Spring Practice Presser 3-27-18: Don Brown

Spring Practice Presser 3-27-18: Don Brown

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 28th, 2018 at 9:01 AM

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

[Ed. A- Thanks to Isaiah Hole for sending along video so I could transcribe this, as I wasn’t able to be there due to some medical issues in my family]

“How’s everybody doin’? We good? Doin’ great. I think. Forty-one years, so…still rollin’. We’re three practices in. Two good ones in no pads. Lot of learning, lot of football being digested. As you know here, that’s what we do.

“Can’t say enough good things about Herb[ert] and the strength staff. Really gave us a really solid group of guys in terms of cardiovascular and bigger, stronger, faster, and just glad to be back with my guys.

“Been doing this a long time. This might be if not the fastest then one of the fastest groups I’ve ever been around, so pretty excited about it. Obviously we’ve got a lot of things to work on but we’ll get there. There’s no question in my mind.”

With Devin and Khaleke, can you talk about some of those guys that are challenging the other guys at linebacker?

“Well, let me just say this, okay? This Devin Bush Jr.? Special guy now, okay? That’s all I’m gonna say. There’s a private story, but this guy stayed with his team. He could have easily checked out for three or four days and everybody would have understood and he didn’t. So, I think we’re talking about a guy whose character is completely off the charts.

“This Khaleke Hudson is playing at a tremendous level a year ago, and I think he’s a much better cover guy right now. He’s playing at a much faster rate. He should go kiss Ben Herbert on the lips because he’s helped him tremendously.

“This Josh Ross is gonna be a dude. He’s gonna be a really good player. Drew Singleton will be a very good player. Noah Furbush, his arrow is so far up from a year ago. I’m just very excited about where he is. Glasgow, we made the move from Viper behind Khaleke, took the slot coverage off his plate, and that’s helped him improve.

[I had to split this in the middle of an answer which tells you a lot about the quality of the responses after THE JUMP]

Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 24th, 2018 at 9:14 AM

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[Eric Upchurch]

What are your impressions after day one?

“Uh, good. Good day. The team is…it’s a rejuvenated team. And I like the way they’ve really trained over the last two-and-a-half months and getting back on the field was great today.”

Rejuvenated in what way?

“Just attitude, confidence, there was a bounce in their step, and it’s been good. It’s been good over the last weeks, months, and great to get back started on the field.”

I know it’s only been one day, but what did you think of Shea [Patterson]?

“Um, did good. Did a good job. As did a lot of guys, you know. And for a first day, I mean, it was…guys had studied. Guys, you know, it wasn’t the first time they’d thought about the plays or the defensive calls or the punt protections. Guys came out and had a high level of understanding and there was good execution [for a] first day.”

Do you have an update on Shea’s timeline with regard to eligibility or when you might hear something from the NCAA?

“No.”

Are you hopeful or what do you think?

“I don’t have an update.”

When you go through, because you don’t have an update and you don’t know, do you go through just a normal progression with him and say ‘You’re going to get these reps’ and then the other guys the same way? Do you just go with it thinking that okay, yeah, we will have him?

“Uh, the reps are being evenly distributed amongst the quarterbacks.”

Is Grant Newsome able to practice yet?

“No.”

He can do anything with the team right now?

“He’s working out, he’s conditioning, but he’s not at the point to come back and practice with the team.”

I think you said Grant Perry’s also limited on the radio. Is there anybody else besides those two that’s not going to be full go by spring ball?

“Yeah. Luiji [Vilain], Jameson Offerdahl, there’s a few. And then Ty Wheatley, looks like he fractured the metacarpal [Ed. A- metatarsal] in his foot today, so he’ll be out for all of spring ball but back for the season.”

[After THE JUMP: out-of-the-gate leaders, some O-line clarity, and RPOh no]

Flanagan Family: How Devin Bush, Josh Metellus, and Devin Gil Found a Second Home

Flanagan Family: How Devin Bush, Josh Metellus, and Devin Gil Found a Second Home

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 31st, 2017 at 2:56 PM

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[courtesy Yasmeen Alcindor]

The secret to Michigan’s success on defense isn’t really a secret. It’s hard to stay under the radar when your mustache is so perfect, your stats are so good, and your scheme is so aesthetically pleasing. But the secret ingredient in how Michigan’s defensive personnel was assembled was, well, itself assembled. A few years ago, a sleek new Playstation 4 rolled off an assembly line in Yantai, a coastal city of about 7 million in China, not realizing that it would some day end up in the living room of Jabrill Peppers’ apartment, let alone that it would play a crucial role in landing three contributors to 2017’s no. 3-ranked defense.

The PS4’s shining moment came on the night of June 14, 2015, when three then-recruits--Devin Bush Jr., Josh Metellus, and Devin Gil--went on an unofficial visit to Michigan. The three got in from South Florida around 11 on their first night in Ann Arbor and went straight to Peppers’ apartment, where they found Willie Henry (or, as he’s known around the program, Big Earl) ready and waiting to throw in NBA 2K15 or Madden 15.

“I’ll bust out the 2K or we can throw in Madden if you feel like the odds are better in that,” Henry says. “I don’t think I ever lost to Jabrill, Devin, the other Devin, or Metellus.” Metellus corroborates Henry’s recollection. “It was just funny because Gil, he was playing 2K, he was just losing the whole time. It was hilarious,” he says.

Asked who’s the best 2K player, Gil says it has to be him. This is one of the many times during our interview where the crosstalk explodes, three voices criss-crossing with such speed that the tape plays back a staccato mess. As things calm down, Bush explains his frustration. “He plays as Golden State like he’s tryin’ to cheat,” he says. The pride swells in his voice. “I play as random teams.” Gil, the most reserved of the three, quietly retorts: “I’m still gon’ win, though. Regardless, I’m gon’ win.”

And he might, but not that night. “A lot of people just like playing with Lebron but I can use it as an excuse: that’s my home team I’m just playing with. Can’t be mad that my home team got Lebron James,” Henry says. “But you know me, I’m very competitive, too. So it was just two guys competitive at what they do playing the game at that time. I got the best of him that night but I could see from the fight in that that we had three great competitors coming from the same school that had the possibility to come to the same university. It was just a blessing. I had a great time with the boys that night.”

[After THE JUMP: a secret plan, chasing offers, winning championships, and high-stakes games of…Uno?]

Unverified Voracity Enters A World Of Pain

Unverified Voracity Enters A World Of Pain

Submitted by Brian on December 28th, 2017 at 12:16 PM

mark it zero 2

this is a completely normal bowling event

I honestly don't know how anyone goes bowling and doesn't get in a massive brawl. You've just spent several hours of your time flinging a ball at various inanimate objects and the objects generally win. You are losing to some smug-ass ovoid shapes. In such circumstances, it is only natural to become so irrationally angry that you start a yell-fight over the circumstances you find yourself in.

And lo, it has happened to football teams.

This makes total sense. I do enjoy how bored the cops look. Because this happens every time they're in a bowling alley.

These are unrelated, but I wish they weren't. Mo Hurst will play in the bowl game. Probably less than he has in most games, for a ton of reasons. Here's hoping he gets through it okay.

God bless Mike Leach. And God bless the reporter who absolutely nailed the zoom-out reveal midway through:

This is art on par with the raptor gif. And they said bowl season didn't mean anything.

You cannot understand the Brohm of it all. Purdue beat Arizona in an extremely entertaining game that featured one of those college-only back-to-back-to-back touchdowns in the last few minutes to swing the game to and fro. In the end Purdue's margin depended heavily on this play at the end of the first half:

That is a perfectly legal play that I've seen Auburn and Arkansas execute over the past few years. People are describing it as a "fake kneel," though, and they do have a point: Purdue had a guy lined up as the traditional we're-gonna-kneel "safety" on the play. Shame on Arizona for biting on that after Purdue got the ball back with almost a minute left...

...oh.

[/mentions fill up with "intent to deceive" outrage]

Well... you're not wrong. If a team is going to line up in a formation that causes the refs to demand the opposition stop playing they should stop playing too. One dollar says that there's a new rule covering running actual plays from a kneel-down formation next year. Which is a shame:

Most importantly, when Gus Malzahn runs this play, the call on the field is “THERE’S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!” because the name of the fake kneel is “Woody,” it almost always involves the smallest running back on the team getting the ball, and because anytime one can take an excuse to yell “THERE’S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!” on a football field, one should.

RIP.

Interesting Michigan-related item:

M apparently had this scouted.

Random bits from Zach Shaw. Shaw has been poking around the 24/7 database for article on various Michigan units, and has come across a number of things that look promising for next year's defense:

  • On the DL, Aubrey Solomon had a "stop rate"—tackles at or near the LOS—of just over 10%, which was on par with Hurst and Winovich. Nearly identical to both, in fact. Those guys were 10th and 11th nationally in that stat. If Solomon maintains that productivity he should be at least good and, with some extra pass rush, potentially great next year.
  • At linebacker, Khaleke Hudson and Devin Bush Jr. missed just three tackles each all year. Both guys had a ton of QB pressures but not many stops—probably because the DL was crushing so many plays before they could even get to the LBs.
  • The cornerbacks did this: "Michigan’s three cornerbacks — all first-year starters — allowed 32 of 81 passes for 478 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and 16 pass breakups." That is, of course, bonkers. Like having Jourdan Lewis clones coming out of your ears.
  • The safeties were good-ish. In the aftermath of a tough game for Metellus against Ohio State there have been a lot of criticisms of the safeties, and by implication departed safeties coach Brian Smith. But collectively there were middle of the pack when targeted and had an acceptable missed tackle rate—Metellus's was more acceptable than Kinnel's. The individual stats don't take into account the general lack of huge plays against M. Michigan gave up quite a few 20+ yard plays (59th) but relatively few 30+ (22nd); a lot of those longer plays were the inevitable result of Michigan's very aggressive defense cracking. The safeties mostly held down those opportunities.

If Solomon improves as much as most rising sophomores he could be only a reasonable step back from Mo Hurst, and then Michigan just has to find a linebacker from 5-6 options and a develop some DL depth to have the kind of defense that could be #1 nationally. Again.

One downer: per Football Outsiders Michigan's punting efficiency was 121st nationally, and the early shanks from Will hart didn't have much of an impact. Brad Robbins's net yardage was 121st. Shoulda got an Aussie.

Etc.: Graham Couch is at it again! If you've seen various Lars Von Trier movies the reference to him in this article will go 1% of the way towards restoring your lost time and/or sanity. Marcus Ray departs WTKA. The Blind Pig will carry on. Patterson officially in; the other two guys are officially not. Ted Janes of the Daily talks to John O'Korn. Jourdan Lewis: still good.

Unverified Voracity Wonders About The Bearded Lady?

Unverified Voracity Wonders About The Bearded Lady?

Submitted by Brian on December 19th, 2017 at 12:16 PM

Last call for XMas tales. PEOPLE OF EARTH: FAILURE IS IMMINENT. No, this isn't about Dave Brandon. This is about YOU. If you order TODAY a copy of Hail To Old Blue will get to its proper location by Christmas.

DOUSW7BXcAAvD54

Or you can pick up a copy at Underground Printing, Literati, or Nicola's. All of them are fine establishments containing our book. Literati also has unauthorized copies of Crag Ross's books. (To be clear: they are unauthorized by Literati, because Craig just signs them and drops them off.)

The inscrutable crocodile. As the kind of person who sits in his bunker and plots various ways to destroy my mortal enemy Instagram whilst almost entirely ignoring the NFL, this insane thing has eluded my attention for far longer than anything that could cause this picture to exist should:

image

Tom Brady's slow descent into madness is now manifesting itself as a series of bizarre webcomics that involve centaur, jockey, and Captain Planet versions of Brady himself, some sort of pudgy leprechaun who is about to touch his nipples, Walker Space Ranger, a crocodile dressed like Captain Picard during a holodeck episode, several anime animals engaging in some sort of... activity, and—most bizarrely—Gronk in a lab coat pouring what I can only assume is trademarked, patented GronkJuice(tm) onto a chicken wing. 

That paragraph was one sentence.

Anyway. This clearly needs a crack investigative team breaking down the ins, outs, what-have-yous, and thoughtcrimes being committed. Charlotte Wilder was born for this job.

  • Speaking of lasers, the plans inside the Dolphins’ briefcase appear to be for some sort of giant, inter-galactic laser.
  • Oh my god, do you think that because I’ve been imagining that the social media room underneath a TB12 workout facility looks like a lair, they drew a lair?
  • Sorry, I know this isn’t about me.
  • Is that guy wearing a lab coat by the picture of Ben Steeler Gronk?
  • Yes, because in the comic after the Houston win, Gronk showed up wearing that same lab coat. He’s also wearing glasses and says, “the computer data is telling me...”
  • Get it? It’s funny because Gronk is not generally seen as a rocket scientist. They were in space then. Now they’re underwater. Or possibly underground.

I think that's a compliment? I don't know. She did a really good job analyzing this nonsense Tom Brady webcomic? Hell, I've covered the last 14 years of Michigan football. I have no room to criticize.

Speaking of NFL things that don't make any sense. This isn't a catch, people! Why are you mad about this?

Any player that hasn't clearly established themselves as a runner has to maintain control through contact through the ground and this dude certainly did not do that. Even the current 65-page version of the catch rule the NFL deploys isn't at fault here. This particular incident was even explained with poetic beauty!

“The receiver, in the end zone, did not survive the ground,” was the explanation on the field by referee Tony Corrente.

Damn, Tony Corrente.

The problem is nobody knows what a damn catch is. Here's a four part catch rule that is as unambiguous as is possible (for the NFL) and solves many many problems:

  • A receiver has to secure the ball and get both feet down in bounds to start the catch process.
  • Once he takes a step after both feet come down he is a runner and has caught the ball.
  • Receivers who do not take a step between possessing the ball and either going to ground or touching out of bounds must maintain possession through contact with the ground.
  • Maintaining possession means the ball does not touch the ground. If the receiver is now out of bounds and he bobbles the ball, forcing the catch process to start over, it's incomplete.

The end. The above-linked SBN article has a controversial Dez Bryant non-catch that this version of the rule makes crystal clear:

Catch, step, runner, complete. No controversy. Steelers' play above: no step, ball touches ground, incomplete, no controversy.

There will of course be edge cases where the situation at the moment of possession makes it unclear whether a catch is a catch, but those four steps are the clearest and least controversial a catch rule can be. If you wanted to go even farther towards clarity you could let a catch stand if 1) the WR got his feet in bounds and 2) the ball never hit the turf even if there was a bobble after the WR went out. I think that's not a catch but if you said it was then it's pretty simple: did you keep the ball off the ground after establishing a foot (or two) in bounds? Yes? Catch.

The quintessential Bush blitz. Blitzology—hey!—breaks it down.

Really interesting and effective pressure concept from Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown. The Wolverines are in a 3-3 nickel personnel package.

The Rush:
The front slides the 3 down linemen to the strong side and has all 3 LB's walked up to the weak side. The Mike is initially in a 3 point stance. 
The effect is a 4 man version of America's Blitz. The Will wraps around to the fill the role of the inside rusher in the America's blitz concept. Because the defense bluffs the weak side overload the protection doesn't identify the concept as America's blitz and pass it off. The RB is forced into a really difficult block, scanning all the way back across the formation to pick up the Will as he wraps around.

Frequently the "N" was actually Noah Furbush, but that wrap blitz was largely responsible for Bush's blazing start to the season. Teams did adapt, but then Michigan threw other stuff—largely Khaleke Hudson—at the opposition.

To be fair, this is correct about 20% of the time. Whoops, Tampa Bay Times:

StwBoG7

Although... that appears to be an ad, which means the Outback Bowl itself doesn't know who's in this year's game. Which is fine. I mean. It's the Outback Bowl. No1curr. Except MSU fans.

Good lord, dude. ASU AD Ray Anderson is rapidly charging up the ranks of Most Incompetent AD Ever, and he's got the bravura of a Wall Street trader to go with it:

"The athletic department there is perceived there as a cluster," Sun Devils athletic director Ray Anderson said. "Their athletic director, now Phil Fulmer, in the athletic director's world is a pariah. It is not a good situation."

Their AD is a cluster? Bruh.

Do I hear a senior season? ESPN's latest draft rankings have Mo Wagner #68 despite his clearly improved rebounding and... possibly improved defense. We've seen guys (GRIII most prominently) leave one year after they put their name in but withdrew, and that's always a possibility. But if Wagner's leaving after the year it's probably not for the lottery.

Don't expect Rashan Gary to fall in the same boat, though.

Some bad grades. Since all we get these day from PFF are glimpses you don't get a lot of negatives unless the situation—cough cough, OL—absolutely demands it. South Carolina's 24/7 site is looking for weaknesses in the Michigan D, though, and they came up with:

Defensive end Carlo Kemp (49.9) - A sophomore who is listed as a backup, Kemp has played 367 snaps on defense. He has graded out at 48.2 against the run and 55.6 in pass rush.

Linebacker Noah Furbush (50.6) - Furbush is also listed as a backup and has played 138 snaps this season. He’s performed much better against the run grading out at 64.6 and has struggled in coverage at 45.9.

Two backups. (I think they might have flipped those snap counts, FWIW. Furbush got way more snaps than Kemp this year.)  The conceit of this post is "three at the top and three at the bottom," but...

The “Three at the top” needed to be expanded to five as each player listed graded out as “elite,” a designation given to players who achieve an 85.0 or higher. The “Three near the bottom” was cut to two given that no other player with 75 or more snaps played had a grade below 70.

...ain't nobody else at the bottom. The five elite guys are Hurst, Winovich, Hudson, Bush, and Hill, all of whom are at 87 or better.

Yes, this means that PFF is also grading Michigan's safeties well. Metellus's rough OSU game had a lot of internet people waving Brian Smith goodbye happily because they thought Metellus and Kinnel were bad. They were not. They were good. A B+ unit.

Etc.: Ann Arbor average home price went up 8% this year; went up 11% last year. Again, I apologize to Juggalos for comparing them to Michigan State fans. Good luck at the Supreme Court, Juggalos. Harbaugh visits the tiny town of Garber, is greeted like movie star. Pioneer parking makes bank.

Unverified Voracity Eats At IHOP

Unverified Voracity Eats At IHOP

Submitted by Brian on December 6th, 2017 at 1:03 PM

Shea Patterson and friends watch. It's happening? I mean. Can't throw a rock without hitting someone who says SOURCES are telling him that Shea Patterson is a lock for Michigan and possibly as soon as this weekend. Sam Webb's put in a crystal ball, which he hastens to say is not a Gut Feeling, and here's the Blade's Michigan beat writer:

It's happening.

Probably also happening: Van Jefferson and Deontay Anderson. Both guys are coming up this weekend. Highlights of Patterson throwing to Jefferson in 2016, when Jefferson was a redshirt freshman:

He had 49 catches for 543 yards and was on pace to best that as a sophomore when he dislocated his elbow before the Texas A&M game.

That is likely it despite some overheated reports that up to seven Ole Miss players are interested in Michigan. Taking the three guys above already stretches Michigan's scholarships pretty thin. Anyone who doesn't play tackle is in tough for playing time, and per Rashan Gary's mom Greg Little isn't interested. Gary and Little became friends over the course of their recruitment so that's as good a source as any.

The other guys mentioned haven't set visits and it's unclear that Michigan would be interested in them.

Why wasn't it Cracker Barrel though? For some reason, Harbaugh flying down to see guys he might have on his football team caused the internet to blow up. Harbaugh claps back at Mark Dantonio? Go crazy, guys. Harbaugh does a thing literally all football coaches do dozens of times a year with high school players? Maybe let that one slide.

What do you say, internet?

Ah, still internet I see.

A fairly good defense. Michigan lands four guys in the PFF All Big Ten defense, and three of them return:

Two more guys couldn't have been far off that list given this stat:

Personally, I'd take the CBs who whooped up on Simmie Cobbs over the one who got whooped until he got a safety bracket, but Michigan's guys were probably hurt by a lack of volume.

Add in Rashan Gary to the five returning guys in the above tweets and you've got quite a platform to build on.

Missed tackles: nah. Josh Liskiewitz, one of PFF's Big Ten evaluators, was grilled by Iowa fans because Josey Jewell was omitted from the team above. This spawned an interesting twitter thread in which Liskiewitz defended himself with various stats he'd compiled. The most interesting from a Michigan fan's perspective:

[he == Jewell, FWIW]

Jewell had an 86 grade—which would have made him first team All-SEC or All-Pac12, but finished 9th(!) in the Big Ten. We assume that Tegray Scales, Jason Cabinda, and Ryan Connelly are three of the five guys in front of Jewell, FWIW.

Peters cleared; Black a maybe. Brandon Peters is good to go for bowl practices and the game, per Harbaugh. I assert that he will start. Yes, I assert that. Here's a randomly depressing stat!

Prior to the injury, Peters was 37 of 64 for 486 yards passing in five games, including three starts. He's thrown a team-high four touchdowns, and no interceptions.

Sweet fancy Moses.

In other bowl injury news, Tarik Black is back in practice and could play in the bowl game. Harbaugh says he's "leaning towards not doing it," and, I mean... don't. Michigan's in a good spot in the bowl game without him and a potential fifth year is far more valuable than whatever marginal bonus chance at a bowl win he provides.

Good luck, whoever you are. South Carolina has axed their offensive coordinator. Er, their co-offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. The other guy, Bryan McClendon, is at least temporarily the only cook in the Gamecock kitchen. He is 33 years old and facing down Don Brown with one of the worst offenses in the country. Good luck with that, sir.

FALSE. I love Harbaugh but this is a bad take he should feel bad about:

"My reaction is that there should be more than four teams in the playoffs," Harbaugh told reporters. "Again, I want to reiterate: 8 teams, 12 teams, 16 teams. Sixteen would be ideal in the playoffs."

For one, a team that reached the finals is playing 17 games. For two, the urgency of the regular season is obliterated if last year's Michigan team finishes their season they way they did and still gets in.

Add one fan. ESPN's Sarah Spain has been on a journey across college football to find a team to root for, and she stopped by the MGoTailgate before the OSU game last week:

Saturday morning I headed out to meet one of my hosts for the day, Gordie Fall (named in honor of Gordie Howe), at the famous MGoBus. The tailgate featured craft beer from Wolverine State Brewing Company, loads of breakfast food and, of course, the maize and blue MGoBus owned by Matt and Sara Demorest. While I was there, I learned more about life on campus and the UM scene with Brian Cook and Seth Fisher, of popular Michigan sports site MGoBlog.com. I also met former Wolverines running back Vincent Smith (you may remember him from this), who's now running community gardens in Flint, Michigan, and his hometown of Pahokee, Florida, to increase access to healthy foods, reduce juvenile crime and use gardening-based intervention to curtail violence. Very cool.

Adam was also there! Adam doesn't talk much. Thanks to everyone else's contributions but certainly not ours, Michigan was the pick. Welcome, Sarah. Prepare to be called a Walmart Wolverine despite going to Cornell.

Etc.: More on Dave Brandon The Program's first press conference with chief gobbledygook purveyor Herm Edwards. A timeline of Jimbo Fisher's unprecedented move. John Beilein gets shots up. Chris Collins tells a bald-faced lie in a postgame press conference. It remains impressive how many NU internet people openly loathe the guy who got them their first NCAA tourney bid.

This Week's Obsession: All-Big Ten Teams

This Week's Obsession: All-Big Ten Teams

Submitted by Ace on November 28th, 2017 at 1:41 PM

THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: If you’re looking for someone who can talk about Michigan football with the type of optimism befitting someone with a smart long-term outlook, talk to Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management.

Our deal is Nick is the guy I go to for financial strategies, and he gets to ask us Michigan questions on your behalf. Anytime it’s a Nick question, we’ll let you know. Anytime you’ve got a financial question, let Nick know. And when you’re ready to figure out how you’re going to plan your retirement and pay for your kids’ college when you just got done paying for your own, don’t wait to do something about that.

-------------------------------

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.

--------------------------------

Nick’s Question:

Can you do All-Big Ten teams but, like, not in a Draftageddon format?

Fine.


Surprise! He's on it. [Patrick Barron]

Offense

Unanimous selections in bold.

Pos. Ace Adam Brian Seth
QB JT Barrett, OSU Barrett Alex Hornibrook, UW Barrett
RB Saquon Barkley, PSU Barkley Barkley Barkley
RB Jonathan Taylor, UW JK Dobbins, OSU Austin Ramesh (FB), UW* Taylor
WR DJ Moore, MD Moore Moore Moore
WR Simmie Cobbs, IU Cobbs Cobbs Cobbs
TE Troy Fumagalli, UW Fumagalli Fumagalli Fumagalli
FLEX Stanley Morgan (WR), NE Akrum Wadley (RB), IA Mike Gesicki (TE), PSU Tyler Johnson (WR), MN
OT Nick Gates, NE Gates Gates Gates
OT Jamarco Jones, OSU Jones Jones Mason Cole, UM
OG Beau Benzschawel, UW Benzschawel Benzschawel Benzschawel
OG Sean Welsh, IA Welsh Price Welsh
OC Billy Price, OSU Price Cole Price

*Brian: it is a crime and a disaster to have two starting running backs

Defense

Pos. Ace Adam Brian Seth
DT Maurice Hurst, UM Hurst Hurst Hurst
DT Conor Sheehy, UW Sheehy Sheehy Steven Richardson, MN
DE Chase Winovich, UM Winovich Winovich Gary
DE Nick Bosa, OSU Rashan Gary, UM Bosa Bosa
LB Josey Jewell, IA Jewell Jason Cabinda, PSU Tegray Scales (IU)
LB TJ Edwards, UW Edwards Edwards Edwards
LB Ryan Connelly, UW Devin Bush, UM Connelly Bush
FLEX Rashard Fant (CB), IU Khaleke Hudson (S), UM Denzel Ward (CB), OSU David Long (CB), UM
S Kyle Queiro, NW Godwin Igwebuike, NW Igwebuike Igwebuike
S Marcus Allen, PSU Allen D'Cota Dixon, UW Dixon
CB Josh Jackson, IA Jackson Jackson Jackson
CB Lavert Hill, UM Hill Hill Hill
K Griffin Oakes, IU Oakes Oakes Oakes
P Drue Chrisman, OSU Chrisman Blake Gillikin, PSU Gillikin

[Hit THE JUMP for extensive discussion.]

Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Don Brown

Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Don Brown

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 23rd, 2017 at 9:01 AM

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[Upchurch]

“Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.”

[Everyone in unison like the end of a Peanuts special] Happy Thanksgiving.

Talk about the Ohio State Offense and the challenge of preparing for them.

“Yeah, they’ve got good players. Two really good running backs, quarterback’s a veteran guy who knows how to play this game, some explosive guys at the receiver position, I think they’re improved in the offensive line, tight ends solid, so yeah, we’ve got a good offensive outfit to get ready for.”

Chase Winovich said that the highest praise he feels he’s ever gotten here is you calling him an ‘animal, bro.’ What do you think the highest praise is that you give out to a guy?

“Well, that’s pretty close right there. I think he’s really played well. You know, we try to make our living here on sacks, TFLs, living that approach, and you look at the numbers at the end of the day and he’s right up there in the TFL piece for sure, so I think he’s playing at a very, very solid level.”

Do you have different levels? Do you have like a guy, a man—

“Oh yeah.”

What are they?

“You know, you’re a Guy, and that’s your first start. Then, you know, if you’re really playing well, then you give ‘em Dude status, and then you give ‘em the competing animal status, so there’s your three levels of it. Being a dude’s not easy to do, now. I mean, that’s pretty high esteem.”

How do you approach the challenge of not only trying to slow JT Barrett but also the fact that they have the two really talented running backs?

“Yeah, they’re good. You know, the bottom line is you’ve got to pick your poison and you’ve got to stand for something. Some guys try to sit there and spread out and cover everything and that’s one approach. Some people try to read and react and that’s another approach. Obviously we try to do it all and make it tough on them. So, that’s our goal.

“But you got to stand for something. I can’t tell you what that is, but you’ve got to stand for something. You just can’t let ‘em pick you apart and move you down the field. That’s not going to happen anyway, so our approach is always try to be on the aggressive side of things, but at the same time, you’ve got to be intelligent.”

[After THE JUMP: the best practice of the season, not cheating the game, and playing with an X on your chest]

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Maryland

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Maryland

Submitted by Brian on November 16th, 2017 at 3:31 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. We're (still!) having a charity tailgate before the OSU game. Details:

MGoBlog and HomeSure Lending are having a tailgate before The Game at The North End Zone tailgate space, 1011 S. Main Street (map) from 9 a.m. to a little before noon, with food from Scratch Barbecue and beer donated from Wolverine State Brewing, and proceeds going to the T. Wall Foundation.

  • Tickets (food & beer included): $12 if you buy them ahead of time on EventBritegets you in, gets you a wrist band for the food.
  • Tickets (just beer at the door): $10 suggested donation just to come hang out on your way to the game.
  • Watch/Afterparty: Your ticket for the tailgate also gets you a round at Wolverine Brewing. If you don’t have a ticket for The Game but want to come, you won’t be alone; there’s a Lyft pickup spot across the street so when people go into the game a handful of us (I’m still in the market) are gonna go back to Wolverine State Brewing to watch it together, and more are planning to come back there (and park there) after.

Scratch provided the BBQ at the season-opening event, if you were there. It's good.

FORMATION NOTES. A confession: virtually all of the one-or-two safety bits of the table below are guesses, because we got BTN Director With Severe Myopia again. This is third and ten.

vlcsnap-2017-11-16-11h23m53s845

I hate this man. If someone ever comes up to me and says "hey, I directed the 2017 Michigan-Maryland game" there is going to be a duel with cannonballs and whatnot.

FWIW, Michigan had 20 3-3-5 snaps that were concentrated on passing downs. They were in a 4-2-5 on 30 snaps. There were also 5 dime snaps and one 4-3 snap.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. 247 again provides details. Back seven was as per usual with the exception of Lavert Hill, who went out midway. this led to a bunch of snaps for Watson and Long—56 and 50 of 70, respectively. Thomas got in for a few plays, as did Woods and JKP very late. The three safeties and two core LBs were nearly omnipresent. Furbush got 16 snaps and Uche 6.

More rotation on the DL; Winovich was again an ironman. Hurst and Gary both played just over 50 snaps; Solomon got 34. Kemp, Mone, and Marshall all got around 15 snaps, with Paye and Dwumfour picking up the scraps late.

[After THE JUMP: this again, except they got more than 300 yards]

Monday Presser 11-13-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 11-13-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 13th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Paul Sherman]

Can you tell us what you’ve seen from Wisconsin on film on both sides of the ball?

“Very physical team. Number one defense in the country right now. Very, very physical on offense. Very good quarterback, very good running back. Really good in the lines on both sides, and skill positions as well. Talented players and very tough schemes to prepare for.”

Do you have an update on Karan [Higdon] and his status?

“We’ll get more today but seems good. Seems like positive news and update.”

You talked about Wilton [Speight] last week. Is he getting closer? Do you think he’s going to be cleared this week for contact is that still up in the air?

“Right now he’s cleared to practice, and we won’t—we’ll avoid contact again this week.”

So Brandon will be your guy again this week?

“Yes.”

Update on Grant Newsome? How’s he doing?

“Been progressing well.”

Is Wilton probably going to sit out the last two? Have you made a determination on that?

“Don’t know. Don’t know. I don’t make that determination, that’ll be made by the doctors.”

[We don’t talk about injuries except when we do, and we do after THE JUMP]