This Week's Obsession: Cracked Skull Sessions

This Week's Obsession: Cracked Skull Sessions

Submitted by Seth on November 27th, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Borgesbobm

So I couldn't in good conscience do a basketball or hockey or softball roundtable question the week of the Ohio State game, lest Bo leap from his grave and stab out my eyes.* On the other hand I've been around here long enough to know what it means when the otters and Big Lebowski references come out (I don't know what posting the game column at 5 a.m. means but it's probably bad).

In that "game column"-type thing Brian suggested a future that's basically 20 years of the late-Carr program. Perhaps a more detailed assessment is in order:

Play out the next four years of Michigan football (If you think Coach X is replaced by Coach Y you can incorporate that into your fantasy.)? What are some of the potential pitfalls along the way? Any reassessment on our rivals going forward?

*People were asking what happened to the Blog That Yost Built.

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BiSB:

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Mathlete: If I would have charted my optimistically realistic expectations entering the Hoke era, here is what it would look like versus achievement on a completely arbitrary scale.

image

One year of lucky over-achievement, then a year of par and this year. The trajectory is all wrong but the total results are about right. With the strong recruiting and a quality group coming of players moving into the upper class I still think last year could be close to expectations. After nearly three seasons here would be my grades for Hoke and the coordinators:

Brady Hoke: Incomplete

Greg Mattison: A

Al Borges: D (GERG gave up 37 points to UMass, Borges at least torched Indiana)

Hoke gets an incomplete pending how the offense turns out next year. The defense is his specialty and their solid progression is a positive sign. Whether Borges survives to next year or not and if he stays and how much things get better (it has to get better, right?) will be the major determiner of his grade. Most of the offensive failures to date aren't on Hoke in my mind, but everything going forward will be.

Upchurch -8646524000_532714ee0d_o
The future on defense is Tacos. [Upchurch]

That's a long preamble to the original question, what do the next four years look like?

Next year the defense will be good, probably very good. The offense who knows. At this point I think anything is possible. Borges could get fired but probably won't. He could stay and things could be marginally better, he could stay and things could click and they could be good but probably still frustrating.

Beyond 2014 the defense should be consistently good. Historically, defenses loaded with talent like Michigan is bringing have a pretty low variance. They may not always be elite, but it's pretty hard for them to be bad. I really don't know what to say about the offense. Anything is possible, they could turn into Stanford next year or they could limp through a couple more years of Borges, with enough talent and a good enough defense to keep things intact but not good enough to compete with the best teams on the schedule.

As to the rivals, the only question for Ohio State is, can Urban maintain success at one place for an extended period? He has never stayed in one place for more than six seasons. As long as he is there Ohio State should be pretty similar to what we've seen from him to date. Are they going to go undefeated every year, certainly not, their win streak hasn't exactly come against murderers row. But the schedule isn't going to get a lot tougher in the Big Ten and I would expect their regular season win total to reach double digits more often than not.

Across the state, it's a bit more complex. Does Narduzzi leave after this year? How high of a level can the defense maintain with Dantonio but no Narduzzi. If he stays or Dantonio can keep things moving without him, the Spartans aren't going anywhere. The offense will probably never be good enough to put them at a consistently elite level, but they should be a real player in the East division. If the defense can't stay elite, Michigan State's chances of staying competitive at the top year after a year probably leave too.

[Jump]

Upon Further Review 2013: Offense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2013: Offense vs MSU

Submitted by Brian on November 7th, 2013 at 3:32 PM

ACCIDENTALLY APROPOS ERROR NOTES: Since the NCAA decided to replace their stat pages with much worse stat pages I've been using ESPN's items—still worse than the thing the NCAA just replaced but better. Their drive pages have been consistently erroneous all year, but my irritation just evaporated thanks to this magically accurate error in re: Michigan's drive immediately following Taylor's interception:

image

CORRECT, intern or robot or whoever. Correct. Except that drive started at the MSU 41, but we forgive all transgressions for spiritual correctness. The best kind of correctness.

FORMATION NOTES: So I just called MSU's stuff 4-3 over but I should point out that everyone is within ten yards of the LOS on damn near every snap. This is M's opener.

4-3-over

This was completely typical. For the most part, MSU did not try to match corners, they just ran their D. They would occasionally move guys down and whatnot, but mostly this was like watching magic. MSU has acquired a variety of guys big time programs didn't want and plays them more aggressively than the most athletic defense in the country, whoever that might be, and apparently no one can do anything about it. It is boggling.

MSU did on occasion flip to man press on the corners; this is designated with "press."

4-3-over-press

While it was the same personnel, when MSU shaded a guy outside the hash I called this a nickel. As always, with opponent formations I'm not trying to describe personnel.

4-3-over-slide

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Gardner until last three plays, Toussaint almost the whole way save one, maybe two snaps on which Derrick Green didn't seem any better at pass blocking.

Line was Lewan/Bosch/Glasgow/Magnuson/Schofield with some limited exceptions featuing Kalis entering as a sixth OL. Paskorz got some snaps at TE; Butt got most of the inline snaps. When Funchess was inline it is noted below; he was inline for every play on Michigan's final drive but mostly split out. No Dileo; WRs were Gallon, Chesson, and a little bit of Jackson.

[After THE JUMP: otters, so many otters]

Big Ten Draft O' Snark: The Fourth Bit

Big Ten Draft O' Snark: The Fourth Bit

Submitted by Brian on August 15th, 2012 at 2:22 PM

PREVIOUSLY ON "MGOBLOG WRITERS DRAFT THEIR VERY OWN BIG TEN TEAMS WITH DISTRESSINGLY LOW NUMBERS OF MICHIGAN PLAYERS":

SETH got Denard, then did some other stuff I guess. He also got Kovacs.

ACE god Ace your team is SO BORING, got EVEN MORE BORING, and then I just don't even know man because I'm thinking about anything else.

HEIKO took quarterbacks, then took quarterbacks, then tried to hump the rules real good by taking a combo kicker.

BRIAN got stuck with Nathan Scheelhaase, wept, and then told himself he would develop a narrative of victory, whereupon maybe he kind of did maybe (call me?). No he didn't.

We find our HEROIC DRAFTERS in a SECRET SUBMARINE HEADQUARTERS UNDERNEATH THE NORTH ATLANTIC [ed-S: ...where iPhones can't get OSU eligibility updates]. Heiko is on the clock for the SECOND PICK of round THIRTEEN…

Follow along on Seth's spreadsheet here.

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HEIKO

Ryan Shazier Penn State v Ohio State bByS8kadbJMl[1]PICK: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL), Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR, MSU)

CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU), Craig Roh (DE, UM), Ryan Shazier (LB, OSU), Isaiah Lewis (FS, MSU), C.J. Barnett (SS, OSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: At this point the field of competition has narrowed to exclude Brian's great Scheelhaase experiment, so I'm going to focus my attention on neutralizing Seth and Ace. To deal with Denard Robinson, I'm going to procure my own heat-seeking missile in the form of Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier, who you may remember notching a bazillion tackles toward the end of last season and is poised to break out in 2012. Sure, Denard had a field day in last year's edition of The Game, but that's because Borges was smart enough to use misdirection with Toussaint and option the crap out of Ohio State's linebackers.

Shazier still ended up with 8 tackles, several of which were touchdown preventing, and he did this on a bad knee. At 100% and a little more experience, Shazier could end up better than Nebraska's second-round draft pick Lavonte David.

SNERK: The key to this pick is that Seth does not get Fitz and I do not end up with Etienne Sabino. Check, and pending. On an unrelated note, but just to be clear: Two of your quarterbacks lost to Minnesota last year.

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ACE

129035494_display_image[1]PICK: Spencer Long, guard, Nebraska

CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (OL, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA), Travis Frederick (C, UW), Spencer Long (G, NEB)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW), William Gholston (DE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (LB, UW), Ricardo Allen (CB, PUR), Ibraheim Campbell (S, NW)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Long was an unknown, untested walk-on heading into 2011, but by the end of the season he'd earned enough respect to be named second-team all-conference by the media and honorable mention by the coaches. At 6'4", 305, Long lacks the ideal size for an NFL interior line prospect; the ground production of Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez, however, indicate the strength up front for the Huskers, and Long is widely considered their best lineman. With my offense clearly predicated around the running game, Long is a great fit.

SNARK: I'm sure Ryan Shazier won't open up any gaping lanes against these run-heavy attacks. Nope, not at all.

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SETH

Jacob Pedersen Wisconsin v Michigan State Zvqu2UfHmCNl[1]PICKS: Jacob Pedersen, tight end, Wisconsin; and Graham Pocic, offensive line, Illinois

CURRENT O: Denard Robinson (QB, M), Rex Burkhead (RB, Neb), Kofi Hughes (WR, Ind), Jacob Pedersen (TE, Wis), Michael Schofield (OT, M), Graham Pocic (OL, Ill)

CURRENT D:  John Hankins (NT, OSU), Kawaan Short (3T, Pur), Marcus Rush (DE, MSU), Jon Brown (MLB, Ill), Gerald Hodges (OLB, PSU), Jordan Kovacs (SS, M), Micah Hyde (CB, Iowa)

EXPLANATION: There are only a few best overall players left at any position and even fewer 5-stars left on my draft board, so to get two here is VALUE. That begins with Pedersen, who would be in an argument for best tight end in the conference with Stoneburner if Stoneburner was eligible. [ed: ????]

Since he's not, [EDIT: mea culpa] I get the position's lone star: 30 catches for 356 yards for 12 ypc, and eight (8!!!) touchdowns. And unlike Neb's Reed, Pedersen also happens to be a better blocker than receiver. If the knock on him is he's *only* 6'4, I urge you to check the sizes of your safeties and OLBs who won't be defending him up the seam (Cover 3 you say? BOOM Denard'd). Who says spreads can't have tight ends? Martell Webb was a secret reason M's 2010 offense was awesome, and I've got Webb who can catch plus a go-to option for when Denard and Rex get me to the red zone.

07-Oct-10_102118071JD091_Ohio_State_v_crop_450x500[1]Pocic meanwhile makes every all-conference list and a few all-American mentions. I know why he fell this far: Go to the D vs Illini UFR last year and look at Martin and RVB's monster days. Much of that I put on the guards since Pocic was called on to release downfield while M's elite DL blew by the other guys, however he had more than his fair share of awful that day, including letting Will Campbell get under him and shove him back on a crucial short situation. This is because crazy-ass Zook put a fleet-footed, 6'7/310 dude at CENTER. Not I said the Seth. This senior leader is going at guard or tackle--NFL projections do the same--both of which he has played and either of which makes his length an asset while better utilizing his devastating downfield blocking skills and keeping him away from the low-leverage pluggers he can't swallow whole.

SNARK: Speaking of monster DL days, check out the following week when Martin et al. threw Nebraska's light-footed walk-on guard around like a ragdoll. Now picture that guy in Wisconsin's man-blocking scheme where his specialized abilities won't even help him. Now remember Ace just lost the tight end he was so sure the spread outfits (or Heiko's Fitz offense) would overlook and be kind because he's really just a nice guy having a bad day.

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ACE

106811260_crop_exact[1]PICK: Jake Stoneburner, tight end, Ohio State

CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (OT, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA), Travis Frederick (C, UW), Spencer Long (G, NEB), Jake Stoneburner (TE, OSU)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW), William Gholston (DE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (LB, UW), Ricardo Allen (CB, PUR), Ibraheim Campbell (S, NW)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Uh, Seth? Stoneburner, along with partner-in-crime Jack Mewhort, is practicing with Ohio State while waiting for his inevitable reinstatement. I was just waiting for the first tight end to go off the board and, oh, hey, here we are. At 6'5", 245, Stoneburner provides a big target and also has the size to be a solid run-blocker. He'll provide a critical red-zone option for Vandenberg, as seven of his 14 receptions last year went for touchdowns. He also has the versatility to split out wide, something he did a fair amount this spring, giving my offense greater flexibility. Stoneburner's numbers should only increase now that Ohio State's quarterback situation has worked itself out, and just imagine what his numbers would be like with a marksman like Vandenberg slinging him the rock. That's what I've got, and good luck stopping this team in the red zone.

SNARK: Might want to spend a little more time on that iPhone, Seth.

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HEIKO

Capital One Bowl FootballPICK: Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL), Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR, MSU)

CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU), Craig Roh (DE, UM), Ryan Shazier (LB, OSU), Max Bullough (LB, MSU), Isaiah Lewis (FS, MSU), C.J. Barnett (SS, OSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Heat-seeking missile: check. Large blunt object: I'll take Michigan State LB Max Bullough. In a conference that's pretty loaded with inside linebackery types, Bullough is probably the most talented. I like that he was second team All-B1G last season even without super-inflated stats (89 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 3.5 sacks), and I like that he isn't 5'11 and fat. Michigan State DC Pat Narduzzi recently called him the best linebacker he's ever coached, so if that means Bullough is better than former MSU All-American LB Greg Jones, that's fantastic.

Bullough's size -- 6'3, 252 lbs -- suggests that he could also play SAM should I choose to draft another middle linebacker so that I don't have to draft Etienne Sabino. He also reminds me a lot of David Molk, and I have a soft spot in my heart for people who remind me of NO I DON'T SPARTY SUCKS KORK COUPONS AHHH This draft is an excellent exercise in cognitive dissonance *twitch*.

SNURK: FYI, red zone offenses aren't much help if you can't even make it past the 50, but Ace should totally bolster his red zone offense with Zach Boren, on whom I will graciously give up my dibs.

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BRIAN

136425307_display_image[1]PICKS: Beau Allen, NT, Wisconsin, and Bradley Roby, CB, OSU

CURRENT O: Nathan Scheelhaase (QB, ILL), Fitzgerald Toussaint (RB, M), LeVeon Bell (HB/FB, MSU), Jared Abbrederis (WR, UW), Taylor Lewan(LT, M), Chris McDonald (RG, MSU), Jack Mewhort (RT, OSU).

CURRENT D: John Simon (DE, OSU), Beau Allen (NT, UW), Akeem Spence (DT, Illinois), Jake Ryan (LB, M), Denicos Allen (LB, MSU), Terry Hawthorne (CB, ILL), Bradley Roby(CB, OSU)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: I need a nose tackle, and the biggest, nose-tackliest dude on the board who I'm not deathly afraid will get pancaked all year is Wisconsin's Allen, a 6'3", 330 pound tank who managed to record four sacks last year despite not starting and being 330 pounds. That was good for second-best on Wisconsin's defense. Then he crushed Wisconsin's OL in their spring game, racking up 3 TFLs and a sack while drawing approving noises from the Wisconsin DL coach. With Jordan Kohout ending his career due to recurring migraines and the graduation of meh senior Patrick Butrym, Allen's going to get a ton of playing time. As a rising true junior still turning fat into muscle, he's got major upside, and solid existing production. Can you say "Beaukout"? Probably not since that's not a word.

Bradley-Roby[1]Then I'll take Roby, who started for OSU as a redshirt freshman and has reportedly run a 4.31. I give that five FAKES but they say he's the fastest kid on OSU's team and when I watched him last year he did impress with his raw speed. He'll need to develop to be an all-conference sort but that's what freshmen do. His coach is hyping him up as a future first-rounder, and he had three interceptions last year. He seemed clearly better than Travis Howard in my eyes and should extend that distance this year.

[NOTE: Seth and I are full at DT, so either Ace or Heiko filling up will trigger the must-draft rule, which we're extending to 3 rounds.]

SNARK: I thought about Shazier but trading AWESOME TFLs with 80 YARD RUNS THAT ARE TOTALLY YOUR FAULT didn't seem like a good deal. Also, I cant wait for Allen to hurl Seth's 6'7" interior linemen out of the very real stadium that will hold billions of screaming fans when our teams meet on the field of very, very real battle. FOOTBALL GAMES ARE WON WITH PAD LEVEL AAAAAH.

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HEIKO

Baker Steinkuhler Washington v Nebraska sZsJDG9LGall[1]PICK: Baker Steinkuhler, DT, Nebraska

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL), Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR, MSU)

CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU), Baker Steinkuhler (DT, UNL), Craig Roh (DE, UM), Ryan Shazier (LB, OSU), Isaiah Lewis (FS, MSU), C.J. Barnett (SS, OSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: I have no problem forcing Ace's hand, so I'm going to go ahead and slide Jordan Hill to nose and take Nebraska's Baker Steinkuhler as my 3-tech DT. Steinkuhler's a solid contributor on the defensive line, garnering All-Conference recognition in both the B1G and the B12 in consecutive seasons. His stats (40 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 sacks) belie his true ability as a penetrating defensive lineman—last year opposing teams could afford to focus on him after Jared Crick got injured.

GENUINELY HELPFUL ADVICE: Yo Ace, you should look into picking up Cameron Meredith before either Seth or Brian gets to him.

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ACE

970685[1]PICK: Cameron Meredith, defensive end, Nebraska

CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (OT, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA), Travis Frederick (C, UW), Spencer Long (G, NEB), Jake Stoneburner (TE, OSU)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW), William Gholston (DE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (LB, UW), Ricardo Allen (CB, PUR), Ibraheim Campbell (S, NW), Cameron Meredith (DE, NEB)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Meredith is a versatile lineman; in addition to his normal WDE duties, he filled in at DT when Nebraska was hit hard by injuries last year, and he's also lined up at rush linebacker when they've gone to a 3-4 look. He's not going to be super-productive, though he did manage five sacks last year, but he'll hold up well against the run and—with 27 consecutive starts under his belt—he's got experience and durability in his favor.

SNARK: Wait, did I just take drafting advice from MGoMillen?

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SETH

RickyBarnum1[1]PICKS: Ricky Barnum, interior offensive line, Michigan; and Kenny Bell, wide receiver, Nebraska

CURRENT O: Denard Robinson (QB, M), Rex Burkhead (RB, Neb), Kofi Hughes (WR, Ind), Kenny Bell (WR, Neb), Jacob Pedersen (TE, Wis), Michael Schofield (OT, M), Graham Pocic (OL, Ill), Ricky Barnum (OL, MICH)

CURRENT D: John Hankins (NT, OSU), Kawaan Short (3T, Pur), Marcus Rush (DE, MSU), Jon Brown (MLB, Ill), Gerald Hodges (OLB, PSU), Jordan Kovacs (SS, M), Micah Hyde (CB, Iowa)

EXPLANATION: So when I take huge, proven linemen you guys say your puny nose guards will get leverage on them, and when I take squat, proven linemen you say I'm a Michigan homer. What I am is a spread offensive line homer, and it just so happens that some of the best of them play for Michigan. With Barnum I have yet another super target of Rich Rod, another very fast and dependable combo blocker, and a guy who can play center or guard depending on who is available to me later on.

Kenny Bell gives me a be-dreaded complimentary receiver who's 6'1, speedy, and had a deceptively productive season: 32 catches for 461 yards and 3 TDs--all as a freshman with Heiko's starting running back as a passer. Project that to a Denardified offense where he's not a freshman and not the only eligible receiver worth covering, and you get a top 5-ish receiver by Big Ten 2012 standards. His usage increased as the season progressed to about 5 catches per game on 7 targets. The knock on him is dropsies, which Husker fans say comes from blocking 90% of the time. Good blocking also comes from blocking 90% of the time. Only Roundtree comes close as a comparable left on the board, but Bell's low side is basically last year's Roundtree and his upside is Manninghamish.

In a year when the conference is so receiver-poor that the far and away best option is a Roundtree-effect walk-on, and the other guys are hanging their hats on depth chart transfers and position switchers (ahem, "being closer to family members"), to get Kofi and Kenny is somewhat of a coup.

SNARK: Yes, Heiko, there is deep magic in Ryan Shazier. But if you read the deeper magic, the magic written in HTTVs of years past, you would know that you have drafted nothing but "Janus" Mouton II. You may have stopped one play in the backfield, but the next one is going 42 yards to paydirt!

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ACE

9027266-large[1]PICK: Michael Mauti, linebacker, Penn State

CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (LT, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA), Travis Frederick (C, UW), Spencer Long (RG, NEB), Jake Stoneburner (TE, OSU)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (MLB, UW), William Gholston (SDE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (WLB, UW), Ricardo Allen (CB, PUR), Ibraheim Campbell (SS, NW), Cameron Meredith (WDE, NEB), Michael Mauti (SLB, PSU)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Now's the time to take some risks, and Mauti certainly qualifies; for the second time in three seasons, he's looking to bounce back from a season-ending ACL tear (the bright side, I guess, being that the knee he hurt last year wasn't the same one that underwent surgery in 2009). When healthy, however, Mauti is an aggressive, instinctual run-stuffer with NFL upside. As a part-time starter in 2010, Mauti tallied 67 tackles and 5.5 TFL, and in just three games last year he amassed 21 tackles, 3 TFL, 3 PBU, and an interception before going down against Eastern Michigan. At this point in the draft, he's worth the gamble; if playing at 100%, he's better than several of the LBs taken previously.

SNARK: Barnum over Ferentz or any of the more-qualified guards in the league? The iPhone fails Seth again, apparently.

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HEIKO

Kenny Demens[1]PICK: Kenny Demens, LB, Michigan

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL), Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR, MSU)

CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU), Baker Steinkuhler (DT, UNL), Craig Roh (DE, UM), Max Bullough (LB, MSU), Kenny Demens (LB, UM), Ryan Shazier (LB, OSU), Isaiah Lewis (FS, MSU), C.J. Barnett (SS, OSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: I needed a middle linebacker to thump your running backs and also to cover all your tight ends. Kenny is almost David Harris, and can cover. Good enough.

SNARK: 10 dollars says Seth is going to take James Ferentz and turn Barnum into a guard.

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BRIAN

MarqueisGrayTDREC[1]PICKS: MarQuies Gray, QB/WR, Minnesota, and CJ Fieodorwicz, TE, Iowa

CURRENT O: Nathan Scheelhaase (QB, ILL), Fitzgerald Toussaint (RB, M), LeVeon Bell (HB/FB, MSU), Jared Abbrederis (WR, UW), MarQuies Gray (QB/WR, Minn), CJ Fieodorwicz (TE, Iowa), Taylor Lewan (LT, M), Chris McDonald (RG, MSU), Jack Mewhort (RT, OSU).

CURRENT D: John Simon (DE, OSU), Beau Allen (NT, UW), Akeem Spence (DT, Illinois), Jake Ryan (LB, M), Denicos Allen (LB, MSU), Terry Hawthorne (CB, ILL), Bradley Roby(CB, OSU)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: You guys forgot about Gray. While guys with no catches were being snapped up by Heiko to fulfill the role of a rangy downfield threat basically absent in the Big Ten this year, the one QB who'd actually proven himself at wide receiver sat on the board, wondering if anyone remembered that Minnesota was in the Big Ten. Well, I did. I remember your existence, Minnesota, and I'll grab MarQuies Gray to be my Devin Gardner.

Gray was shifted to wide receiver his sophomore year because he was too much of an athlete for the Gophers to sit on the bench and caught 42 balls for 587 yards in just seven starts. Last year he was (usually) Minnesota's starting quarterback and while he was pretty terrible at that, he rushed for just under 1,000 yards, further proving his athletic bonafides. He'll give Scheelhaase another deep threat to exploit.

Then I'll beef up the BEEFCAKE with a 6'7" rising true junior who came on late for the Hawkeyes and ncf_u_fiedorowicz_wm_400[1]has the level-headed Patrick Vint saying stuff like this:

Fiedorowicz was the jewel of the 2010 Iowa recruiting class, a four-star genetic freak of a tight end who played seven different positions in high school and was enough of a talent to draw offers from programs that don't even use tight ends. … Since then, he shrugged off a redshirt, blew people up on special teams as a true freshman, won the second-string tight end spot for his sophomore year, left the initial starter -- a four-year letterman -- in the dust, caught sixteen passes for 167 yards and a handful of touchdowns (including a touchdown in Iowa's bowl loss), and drew rave reviews from his new offensive coordinator. Not a bad two years.

The "Polish Hat"—no idea—is expected to be Iowa's most potent offensive weapon this year, and he's already exceeded Stoneburner's annual production. At around 270 pounds, he's also capable of contributing to the ground-and-pound being developed around these parts.

SNARK: See above in re: Stoneburner. Seth, you are such a Michigan OL homer.

Also, we are Michigan fans. We have known the Kovacs, and therefore we cannot talk poorly about awesome players who happen to be former walk-ons, lest the Kovacs disapprove. Abbrederis forever.

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HEIKO

105121884_display_image[1]PICK: J.T. Floyd, Cornerback, Michigan

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL), Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR, MSU)

CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU), Baker

Steinkuhler (DT, UNL), Craig Roh (DE, UM), Max Bullough (LB, MSU), Kenny Demens (LB, UM), Ryan Shazier (LB, OSU), J.T. Floyd (CB, UM), Isaiah Lewis (FS, MSU), C.J. Barnett (SS, OSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Michigan's J.T. Floyd is perhaps a little underrated due to lingering PTSD from his 2010 performance. But as Seth pointed out a while ago, Floyd allowed 1 TD all last season against opposing teams' No. 1 wide receivers. Given that those No. 1 wide receivers were a lot better than whatever you guys can muster, I think I am my team is going to be all right. Also, as a bigger boundary corner, he can come up in run support should you choose to run the ball 90% of the time, which you all would probably be wise to do.

SNARK: I thought about drafting Gray, but I didn't want someone who was 6-18 over the past two years. Also, now that you have a quarterback who's better than Scheelhaase, what're you going to do with Scheelhaase?

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hi-res-6179384_crop_exact[1]ACE

PICK: Will Campbell, defensive tackle, Michigan

CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (OT, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA), Travis Frederick (C, UW), Spencer Long (G, NEB), Jake Stoneburner (TE, OSU)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW), William Gholston (DE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (LB, UW), Ricardo Allen (CB, PUR), Ibraheim Campbell (S, NW), Will Campbell (DT, MICH)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Wait for it...

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SETH

Oklahoma IowaPICKS: James Ferentz, center, Iowa, and Jeremy Gallon, slot-back, Michigan

CURRENT O: Denard Robinson (QB, M), Rex Burkhead (RB, Neb), Jeremy Gallon (Slot, M), Kofi Hughes (WR, Ind), Kenny Bell (WR, Neb), Jacob Pedersen (TE, Wis), Michael Schofield (OT, M), Graham Pocic (OL, Ill), Ricky Barnum (OG, MICH), James Ferentz (C, Iowa)

CURRENT D: John Hankins (NT, OSU), Kawaan Short (3T, Pur), Marcus Rush (DE, MSU), Jon Brown (MLB, Ill), Gerald Hodges (OLB, PSU), Jordan Kovacs (SS, M), Micah Hyde (CB, Iowa)

EXPLANATION: It's all part of the plan, Ace. Barnum was always meant for guard and I didn't trust certain other Michigan homers to leave me the best spread guard left on the board. The platonic ideal for my offense's center is David Molk. Since David Molk can't be on a Big Ten roster anymore (did nobody think to try to get him a 6th year for all the injuries? Just sayin--other schools have gotten it for less time missed and it would matter), my anchor will have to be the guy known as "not quite David Molk." Ferentz is not quite as big or strong as Molk. He can execute not quite as many reach blocks as Molk. He's almost as much of a team leader, appears on nearly as many preseason best-of lists, and is slightly less favored in those lists than Molk was to win them. My new not-quite Rimington has been the No. 1 center on my board since the start, but I would have been fine with Schmeig or Vitable--easy late round picks--is why I waited this long. Ferentz allows me to play Barnum at guard where he's better suited and gives me an interior line I'd put against any of your DT combos.

Gallon-Jump-Ball[1]Gallon: Brian can keep his two-back sets. Heiko can have his Fritz-tri-QB-wildcat-diamond abomination or whatever it is he's planning. And Ace can keep on wearing down Google until it agrees to answer "Who's the Big Ten's best fullback???". For my extra back-like object, since I don't have to worry about Burkhead tiring, like, ever, I'm taking a slot receiver. Gallon is everything a slot should be: a jitterbug with trustworthy hands and jetpack speed who can make a defense pay if they try to cheat (...their slot coverage into the box) on Denard. As a bonus he inherited Odoms's mountain goat blocking. As a double-bonus he has perfected Roundtree's 2009-'10 cloaking device that allows him to get acres of open downfield. As a triple-bonus Gallon has shown he can overcome some of his 5'8 size disadvantage with well-timed leaps and positioning on less athletic cornerbacks, making him a surprisingly effective third-down and red zone comeback option. In Borges's West Coasty Spread and Denard a Lot grab-bag of an offense last year Gallon put up nearly identical numbers to Kenny Bell and featured in the most game-swingingly play (late v ND) of the season. He is the perfect fit for this offense, which makes sense because like the rest of the Wolverines on Team Seth, he was recruited for it.

He'll also be my punt returner. Gallon is no Abbrederis but was solidly 3rd in the Big Ten last year in per-return yardage (MSU's departed Keshawn Martin was 2nd), averaging a solid 10.11 yards per attempt. GALLON U HOLD ONTO THE DAMN BALL!

SNARK: Abbrederis could have dreadlocks and look like Snoop from the Wire-- he still wouldn't repeat last year's output catching Scheelhaase passes instead of Russell Wilson passes, and opposite a guy who would rather be a Minnesota Gopher than play receiver instead of Nick Toon. Also since you knocked my quicksilver o-line: are you running a spread with those ponderous plodders or are you secretly putting together the pieces to recreate the 2007 DeBord offense with Scheelhaase at QB instead of Henne?

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ACE

 U.S. Army All-American Bowl West Team defensive lineman Ondre Pipkins (53) during the Monday West Team Practice for the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl at Comalander Stadium in San Antonio Texas.PICK: Ondre Pipkins, nose tackle, Michigan

CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Ricky Wagner (OT, UW), Keenan Davis (WR, IA), Travis Frederick (C, UW), Spencer Long (G, NEB), Jake Stoneburner (TE, OSU)

CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW), William Gholston (DE, MSU), Johnny Adams (CB, MSU), Mike Taylor (LB, UW), Ricardo Allen (CB, PUR), Ibraheim Campbell (S, NW), Will Campbell (DT, MICH), Ondre Pipkins (NT, MICH)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: So, I just drafted two of Michigan's defensive tackles; one of them doesn't even start and is a true freshman, the other is a senior with all of 3.5 career TFL. Is this insane? Probably. Allow me to explain myself. The options available at defensive tackle were limited, with the best available options probably Purdue's Bruce Gaston and Indiana's Larry Black and Adam Replogle. Those three are among the best players on their respective defenses. The problem, of course, is that those respective defenses are terrible. Despite the presence of Kawaan Short, Purdue allowed over 200 yards rushing per game on 4.7 yards per carry last year in Big Ten play; both figures placed them 10th in the conference. The Hoosiers somehow managed to be far, far worse, ceding 271(!) yards per game on 5.7(!!) yards per carry.

Michigan's figures of 116 yards and 3.7 yards per carry, on the other hand, were good for first and third in the B1G, respectively. Yes, it was with a completely different set of defensive tackles—not to mention far more talent surrounding those tackles—but the standard for quality play is at an entirely different level in Ann Arbor than it is in Bloomington or West Lafayette. If Will Campbell had decided to transfer to Purdue after the 2010 season, I have a hunch he'd be starting next to Short. If Ondre Pipkins shocked the world and chose Indiana out of high school, he'd play from day one and probably have his jersey retired before he ever played a game.

Plus, while Black (6'2", 294) and Replogle (6'3", 294) are a decent-sized pairing, Campbell (6'5", 308) and Pipkins (6'3", 340) obstruct all of the sidewalks and probably most of the running backs, too. I'm not so much concerned about production as I am building a wall of beef; with Campbell and Pipkins both in the best shape of their lives, that beef can even move a little. Is the floor of Campbell/Pipkins lower than that of Black/Replogle? Certainly. Are their ceilings even remotely comparable? Absolutely not.
Okay, I was also due an unabashed homer pick. Snark away, gents.

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HEIKO

Patrick Omameh[1]PICK: Patrick Omameh

CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QB/RB, UNL), Patrick Omameh (OG, UM), Kyle Prater (WR, NW), Devin Gardner (QB/WR, UM), DeAnthony Arnett (WR, MSU)

CURRENT D: Michael Buchanan (DE, ILL), Jordan Hill (DT, PSU), Baker Steinkuhler (DT, UNL), Craig Roh (DE, UM), Max Bullough (LB, MSU), Kenny Demens (LB, UM), Ryan Shazier (LB, OSU), J.T. Floyd (CB, UM), Isaiah Lewis (FS, MSU), C.J. Barnett (SS, OSU)

KICKER(S): Brett Maher, K/P, Nebraska

BRIEF EXPLANATION: Omameh is huge and loves pancaking All-American linebackers into first-round draft pick safeties. He makes the magic happen.

SNARK: None needed. Ace snarked himself.

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BRIAN

041412_SPT_Spring_Game_MRM_02.jpgPICKS: Blake Countess, CB, Michigan, and Daimion Stafford, SS, Nebraska.

CURRENT O: Nathan Scheelhaase (QB, ILL), Fitzgerald Toussaint (RB, M), LeVeon Bell (HB/FB, MSU), Jared Abbrederis (WR, UW), MarQuies Gray (QB/WR, Minn), CJ Fieodorwicz (TE, Iowa), Taylor Lewan(LT, M), Chris McDonald (RG, MSU), Jack Mewhort (RT, OSU).

CURRENT D: John Simon (DE, OSU), Beau Allen (NT, UW), Akeem Spence (DT, ILL), Jake Ryan (LB, M), Denicos Allen (LB, MSU), Terry Hawthorne (CB, ILL), Bradley Roby(CB, OSU), Blake Countess (CB, M), Daimion Stafford(SS, UNL)

BRIEF EXPLANATION: I'll continue the homer train but unlike a number of the Wolverines flying off the board now that we've seemingly picked all the foreign players we've heard about, Blake Countess actually deserves to be picked after a freshman year in which he emerged into a starter at field corner for Mattison and company, performing well. A universal four star, he enters year two poised to blow up in the mold of previous Michigan cornerbacks like Woodson, Hall, and Jackson. JT Floyd was better last year, but Countess will be better this year. What's that about eight-foot-ceilings now, Heiko?

Daimion Stafford Chattanooga v Nebraska V0Xw2JeXcU-l[1]I was also going to grab Omameh before he got snatched, since he is a three-year starter entering his senior year; with him gone I'll latch onto Daimion Stafford, a JUCO transfer who stepped right into Nebraska's starting lineup last year and finished third on the team in tackles; he also picked up 10 PBUs. He was no Kovacs in terms of reliability, but he was sort of a freshman and he brings the wood. 247 named him the #6 JUCO last year, he had an offer from USC. Nebraska folks feel he developed as a cover guy, and he should get significantly better with a full offseason to prepare—Stafford was a show-up-in-fall-and-start guy. And he's named "Daimion." QED.

SNARK: Ask Shazier about how power blocking schemes can mesh with a spread just fine, Seth. Inverted veer for the win. Hope everyone's getting familiar with the secondaries of Northwestern and Indiana to fill out their corner slots.

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NEXT TIME ON DRAFTOSNARK: we finish this dang thing. Most of us are now conversant on the secondaries of Northwestern and Indiana. Heiko drafts Kain Colter to do something, probably.