw it floating on the sidebar all week.

It also got me thinking about just how old this site is, and some of the other characters from Brian's section to be immortalized in these pages. Like "UNACCEPTABLE!" guy. And the narratively adorable moppet from the first great MGoBlog game column. That kid is probably in an English lecture right now. Which reminds me: happy 10th birthday, MGoBlog, belatedly (it was December 4).

Softball is Fun and Has a Woodson.

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Sierra's gloves are purely hypothetical by now. Photo: The Californian

Softball has been initialized. This year's team will have to overcome the graduation of a great class, but returns shortstop Sierra Romero and three candidates for best pitcher in the nation. South Bend Wolverine has your full preview, to which I'd like to add my take.

A great pitcher pretty much owns in softball, and Michigan is filthy rich in them. The lefty/righty combo of Haylie Wagner and Sara Driesenga could easily be the best duo in the country if both seniors regain their forms after somewhat disappointing (for them) 2014s. Sophomore Megan Betsa is due for a season on par with the best of the Wagner/Driesenga era. They also added the top pitching prospect in the nation in Tera Blanco out of California. Like Driesenga, Blanco is as dangerous at the plate as on the mound.

And there's Romero. As a sophomore, Sierra was one of three finalists for softball's version of the Heisman. Most of that is her Cabreraian bat, which is already bopping out national records. My favorite of those: Career Grand Slams—the NCAA record is nine; half-way through her Michigan career Romero already has seven (tied for third all time with 2005-'08 Wolverine Samantha Findlay).

Last year Sierra also finished tied for seventh all time for walks in a season with 67, 20 of which were intentional (the most you get is about 250 plate appearances so that's quite a lot of walking). Since Michigan graduated her protection and two top-of-the-order bats, we could end up seeing that number skyrocket if Coach Hutch doesn't find some hitters to fill the bases ahead of Romero and clear 'em behind her. If she does, this is a national championship team.

A Special Hell for Terrible Michigan Coaches

There is a place where they man-block with Patrick Omameh, run Denard Robinson under center, and never use counters. In this place they run a 3-3-5 defense that only ever rushes three and tells its middle linebacker to line up a foot in front of the guard whose job it is to put the middle linebacker in that spot. When they punt, and they punt quite often, they only use two gunners, because that's what NFL rules say.

No, this place isn't some nightmare mashup of the worst parts of the last six years of Michigan. It is called San Jose State.

  • Offensive coordinator: Al Borges
  • Defensive coordinator: Greg Robinson
  • Special Teams coordinator: Dan Ferrigno

I know I shouldn't watch. But I have to.

Etc. The first quadralingual med student to play for Michigan. We're gonna press.

Your Moment of Zen:

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Dear Diary and the Extra Seat

Dear Diary and the Extra Seat Comment Count

Seth January 30th, 2015 at 10:47 AM

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Some empty seats are emptier than others. Empty seats in Michigan Stadium can mean different things. The "This opponent isn't worth my time" seat and the "I do not enjoy standing in rain while an incompetent coaching staff criminally misuses Denard and Devin" seat are similar in their protest and non-physical occupancy by humans, but not in essence.

There is the empty seat at 11:58 a.m. because a college student got too drunk on Friday night, and the empty seat at 11:58 p.m. because the college student is on the field after a ridiculous 4th quarter under the lights. There's the empty seat in the 4th quarter of a blowout, the seat we leave empty in case Crisler should ever return, the empty seat about 2/3rds of the way up some corner whence sprouted a long flag pole, and the empty seat left by Lloyd Brady's graduation. Dave Brandon lost his job because he didn't know the difference between a "Why am I paying to see something I could watch on my 60-inch HDTV?" empty seat and a "This experience isn't why my family was in these seats for 40 years!" empty seat.

sim.bighouse.26
Reserved for Fritz. [Marissa McClain/Daily]

The emptiest seats in Michigan Stadium, however, are Seats 21 and 22 in Section 10, Row 70:

Mom and I held hands between the tailgate and the stadium entrance. I felt her tension and she told me she was thirsty and was going to buy a Coke and that I should go ahead and sit down. As I walked those last few steps to our seats I realized we were going to have to communicate Dad's passing to our stadium friends. Mom knew.

Mom passed away in 2003 after an inexplicably courageous battle with the bitch breast cancer. But before she died she watched many Michigan games with my daughter - her new best friend.

I still have the unused tickets Mom and Dad were going to use that Saturday in September of 1989.  We beat Maryland that day.

The emptiness of a seat is proportional to the degree it was filled. Thank you, jmdblue, for sharing your research.

/wipes tear.

Other diaries: The recruiting board of alum96 is updated. LSA charts the four factors over the first half of the basketball season. Canadian with a weekly hockey update (Michigan is up to #12). Bet on a Super Bowl with Touchdown Tom coming down to the last drive.

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HARBAUGHS IN THE NFL

Chart of players Harbaugh recruited who are currently in the NFL, by Auerbach:

a8jW5TT

As a commenter pointed out, no Richard Sherman et al. if they were recruited under Harris or Teevens but played for Jim. I'm investigating but on quick glance about half of these guys were TE/DE types out of high school.

ULIZIO VIA UCONN STAFF:

Just gonna c&p from brewandbluesaturdays:

"A guy with NFL feet who has the body balance and flexibility to be a good player. He has long limbs and shows good toughness on tape. He is a quiet kid but all in all should turn out to be a good player."

In Harbaugh OL scouting we trust and all, but interesting to see what UConn saw in him.

YOU ALSO FORGOT SPACE

Jay Harbaugh sent a TE recruit a list of eight (the recruit's number) reasons to come to Michigan. Most were the standard Michigan selling points but one I hadn't thought of before was proximity to NFL teams (image via CBS Sports):

teams_map

Jay is young enough I could have babysat him, but the one thing he does have on his resume is NFL scout coordinating, so if he's bringing this up as a thing maybe it's a thing? We'll have to teach him you always bring up the lunar alumni association.

F.Y.S. AGAIN

Conboy's pro career looks like it will end the same way his college one did:

Andrew Conboy of the Elmira Jackals was suspended 20 games by the League for a cross-checking incident against Brampton. He was given a major penalty and a game misconduct for cross checking another player in the face, and a match penalty for deliberately attempting to injure an opponent.

Conboy was a repeat offender, having been hit with a suspension last October and then having that suspension extended to four games. He was also suspended in Jan. 2014. 

As for Tropp, who's with Columbus (because go figure), earlier this season he avoided suspension for a cross-check to the back of the head of Ottawa's Mark Borowiecki in the 3rd period of a blowout. I hope it wasn't because he had no priors.

QUICK HITS: How JMFJ parents scammed him. Texas didn't get A&M's guy instead of Gentry after all [Don Draper was right about that one airline account dot gif]. Brian in the AA Observer. Should there be Wolverines on the logo? Your favorite dorm memories—if someone named Shannon brings up this time in the Mojo Dungeon when he was set up in the Stacks with grenade launchers and spent 10 minutes owning me, Corky and Sway, remind him who finally sniped him down from there…WITH A KLOBB!

Your Moment of Zen:

Gw883AQ2_400x400

Maxcalves.

(A KLOBB!!! Shannon! From the next room, peeping around the corner, with a KLOBB.)

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Dear Diary Know It

Dear Diary Know It Comment Count

Seth January 23rd, 2015 at 1:30 PM

So that happened. This was a spoof off of Michael Irvin and Warren Sapp's "U Know It"—the U meaning what you think it means. Relevant information to recruits:

blueknowit

They also point out that Ohio State has never had a quarterback play in the Super Bowl. This got me wondering which schools produced the most SB starters. Results are in a Google Sheet.

The two tied at the top are Stanford (two Plunketts, five Elways) and Notre Dame (Montana's four, Theismann twice, and Daryle Lamonica). Brady now has Michigan at six, tied for second with "the Cradle of Quarterbacks" (Purdue, in that needs to be pointed out now). I didn't count schools that guys transferred from—if you do, Russell Wilson gives NC State two, Vince Ferragamo credits UCLA as well as Nebraska, Jeff Hostetler gives Penn State another, and Troy Aikman puts Oklahoma on the board—still no Bucks. All hail Touchdown Tom!

Filling the Class

This year's diary rock star alum96 kind of collated the knowns and unknowns and think we knowns and Sam Webb hinted at knowns regarding the 2015 class as Michigan races to fill at least six and maybe as many as 11 more spots. He's updated the diary so it's fresh, and also added a profile of Zach Gentry, who seems to be trending very blue.

Versus a Bivouac Wolverine? I've met a lot of different groups of Michigan fans, enough to start finding slight differences in what they like to talk about. Western Michigan fans have to deal with a greater number of Domers, East Coasters tend to care a lot more about Penn State, Southern transplants need constant ammunition against SEC der. Ohioans have a Bo-like loyalty that can only come from a fandom borne under siege. Ann Arborites don't need arguments for what's good about the program; they want to know what's wrong and how do we fix it right now!

In Metro Detroit we have to deal with Sparties. When I was growing up Michigan went to Rose Bowl after Rose Bowl, all the while going on about values and academics. From the perspective of the Perles-era Sparties, whose own program was basically a despicable version of Brady Hoke's, we were insufferable. The Spartan fanbase as a result got VERY sensitive to things like non-alum Michigan fans telling the old "they both got into Michigan State" joke and came up with "Walmart Wolverine."

No good Michigan fan uses that term. The whole concept is ridiculous: Across America, college football programs are the biggest sports team in the state and what outsiders identity it with. Nobody in Ohio would question if it's alright to root for the Bucks if you actually went to truck driving school. The Cornhuskers without the support of the entire state of Nebraska would be in the Mountain West. Notre Dame would have a national following of 150,000 lapse Catholics who came from money. The SEC would be in Division II. The only people who care if you went to the school whose colors you wear are either uber-pretentious, or more likely went to an "other" school that nobody would root for if they didn't have to.

Etc. National college hockey general update.

Best of the Board

CAN I GET A SHIRT IN HERE?

One of our constant complaints under Hoke was the number of redshirt opportunities he missed. Marley Nowell speculated whether Michigan might try to get some shirts on some guys (you don't have to be a freshman to redshirt). I think it's a good question, especially since Michigan could end up graduating more players than we can replace in a couple of years (the roster currently has 26 juniors).

Of course when you get into the candidates there's always reason not to. Gedeon, Canteen, Jenkins-Stone and Dymonte are already on the two-deep; Taco, Lewis and Cole, the running backs and Morris are already starting. That leaves Houma, DaMario, Ways, Watson, and Stribling. If the staff gets a late shirt on any of them it's at least a good sign that they value the future of the program. Doubt it happens.

WHO IS GOLDEN ARM?

A trip back through Bo's Lasting Lessons turned up Bo-bits on Brad Bates, Jim Hackett, Jerry Hanlon, and of course this about Jim Harbaugh:

Jim Harbaugh

"Jim ended up being twice as good, in my book, as the Golden Arm- Harbaugh was the Big Ten MVP his senior year, beating the other guy by a mile- and Jim's teammates liked him. Maybe Harbaugh didn't have half the arm of the Golden Boy, but he had twice the brains and ten times the heart. Give me those specs, anyday."

This sparked a long thread about who this "Golden Boy" was that Bo was talking about. Testaverde? Jeff George? A guy who was on that team said Jim Everitt.

ETC. Slate calls us nerdy. Gary Anderson was frustrated by core requirements. UNC players pushed into paper classes suing for the educations they were supposed to get. Jay Harbaugh asks Twitter if you can own a pet wolverine. Rosenberg gets fisked for inflating deflategate. Bubba Paris' heartfelt call to Michigan fans reposted from Facebook.

Your Moment of Zen:

I remember Charles.

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Dear Diary Brings Back Eduardo and Friends

Dear Diary Brings Back Eduardo and Friends Comment Count

Seth January 16th, 2015 at 1:30 PM

manballz

Harbaugh's offensive philosophy

So who remembers a time when Michigan recruiting wasn't wholly depressing, and we had a recruiting tracker wiki to follow the names and their respective levels of interest?

wikis
Your new friend for January. Find it under Useful Stuff.

: I do! I do!

Mr. Blue! Hi there Mr. Blue!

: I'm so excited to get everyone on campus and build this class. TEXT ALL THE RECRUITS!

Well you can do that Mr. Blue.

: Hey, I've been getting those texts. We should all come visit together guys. Is it true Tyrone Wheatley is on staff?

: As have I. Verily this is all data I must consider.

Happy teeth! Data! Guys, it's been forever!

: Wait, I missed those. Do you have my number right?

: I remain 100% committed to Just Fired the Coach I Committed To U, but can you guys add me to the chain anyway?

: Sure thing Nefarious Eduardo!

: I've been following you guys on the tracker that umhero put together but if you want to add me too it's spelled S.a.d. J.o.s.h and my cell is 734-…

So those fellas have returned thanks to the work of umhero. I made it a wiki and added it to the bar above.

Well they're not from the Midwest. EGD had an interesting point to make regarding the comparison of Harbaugh's staff to Hoke's. Brady's guys were all very familiar with the Midwest, and that bore out with a very strong regional recruiting profile. It was already a good assumption that Harbaugh would be stretching his territory from sea to shining sea. I map each coach's region of greatest competence:

mapofrecruiting

The only Texas connection they have is Fisch's short tenure with the Texans. Harbaugh prefers his staff to recruit their own positions but these regional connections matter a great deal in getting that guy in with coaches and players.

In a World Where Everybody Has to Say What They Mean in Pictures. Ron Utah imagined what various dudes in the Great Harbaughning would have said if they'd been absolutely candid. I actually think he got a lot of the thinks wrong, so I'll take a stab at them:

reporter_mj: So Jim when did you decide you wanted to be the head coach of Michigan?

hi-res-9b671060c4857f6208ee420e7e7b666a_crop_north: 080080037.

reporter_mj: I mean as an adult, when did you actually decide you were going to take the job?

hi-res-9b671060c4857f6208ee420e7e7b666a_crop_north: imgres.

reporter_mj: So why did you take the 49ers position in the first place?

hi-res-9b671060c4857f6208ee420e7e7b666a_crop_north: Jim Harbaugh House (cropped), Sarah-Feuerborn-Harbaough-Jim-Harbagh-wife-photo

home.

[After the jump: more of Jim Harbaugh's pictorial answers to the CC questions, and where recruiting happens]

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Dear Diary Desires More Tacos for Effing Wall

Dear Diary Desires More Tacos for Effing Wall Comment Count

Seth January 9th, 2015 at 4:50 PM

15513902132_33feab438e_z

Those Van Bergenian thighs. That Clarkian pass rush. That responsible chin…[Fuller]

Final reminder to settlers along Lake Erie: We're coming to your Cleveland on Monday to talk about…I dunno…basketball or kickers or something. We've now added "Big Ed" Muransky to the lineup. Here's some footage of Muransky (#72 right, sometimes left tackle) as a sophomore against MSU, courtesy of WH. The rest of "we" are Brian, John U. Bacon, [huge gap in how much you care] and myself.

We've got the area reserved behind the bar through 11, and there's about 100-120 people coming, which means when the Ohio State fans show up later to watch the national championship game there'll be this wall of Michigan fans to greet them. And a bearded blogger guy rooting loudly for Oregon…while  standing behind Big Ed Muransky.

Huge thanks to this lemon-eater for setting it up.

OT don't care SVG is boss: The Pistons cut their best player then ripped off a seven-game win streak. To win #6 they had to preserve a 1-point lead from the defending champions on the road, so Van Gundy used the last rasps of his weakening voice to demand the stones "Just form a [bleep]-ing wall." So I formed an effin' t-shirt.

 Form-a-Wall-SM_1024x1024

If you hate this one you're all fired. My "IT'S H4PPENING" shirt is gone now but we've got several other new offerings if you haven't been on the store lately:

Khaki_silhouette_Navy-SM_1024x1024OaklandinPlay_Maize-01_1024x1024It-Happened---Sunshine_1024x1024Quit-Drinking-Navy_1024x1024

Not this again! New coaches mean new schemes to learn and WMUKirk did an amazing job in two diaries of showing how Durkin likes to play chess. Part 1 got into the base stuff and Part 2 was about how he mixed those to stay one step ahead of Jameis Winston's reads. There's this from Part 1:

What I've noticed is he doesn't deviate from 4 basic coverages. Quarters, Cover 3 Press, Cover 1, and his favorite blitz is the Fire Blitz from the QB's blind side. He hardly ever runs Man Under, Tampa 2, or Cover 0. He values speed and isn't against running a 3-4 with 3-3-5 personnel.

Florida's 3-3-5 was lifting one of the middle linebackers for a safety/spur/hybrid space player dude, and looked thusly:

3-4overwithHSP

The WDE is a pass rusher type and is standing up. On 1st and 15 this is Xtreme speed.

That's a 3-3-5 but not a Casteel stack; it's more like one of Mattison's okies except the MLB is a LB, not Mike Martin.

[Cont. after the jump]

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