let's talk about all three of these dudes [Bryan Fuller]
Chris Evans: already good? I'm a wee bit skeptical about these numbers because I seem to remember Chris Evans breaking some tackles and running for a gorillion yards when it was 49-0 against Rutgers, but, uh:
Chris Evans returns after a sensational freshman season in the Maize and Blue as the Big 10's most elusive returning RB. pic.twitter.com/NQb7w1EO01
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) July 3, 2017
No Saquon Barkley is a surprise. (He's not even 4th, which goes to Maryland's Ty Johnson.) Enough of a surprise that I look at this stat with a bit of a jaundiced eye. It looks like it heavily favors guys who end up in certain situations but not others. Wadley and Evans were insulated from short yardage situations by LeShun Daniels and De'Veon Smith, respectively. And the whole Maryland offense was geared towards getting little quick guys in space one on one. The context is important.
This one might be better?
In 2016, these were the most effective freshman running backs on a per carry basis after contact with a defender. pic.twitter.com/0zyNCDrGJA
— Aaron Resnick (@aaronmresnick) June 28, 2017
I still think that's about Evans breaking the occasional tackle and getting a huge play than anything De'Veon Smith-esque. Huge plays are good, don't get me wrong—I am just worried about sample size. Better to have Evans on these lists than not; maybe not super predictive about the season.
Less skeptical about this one. Michigan's DL is going to be just fine this fall.
Michigan and Ohio State are the only schools returning multiple 4-3 ends who finished in the top 20 nationally for pass rush productivity. pic.twitter.com/XNuV7KRBgL
— Aaron Resnick (@aaronmresnick) June 26, 2017
Bosa and Winovich are in fact #2 and 3 nationally, behind only Harold Landry—another Don Brown acolyte. Meanwhile the new DEs were actually more productive against the run than the departures:
The Michigan defense should be solid against the run this season, despite the loss of Charlton and Wormley. pic.twitter.com/krPa1z6Cnl
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) July 2, 2017
That one may be a garbage time artifact. Even if you haul those numbers back down to Wormley/Taco level that's pretty dang okay, and we haven't even talked about Mo Hurst.
Exit Fox Sports Dave Brandon. A spectacular final act for carnival-barker Jamie Horowitz at Fox Sports. Step one is gutting the profitable(!) Fox Sports digital team in order to consolidate his hold on power, with a side of implementing his post-apocalyptic vision:
What really does work is when you take things are good like ’11 Coaches Oregon Might Hire’, that might be something someone is interested in the day Helfrich gets fired, and we change to ‘Colin Cowherd’s 11 Coaches.’ We’ve seen this be very successful. You look at Fox News right now, O’Reilly and his take. That’s all it is. And there are many different ways.
Step two is getting fired literally the next week.
Jamie Horowitz’s dismissal Monday came about a week after Fox began investigating allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace in its sports division. The company interviewed several women at L.A.-based Fox Sports about Horowitz’s behavior, according to a person familiar with the investigation who was not authorized to publicly discuss it.
The women included prominent on-air personalities and show producers, according to two people who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.
Lawsuits will follow as Horowitz tries to collect on a contract and Fox Sports tries to separate itself from an alleged sexual harasser. Unfortunately for Fox and their writers, there appears to be no way to re-spool the thread.
Why this is happening is simple: The web has a surplus of copy versus advertising. Companies have decided that sticking an ad at the front of a video makes it less ignorable than putting a similar ad next to an article. It doesn’t matter what the video is. I often get a paragraph or two into a Sports Illustrated story only to find Madelyn Burke in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, giving me a summary of the sentences I’m already reading.
The new round of layoffs ignited a lousy ritual. “Hire these people!” we tweeted at … whom, exactly? A word-friendly publication that would promise to never, ever pivot to anything else? The contact information for Vocativ’s “free agents” was sent around on a spreadsheet.
Other writers tried to play media visionary and stepped in it. “I’ve been in digital media for 12 years,” Sports Illustrated’s Andy Gray tweeted last week. “One thing I’ve learned is that nobody wants to read anything over 1,000 words. MTV is more proof.” Never mind that Gray’s employer uses the motto “longform since 1954.”
On Twitter, Gray got the noogie he deserved. I enjoyed reading his replies. They proved that no occasion, not even an existential threat to the industry, will prevent a journalist from citing his old articles — and, in this case, also providing the word count. Why, my recent longform piece was actually quite popular!
There are two kinds of online video. One has video content. Like this:
The other kind of online video does not have video content, whether it's a talking head repeating what someone else said or a poorly lit podcast-on-youtube-for-some-reason with horrible audio. These are stuck next to the actual written content you want, set to autoplay, and nowadays they even follow you around when you scroll down. They exist only to scam advertisers willing to play high CPMs for ads on video content. The problem, of course, is that these videos only have written content repurposed badly. No hamsters anywhere. They are never watched. At best they run in the background of someone's work computer, on mute.
Scout's bankruptcy and firesale was easily predicted by their own pivot to video. I can't tell you how many times I've clicked on a Scout article hoping for information on a recruit only to be presented with a video. Once in a while this seems useful enough for me to transcribe, and I do so. Half the time I decide to do this I can barely hear the #content because they taped it outside on a phone in high winds.
I dunno what the solution to online content is but I do know that scamming people is not it. Making your product worse by turning it into a tedious video instead a searchable, skimmable article is also not it. Until someone trains a hamster to recite your text, video is strictly worse for most content.
Penn State skepticism. Various folks on this here blog have been trying to elucidate why we're not as high on Penn State as most folks. Mostly it comes down to "their all-bomb offense was pretty lucky," and here's a stat to back that up:
Good stat from Phil Steele that matches the eye test:
Penn State came down with ~75% of 50-50 balls last year. McSorley bailed out a lot.
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) June 28, 2017
That conversion rate on jump balls is almost certainly unsustainable and PSU will have to make up for it elsewhere. They've got a shot at doing so because they bring back a lot from last year's team.
Drake yes? Drake no? Per Sam Webb, Drake Johnson did get approved for a sixth year in various sports:
Drake Johnson has finally been approved for 6th yr in fball, indoor & outdoor track. Now discussion on whether he'll play all 3 can commence
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) June 28, 2017
Whether he'll actually come back for football is an open question. Webb reported that he's 1) down to 180 and 2) very fast, so there's a role for him in both football and track. With a wonky hamstring that might not like stop-start, you could hardly blame him for packing it in and just running track.
Michigan has the room, FWIW.
Etc.: Buccigross survives, gets new five year deal. The Elite 11 is basically garbage for predicting QBs. That Bamba cash thing isn't going anywhere. The fullback is dead in the NFL. Assistant coach names. Talking with Mel Pearson. A reason to huddle?