This Week’s Obsession: We Scouted Bad

This Week’s Obsession: We Scouted Bad Comment Count

Seth June 23rd, 2017 at 10:56 AM

The question:

Most humiliatingly bad recruiting ranking

The resposes:

Brian: Chris Wormley and Trey Burke spring to mind.

Ace: Can first-hand agree on Wormley. I don’t know how anyone could see that guy in person and not think he at least had a good shot at the NFL.

Brian: We've talked about Wormley before. Everyone saw a huge athletic man and ranked appropriately except Josh Helmholdt. He was the #22 player... IN OHIO.

Ace: That dude was built like a house as a senior and it was clear he could add another house.

Seth: Poor Helmholdt. We've probably hung that over his head more than any one ranking by anyone in history.

Brian: He's got a few more in the pipeline if he doesn't drag Mayfield and Hayes into the top 15 in state. But this is a key factor in ridiculous rankings: you miss when everyone else is on point. Sure, nobody saw a draftable CB in Jeremy Clark but I can't blame 'em for that.

Seth: So no Kevin Grady, even though Tom Lemming made him his #7 player in the country.

In. The. Country.

Brian: A key factor, not the. You can fire away on that ranking. By Grady's second year it was clear ranking him as a five star was total nonsense.

Ace: And we were all a little leery of his film when he was a recruit. But nobody flat-out said “De’Veon Smith is better” because of those dang rankings.

Seth: You're thinking of Green.

Ace: Ah crap, same thing.

Brian: A good answer to this question is "any highly touted Michigan tailback."

Seth: A-Train was way up there. #2 overall RB I think.

Brian: A-Train was so far back in the day that it has less impact. Literal mailmen were doing rankings then.

Seth: Well I may just happen to have some of those mailed Prep Football Reports and Prepstars in reach of my desk for some reason.

Brian: Grady was worse than Green because at least Green was a legitimately huge person. I have no idea what anyone was thinking about in re: Grady.



Exit Derrick Green

Exit Derrick Green Comment Count

Brian January 15th, 2016 at 3:04 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

Today in worst-kept secrets:

A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed to CFT that Green received a release from his UM scholarship earlier this week and will transfer out of the Wolverines football program. 

Green split time early in his career, alternating frustrating cuts with promising footwork and power as he attempted to slim back down from 250-260 pounds. He did that but the vision never came and when Harbaugh came in he fell out of the rotation in favor of De'Veon Smith, Drake Johnson, Ty Isaac, Karan Higdon, and Sione Houma. A fullback in front of you on the depth chart is never good. Green was left home from the bowl with an "internal matter," and that seemed to be that.

He's got one year left and also graduated in 3.5 years, so he can play immediately. Michigan now has 20 officially open slots; Green's departure was certainly part of the existing reckoning for Michigan's class size and won't increase how many scholarships Michigan has to play with. We currently figure that is 28-30.


Unverified Voracity Has An Anniversary

Unverified Voracity Has An Anniversary Comment Count

Brian December 30th, 2015 at 1:07 PM

Happy anniversary. Today is one year out from Harbaugh.


Max Harbaugh. To commemorate the event, Harbaugh had a radio appearance on Stoney and Bill. He completed that radio appearance and then CALLED BACK IN to advocate having Wrestlemania at Michigan Stadium, where he could referee a match between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan:

“Why not the Big House?” he said. “Why not? 140,000 – I bet we could get in there for Wrestlemania. They’re trying to break the attendance record at Jerry Jones’ stadium in Dallas. (There’s) a great Canadian presence in wrestling. Why not Michigan and the Big House?”

When a producer on the show suggested that Harbaugh participate as a referee in a Flair vs Hulk Hogan matchup, Harbaugh didn’t hesitate.

“I’m in,” he said.

The chances of that match are not great since Flair and Hogan are a combined billion years old and Hogan was dropped by WWE after tapes of him being racist-uncle-level racist were released as part of a lawsuit he's embroiled in. With Gawker, because of course.

But other than that, yeah, sure. Unfortunately it's too late for Michigan Stadium to get it this year, since last year it was in the 49ers' stadium and that symmetry would have been perfect. Screw you, Jed York! (Actually, thank you, Jed York. Thank you so much for all that you have done for Michigan athletics.)

Either way, AJ Williams is in.

And now let us reflect on the previous gentleman. The Washington Post has an article on ballooning costs for athletic department administrators. If that sounds like an article in which Dave Brandon features, you would be correct:

Last December, at a conference on the business of college sports, a panel discussion involving Michigan athletics executive Hunter Lochmann turned to the topic of paying players. Lochmann, according to media reports, expressed skepticism about whether players deserved any of the millions sponsors paid to have their logos seen during Michigan games.

“Those are fleeting, four-year relationships,” he said of the careers of Michigan athletes. “At Michigan, it’s the block ‘M’ that has the affinity and power globally, not [former Michigan quarterback] Denard Robinson.”

The response was interesting coming from Lochmann, a former longtime National Basketball Association marketing executive who himself had just a four-year relationship with college sports at that point. In 2014, Lochmann made $225,000 performing a job — chief marketing officer at Michigan athletics — that didn’t exist before 2010, when then-Michigan athletic director Brandon created the position, luring Lochmann from the New York Knicks.

Lochmann was not the only new face in Michigan athletics. Between 2004 and 2014, records show, the department added 77 new full-time positions, contributing to an administrative payroll surge from $14.7 million to $27.7 million.

That 89% increase considerably outpaces the national average of 69%—this is national trend that Brandon managed to beat out. The returns on those additional staff were nil, as by the end of Brandon's tenure the Big House was three-quarters full and the athletic department had suffered a never-ending series of PR gaffes culminating in the concussion fiasco. The article revisits Lochdogg a bit later:

Michigan’s front office has gotten a bit smaller since last year, however. A few weeks after Lochmann’s controversial comments about Michigan athletes — which sparked backlash from university alums, including some NFL players — the university announced that Lochmann had resigned to “pursue other opportunities.”

In the year since, Michigan athletics has not needed to fill the vacant chief marketing officer job.

Except insofar as Harbaugh fills that role.

Anyway. The article ably details the flood of money going somewhere. That is an increasing army of administrators and higher salaries for extant ones, because, and I quote this quote "We’re no different than any other corporation that wants its business to be successful.”

I can think of one way it is different.

Bobby Bowden and IU athletic director Fred Glass come off well, FWIW.

Florida things. Suspensions and early NFL draft announcements may indicate a Gators program that is not fully checked in at the moment. Four players have already announced they're out the door for the draft after the game. DE Alex McCalister was dismissed from the team a couple weeks ago. Three players, including a starting OT, have been suspended. That starting OT projects to be replaced by a true freshman, which would bring the number of first-year players starting along Florida's lines to four.

That's all good news for a Michigan team that ended the year with a bit of a thud.

Brian Cole mystery, resolved. If you follow the premium sites you've noticed a hard split on the first year of Brian Cole at Michigan. Cole disappeared from the field after a few games thanks to an injury and never returned. Rivals repeatedly asserted that he was deep in the doghouse and unlikely to ever emerge; Scout said he'd moved to safety and was doing well after an early Internal Matter. RJS helps clarify:

"B-Cole's at safety, he's been coming down and bringing a lot of havoc," senior linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone said Monday. "He's been good." …

"Everybody's getting some time to play, we've been doing a lot of scrimmaging with younger guys," Jenkins-Stone said. "Coach Harbaugh's putting people where he feels like they'll be best for the team.

"Coach Harbaugh feels like (Cole) can make that happen, and I'm pretty sure he'll be able to fill a void next year at safety."

0% chance Cole plays in the bowl game since he's got a medical redshirt coming, but good to hear that Michigan's top athlete from the 2015 class is not in the same boat Derrick Green is.

The boat Derrick Green is in. A fast one, going anywhere but Ann Arbor. Ty Isaac will stick around; multiple reports had him taking most of the first team reps before the OSU game.

A less dangerous Indiana. #CHAOSTEAM may be a bit less chaos-y next year thanks to departures. RB Jordan Howard and DT Darius Latham have declared for the draft. IU loses most of their OL and Nate Sudfeld. I find it hard to believe that Zander Diamont is going to replace Sudfeld's production. Kevin Wilson is pretty great at offense but all they have to do is take a half-step back and the chaos turns into something like the LSU-Texas Tech bowl game where it's close for a while and then whoops it's 42-20.

Etc.: Chris Wormley reiterates that he will return next year. At this point I think the only person we're waiting on is Willie Henry. IU guard James Blackmon has a knee injury of undisclosed severity. This is a good vine. Holy crap, Baylor. Three pointers are suddenly easy. Harbaugh Christmas.


Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Minnesota

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Minnesota Comment Count

Brian November 4th, 2015 at 4:53 PM

HomeSure Logo NMLS-1

Upon Further Review still has a sponsor. You should really listen to the radio show because Matt has an ad with his kids now where it sounds like they have been dragooned into talk about daddy's business that never fails to crack me up. They just want to play Madden.

Matt's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call. (No pants required.)

FORMATION NOTES: I did an inconsistent job of it this week but I plan on denoting all 6 OL setups with "heavy" going forward. You can deduce which snaps were 6 OL when there are only four skill players listed this week, although I might have missed a couple.

The new things this week were mostly Peppers related. This was "Ace twin TE Peppers H":

ace twins peppers H

This was "Emory Tight":

emory tight

As a reminder, "Pistol" implies a tailback and a TE so Pistol FB is this:

pistol fb

As far as Minnesota goes they generally went with a 4-3 even or over. The most notable thing about their D was the MLB, who lined up a yard or two deeper than the other guys, as you can see in the above shot.

Also Minnesota's goal line formation was goofy. Just four guys on the line.

minnesota weird goal line

I still called this "goal line."

PERSONNEL NOTES: Line per usual with the exception of Grant Newsome, who had several snaps as a sixth OL. Poggi didn't play; he was left home with pneumonia; stay away from Ricky Doyle please. As a result Michigan played largely without an H-back, instead going with a lot of two inline TE sets.

WR was per usual except DaMario Jones got in briefly with Drake Harris out. Ways got a target on the first drive but then was absent; Chesson and Darboh got almost all the PT, with Perry the third guy in three WR sets.

Isaac and Higdon did not play at RB, where it was mostly Smith early and mostly Johnson late with some Derrick Green in the first half.

[After THE JUMP: here is Speight to save the day / no he shouldn't be the starter]


Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Northwestern

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs Northwestern Comment Count

Brian October 15th, 2015 at 4:22 PM

HomeSure Logo NMLS-1Upon Further Review still has a sponsor. I'm late today so I'm just going to tell you that Matt's a good guy and did my loan and Seth's loan and everything was easy and professional. We are associating our name with his and that is something we are very comfortable with.

Matt's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call. (No pants required.)

FORMATION NOTES: There was… nothing weird? Apparently not. Michigan did run different formations than they had much of the year, with a lot more ace sets and early-down gun. M was split about evenly between I-form of some type, ace, and shotgun.

Here is an offset I for some reason.


This has been your federally mandated pre-jump picture.

Oh, FWIW: this was NW's defense the whole day. 4-3 under for the most part with two rolled-up cover 4 safeties. The linebacker type guy to the bottom of the screen is actually a corner; NW has shifted the LBs to the field and are running an over on this snap.

PERSONNEL NOTES: OL and QB per usual the whole way. Kerridge returned at FB, getting most of the time in front of Houma. RB was a profusion of different guys. Smith early, then Higdon, Green, and a little bit of Isaac and Johnson. Those guys missed time for different reasons.

WR rotation was about as per usual except with more three-wide formations we saw significant amounts of Grant Perry for the first time since the opener. At this point it's clear the rotation this year is Darboh, Chesson, Ways, Harris, Canteen, and Perry. Canteen missed this game for an undisclosed reasons. (If Michigan is going six deep with three freshmen and no seniors, the writing is on the wall for guys not currently playing.)

[After THE JUMP: I drop bows on 'em? Ohhhhhhh probably short for elbows. Now I understand rapism.]


Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs BYU

Upon Further Review 2015: Offense vs BYU Comment Count

Brian October 1st, 2015 at 3:52 PM

Upon Further Review still has a sponsor.


I am out of of pants related stuff to tell you. Matt generally wears them, because he's a professional. He also gives you his contact information in case you need anything. This offer does not include pants.

Matt's got a ticket offer going for a Michigan football or basketball game. If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call. (No pants required.)

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan was super-heavy in this game. A plurality of plays were I-Form Big of some description, most commonly a 2FB lineup featuring Houma and Poggi.


Michigan frequently targeted the bubbles a 3-4 leaves by running fullbacks up both gaps. That is BYU in its standard 3-4, which they only left on passing downs. They left 8 or 9 in the box all day.

When Michigan moved from a dual fullback set to something with a blocker right behind the OL…


…the setup was appended with an "H". Here you can see every BYU defender within six yards of the LOS. M hit its first easy big play off this kind of defense with a 41-yarder to Jake Butt.

Michigan came out in a wacky formation right here:


I dubbed this "Emory" since it's kind of what's usually dubbed "Emory and Henry". This didn't work so hot since it didn't seem like anyone to the bunch knew what the dang snap count was.

On passing downs BYU would lift all but one DL and throw an amorphous pile of dudes at the LOS. They call this "radar".


Michigan's in the pro set they used on the Khalid Hill stealth mode play.

PERSONNEL NOTES: Houma and Poggi got all of the FB snaps. Smith got the bulk of the RB snaps until his injury; when he was absent it was mostly Johnson and Green, with Ty Isaac only getting two carries. That was odd, but more about it later.

Butt saw just about every snap. With the two fullbacks on the field for most of the day there wasn't a whole lot of room for other TEs; Bunting, Williams, and Hill all played bit roles.

WR was mostly Darboh and Chesson. Moe Ways got a healthy amount of playing time and proved an effective blocker; Perry only made appearances in the rare three-wide sets.

OL was per usual. Braden got knocked out with an injury we are assured is minor; David Dawson came in to replace him.

[After THE JUMP: De'Veon and the eleven dwarves]


Wednesday Presser 9-23-15: Tyrone Wheatley

Wednesday Presser 9-23-15: Tyrone Wheatley Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 24th, 2015 at 9:00 AM



Evaluate your group after three games.

“Evaluate my group after three games? Getting better, growing, competing, so right there is my three words I would use. Always room for growth, room to get better. Still just trying to solidify the little mistakes, clean the little things up. Just getting better.”

Is it the week of practice that determines who’s getting the carries or the flow of the game or what is it?

“It’s a little bit of both. Week of practice, flow of the game- you never want to go in with concrete [ideas]. Just the week of practice is the overall deciding factor and then the flow of the game. The flow of the game, as the game is going, you kind of make adjustments. You’ve got to be able to make adjustments. Gotta make adjustments.”

Is that what happened on Saturday? I mean, De’Veon was having some trouble and so you said-

“No, De’Veon wasn’t having trouble. It was just the type of defense that they were playing, what they were doing, called for a little different runner.”


“Yeah, style-wise. De’Veon wasn’t having much trouble at all. He was getting the tough yards. You know, he was banging it in there, running tough, running hard, yards after contact- that man gets a lot of yards after contact. He’s doing a great job in that regard. Just needed someone that could slip and slide a little bit and that was it. Just a different style.”

When you talk about cleaning the little things up, what are some of those little things?

“Wouldn’t you like to know.”

/smiles (I think)

[After THE JUMP: Things went well]


Preview 2015: Running Back

Preview 2015: Running Back Comment Count

Brian August 27th, 2015 at 4:21 PM

Previously: Podcast 7.0. The Story.


-This preview, two years ago


-This preview, last year


Rating: 3

De'Veon Smith Jr. De'Veon Smith Jr. Ty Isaac So.*
Ty Isaac So.* Derrick Green Jr. Drake Johnson Jr.*
Drake Johnson Jr.* Ty Isaac So.* Karan Higdon Fr.

This was a straight-up mess for much of last year. De'Veon Smith and Derrick Green had little idea of what functional blocking looked like (understandable after 2013) and a tendency to run at random. If—and this is entirely hypothetical—you were to rewatch some of these runs in detail you may—again, entirely hypothetically—find yourself reduced to screaming Happy Gilmore quotes about being too good for your home and then self-abasing because Happy Gilmore is a very bad movie enjoyed only by children and Ace. Hypothetically.

Late in the year Michigan tried out Drake Johnson and Justice Hayes and that went better, particularly with Johnson. Over the last four games of the season—Indiana, Northwestern, Maryland, and Ohio State—Johnson got the plurality of the carries and averaged 6.0 yards a carry to Smith's 4.7. Johnson had a reasonable day even against Ohio State, with 15 carries for 76 yards… and then he tore his ACL. Again. Sam Webb reported he only got fully cleared on Monday.

So it's back to those other guys, oh and Ty Isaac. Let's try it again, this time with coaching.



HAIR ZOOM 2015 [Fuller]

Last year:

My Bayesian estimation is that Smith has a tiny lead that wouldn't even be worth mentioning except for the fact that I have to talk about someone first.

This year: ditto.

The first arbitrarily ordered running back is DE'VEON SMITH. Your author does admit that the order of this list may contain some meaning. He is of the opinion that Smith is the most Harbaugh-friendly of the guys currently on the roster.

At his best, Smith is a beefier version of Mike Hart. He's got great balance and generally feels like a nuclear-powered icebreaker.

If you're in an offense where the line consistently delivers you three yards, Smith's ability to bash out another two or three with his balance and power is hugely powerful. That turns third and medium into third and short or a first down. It radically changes the percentages you're working with. This is the kind of gentleman Harbaugh made some headway with at Stanford. Going over all my Smith clips from last year is an exercise in YAC YAC YAC, to the point where the times he doesn't scrape out something after contact come as a shock.

[After THE JUMP: Smith downsides and three other arbitrarily ordered guys.]


Dear Diary Might Have a Running Game

Dear Diary Might Have a Running Game Comment Count

Seth July 24th, 2015 at 4:54 PM

You May Remember These Running Backs from Such Players As…

Milksteak did the quarterbacks earlier, and now he's on to comparing running backs, taking their extant stats and seeing who projects into the same realm. I'm interested in what he comes up with for the receivers since I'm doing a similar study right now using Bill Connelly's receiver stats.

Rudock vs Cook common opponents. Click takes you to the article.

But that's getting ahead of ourselves. This one's on Green et al.:

Green's 5.7 Yds/Carry looks very similar to freshman Chris Perry's 5.4 average. Freshman Tyrone Wheatley's 6.4 Yds/Carry represents the top of the comparisons, and he was much more of a TD vulture than Green has been. Carlos Brown's sophomore campaign looks somewhat similar as well. Let's see how these running backs fared in their next year. 

Chris Perry had the same surprising size/acceleration combo and couldn't find a hole unless he was escorted to it, but he also had some ridiculous balance. His magnificent senior season now overshadows the period when B.J. Askew was clearly a better option. Up until this point in Green's career, however, Perry was behind A-Train. The stat comparisons only tell you so much, for example De'Veon Smith is not Jamie Morris. Ed Davis maybe.

Going back to the QBs, Dawkins posted a board thing comparing Rudock to Connor Cook thus far. When Ace inevitably drafts Jake Rudock he'll appreciate this the thing at right. What it doesn't show is that MSU was extremely conservative with Cook until progressively taking him off apron strings at the end 2013. Then again, Rudock worked for Greg Davis so…

Also how do two quarterbacks in the same conference only have three common opponents? Oh right.

Castorimorpha Control


Alum96 has been previewing Michigan's opponents, and the rodentia are up. Other than that one team that got one of the most successful NFL coaches to come back to college, Oregon State pulled off the coup of the offseason when they stole Wisconsin's head coach. It would turn out to be de gras, as the beloved AD who engineered that, Bob De Carolis, retired into the Michigan Athletic Department he was long a part of (he was the softball coach who hired Hutchins).

All of that is only of small relevance to 2015 OSU (NTOSU), which returns only two defensive starters from a unit that wasn't very good. In case you're wondering, no, Wisconsin's excellent DC is still at Wisconsin.

Alum96's previews continue with Minnesota, which is still Minnesota except minus an excellent center, an excellent running back, some excellent members of the front seven, and an excellent Maxxx. Don't miss the SB Nation Study Hall article he links.


1. Hail to the Victors 2015 by MGoBlog

Okay okay.

1. Brandon's Lasting Lessons (alternate title: Endzone: The Something Something Dave Brandon Gets Trashed By Everyone He Ever Met Novel) (alternate-alternate title: Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football), by John U. Bacon.

2. Armada by Ernest Cline (author of Ready Player One)

3. Hail to the Victors 2015 by MGoBlog

4. Stagg vs. Yost: The Birth of Cutthroat Football, by John Kryk

5. Forty Years in the Big House, by Jon Falk. eeeeeeee!

6. The Art of Smart Football, by Chris Brown. This is a collection of articles about the recent evolution of football chalk, not pictures from his blog. "Five Stories About the Spread Offense" is brilliant and depressing.

By the way I finally met both Kryk and Dr. Sap in person. They are what I would have been if I was born 20 years earlier. And in Canada. And if I was cool.



Seriously? Brady, Wheatley, AC, Woodson, Harbaugh, and you can keep the extra dollar.


1. The Search for the Unified Field Theory (Football Version), by Craig Ross

ETC. Vincent Smith updates what's going on with #EATING, particularly the Flint project we've been helping him raise the dough for. A reader claiming to know Dennis Norfleet says the thing we heard is official and the destination is Tuskegee; I have no other sources for this so take it FWIW. For some people it's not the difficulty level of saying "Hi, I'm a tight end," but the principle of the matter. Michigan has agreed to match other teams' offers to let David Reese think he's going to play linebacker.

Your Moment of Zen:

Wasn't anyone there to tell them the "Border Battle" is Wisconsin-Minnesota?

"That's ridiculous." –Larry/Gary "Money" Mohoney Gergich


Spring Practice Presser 3-10-15: Tyrone Wheatley

Spring Practice Presser 3-10-15: Tyrone Wheatley Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 11th, 2015 at 9:00 AM

photo 2 (6)

Everything good?
“Everything’s great. Enjoying myself.”
What's caught your eye the most about your running backs?
“Talented group. Real talented. They haven't even scratched the surface. That's really what has caught my eye, so right now I'm kind of like an artist with a blank canvas. I can just have at it. That's really what it feels like.”
What's it been like for you to be back here as a coach?
“Haven't really thought about it to be honest, because my focus is Big Ten championship, national championship, 2000-yard rusher, so my days here haven't really – and I've been the type of person once I left here, I left here. I was onto better things, things that this place had catapulted me on to do. That's where my mindset was. But now I'm back for a totally different reason, so… you know, I'm a coach.”
We haven't talked with you since your son signed with the University of Michigan. Talk about that aspect of having him join you here.
“Well, it's a great thing. As a father you're always happy for your child and his success and the things that he's done, but once again, I'm just focused on the guys that are here right now and when he gets here he'll have his fair time. He'll have his time to get it, but right now my focus is on the guys that are here.”
Were you getting a little bit of a better feel for them today with them having the pads on?
“Not really. You can understand who they are even without the pads. The pads is just kind of one of the things a) that shows the physicality and b) if they are in hitting shape and that type of deal. As far as the feel, watching film of those guys and studying them I kind of already had a feel for who they were.”
We haven't had a chance to see Ty Isaac with him sitting out last year. What does he bring different than the other guys in terms of style and things like that?
“I don't think it's just Ty Isaac being different. Each guy brings a different aspect to the game. I’d just say that probably – I wouldn't say probably, he is the largest one out of the bunch. But in terms of difference, that would probably be it just about him being different – [he’s] bigger. He has great feet, good vision, he's a smooth runner but I wouldn't say he's any different than any other guy.”

[After THE JUMP: the characteristics of an ideal Tyrone Wheatley-coached back]