Spring Practice Presser 3-29-18: Jay Harbaugh

Spring Practice Presser 3-29-18: Jay Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 30th, 2018 at 9:02 AM

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[Bryan Fuller]

[Ed. A- Thank you once again to 247’s Isaiah Hole for getting me video so I can still transcribe even when doctors’ appointments keep me from being there]

“Alright, what’s up?”

Four practices in. How would you characterize the start of spring practice?

“Lot of energy. Improving on the execution from where we started to where we’re trying to get to. Every practice has been better, but I think the guys are really taking to it well and really competing with the defense at a high level.”

What have you seen from Karan [Higdon] and Chris [Evans] specifically?

“Doing a great job. Just exactly what you’d expect from them. They’re taking all the parts of their game that needed detail or polish and they’re doing that. Every day it’s one less mistake and really turning in a great spring thus far.”

Could you elaborate on some of those parts of their game?

“The rare double question. Protection-wise, they’re both improving. Route detail in terms of the top routes, details that typically running backs don’t get to just because they don’t have the time. Those guys are exceptional athletes and as we work them in empty packages and coming out of the backfield, they can handle a lot of detail in their technique like a receiver would, so continuing to hone those skills has been nice to see.”

You mentioned that they’ve gotten better at pass protection. How have they evolved since you took over the position in pass protection?

“They’re both super tough. Just getting them to play with the technique that we’re looking for and it’s really, from right now to like if you compared it to last spring it’s significantly better, and even these four practices have been incrementally better.”

[After THE JUMP: the punctilious pursuit of pass protection perfect, Ben Mason two-way murderball comin’, and an offense as a living organism]

Wednesday Presser 10-25-17: Chris Partridge

Wednesday Presser 10-25-17: Chris Partridge

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 26th, 2017 at 8:05 AM

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[Barron]

[Ed. A- I was too sick to make the trip in yesterday, but thanks to 247’s Isaiah Hole I had video from which to transcribe.]

“I thought after the first big run that he has we did a decent job of containing there. They hit some big plays. Quarterback’s phenomenal. Hit some big plays on us in the pass game and kind of flustered us a little bit and then we couldn’t get re-settled down in terms of that. I don’t think we paid too much attention, though.”

What happened to Quinn on the missed extra point? Crowd was booing him pretty heavily but did that affect him?

“No, I mean, that’s unacceptable. That can’t happen. He knows that. He just let his emotions get carried away and kind of kicked the ground a little bit and pushed it and that’s got to be fixed immediately from a mental standpoint. Can’t have that ever happen again.”

Ambry [Thomas] seems to really be progressing in kick return. Talk about what you’ve seen from him.

“He’s explosive, fearless. He’s what you want back there. It’s a really good combination we have now. We got Ben Mason, Brad Hawkins, Ambry, three true freshmen working together, getting to know each other, feeling each other out, because all three of those guys could get the ball and two of them have to be a blocker on every kick. Really, really happy with that unit’s progression and how those guys are really coming together and feeling each other out and stuff like that. Really happy with that group.”

[After THE JUMP: Rashan don’t read this, he wants you to keep the chip on your shoulder]

Preview 2016: Linebacker

Preview 2016: Linebacker

Submitted by Brian on August 31st, 2016 at 4:25 PM

Previously: Podcast 8.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line. Defensive End. Defensive Tackle.

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[Bryan Fuller]

Depth Chart
STRONGSIDE  LB Yr. MIDDLE LB Yr. WEAKSIDE LB Yr.
Jabrill Peppers So.* Ben Gedeon Sr. Mike McCray Jr.*
Noah Furbush So.* Mike Wroblewski Jr.* Devin Bush Fr.
Josh Uche Fr. Elysee Mbem-Bosse Fr. Jared Wangler So.*

The old guard had been around forever—Desmond Morgan started as a freshman and had an injury redshirt in there—and is now gone. In their stead there is… well, a guy. Michigan's linebacker recruiting in the Hoke era was a major failing, so after one guy they've mishandled and one guy who narrowly evaded a career-ending injury there's freshmen and the only non-Order-of-St.-Kovacs walk-on on the two deep.

Could get hairy if anyone can get to these guys on the ground or protect their quarterback long enough to get 'em in the air. So probably not that hairy. Still, along with the offensive line and quarterback, linebacker stands out as a position at which things could go pear-shaped.

On the other hand, Peppers. He's actually in this post!

STRONGSIDE LB: HYBRID SPACE ASSASSIN

Rating: 5.

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WOOOO! [Bryan Fuller]

Oh hey, it's JABRILL PEPPERS again. He's taken the baton from Jake Butt when it comes to posting shirtless jugs machine exploits:

And this year he hopes to refine his immense talent into a TFL and PBU machine.

One part of his game is already flawless and has been so from the drop. He was a bonafide hybrid space player from his first snaps against Utah. Any sort of swing, flare, or screen to the wide side of the field was going to die horribly. Peppers was truly, literally unblockable in space. He'd slow up, pick his moment, and just explode past the wide receiver who drew the short straw:

Three times in this game Peppers destroyed plays that attacked the wide open spaces he is set to patrol. If Michigan can rely on that, those passes across the middle that open up because of bubble fakes get removed along with the screens; it's kind of a big deal to be able to do that.

The utter consistency with which this happened became a defensive bellwether. I eagerly awaited the moment when the offensive coordinator got fed up with having zero access to a big chunk of his playbook and said "screw it." One snap later the OC was reminded why he wasn't doing this:

There was an internet item purporting to show that Peppers missed 20% of his tackle attempts; you can mostly ignore that. A Peppers missed tackle was often something a lesser player wouldn't even get an attempt in on.

Blocking someone with his explosiveness on the edge is a futile task. This is a screen that he turns in barely outside the hash and still gets a tackle in on, because he can wait until the proper moment and just explode past the guy who drew the short straw:

Peppers gets places fast and brings a pop when he gets there. Sometimes he makes the play himself and sometimes he allows others to rally to make it, because he's constricting space that other guys cannot.

I say "mostly" because Peppers does need to refine a few things. He has a bit of Brandon Harrison disease wherein he gets going so dang fast that he overruns his target, and his tackling form could use some work. But even when he missed a tackle last year he funneled things back to his teammates.

As Peppers moves inside more often this ability will serve him well. There was a spate of tiny linebacker articles over this offseason, and this one from The Ringer highlights that Peppers evasion thing:

The key to smaller linebackers surviving in a land of 330-pound giants isn’t taking them on in single combat; it’s anticipating movements to avoid combat altogether.

“Those guys seem to make their living not by getting off blocks, but by never getting blocked,” Snead says. “They’ve got to read things quickly so they can use their deficiency to their advantage.”

There was the occasional indicator that Peppers would be able to continue his uncanny ability to blow past blockers even as space gets constricted. Here he reads the play and simply redirects past a fullback assigned to him:

His explosion is such that he can dart around blockers to the "wrong" side so fast that he makes it right. He makes all that Joe Bolden stuff work, and that'll be key when he is faced with much larger opposition.

We have some evidence what Peppers will look like as a linebacker. He was in the box on scattered snaps. He was kept clean, for the most part, and Peppers showed an ability to read and react. This isn't hard, but we don't have much else to go on:

Against UNLV he lined up as a Jake Ryan-style SAM on the line of scrimmage and did a good job to push the play back inside.

He was used as a blitzer very occasionally, and looked much like he did whilst erasing screen games nationwide. He's fast and brings a load and often comes in too hot to get a clean shot.

If he does get a free run at a blindside target an Oregon State receiver can tell you what the likely outcome is:

Peppers has the potential to force a ton of fumbles.

When Peppers is an actual SAM linebacker and not reprising his hybrid space player role, Plan A is keeping Peppers clean by demanding double teams for the SDE; Plan B is Peppers blowing the minds of linemen and blocky/catchy guys with his ability to do make something conventionally understood to be wrong work for him.

Peppers's coverage is still somewhat in question. He had issues early trying to defend horizontal double moves. That first impression lingered, and then the big bad thing against Penn State hammered it home for a lot of folks:

Peppers was rough early, no question. He was much better at playing press man as an outside corner, where he could set up to the inside and just run with his dude.

He developed over the course of the year. By midseason he was racking up some physical PBUs, usually when he was allowed to set up in press:

He was still a bit iffy in the slot but started making it difficult for guys to get in their routes, and he started making the occasional play in off man. The Penn State debacle is evidence enough that his coverage is still a work in progress, but in this case we really do mean "work in progress" instead of "permanent problem" as people so often do when they deploy that phrase. His improvement should be obvious. He won't be perfect but slot receivers aren't going to get the best of him for much longer.

Peppers also has upside as a safety. He's obviously kind of a big deal in run defense, and his speed allows him to get over the top of deep routes even when he lines up close to the line of scrimmage.

Peppers can and will do a half-dozen different things on D. You'll see him as a SAM, as a nickel, as a strong safety, as a boundary corner as Michigan tries to put out fires and exploit mismatches. Boston College SAM Matt Milano is a good baseline: 60 tackles, 17.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, and 3 PBUs a year ago. Peppers is around the same size and much more athletic. (I have no idea how athletic Matt Milano is and I'm sticking with that assertion.) I'd expect more pass defense stats and not so many TFLs since the DL will eat up their share, but as I said on the other side of the ball his omnipresence should lead to a bunch of stats both ways and a Heisman finalist slot.

[After the JUMP: Jabrill Peppers! Probably!]

Preview 2015: Linebacker

Preview 2015: Linebacker

Submitted by Brian on September 1st, 2015 at 11:17 AM

Previously: Podcast 7.0. The Story. Quarterback. Running Back. Wide Receiver. Tight End And Friends. Offensive Line. Defensive Tackle. Defensive End.

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[Eric Upchurch]

Depth Chart
STRONGSIDE  LB Yr. MIDDLE LB Yr. WEAKSIDE LB Yr.
James Ross Sr. Desmond Morgan Sr.* Joe Bolden Sr.
Allen Gant Jr.* Ben Gedeon Jr. Jared Wangler Fr.*
Jabrill Peppers Fr.* Mike McCray So.* Noah Furbush So.*

This is music to a new defensive coordinator's ear: Michigan sports an all-senior linebacker corps. All have started for multiple years, give or take a hand injury or benching here and there. They've even got a high-quality backup. Senior leadership is out of control, man!

INSIDE LINEBACKER:

RATING: 5

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[Upchurch]

Approximately the fourth-best* thing to happen to the 2015 team's chances over the last year was DESMOND MORGAN breaking his hand after the first game of the season. That didn't have much impact on where 2014 went; it gives this year's team a three-year starter to slot in the Jake Ryan-shaped hole at middle linebacker.

By this point you're probably tired of me extolling Morgan's virtues, and since he didn't do much last year other than fall behind Joe Bolden just long enough for me to eat a lemon this is going to be a rehash.

Morgan is a heady, athletic enough, stick-em tackler who's been yelling at the rest of the front seven to get in the correct spot for a few years now. He is your proverbial quarterback of the defense. That role will probably be lessened this year since the entire front seven consists of upperclassmen, but expect him to thwack Lawrence Marshall and maybe Mo Hurst should the need arise. Mike Spath got a great quote about Morgan's ability in that department:

On U-M's linebackers: "We played them two years ago and the guy that everyone seemed to listen to was [Desmond] Morgan. Those guys are invaluable. Everyone respects them.

"Last year, you didn't hear a lot of talk from the middle linebacker. I don't think Jake Ryan was a talker. He just wanted to do his own thing. He was very good at it, but he wasn't that guy in the middle of a defense that was taking care of the other 10 guys on the field."

When called into duty to make a tackle, he brings the wood.

During the 2014 Minnesota game he uncorked this ridiculous thing where he flew in on a blitz, had to leap over a guy, kept his feet, held up two blockers, and helped stuff a third and short.

When he's not making eye-popping plays he's keeping things going down-to-down. The one glimpse at him we got last year was enough for me to bring out a Picture Pages about Morgan's LB instincts.

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Morgan found himself in a bad stop here, taking on a free releasing lineman in a bunch of space. He popped that OL back; the RB ran into said OL, and Michigan saved some yards.

When Jake Ryan faced the exact same situation later on that drive, he tried to make a spectacular play. His attempt to teleport around that OL was an instinct that served him well as a chaos-sowing SAM linebacker; when moved to MLB that instinct meant he didn't delay the back at all. Instead of six yards, Michigan gave up 11.

That's Morgan in a nutshell. He will hit guys hard and funnel back to his help and drop into his zone. He'll make it difficult for a QB to get a completion on him; he'll make it difficult for a running back to get YAC on him; he'll make it difficult for an OL to stay attached to him. He's not going to turn in Ryan's Tarzan plays, but you don't have to do that to be a great middle linebacker.

As David Harris demonstrated, MLB is a thinking man's spot. Harris was just about flawless with his reads, and his understanding of the game extended to ways to get off blocks without even taking them—one of his trademarks was in effect juking OL by momentarily fighting to one side of a block and then cutting back once the OL took a false step. Morgan had some moments like that a year ago:

Do that consistently and you get to be David Harris too.

Morgan's coverage is good. Very rarely does he vacate big tracts of land, as both Ryan and Bolden were prone to last year. He of course saved Michigan's bacon in the 2013 UConn game (for all the good that did them in the long run) with a leaping spear of an interception. Add it up and you get a 2013 UFR in extended, trying circumstances that looks like a guy who is on the verge of stardom:

Game Opponent + - TOT Note
1 CMU 4 0.5 3.5 Crunch crunch bang bang
2 Notre Dame 7.5 4.5 3 Coped pretty well in coverage. Responsible for both EZ deflections.
3 Akron 6 3.5 2.5 Negative coverage number should be factored in here.
4 UConn 6.5 3.5 3 Saved the game.
5 Minnesota 11 3 8 First real test this year passed easily.
6 Penn State 9.5 4 4.5 Rough start, strong finish.
7 Indiana 4.5 2.5 2 Blitzed effectively.
8 MSU 5.5 4 1.5 Okay.
9 Nebraska 5 4.5 0.5 Blew one TFL big. Otherwise solid.
10 Northwestern 6 5 1 Drawn in by some misdirection.
11 Iowa 1 - 1 Pulled early with injury.

UFR is tough on linebackers, so anything above zero is good. To consistently go over it over the course of a season, generally on heavy usage is very difficult.

The main drawback here is explosiveness. Morgan doesn't rack up TFLs and sacks; he's not great at getting to the quarterback on blitzes. (Run blitzes, on the other hand, he is excellent at, especially on short yardage.) He is not the kind of athlete that is going to make the NFL salivate.

But there are few guys I'd rather have on third and one. Morgan should reprise his 2013 with some incremental improvements. That would make him an All Big Ten level guy even if the lack of fancy stats prevents that from happening in real life.

*[Your top three are Dave Brandon late night email sessions, Harbaugh, and Jake Rudock's transfer.]

[After THE JUMP: seniors are made of leadership]

This Is Not A Drill: Michigan Football Has A Marsupial

This Is Not A Drill: Michigan Football Has A Marsupial

Submitted by Brian on June 26th, 2015 at 10:53 AM

They don't know what kind of marsupial it is.

Go big or go home.... New member of 1401 south state #kangaroo #imnotevenjoking

A photo posted by Wyatt Shallman (@thepeoplesrepublicofshallman) on

The internet helpfully pointed out that keeping wildlife, uh, a gravid marsupial, for uh, you know, domestic…

image

…ain't legal. Also, Mariaklots is correct. That thing is a wallaby. Shane Morris had zoobooks and knows.

No word on the ferret, or which of the many splendiferous names I offered up was eventually chosen. (I have money on Ferret Bo Jackson.)

Unverified Voracity Says Eyes Here

Unverified Voracity Says Eyes Here

Submitted by Brian on June 15th, 2015 at 1:44 PM

Never not funny. Every day is an entertaining day with Harbaugh. Bill Rapai shot the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp for us and returned with this set of photos that were taken within a few minutes of each other. Each one is magnificent. As a set…

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…they are almost a Broadway play.

A titanic clash. You really need to read Zach Shaw's account of the IM softball final between the football and hockey teams.

“The T-shirt means everything to us,” said self-proclaimed team manager and owner Jared Wangler, who redshirted as a freshman linebacker on the football team last fall. “We lost out last year in the semi-finals, and didn’t come back for second place. We’re back with a vengeance.”

Motte, who was once a standout baseball player and teammate with Michigan baseball star Jacob Cronenworth before settling for sophomore forward on the hockey team, was slightly less enthused after the loss.

“To be totally honest, I didn’t know we got T-shirts,” he said.

Good news for a change. Phil Steele's published a ranking of teams based on experience in their two-deep and Michigan is not languishing at the bottom of the list, trying not to get its face punched in. Far from it, in fact:

    Pts SR ST SR 2D JR ST JR 2D SO ST SO 2D FR ST FR 2D
1 Michigan 91 14 9 4 9 4 3 0 1
2 Navy 89 14 6 5 11 3 5 0 0
3 Utah St 87 12 9 7 6 3 6 0 1
4 Air Force 85 9 5 13 11 0 6 0 0
5 S Alabama 83 13 5 6 11 3 3 0 3
6 West Virginia 82 9 8 10 7 3 5 0 2
7 Georgia Southern 81 12 7 8 7 1 5 1 3
8 Utah 80 11 5 6 12 4 4 1 1
8 Akron 80 13 7 5 8 4 1 0 6
10 Troy 79 11 5 9 8 2 6 0 3

(As per usual with Steele if you drill down on the team you know you're going to find a few assumptions that are off or not up to date, but he's broadly accurate.)

That is a combination of Rodriguez's extreme attrition followed by Hoke's almost total lack of same, and would normally bode well. When that team is coming off a coaching change caused by whatever that was last year the route to a good season is less clear; still, a veteran and pretty good defense returns almost everybody, as does the not-so-veteran and maybe-okay offensive line. Skill positions are the big question mark.

This is both true and infuriating to Notre Dame fans. It comes from Brian Kelly:

"I think we recognized that all of my football players are at-risk -- all of them -- really," Kelly told Notre Dame Insider. "Honestly, I don't know that any of our players would get into the school by themselves right now with the academic standards the way they are. Maybe one or two of our players that are on scholarship."

ND Nation reacted to this about as well as Roll Bama Roll reacted to a camp sleeper committing to Michigan, because ND Nation believes that when a student with a 2.5 arrives on campus the magical fairy dust on ND's campus makes them into a Serious Business major.

To its credit, ND does come down much harder on malfeasance than everywhere else. Nobody else suspends five players for a whole season for academic issues, and the kind of things those guys did are at least as common around the country.

More Austin Davis highlights. This appears to be from a camp a few weeks ago:

It's not much; it does look like Davis is getting big and stronk. He has nice footwork around the basket and finishes with both hands; the Jordan Morgan vibe is strong.

Um, okay. Canadian combo guard Jamal Murray is now highly likely to reclassify to 2015. He is looking for a place to play. Michigan has a scholarship. He may visit:

“He visited Kentucky, he just visited Oregon, he’s thinking about visiting Michigan and a couple of others. Will he do that? He’s not sure. Right now, it’s a two-and-a-half horse race, Michigan being the half. If they get the visit, you have to consider them a full-fledged threat."

Murray is a potential one-and-done—Draft Express has him 21st in their 2016 mock draft—who would jam pack the Michigan roster in the same way Jaylen Brown would have. Long way to go before anything comes of that, competing against Kentucky usually doesn't go well, other rosters are probably more attractive in terms of playing time available, etc.

Another hockey exit, this one before an entrance. Michigan lost a recruit to the OHL today: Sam Miletic. Miletic isn't being hyped as an impact player after a 12-15-27 line in 58 USHL games, which is both good and bad.

The good: Miletic wasn't slated for a scoring line as a freshman and Michigan should be able to replace him without a ton of trouble. The bad: Miletic, who dropped out of the final CSB rankings after being listed 192nd—probably undrafted—in the midterms, is exactly the kind of player who should avoid the OHL like the plague. In college he'd have four years to develop and a degree; in the OHL he's going to age out after two and then face a decision between trying to use the OHL's education package (which will cap at two years for him since he's not playing four years in the league) or trying to catch on in the pros somewhere.

In a vacuum this is pretty meh. In an offseason where it seems like anyone with an option is opting out, though…

And now you're nervous again even though it seems like everyone's already left. There was a lot of speculation that the player London was going to announce today was Zach Werenski, the freshman D who is likely to be a top-15 pick. That would be the cherry on the poop sundae that's been this hockey offseason. Why would that speculation exist when Werenski would be nuts to make any move before the draft?

Zach Werenski, a potential top 10 pick, is a perfect example. The Michigan Wolverines defenceman over the weekend admitted that he’s “open” to possibly leaving behind college hockey life for a chance to play major junior.

Development is paramount in a player’s late teens and Werenski’s future NHL team will have great influence on where he’ll be plying his trade during the 2015-16 season.

Werenski said he will not sign off on a transfer before the June 26 draft.

“I was really comfortable (in Michigan) and I had a good year,” the Grosse Point, Mich., native said at the NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo. “I plan on going back as of now.”

So there you go. The tone of this article ("development is paramount") suggests it was written by a juniors honk who badgered Werenski with some leading questions. But that departure is potentially another one on the horizon.

Hockey is officially this offseason's most depressing sport.

On expansion. Eleven Warriors surveys the 14-team Big Ten one year in. I'm mostly in agreement with their take—shortsighted, ham-handed, provides money. I don't think this bit is quite right:

One thing is for sure about Big Ten expansion: it made everyone in the conference a lot of money.

The Big Ten has expanded, and there is more money. I'm sure some of that is because of expansion. How much is an open question. Certainly not as much as the article implies:

In 2009, Big Ten schools each received about $19 million a year from the conference. It was a solid total, second to the SEC in per-school revenue, but not at its max. Adding Nebraska and Rutgers and Maryland to the conference made the Big Ten a whole lot more valuable. …

When the Big Ten signs its next TV deal in 2017, revenue distribution will be at least double what it was in 2009, $45 million or more per school. Ohio State's athletic department has been swimming in money since the move as well.

In terms of relative revenue the Big Ten has not increased its lead. It may have actually lost ground.The Big 12's largest payout in 2009 was $12 million to Kansas. By 2014, full members—of a conference that lost teams—grabbed $23 million. Average payouts were 21.4 million. Those numbers do not include school-specific rights that the larger leagues have bundled into networks. In 2014 the Big Ten distributed about 27 million. The gap is smaller in both percentages and raw numbers than it was five years ago.

The Big Ten is the last conference to have its rights come up and will get a bump to ever-more ludicrous numbers; that was going to happen with or without the two additions. The Big Ten would be swimming in dough either way; any benefit the Big Ten manages to extract from Maryland and Rutgers has zero impact on the ability of its teams to compete in major sports and a panoply of negatives for fans.

Etc.: I'm just talkin' bout Moe Ways. Tyus Battle has to pass on the USA U19 tryouts. Probable return to the court in July. Early signing period is happening for a test-run. Dan Beebe tried to tell 'em. They didn't listen. Caris will be good to go July 1st.

Spring Roster Overanalysis 2015!

Spring Roster Overanalysis 2015!

Submitted by Seth on February 24th, 2015 at 2:03 PM

We get excited about certain things around these parts. Like fun-to-size ratios. And new official rosters with updated weights. We've had 24 hours to parse the Spring data, and with Brian on the road today it's up to me to see how they've grown:

Things of [a Certain Definition of] Interest:

  • Brady Pallante is a fullback
  • Ross Douglas is listed as Ross Taylor-Douglas, and is back at corner
  • Ian Bunting is up to 6'7/243
  • A.J. Williams is up to offensive tackle size (6'6/285)

Weight Gain/Loss 2000

A reminder of internet policy on weight changes: all weight gain is muscle fiber, all weight lost was fat, and all static weight means fat was replaced with muscle fiber. I've highlighted things discussed after.

Player '11 '12 '13 S'14 F'14 Sp'15 '11- '12 '12-'13 '13-'14 '14- 15

Quarterbacks

Shane Morris     202 202 204 209     2 5
Wilton Speight       230 234 235       1
Alex Malzone           218       N/A

Running Back

Derrick Green     240 227 220 234     -20 14
DeVeon Smith     224 223 220 228     -4 8
Drake Johnson   203 213 212 211 207   10 -2 -4
Ty Isaac         225 240       15

Fullback & Tight End

Joe Kerridge     238 247 244 249     6 5
Sione Houma   221 231 240 242 243   10 11 1
Wyatt Shallman     237 243 239 244     2 5
Brady Pallante         263 276       13
A.J. Williams   282 265 263 260 285   -17 -5 25
Jake Butt     237 250 249 248     12 -1
Khalid Hill     258 255 252 252     -6 0
Ian Bunting         227 243       16

Wide Receiver

Amara Darboh   218 212 214 211 216   -6 -1 5
Jehu Chesson   183 196 195 197 207   13 1 10
Dennis Norfleet   170 169 167 169 168   -1 0 -1
Freddy Canteen       170 176 185       9
Da'Mario Jones     192 198 196 199     4 3
Jaron Dukes     190 200 197 204     7 7
Maurice Ways         195 205       10
Drake Harris       180 176 174       -2
Brian Cole           200       N/A

Offensive Line

Jack Miller 263 287 290 297 299 297 24 3 9 -2
Patrick Kugler     287 295 299 297     12 -2
Graham Glasgow     303 308 311 303     8 -8
Kyle Kalis   292 302 304 298 292   10 -4 -6
David Dawson     297 295 296 309     -1 13
Dan Samuelson     283 282 292 289     9 -3
Ben Braden   299 318 319 322 331   19 4 9
Mason Cole       275 292 287       -5
Erik Magnuson   290 285 295 294 296   -5 9 2
Blake Bars   282 291 290 294 281   9 3 -13
Chris Fox     338 310 309 303     -29 -6
L. Tuley-Tillman     300 290 290 309     -10 19
J. Bushell-Beatty         319 319       0

Defensive Line

Ryan Glasgow   294 300 300 296 297   6 0 -4
Bryan Mone       315 312 325       13
Ondre Pipkins   337 315 313 306 317   -22 -9 11
Willie Henry   302 306 297 293 311   4 -13 18
Matthew Godin   270 280 283 286 287   10 6 1
Maurice Hurst Jr.     270 277 282 281     12 -1
Chris Wormley   268 289 292 295 300   21 6 5
Taco Charlton     270 275 275 273     5 -2
Tom Strobel   250 265 268 268 270   15 3 2
Henry Poggi     260 271 270 273     10 3
Mario Ojemudia   223 250 250 251 252   27 1 1
Lawrence Marshall         241 238       -3

Linebacker

Desmond Morgan 220 230 228 232 232 236 10 -2 4 4
James Ross   225 220 225 227 232   -5 7 5
Joe Bolden   230 225 225 231 232   -5 6 1
R. Jenkins-Stone   206 225 221 234 240   19 9 6
Allen Gant   196 212 222 223 225   16 11 2
Ben Gedeon     236 236 240 241     4 1
Mike McCray     237 242 241 242     4 1
Chase Winovich         220 227       7
Noah Furbush         210 217       7
Jared Wangler         219 230       11

Safety

Jarrod Wilson   190 200 202 205 210   10 5 5
Delano Hill     205 205 205 204     0 -1
Dymonte Thomas     190 191 193 191   0 3 -2
Jeremy Clark   191 205 206 205 205   14 0 0
Jabrill Peppers         202 205       3

Cornerback

Blake Countess 176 182 182 183 180 185 6 0 -2 5
Jourdan Lewis     170 174 175 176     5 1
Terry Richardson   154 167 172 170 174   13 3 4
Ross Douglas     176 186 189 186     13 -3
Reon Dawson     170 178 178 175     8 -3
Brandon Watson       185 188 189       1
Channing Stribling     171 176 178 178     7 0

[Hit the jump for discussion on this and other bits I could glean.]

Monday Presser 11-17-14: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser 11-17-14: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 17th, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Hoke presser 2

file

News bullets and other items:

  • Hoke said that domestic violence is one of the first things they talk about in team meetings at the beginning of the year and they talk to the team about it at least four times per year
  • Hoke said after they had received all the necessary information the decision to dismiss Frank Clark from the program essentially made itself
  • Hoke has not spoken with Clark but does plan to speak with him at some point
  • Mario Ojemudia will start at WDE with Taco Charlton behind him
  • Henry Poggi moves to SDE to back up Brennen Beyer

Opening remarks:

"Obviously you all know and we put a statement out, I put a statement out, let's put it that way, we had a situation during the bye week with a young man making a bad decision and after getting all the facts that we could get and I could get I made the decision to dismiss Frank Clark from the program. What was reported and all those things, and I'm sure you've been through it with a fine-tooth comb, was unacceptable and it was not what we want here associated with our program. I know in the statement I talked about it being tragic and domestic abuse is tragic. It's tragic on a national scale. It's tragic. Obviously it's somewhere in our society and we all need to do something about it, and being a husband and being a father [and] having two sisters it's a message that I send strongly to our football team about how we will handle ourselves with women.
"That being said we're excited about Saturday. We're excited about playing Maryland, and the biggest excitement is that we've got 12 kids who are going to play their last home football game here at Michigan. We have 12 seniors. Two of them will have graduated. One of them will have his masters. The others will graduate either this fall at the end of fall or at the end of winter and we're very proud of what they've done representing the University of Michigan, and hopefully people will be in the stadium early so they can be honored and then we've got a great football game with Maryland."

Maryland on film, especially defensively: what have you seen from them?
"Well, they do a lot and they've got a pretty big package, especially when you get into third downs. They've done a nice job of attacking the quarterback. I think they are one sack above us in the league when you look at it from a defensive standpoint. I think they run very well [and] I think they obviously if you watched Saturday night's game, which I know I did, that game was a heckuva game for a little while and then kind of got out of hand with the interception for a touchdown. But they're very impressive with what they can do. I think they've won three or four games on the road so they've played well on the road also."

In light of how big an issue domestic violence has been mostly in the NFL this year have you spoken to the team before this weekend about that issue specifically?
"We speak about it constantly. Believe me, at least four times a year. We have people from the University come in. I've told our guys since day one that it won't be tolerated. It won't be tolerated in this program. All you have to do is think about I have a daughter who's 29. I have a wife. I have two sisters, And so that's always been probably one of the first things I talk about with our team least a couple times a year."
You probably just answered that, but did the current climate with how big this issue has been influence how quickly you guys made a decision?
"No, it really didn't. The decision was made after getting all the information that we could and that I could, and in doing that there really was no decision to be made. I don't know if that sounded right but…"

[After THE JUMP: More on the Clark situation and young players who impressed in the intrasquad scrimmage]

2014 Recruiting: Jared Wangler

2014 Recruiting: Jared Wangler

Submitted by Brian on May 9th, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Previously: Last year's profiles, CB Brandon Watson, CB Jabrill Peppers.

       
Warren, MI – 6'1", 225
       

1247692[1]

Scout 3*, NR overall
#53 OLB
Rivals 3*, NR overall
NR OLB, #17 MI
ESPN 3*, NR overall
#71 OLB, #13 MI
24/7 3*, NR overall
#34 S, #6 MI
Other Suitors PSU (decommit), MSU, LSU
YMRMFSPA Jordan Kovacs, except a linebacker
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from Ace.
Notes Warren DLS(Shane Morris). Son of John Wangler, brother of Jack.

Film

Midseason senior highlights:

Junior:

Whiplash time in this series as we swing from the highest-rated Michigan recruit in the history of recruits being ranked to one of the few guys in the class who qualifies for sleeper of the year consideration. (Note: the criteria here has expanded to allow one four-star rating from the four services, because there are very few candidates these days if you restrict yourself to pure three-stars.) OLB Jared Wangler is of course the son of John Wangler and brother of walk-on WR Jack, so when Michigan came calling it took him about a week to dump his Penn State commitment and sign on.

Despite the low rankings, Wangler has a few different indicators in his favor. A Penn State offer is nice; Wangler also had an MSU offer and an apparently legit offer from LSU. While that latter was undoubtedly influenced by Les Miles's relationship with the elder Wangler, it seemed to be a real thing($). Wangler was also selected to the UA game, though he missed it after shoulder surgery.

If those things are odd for a guy it appears no one even considered for a fourth star, well... yeah. There is something of a disconnect between those rankings and his scouting reports, too. ESPN's main downside is a need to add bulk, and opposite that you have these diverse and sundry positives($):

Demonstrates very good range to the sideline. Takes proper angles when in long pursuit showing the ability to open the hips to turn and run. ... Reacts quickly to the run and pass demonstrating the agility and balance needed to move through traffic and play downhill to the football. ... tough customer with solid wrap tackling skills and is a finisher who doesn't allow leaky yards after contact. ... relentless desire to chase down the football ...

We see very good underneath zone coverage skills. Displays the athleticism needed to cross over for depth with eyes on the quarterback and shows good short-to-medium route awareness along with high point interception skills. The ability to make tight turns along with his playing speed suggests man coverage potential. ... athleticism should prove very effective as an outside linebacker at the BCS level of competition.

So naturally they followed that report up by ranking Wangler several spots behind a dude going to Georgia State and a 5'10" dude with crazy eyes headed to Colorado. He did edge bros headed to Chattanooga and Albany, though. So he's got that going for him.

Allen Trieu has a similar take, calling Wangler a "very good athlete" and noting his ability to cover over the slot:

... often asked to play over the slot and drop into coverage. ... He does a nice job of taking on blockers and when he arrives at the ball carrier, he's a strong tackler who can deliver a strike. He's a smart, instinctive kid who keeps himself in good position, doesn't lose contain and does a good job of diagnosing plays quickly and using his ability to run to get to the ball carrier.

Trieu listed "athleticism," "hitting ability," and "pass coverage skills" as strengths in his Scout profile with "shedding ability" as an area for improvement--was really hoping for size there--and echoing his coverage praise:

Is able to play over the slot and does a nice job in coverage, both in man to man and dropping into zones. Has good closing speed to the football and is a good striker who explodes into his tackles. Having just transitioned into playing in the box, he simply has to continue to get stronger and work on getting off blocks.

247's Clint Brewster joins the "this guy can really cover" chorus:

...smart, tough, and plays with good technique at the outside linebacker position. He excels in the open field and does an outstanding job in coverage. .... Wangler has an instinctive and quick first step and made a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Wangler’s talent level doesn’t really pop out at you but he is solid in just about every area of the position. ...fluid and fast enough that he's often asked to line up over the slot and handle quick coverage responsibilities.

And his dad is not an unbiased observer but what the hell let's get his two cents:

"He's around the ball, has great ball skills. He'll hit you, and always when he hit, you knew you were hit. But he can move, too. The good thing everyone likes is he's 215 pounds, and he can get up to 230 easy because of his frame. He can cover, too, because he's a converted safety. He can take the slot guys, has the versatility to come off the end and blitz, take on a fullback or a guard and make a play."

So what's the deal with the rankings? The catch here appears to be the "if you can't say something nice..." nature of the recruiting industrial complex. When Wangler hit camps he'd usually get a brief mention along the lines of "good in coverage against running backs" or "underrated athleticism" before folks moved along to other prospects that jumped off the field more. Brewster touches on Wangler's general lack of wow factor in the "improvements" section of his eval:

Wangler isn’t the most talented player out there but makes up with for it being solid in most areas of the position. He has average size with pretty good athleticism but not great overall speed.

In a generally positive live evaluation, Rivals's Tim Sullivan noted his "impressive athleticism" one paragraph before stating that Wangler will never be the biggest or fastest linebacker on the field. His scouting is full of this kind of schizophrenia. Josh Helmholdt mentioned his "great speed to go with his coverage skills," for instance. Even his coach has a bit of hesitation to him sometimes:

"He'll come up and hit you. He's got good enough agility to make some plays in the open field."

It kind of feels like analysts say these things in the same way they say Nik Stauskas is not just a shooter, you know?

Wangler is a high school safety Michigan plans on moving down to linebacker; I bet one dollar that Michigan envisions him as one of those hybrid space players. Michigan's move to an over defense clarifies a lot of weird things we heard about his recruitment, like the thing he kept saying about how the coaches saw him as a SAM or a WILL.

Those are two entirely different positions in the under. They're still pretty different in the over, but it seems clear the meaning there was "if we become an over defense you are a SAM; if we stick with the under you are a WILL. " This is a fit that Magnus foresaw:

For him to fit at SAM, I think he would have to play in a 4-3 Over defense, where he could cover the tight end and play in the C gap. As for the WILL position, I think Wangler has the mental aptitude but not the speed; he diagnoses the plays quickly, but I think he'll be too slow to slice into the backfield or beat Big Ten running backs to the hole.

So for now he is a SAM, one who can hopefully cover a tight end and defeat his blocks. Sullivan caught him in person a couple times and believes this is the plan:

...has a linebacker's mentality at the safety position. Although he's the size of a safety at this point, he has the frame to grow into linebacker at the next level - which Michigan coaches expect him to do.

FWIW, he told Rivals in January he was up to 225, which means he could hit fall camp at 230 or even 235, which is already in the plausible range for playing time. Michigan should not need him, but that does not stop them from playing guys all that often.

Etc.: Daily profile. Interview with the D Zone.

Why Jordan Kovacs? Kovacs was always the world's best tiny linebacker even if he was pressed into duty deeper due to his ability to actually do the things a safety is supposed to do. Wangler appears to fill the tough tacklin', awareness havin', tight end lockin' role that Kovacs generally did.

Wangler's obviously bigger and will move closer to the line of scrimmage; he probably cannot be as utterly reliable as Michigan's best safety blanket in a decade and a half, but kid is from a football family, and is a legacy like Kovacs.

Other option here is Michigan's best and really only space linebacker in the past decade or so: Stevie Brown. Brown came with top-100 guru rankings and high praise for his athleticism that was not of the Not Just A Shooter variety, though, and struggled for most of his career to apply that athleticism in a positive way. Kovacs is closer.

Guru Reliability: High-ish. Was relatively prominent for a couple years, attended a number of camps, and there is approximate consensus. Did not get to show his wares at the UA game, though, and his offers dispute he rankings.

Variance: Moderate. Position switch doesn't really bother me since it is a move down, and it seems like he's already approaching a plausible playing weight. But it is a position move and he is a tweener.

Ceiling: Moderate-plus. He can be an effective presence in the slot and a glue guy between front seven and secondary. Probably not going to blow you away with his rippling awesomeness.

General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. I like adding LB/S tweeners in this era of college football who can shift between hunting slot receivers and still put a shoulder to a tailback and make him stop. Wangler's got a number of reasons to think he'll outperform his middling rankings, as well.

Projection: It doesn't seem like there's a reason to play any freshman linebacker this year what with Michigan possessing a solid, veteran two-deep that has a couple of special teams options further down the depth chart in McCray and Gant... but a couple probably will. It doesn't seem like Wangler will be one of them, what with Ferns enrolling early and Michigan pretty well stocked on slot options what with Countess and the previous guy in this series.

After a probable redshirt, James Ross will have one more year before a free-for-all for the starting SAM job develops between Wangler, Allen Gant, and possibly Chase Winovich or Mike McCray, depending on how those guys develop. Dymonte Thomas may even be a candidate there if he does not win a safety job, at least in nickel packages. Wangler has an excellent shot of at least finding a role then, as it's doubtful Winovich or McCray will be able to approximate Wangler's cover skills. Gant, another converted safety, will provide a challenge.

Even so Wangler should have a three-year run as some sort of contributor and seems to have a good chance to start as a heady effort guy who is built to eliminate tight ends and tailbacks against teams who spread the field.

Team 135's Fresh Faces

Team 135's Fresh Faces

Submitted by Brandon Brown on February 5th, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Schembechler Hall will be buzzing all morning as National Letter’s of Intent arrive in the football offices via fax machine. Team 135 plans to add nine new members as the remaining verbal commits make it official and put pen to paper.

We checked in with each of them last night:

CB Jabrill Peppers – Paramus Catholic High School – Paramus, NJ

With coaches trying to persuade Peppers away from the Wolverines into the eve of National Signing Day I wasn’t surprised that Jabrill didn’t respond to me, but I think his tweet was enough to put Wolverine fans at ease about his final decision.

Paramus Catholic is closed due to heavy snowfall but according to TomVH, Jabrill plans to sign his letter of intent anyway with the actual celebratory ceremony being moved to Thursday.

DE Lawrence Marshall – Southfield High School – Southfield, MI

Marshall’s recruitment was one of the more eventful processes in the class with an initial commitment to the Buckeyes followed by a decommitment and then a presumed new commitment to Michigan State which never happened, only to actually wind up a Wolverine.

Marshall had a simple yet heartfelt message about tomorrow, “Man, I just can’t wait to be a Wolverine.” Marshall will sign his letter of intent at Southfield High School at 9:30 a.m., followed by a 3 o’clock interview with Sam Webb, and finally another commitment ceremony at 6 p.m.

LB Chase Winovich – Thomas Jefferson High School – Clairton, PA

Long thought to be a Buckeye lean, Winovich decided to pledge to the Wolverines on the first day of June last summer. Last night Winovich sent some people into a frenzy when he cryptically tweeted, “Decisions, decisions, decisions.”

I asked Chase about that and he said with a laugh, “That was just to rouse everyone out. Figured I’d have some fun with a situation that is obviously very serious.” He confirmed that he was all Michigan shortly after that. “Just need to let the committee of sleep do the rest of the shoring up tonight.” Winovich is a different kind of cat and his comments didn’t change that perception.

TE Ian Bunting – Hinsdale Central High School – Hinsdale, IL

A lot of people are enamored with a 6’7” tight end who played mostly wide receiver in high school. Ian Bunting is just that and will be another big target for future Michigan quarterbacks to throw to. Ian could barely contain his excitement about tomorrow.

“I can’t wait! Today went by really slowly. I’m excited to start this new chapter and I’m proud to be a part of the Michigan family and Team 135.”

Bunting will sign his letter of intent at 7:15 a.m. and the plan is to fax them immediately after. Once the paperwork is done Bunting knows that he’s still several months away from being in Ann Arbor. “I plan to do a lot of lifting and yoga. I’m going to start lifting a lot once basketball is over and doing a lot of yoga to get in tip-top shape. Other than that, I’m just going to enjoy the rest of my senior year with all of my friends and family.”

OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty – Paramus Catholic High School – Paramus, NJ

While maybe not as famous as his Paramus teammate Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty reeled in some very solid offers before committing to Michigan almost a year ago. JBB expressed his readiness for National Signing Day.

“I’m excited! It’s been almost a year now waiting for this day. Being able to finally solidify this is going to be great. It just motivates me more to be great.” Juwann was actually the one who told me of Paramus being out of school due to the snowstorm and the rescheduling of his signing ceremony. Even with school being cancelled Juwann plans to sign his letter early and get it sent in around 8 or 9.

WR Moe Ways – Detroit Country Day School – Franklin, MI

Out of all of the prospects I’ve ever talked to, Moe Ways might’ve been the one who seemed to want to be a Michigan Man more than anyone else. He reinforced that notion when I asked him about signing his letter. “Man I’m just so blessed and excited to make everything official and officially become a Michigan Man and Wolverine.” Moe will sign his letter around noon and then will celebrate the rest of the day with his family.

LB Noah Furbush – Kenton High School – Kenton, OH

Furbush is one of the very few recruits I’ve never had any actual contact with. He has managed to stay under the radar and out of the spotlight throughout his entire recruitment and even when he committed there weren’t many fireworks involved. He comes in at almost 250 lbs. and people who have seen him play in person and know his body type suspect he’ll play with his hand in the dirt at some point in college.

S Jared Wangler – De La Salle Collegiate – Warren, MI

Son of legendary Michigan quarterback Johnny Wangler, Jared Wangler was once committed to Penn State but once the Wolverines came a’callin’ it was inevitable that he’d be part of this class. As you’d expect his final decision is one that holds a special place in his heart for obvious reasons. “It’s an indescribable feeling. It’s been my dream since I was a little kid. I’m excited to officially become a Michigan Wolverine.”

Wangler actually has a busy morning scheduled before his letter will be signed. He’s got a 5 a.m. wake-up planned in order to play in his intramural basketball game at 6 a.m. at DLS. After hoopin’ he’ll head home to clean up and prepare for his 9 a.m. signing ceremony. I asked Jared if anything noteworthy happened during his recruitment from other coaching staffs and he had a rather interesting reply. “It was pretty funny that Bill O’Brien swore to me that he’d be at Penn State for all of my four years.” Yeah…about that.

DT Brady Pallante – Barron Collier High School – Naples, FL

Not everyone was a fan of the Brady Pallante commitment, but when a guy is almost a clone size and story-wise of Mike Martin, I’d say let’s at least give him a chance first. Given the fact that Pallante was first thought of as a greyshirt commit, his emotion toward tomorrow was easily detected. “I’m truly blessed to have this opportunity. Not many people can say they’re going to college on a full ride. Honestly, I’m still amazed at the opportunity I was given.” Pallante will sign his letter first thing in the morning and plans to have it faxed by 7:30 a.m.

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

Of course the elephant in the room is the decision of DL Malik McDowell. I personally don’t think he’s choosing Michigan and I haven’t in a long time. It’s been made pretty clear that Malik himself wants to go to Michigan State, but his parents don’t want him in East Lansing. Does that mean they’ll keep him in-state and he’ll go Blue? I don’t think so, but I honestly don’t know. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised by him choosing any of his four finalists. McDowell will be a Wolverine, a Spartan, a Seminole, or a Buckeye and at this point your guess is as good as anyone’s.

Finally, will there be any Norfleet-like surprises on signing day this year? I haven’t heard anything but when I asked that exact question to one of the coaches, he replied with “You never know.” Coach speak? Really not knowing? Hoping? We shall see.