Recruits In Retrospect: 2009 Quarterbacks

Recruits In Retrospect: 2009 Quarterbacks Comment Count

Ace June 16th, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Note: With roundups of last weekend's Sound Mind Sound Body camp still being published, as well as various visit reactions from prospects currently on campus for Michigan's technique camp, I'm pushing back the recruiting roundup to tomorrow. Breathing into a paper bag in preparation for USA-Ghana may also have played a role here. Thankfully, I started writing this post last week.

Melanie Maxwell/MLive

Previously: 2008 Offense, 2008 Defense, 2009 Defense

I started writing up the 2009 offensive recruits as a whole, but I couldn't get past the first paragraph of Tate Forcier's profile before realizing the two quarterbacks in the class needed their own post. Hell, I couldn't get past the first sentence [emphasis mine]:

Tate Forcier is the one who didn't get away, the one who was planning on committing even when Kevin Newsome and Shavodrick Beaver hadn't twirled their mustaches in dastardly fashion and tied Michigan football's hopes to the train tracks before effecting their getaways. His brother is my favorite Michigan player of all time who never played. He is a relentlessly trained quarterback prodigy ready to step in on day one—which was a month ago—and challenge Steven Threet for the starting job. God help us if he flames out.

When this post was written, Forcier had already enrolled at Michigan and subsequently dominated the Spring Game—back when it actually resembled real football—in a fashion that caused junior-in-college me to make this video, and I'll admit it was no small thrill to see my name on this here site:

Then, of course, came spring:

I just watched that thing again and it's pure sport porn; I sort of wish Ace had left in Forcier's three incompletions—one bad read, one Stonum drop, and one overthrown screen—so it wasn't a just a possibly-misleading highlight reel but was instead the whole spring performance. My favorite part is that little swing pass to Moundros on the rollout: Forcier's getting pressure from a defender, calmly positions himself, and puts a perfectly-led ball right in Moundros' arms, allowing him to turn upfield against the chasing linebacker. That is the sort of precision Michigan's offense was lacking last year.

After a season of the Threetsheridammit offense, the fawning over Forcier's readily apparent potential was more than understandable. His accuracy and YPA for a high school quarterback were off the charts, as evidenced by... a (chart?) chart:

Year Comp-Att Yards Pct YPA YPC TD-INT
So 157 / 221 1637 71.0% 7.4 10.4 17-4
Jr 164 / 213 2387 77.0% 11.2 14.6 21-5
Sr 208 / 326 3424 63.8% 10.5 16.5 23-15

The disconcerting rise in interceptions and drop in completion percentage as a senior was chalked up to a heavily increased workload and a sieve-like offensive line, the latter quite apparent to those who watched him play that season. This brought forth a foreboding aspect to Brian's eerily on-the-money comparison to former Iowa QB Drew Tate:

Forcier was often reduced to scrambling around and chucking it hopefully, which obviously led to the interceptions. Here's another piece of the Drew Tate comparison I've been beating into the ground for months now: Tate (Iowa Version) also saw a senior-year spike in interceptions as Iowa's offensive line regressed (they gave up an extra half-sack per game when Tate was a senior) and Tate took matters into his own hands more often. This tendency can be either wildly good or wildly bad, and threatens to do so on consecutive plays this fall. Only experience will teach Forcier what he can and cannot do at this level.

As it turned out, we'd never learn if added experience would've reduced the considerable "no no no YES"/"no no no AAAAAARRRGGHHHHH" aspect of Forcier's game. As we all well know, he left school after being ruled academically ineligible for the 2010 Gator Bowl, by which time he'd lost his starting gig to Denard Robinson. A certain aspect of Forcier's schooling, at the time noted as a positive—his home-school setup enabled him to work with QB guru Marv Marinovich for hours upon hours—was probably not so positive:

On Fridays in the fall, Tate Forcier doesn't feel like going to school. The night's game is on his mind, and the quarterback for Scripps Ranch High in San Diego can't imagine studying a textbook rather than studying a defense.

No big deal.

"I'll tell my teacher, 'I have a game today,'" Forcier said. "He'll say, 'That's fine; you don't have to come.' And I'll go to my football school and watch film all day."

Ability to shred a cover zero or no, this doesn't really fly at U-M.

I swear I'll get to Denard soon, but first a couple more blockquotes. Marinovich's scouting report of his pupil was so oddly poetic Brian turned it into actual poetry:

"Tate springs off his feet. He bounds from side-to-side to avoid the rush and then accelerates. His peripheral vision is key allowing him stay focused and scan downfield. But really, his mental attitude toward the position along with quick feet and hand-eye coordination blended together is ridiculous."

A haiku version of this:

Tate springs off his feet 
He bounds from side to side, and 
Then accelerates

Finally, Brian makes a most unfortunate typo:

Why Drew Tate? That's my go-to comparison and I'm sticking to it. Forcier is about 6', maybe 6'1". He's nimble and though he took off frequently in high school, in college he won't have as much of an athletic advantage and will mostly use his feet to buy time to throw downfield. He has the proverbial moxie, which occasionally gets him into trouble. The Tate comparison is eerily accurate, except maybe Forcier is better school and will be more accurate than the occasionally-erratic Tate.




Oddly, Denard's otherworldly running abilty wasn't nearly as prominent in those clips as you'd expect. There isn't so much as a hint of a run until nearly the two-minute mark. In fact, there are only a couple plays in the whole reel that really show off what he was capable of doing, probably because his offensive coordinator ripped the "OBVIOUS ROLLOUTS" page from the Al Borges playbook and left the rest. Denard's highlights are way better in theory than they are in reality.

I'm not sure there's better evidence of how much football offense has evolved even in the last half-decade than Denard Effin' Robinson running every play on his high school highlight tape from under center. In 2008, this may have gone unquestioned. In 2014, there'd be a federal investigation.

Denard's passing stats fell well short of Forcier's, as would be expected. Less expected were the rushing stats:

Oddly, Robinson's rushing yards weren't spectacular. He had only 538, which was fewer than Forcier had, though Forcier wasn't going up against big schools in Florida at Scripps Ranch. Does this indicate a Drew Tate Forcier-like tendency to run around in the backfield and then launch it deep? A couple of throws above and that yards per completion number indicate "yes", but he also breaks contain several times and takes off and those are just highlights so maybe he got sacked a lot for ridiculous yardage after running around like a headless chicken and I guess what I'm trying to say is we just don't know, dude.

We just have to go on the universal heavy panting about this guy's ability to outrun a cheetah in a Porsche strapped to a jet engine and dropped out of a plane. Which, like, okay.

I'd say the first bit is explained by the highlight tape. About that last bit: Both the "cheetah in a Porsche..." and "Denard Robinson is made of dilithium" tags were fixtures on this site before Robinson ever got to campus. Even before he proved Mike Patrick's "broken plays are very dangerous" mantra in real time, this was totally justified.

Deerfield Beach's Denard Robinson got the near-perfect start he needed, motored down the straightaway and won the 100 meters in a personal-best 10.44 seconds at the BCAA Track Championships at Coral Springs on Saturday.

Robinson's personal-best … is the second-fastest high school time in the nation, according to Dyestat Elite 100 rankings.

Denard's reaction was even better:

''I was kind of disappointed in myself to run a 10.44, but I will accept that,'' Robinson said.

It comes as little surprise that a bolt of lightning recruited to play quarterback for Rich Rodriguez received comparisons to Pat White from everyone, Brian included. The excitement to see this athlete in that offense managed to rival the avalanche of Forcier hype even though Robinson didn't get the benefit of an early enrollment. Surely the blogger who set Sam McGuffie's general excitement level at "AAAAIIEEEE!" saw the nearly unlimited potential that would soon be realized in arguably the greatest QB rushing season ever:

General Excitement Level: Slightly under high.

We're no longer on speaking terms, boss.


One Frame At A Time: Denard

One Frame At A Time: Denard Comment Count

Ace September 20th, 2013 at 2:55 PM

If the GIFs are slowing down your browser, hit 'escape' on any browser except Chrome to stop animation. If you are using Chrome, I highly recommend adding the extension "GIF Scrubber" to have video-like control over each GIF.

Denard Robinson's introduction as something more than a lightning-fast curiosity came in Michigan's 2010 opener against UConn. Fittingly, the game marked the unveiling of the Michigan Stadium luxury boxes, a new attendance record, and the completion of Brock Mealer's journey from paralysis to walking out and touching the banner. It's an easy argument to make that this game represented the high water mark of the Rich Rodriguez era, a moment when anything and everything seemed within the realm of possibility.

The Big House was gaudier, a man had gone from never walking again to walking again, the much-maligned defense shut down the Huskies, and Denard ... well, a Michigan quarterback record of 197 rushing yards is what we remember most, and he also completed 19/22 passes for 186 yards and a score. Rodriguez introduced the first iteration of the Worst Waldo play...

...and when it looked like UConn finally might be able to slow down Denard, he used their eagerness to finally lay a finger on the guy against them:

Michigan raced out to a 21-0 lead within the first 21 minutes of the opening kickoff, then cruised to a 30-10 victory. Denard became an overnight sensation. A fanbase beaten down by 3- and 5-win seasons the previous two years had reason to think that perhaps this could work out after all. Most of this optimism stemmed from Denard, of course, who helped matters by being one of the most eminently likable athletes to ever step on campus.

This summer, I went back through Denard's career and made a whole bunch of GIFs, with full intention of writing up an ode to the man who—often single-handedly—dragged the Wolverines from the depths of 3-8 and put them in a position to succeed in his three years as a starter and beyond. Like Brian with his HTTV article, I sat down and just couldn't go through with it.

I think I'm ready now. Hit the jump for a GIF retrospective on the career of one Denard Robinson.

[JUMP, obviously.]


Dear Diary Remembers Dennis Bergkamp

Dear Diary Remembers Dennis Bergkamp Comment Count

Seth January 4th, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Don't listen to anyone in the Netherlands who says otherwise: "Dennis Bergkamp neemt de bal aan" is Dutch for "Denard Robinson picks up a block!"

Between the WMU run and this week's bitterly unsatisfying conclusion we coined and created new uses for words like "Shoelace", and "Dilithium", and "ERMAGHERD", and "Eating" and "Robinson to Roundtree." Every sharp cut and rocket acceleration by his gangly, graceful legs created another moment pregnant with so much meaning you could utter gibberish about it in another language and the guy next to you would understand exactly what you're trying to say.


Think back on the Michigan you knew the moment before the camera first panned to 'Lace's shoes. Think how utterly un-Michigan it all looked: a Floridian freshman who couldn't throw the ball stepping into a role occupied by artillery Denardthrowspieces and disciplined option men since as far back as any reader of this site can remember, dropping the snap, wandering over toward the sideline, then hyperdriving through a field full of men bigger than he is. It used to be other teams' little jet mites doing that to our colossuses.* It was too astounding to be repeatable. How are we to crush souls if every few plays this sprite is jetting off to the end zone, then smiling at everybody? Doesn't he realize scoring touchdowns is just giving the other team more time of possession?

Here at the end we're all not sure what it is we just saw. The thing that turned some practice observers in 2010 into raving lunatics on these boards never stopped being a source of some sort of controversy, from spreadvocates who'd rather Borges run an offense he doesn't know than see him waste such a talent, to insufferable puritans who called him a running back.

To those last to whom circumstances and mankind's ill-planned brachial nervous system ultimately gave them their wish, I give you 100-ish yards on 23 carries, and a ho, and a hum, and a little secret…gonna have to lean closer…a bit closer…I need to whisperDENNIS BERGKAMP! DENNIS BERGKAMP! DENNIS BERGKAMP! AAAAAAAHHHHH!


*If I'd said "it used to be other teams' Vins doing that to our army of Koloss" would anyone have gotten the reference?


CHRISTMAS IS STILL RELEVANT. Enough so at least that there remains much to be gained in mistersuits's X-mas Eve basketball roundup, which does things like compare this team to last's, and compare this team to the Fab Five, and publishes the schedule reorganized by expected KenPom difficulty, and lots of analysis and good formatting and stuff. I was out on holiday (and watching SEC football) and missed the chance to bump it—even now it's front page material by a good margin, just a little bit outdated. The diary describes an SEC-like gauntlet of Top 15-ish teams that Michigan and Indiana will both have to navigate.

FILE UNDER NO FRIKKIN WAY: TSS has found an NCAA rushing stat that Michigan leads the country in. Seriously. He calls the statistic "open field rushing yards" and it tracks how many yards you got on top of every rush of 10 positive or more yards. Indeed when Michigan managed to get the ballcarrier into the secondary this year, more often than not he'd be going full DENNIS BERGKAMP! Or losing a shoe. Minnesota was second-to-last.

Actually that stat is just a byproduct of his real effort, which removes the Bergkamping after 5 and 10 yards and gives credit for the first bits back to the O-lines. Relevant results cropped:


Note Michigan's the huge outlier in "AOFY" which is "adjusted open field yards" to the OP, yet still hanging at the bottom of the conference with "AALY" which is basically how many yards per play the offensive line might take credit for. Of course they're also hindered by RBs missing cuts or being too small to carry momentum through a linebacker. Yeoman's work here, with scatterplots and a lot more than the above. Diary of the Week(s). Read it.

[The Jump: lots more diaries, and stuff, and stuff, and by now you should realize I always leave something nice for my clickers-through.]


Photos from Michigan vs. Iowa

Photos from Michigan vs. Iowa Comment Count

Eric November 18th, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Yesterday was an interesting one for me. It was the first time that I've caught a catastrophic injury in photos. I will not be putting those photos in this post or in the gallery from the game. I wish Fitz the best of luck and I hope to see him back out there next year. 

On a lighter note, this will be my last gallery of the football season. I will not be travelling to Columbus and likely, not to our bowl game. I have enjoyed sharing my photos with all of you this year and I hope you have enjoyed them. Go Blue!!




The Last Time



Jeremy Gallon (I still don't know how this got through)



Devin Funchess' TD

The Gallery: 


As always, photos are all creative commons licensed. If you have any comments or questions that you don't want to leave on the board, contact me at [email protected]



Hokepoints: Michigan's Running Game, A Diagnosis

Hokepoints: Michigan's Running Game, A Diagnosis Comment Count

Seth November 6th, 2012 at 5:55 AM


The dorm room has a shrine to Fred Jackson they call "Like Borobudur but more majestic"

Seth, doctor of blogging, is acting residential advisor for South-of-South Quad Residence Hall, Floor 1. Having heard reports that the occupant of Rm. 219, registered as "Michigan's Running Game" has 'not been himself' lately, the good doctor attempts to ascertain the source of his charge's recent morosity. He knocks on the door…

So, hey Michigan's Running Game.


Alright if I come in?


You've been kinda quiet this semester.


… Look, I haven't known you to be the kind of dude to go into a shell. Not since you broke up with DeBord, anyway. Um, you okay there man?

… [sigh].

What's wrong?

Oh you know, things.

Year Rush YPC* Rush S&P+ Rk
2010 6.05 137.3 2
2011 6.19 141.7 4
2012 5.77 120.8 23

* (Called running plays when Denard is QB, no short situations. 2012 stats are through Nebraska because this is from my UFR database and Brian hasn't UFR'ed Minnesota yet. S&P+ is a Fremeau EDIT: Bill Connelly (they're all football outsiders) stat that measures success based on down, field position, and strength of opponent. Higher is better. FWIW these stats have been screwy this year but I think rushing yardage is the part that's actually working.)

That's…that's not so bad man, 5.77 YPC is pretty respectable.

Yeah but I'm supposed to be much better than 'pretty respectable.'

Cause Denard and Toussaint and most of the line back?

That and I'm MICHIGAN fergodsakes. Plus I think a lot of that 5.77 is Denard shooting off long runs against Air Force and Purdue. Here's a table so you know what I mean.


I see. Wait, what the hell is that?

A table of all the runs charted in that stat. So like that gray peak is the 2010 offense getting lots of 4-yard runs, and the yellow peak is the 2011 offense getting stopped for just 2 yards a lot. And the lines at the bottom are polynomial trend lines.

Poly—? Dammit man, I'm a doctor, not a physicist.

See how the yellow and gray lines follow the same trend but the blue one doesn't? The 2012 offense is ripping off big runs more often, but not getting those 5- to 12-yard runs with the same regularity.

I understand. I'll see if I can find what's going on. You mind if I ask some questions?


[After THE JUMP: Is it for want of play calling, tougher competition, or Molk?]


Denard versus Usain Bolt: Fight!

Denard versus Usain Bolt: Fight! Comment Count

Brian August 13th, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Rival fans are having their lol over this Denard Robinson statement from media day:

"I've watched him run, and I'm pretty sure I can beat him in a 40-yard dash," Robinson said at Michigan's media day on Sunday. "I'd get a better start, and I could take him.

"At 60 yards, I'd be in trouble, and at 100 meters, he'd be gone, but I could get him in a 40."

But this sort of thing has come up before. Two years ago, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Bolt would race Titans running back Chris Johnson, who ran a 4.24 40 at the NFL draft combine. That turned out to be total fiction, but it got people thinking.

It's complicated. Most 40 times are bunk. Combine times like Johnson's are not directly comparable to track sprints since the NFL uses a system that eliminates reaction time, doesn't use starting blocks, and is on FieldTurf in cleats. Also, yards are not meters and converting between the two requires integration and stuff since 100 meter athletes are accelerating until about the 65 meter mark.

Benchmarks are available. Robinson dabbled in track early in his career, winning some dual meets in the 60-meter dash indoors:

That was a 6.81 60. When Bolt set the 100 M world record in Germany in 2009, he crossed 60 meters at 6.29  Denard would get smoked at 60 meters, but it's worth noting that he'd get smoked by less than he would in the 100, where Bolt's world record time is a full second faster than Denard's best high school effort. Bolt's second 50 meters is where he makes his money.

So what about the 40? In his world-record run, Bolt hit 40 meters at 4.64. Meters are longer than yards, so that time translates to the exact same 4.24 Johnson ran at the NFL combine, give or take tenth given the fact that 40s are not track sprints. Chris Johnson's lifetime best 60m is… 6.83*. So… plausible for Denard to be in Bolt's stratsophere?

No. Johnson's best time at 60 meters was good for third place. In a semifinal. At a regional collegiate track meet. Denard's fast. He's not Usain Bolt.

*[According to a guy on the internet. Milestat confirms the time, FWIW.]


Dear Diary is Tripping Over 'Laces

Dear Diary is Tripping Over 'Laces Comment Count

Seth February 17th, 2012 at 7:37 AM


Everywhere else has reposted already so I might as well throw this up top. 'Pre-gaming with' Pat Stansik posted this ode to a valentine of untied laces, performed by a band called Mind's Eyes. The lyrics you will recognize, since you made them.

Sorry to be a bit of a wet towel on this but if you've played guitar for longer than 9 months a I-V-ii-vi progression in G is something you only do if you're an Oasis knockoff for ironic effect, or as a secret track filled with dick jokes at the end of your album. Then again I thought Donkey Punch was overrated, that Tally Hall just plain sucked, and if anyone of that generation was going to "make it" it oughtta be Six Clips, so what do I know?

I know Six Clips rocked.

What I don't know is how to play lacrosse, except in that it seems to be like hockey. But hey the Canadian sports haven't missed with me yet so let's learn this. Let's see, where would we find…oh hey look it's Brooks with the beginner's guide to the rules of lacrosse. [Read read read]. Sweet, I'm now familiar enough with the regs to criticize the refs and ready for some L-A-X. Let's see, where would we find a game…oh hey look it's MaizeAndBlueWahoo with the details for M's first televised lacrosse game (plus a long recap of the first game as varsity, a 13-9 loss to Detroit-Mercy in Pontiac). Surely it's some weekday when I can't...oh hey look it's right after the Spring Game in the Big House, and versus Ohio State. And there's to be a cup between the three Big Ten teams (PSU is the other). Now this is how you launch a new varsity sport!

In a Race to Pasadena, I'll Take the Beamer BimmerHT. Your diarist of the week Eye of the Tiger has made 2012 Big Ten Football programs comparable to 2012 model automobiles #OnlyInMichigan. Each team gets a 2011 grade, a 2012 recruiting grade, and a predicted pryor-vetteaverage wins for the next three years that doesn't seem to take into account some of the vast differences in schedule strengths. It also highlights the bitter unfairness of Ohio State's players only getting free Nissans this year when they're valued at Ferrari FFs. Michigan Team 133 is a controversial 2012 BMW M5. Controversial because people in the comments are enraged that he said the metaphorically Rich-Rod model was a naturally aspirated V10 but the V10 is really traditional so he must be saying Lloyd and Mo and Bo ran spread offenses, and Hoke isn't a safe V8 guys we really just found a way to drag performance engines into an RR argument. Seriously: #OnlyInMichigan!

Picture-Paging Brilliance. On TV the Treais goal when he put back his own rebound looked downright Datsyukian, but I was afraid it might seem less so when screen capped. Silly thing to fear:


All hail CenterIce for picture paging every goal against MSU last weekend.

Sugar Bowl Every Snap. Sugar Bowl Every Snap. He also surveys readers to ask who wants Brian to stop what he's doing and sacrifice two days of his life to thoroughly picking apart a game from six weeks ago that is only marginally related to this year's team. To this you respond "hell yes!" because Brian Cook is our personal UFR monkey.


Best of the Board


The board this week awoke to a new self-consciousness. In order to cross the Bridge of MGoDeath you must answer me these questions three:

That last is the most interesting, from the guy who found the blogspot site left open on a fishbowl computer to the old guy who finally asked his kid "how do you know so much about the recruits?"


Starting pitcher Sara Driesenga was freshman of the week. Line? Line!

2012 0.64 2-0 2 1 0 0 11 5 3 1 6 2

Line!!!! Sara, who by reports was born crying "Hail to the Victors," is also batting .500 so far (2 for 4). This is slightly worse than her high school career, when she had an ERA of 0.40, and a .504 career batting average. Let's pick it up Sara; this is MICHIGAN fergodsakes. Softball also picked up a touted southpaw recruit this week.


Etc. Discussing blooms from Brian's post on the Mattison clinic on whether this using the SAM on the wide side always is perhaps a bit unsound—from recollection teams that tried that last year were Illinois and Nebraska and it very didn't work. College Game Day is free FYI; in return for this information the OP let us know Denard liked his valentine song from up top. Sigh: Kate Upton. The countdown begins.


Scientists Unveil 3G Shoelace

Scientists Unveil 3G Shoelace Comment Count

Seth December 22nd, 2011 at 3:10 PM


We interrupt your regularly scheduled afternoon to bring you this important science (Science!) update, courtesy of ESPN Sport Science and HT ChuckWood. It has a 15-second Wodka commercial introduction that's worth waiting through. Follow either link for findings such as:

  • Denard is like Michael Vick only faster (and with better quarterbacking numbers)
  • Denard can get up to 11 mph in four steps
  • Denard's top speed is somewhere close to 22 mph
  • Denard recreates the G force of a shuttle launch when he cuts.

Denard Robinson is made of dilithium. Science!


Unverified Voracity Removes Piping

Unverified Voracity Removes Piping Comment Count

Brian September 8th, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Let's all not panic. Uni-watch reports that the piping is dead:


(As per usual, do not be alarmed at the white pants.) I was never a piping fan—too West Virginia—so its removal is welcome.

(HT: the board's JeepinBen.)

WTKA appearance. Part one about the offense and the WMU game. Part two includes a Get Off My Lawn rant about the dog groomers, and discussion of Notre Dame. Good calls this time around.

Quote of win. Patrick Omameh on Denard Robinson speech patterns:

“He just has to do everything fast, and I don’t know why,” Omameh said. “I think we’ve kind of adapted to his … I guess, uh … method of speaking. We say he be speaking Florida.”

Yes, I'm a sucker for ungrammatical uses of "be." Also I find it hard to believe why Omameh thinks Denard Robinson doesn't have to do everything fast. He completed a Rubik's Cube before it was invented. He can't eat eggs. When he gets in a Ferrari the car tries to shift him. He's too fast for eggs! What does that even mean HE'S TOO FAST TO FIND OUT


“It’s just real fast,” Omameh said. “Everything is just super sped up. I’m like, ‘You know, you can slow down a little bit if you want us to run the play right. But, you don’t have to.’"



Even better quote. Manny Diaz on BYU's fullbacks:

They've got fullbacks that want to block your soul.

That is all.

More McGary. Sam Webb's latest article in the News is on Mitch McGary with more from McGary's (and Glenn Robinson's) tough-talking AAU coach Wayne Brumm:

"The post player is intimately and intricately involved in John Beilein's system," Brumm explained. "I don't know anybody who runs a better offensive system for a post player than Michigan. So I have to say, why not (Michigan as a possible destination)? Everybody else is (analyzing McGary's recruitment) like they're a friggin fan. We're trying to pick a school that is in Mitch's best interest."

Brumm added: "John Beilein can flat-out coach. The people I talk to and the coaches I talk to, I'll flat-out tell you — they are scared of John Beilein. They are worried about the day he starts getting the talent that they've got (at their schools). He's been at a bunch of places that he couldn't recruit high-major talent. Now he's at Michigan and it looks like he is making some headway there. When he starts with an even slate in terms of talent, look out! Look what he did last year. Look what he did with Darius Morris, Timmy Hardaway, and look what he has done with Jordan Morgan. My goodness, isn't anybody paying attention?"

That sounds like a guy who would like McGary to hit up Ann Arbor. On this morning's WTKA recruiting roundup, Webb delivered the "gut feeling" on McGary's top three: Michigan, Maryland, and Florida. No disrespect to those programs but that's a lot less of a mountain to hurdle than UK, UNC, and Duke, the other schools he plans to visit. I'm kind of thinking this is going well. Listen to the roundup—Webb won't say it (specifically disclaims it, actually) but it sounds like he believes this is happening.

Brumm also literally states that Bacari Alexander "gets it." WOO!

Mattison on the trail. Wolverine Nation—how is that URL even available?—has launched. They've put Tom behind a paywall and don't have an RSS feed, but here's this excellent article from Mike Rothstein on Greg Mattison's recruiting style:

"He didn't realize at the time just how expensive they were," former Texas A&M defensive coordinator Bob Davie said. "The business manager brought him in and they could have bought a new car with how much he spent on that mobile phone. I'll never forget that.

"That's just how he does it. He's going to work harder than anybody."

Rothstein hits up Mattison's head coach from back in the day when he was a D-line coach at Northwestern and various players from his Notre Dame days.

The other guy. ND DC Bob Diaco on Denard:

"Unfortunately it just is what it is," defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said. "We need to be perfect, because any little crease and it's over, he's gone. It's not like, somebody hits a crease and he rattles for eight, 10 yards and you get him on the ground. This guy hits the crease and he can punch a hole in the top of the defense like that." …

"It's just a monumental task defending a runner at quarterback in particular, that it almost gives you the feeling like they're playing with 12," Diaco said. "It's a problem."

This game will not only be the first real opportunity to see what Borges does with Denard, it will be a major hype-check on Diaco. After his defense gave up 35 in a humiliating loss to Navy that had option-savvy Middies in disbelief that anyone could be so incompetent:

Navy wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. Kelly and Diaco just have absolutely no clue how the Navy offense works. …

If Diaco and Kelly hadn’t seen it before, then I have no idea what film they’ve been watching, or if they even watched any at all. That isn’t even hyperbole; they thought that Navy’s fullback ran through the A gap. And that was their plan– to send the inside linebackers crashing into the A gap that nobody was running through. That just made those LBs easier to block as either the fullback or quarterback ran right by them and into the secondary. …

What’s almost as incredible as this horrible game plan is the fact that despite Kelly’s assertion to the contrary, Notre Dame never adjusted. Those ILBs kept running into the A gap for the entire game. Once or twice Te’o scraped outside to make a play in the backfield, and I’d think,”OK, now we’ll see something else.” But we didn’t. Notre Dame would go right back to the same old thing on the next play, and the Mids would pick up a big gain.

Diaco appeared clueless in a media interview soon after. The next week his D gave up almost 400 yards and 28 points in a loss to Tulsa and people were screaming for his head. The next four games were all wins in which ND game up 17 or fewer points.

That stretch:

  • Three points ceded to Utah, a mediocre offense.
  • Three against Army, whatever.
  • 16 against USC in a driving rainstorm slopfest in which the Trojans were helmed by Mitch Mustain.
  • 17 against Miami in a game where Jacory Harris threw three picks on seven attempts and was yanked for Stephen Morris, who averaged 8.5 YPA but threw a pick of his own.

Last week USF only got 250 yards but BJ Daniels is horrible. Is the improvement real or a mirage? No idea.

I'm like what? Your game programs for ND are going to be electronical:

Each gameday program includes an audio file of "The Catch," Desmond Howard's famous touchdown against Notre Dame twenty years ago.

But it's not just the audio of the call, from the announcers that day — Frank Beckmann for the Michigan Sports Network and Brent Musburger for ABC — it also includes the play call from Michigan's head football coach at the time Gary Moeller and sound from Michigan quarterback Elvis Grbac in the huddle.

That's kind of cool. Fifteen bucks cool? I'll listen to yours.

BONUS: Darren Rovell suggests there is a person in this world whose "dream" was to "embed the audio file of a famous play into a gameday program." Reach for the stars.

Blog content. NKOTB From Hope There Is Glory is not a Notre Dame blog, but a Michigan blog sporting statistical breakdowns of the WMU game. Here's a section:

   Passes attempted against
   Passes completed against
            Jordan Kovacs
           Thomas Gordon
            Courtney Avery
            J.T. Floyd
            Troy Woolfolk
I have a powerful disagreement about Dileo "dropping" a ball that was well behind him in a storm, but nits will be picked. Make sure to check out the special teams analysis! (Seriously, though, if someone wants to get linked on the regular figuring out WTF is going on with kicks and kick returns is a good idea.)

Etc.: WMU stunt blitz picture pagin' from BWS. Vincent Smith picks it up. MVictors on Michigan's first night game. Jerry Palm projects us in the… Fiesta Bowl? Good lord. Very cool Mike Leach interview from a technically oriented football site. HT: Smart Football.

Sippin on Purple breaks down a That Goddamned Counter Draw the Wildcats ran against BC. Why don't we use this for good? Denard rollout will make this enormously successful.


Mailbag! Also Entirely About Denard Robinson!

Mailbag! Also Entirely About Denard Robinson! Comment Count

Brian September 17th, 2010 at 11:49 AM


Hi Brian,

I'm sure that you have been over this a million times as well, but what exactly is the redshirt rule?  I mean is it "time played" related or is it snap related?  Or is it something completely different?  Sorry this may be a very stupid question, but I figured id go to the man to find out the correct answer.


This confusion is largely my fault for repeated suggestions that I'd still like to see Gardner redshirt despite his presence on three Michigan snaps thus far. The rule is: if you play at all, no redshirt. There is an exception for players who get hurt. If you are hurt in the first 30% of the season (rounded up, so the first four games) and are then injured, you can get an redshirt. Junior Hemingway got one, Mike Jones will get one, Brandin Hawthorne got one… etc.

So if Devin Gardner was to come down with tendinitis or something after the BG game, he could get an injury redshirt. I'm not sure about this but I think it's not uncommon for a player to get "injured" after a few games. I don't think that's going to happen with Rodriguez going all out to win games this season and apparently believes Devin Gardner is his second-best quarterback. Maybe next year? I'm still crushing on the idea of fifth year senior Devin Gardner being the starting QB in 2014.

Meanwhile in Devin Gardner's potential relevance


I  I’ve been having a heated debate between some friends about Denard’s durability. I’m worried that opponents are going to take away the running backs in the run game, cover all the receivers and then let Denard run, therefore giving the defense an opportunity to pound and pound him again to see how durable he is. While I’ve been given all the “well, you can’t hit what you can’t catch” retorts, I am worried that against a very disciplined and physical defense, let’s say Iowa, that they’re going to let Denard run in the first half on purpose just so they can keep hitting him so he wears down in the second half. I feel like ND tried to do this and it didn’t work out too well for them, but they did manage to get some hits on him. I appreciate that Denard is taking what the defense is giving but at some point, I feel that a defense will let him run so much because they just want to hit him over and over again.

Am I being paranoid and there’s already a response in place (i.e. the plays where he runs and then throws to wide open receivers like Roundtree and T. Robinson) or is this a legit concern?


Keep up the great work.

Jin Shi

This probably stems from Fred Jackson's comments after the ND game asserting that Notre Dame was responsible for Robinson running so much by their formations and alignment and defenses and whatnot. That sounds implausible on its face and didn't seem like it was happening when I UFRed the game. Michigan's zone read metric was 5-2=3, and about half of those were handoffs. Notre Dame may have encouraged Robinson runs by hauling ass after those flare screens and giving an occasional keep read on the ZR, but that was the difference between 28 carries and maybe 22.


  • Robinson's going to run a lot on plays without even a read anyway.
  • Any defense that tries to get Robinson to keep the ball when he does have a read is insane, and…
  • Will probably only give themselves a few extra chances to hit Robinson at the expense of first downs.

I guess you could try it but since the chances of actually hitting the guy hard enough to impact his performance on any individual carry are very low, that's a gameplan that only the truly stupid would adopt.

Meanwhile in dilithium studies

intrigued by the raw speed we witnessed on Denard's scamper in South Bend (not to mention the unbelievable blocks --Omameh sledding Teo 7 yards through a safety AND throwing him down five-star-pancake-style! Roundtree blasting his dude! etc.) I felt compelled to apply some simple math to break down how quickly Robinson covered the 93 yards.

logic:  Denard starts the play in the shotgun standing on the left hash of the 7 yard line

he receives the snap and darts off the right tackle with a jab step in/out of the hole, proceeds to the edge of the numbers at the 20 yard line, then sets his sights for the tuba on the other end of the field. 

my simple math approximates a 27.295 yard hypotenuse from the snap to the twenty yard line (using sportsknowhow's ncaa field dimensions).  add the remaining 80 yards and it's 107.295 yards or 98.11 meters. 

I've run a stopwatch on this a few times and average 12.11 seconds which calculates to a 12.34 100 meter with pads, pigskin, jukes, and dreads.  that's dilithium.

enjoying the ride,
--entirely reasonable

so there you go.

Meanwhile in other paranoias

Hey Brian –

I am wondering what your thoughts are on the recent comments from incoming NCAA President Mark Emmert about him being in favor of handing out more harsh penalties for NCAA rule offenders. And if this in any way, shape or form could impact how the NCAA punishes Michigan?

There was an article on that referenced Michigan and other high profile programs that are currently under NCAA scrutiny as the NCAA enters the penalty phase for Mich. and other schools.

I am slightly concerned about this. While our offenses are IMO, are much less egregious than what transpired at USC or what's currently going on at UNC, and do not involve allegations of receiving improper benefits or dealings with agents, how would you gauge the likelihood that they [the NCAA] might be looking to make a "punishment statement" with Michigan and really hit us with more harsh penalties than we might be anticipating?

Thanks in advance for your input / insights on this.

Go Blue!

RJ Gerard

I think the level of concern expressed—slight—is about right. The NCAA has obviously stepped up its investigations, but nothing they've done so far is out of line with historical precedent. Marcus Ray missed half the '98 season because of contact with an agent, so holding out AJ Green or Marcell Dareus or everyone on UNC's defense doesn't represent a move to Xtreme Nforcement. It just seems like more of it. USC's penalty didn't seem harsh to me, it seemed just right. Meanwhile USC's basketball should have been obliterated and was not.

Michigan, meanwhile, has had some minor overages in a well-established category of offense and has proposed the same punishment everyone does: 2-for-1 giveback, restrictions on the number or abilities of coaches who did bad things. The NCAA might add a year of probation or something else comparatively minor, but that should be it, and then we can all move on.

Meanwhile in road games

FYI, U-M partnered with Zimride to provide an easy and convenient way to share a ride to away games.  It's a private site or U-M and requires a university email address to post.  Filling our cars = filling the rival's stadium with blue and maize!

It's free to use, check it out.


That is all.

Meanwhile in crazy hybrids

Hi Brian,

Ideally speaking, What kind of a quarterback do you think Rich Rodriguez wants for his offense? Denard Robinson, Terrelle Pryor, Pat White, Vince Young, Michael Vick, etc. Thanks!

Hudson, OH
LSA '00

Aren't those all kind of the same guy? I mean, Pryor and Young are taller, Robinson shorter, but all of them are kinda sorta the same guy. I think ideally Rodriguez would like a 6'4" or 6'5" guy who can stand in the pocket if he has to, but he'd also ideally like a guy with the explosive ability of Vick or Robinson. Problem is those guys essentially never come in the same package. The offense works either way, as Young, Vick, White, and Robinson have shown. And now I do something stupid and pick:

  1. Michael Vick
  2. Vince Young
  3. Denard Robinson
  4. Pat White
  5. Terrelle Pryor

Robinson's already a far more accurate passer than White ever was and seems about Pryor's equal (Pryor is more erratic but has more throws in his toolbox); he's more dynamic on the ground than both. Young was eventually an all-around passer while still maintaining that terrifying glide speed; Vick was probably the most dynamic quarterback in the history of the spread 'n' shred. Disclaimer: we have way more info on the four non-Robinson QBs here and he's liable to move down (or up!) based on future performance.

Michigan seems to be moving more in the Pryor/Young direction with Gardner and Kevin Sousa, both strapping lads in the 6'4"-6'5" range, but if Robinson 2.0 comes along Rodriguez will recruit that guy, too.