What, you couldn't get Ginuwine? Swoons are in order!
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 6, 2017
No, you're only embedding this so you can use the "Jim Harbaugh's sick beats" tag.
A Michigan soccer blog. Early days for Michigan Soccer Now, but if you've been frustrated that we don't cover M soccer much since it overlaps with football, they're off to a promising start. Here's a roster overview for the upcoming season.
Get ready for a lot of Fox. I'm still a little leery of FOX broadcasting a bunch of Big Ten games because their coverage feels somehow wrong. I can't explain why. They've cut back on the robots and band shots but it doesn't feel that college-y, I guess?
It matters not, we will be watching it this fall:
Fox and FS1 will be the home of 24 – 27 football games, nine of which will be aired in primetime. Fox will air the football championship game every season.
You’ll see 39-47 men’s basketball games on Fox/FS1 with as many as ten aired on Fox.
Fox will have the first priority of games for much of the football season, although ESPN will get first pick in some weeks. It means you’ll see games like Ohio State-Michigan on Fox rather on ABC.
Michigan is going to be a first pick many weeks. If that means we get Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt or anybody and Spielman I'm totally cool with that.
Metagame moves. Ian Boyd on "confuse and clobber," which is a pretty good name for Harbaugh's approach even if he's not talking about Michigan directly in this piece except when he's referencing Michigan's comical lack of preparation back during the Horror. The bit relevant to the modern day:
The main idea with this style of offense is to use a variety of formations, sweeps, and multiple ball carriers to obscure the fact that the offense is ultimately just blocking a few base run schemes and to provide easy constraints for the offense to punish the defense with. Rather than using the option, the spread, or the passing game to protect the base runs the offense uses confusion.
Maximizing a market inefficiency
It used to be that when people thought about prototypical football players they thought of guys like running backs and fullbacks. Elite, physical runners and big, burly blockers who lived for the contact of the game. But nowadays the game is increasingly dominated by QBs that can process and make decisions under fire and then deliver the ball down the field through the air to receivers who are processing and making decisions on the fly.
It’s not too terribly difficult for a program like Appalachian State or NC State to load up with multiple solid running backs, nor to find blocking fullbacks and tight ends. It’s even possible to find really good ones because they no longer have as much value at the bigger universities that are only looking for TEs that can run routes.
There could probably be some advantage gained by recruiting good tailbacks and then using something like the I-formation, which is no longer common at all, to feed them the ball. That and great defense is more or less how San Diego State has been winning the Mountain West the last few years. However, that’s not what these teams are doing. Instead they’re utilizing even more old school sets like the old Wing-T combined with modern shotgun, pistol, and spread-option tactics to feature multiple ballcarriers at the same time.
Michigan hasn't been going as far as the schools mentioned in this piece, but they've shown little bits and pieces. This was more prominent last year when the T-formation showed up against Maryland and the second ballcarrier was a fullback taking a trap 30 yards; last year the relative unsuitability of the fullbacks meant that on anything except a one yard dive there was only one potential ballcarrier.
I'll be interested to see if that changes this year. The current vibe is that Michigan's going to look like more of a passing spread, but the versatility of Evans and Isaac—while still currently hypothetical—gives them some options to have two potential ballcarriers on the field simultaneously without removing the possibility of having four efficient receivers in the pattern.
Somewhat boring anonymous coach quotes. SI surveys rivals about the top 25 teams and gets a rather tepid set of responses for Michigan. The most interesting bit is further confirmation that Don Brown will get after you:
They’re so aggressive on defense, whether they’re playing man coverage or in their zone packages and third-down stuff. Don Brown is the most aggressive defensive coordinator I’ve seen in a long time. That system has worked for him for 25 years and he keeps tweaking. Now he’s got a lot of high-level talent and depth. You can get some chunk plays against them because of all the man coverage, but you’ve got to finish drives. They’re stingy in the red zone.
This year will be an acid test for the secondary and Brown's approach. Also in things you already knew stated anonymously, Rashan Gary "will be an All-American."
That is good. John Beilein gets shots up. They are good shots:
Ridiculous stat of the day in CBB: Michigan made 77.4 percent of its shots at the rim last season. Can’t remember a number that high.
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) August 15, 2017
That's good news! The bad news: they only got 23% their shots there, which was 346th nationally. They finished with the 7th-highest eFG%, though, so we'll let it slide.
Jabrill Peppers says handling summer grind is habit. "I was fortunate to have Harbaugh as my coach. There's nothing I wasn't prepared for."
— Steve Doerschuk (@sdoerschukREP) August 8, 2017
Jabrill is good. Surprise. The Ringer talks to Jabrill Peppers about his weirdly insulting draft process:
He said that “88 percent” of teams hammered him for playing too many positions in his college career and not playing his eventual NFL position—safety—enough. (For his part, Peppers said he doesn’t regret where he played because his Wolverines won a lot of games during his tenure.) A typical conversation with teams during predraft meetings, Peppers told me, went like this: “They said, ‘You do everything. You’re here, you’re here, you’re here. We’re going to play you at one position. How can we be sure that you’re going to master this position?’”
You'd think they'd ask Harbaugh about that, and Harbaugh would have sworn up and down that Peppers would pick it all up. He had one year in Don Brown's system and played both safety and SAM. I mean, cumong man.
A couple corrections to the Florida suspensions. When I posted about the seven guys who will miss the Michigan game I said they wouldn't be impactful outside of Antonio Callaway. Florida's 24/7 site has some additional details. Kadeem Telfort was apparently in the two deep:
Telfort was one of the players that Florida was hoping it could rely on as a key backup at tackle after he enrolled early this spring. He had put together a decent start to fall camp and appeared to be the next guy up at tackle. …Florida's fine if it can stay healthy at tackle against Michigan. If not? Things get dicey very, very quickly.
And don't expect there to be much impact on UF's DE play:
The good news is defensive end is Florida's deepest position. CeCe Jefferson, Jachai Polite and Jabari Zuniga have been three standouts on the edge, while Antonneous Clayton has also shown promising signs of development.
The right tackle gets thrown into the fire against those dudes.
Quinn Hughes is going to be good. A friend has been taking in the USA WJC camp currently going on in Plymouth and reports back that Hughes already looks like a first-pairing defensemen for them. Michigan Hockey Now interviewed him:
The coaches have certainly noticed his skating abilities – “yeah, I think I’ve always been a pretty good skater” – and his comfort level in all three zones. The fact that he grew up playing forward certainly didn’t hurt.
“I was a forward until I was 13,” Hughes said. “Just because my dad was a D and everyone in my family was a D, so I just wanted to be a D. That’s why.” …
“I think everyone says bigger and stronger, that’s what everyone says, but just get better at everything,” Hughes said. “Even work on my academics – I’m going there as a student-athlete, so to work on my academics as well. I think just overall as a person, as a hockey player, just get better at everything I can.”
So did NHL.com:
Despite being one of the younger players for the U.S., he's had little problem keeping up with the pace. His effortless skating and poise with the puck has been obvious, and he's also played well defensively.
"Definitely the first couple shifts the first game you have to get into it," Hughes said. "By now everyone is pretty much caught up. I feel like I've played really good competition [last season] so it feels kind of the same thing." …
With the U.S. looking to replace No. 1 defenseman Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins), Hughes could be in line to absorb some of his ice time.
"Offensively absolutely," U.S. coach Bob Motzko said. "Right now we don't have any concerns. The snapshot we have from this week, we're very excited."
He will instantly be the #1 PP QB and probably on the top pairing. Looking forward to it.
Etc.: John Niyo on Michigan's revamped staff. BHGP on the Deadspin SBN thing. Jane Coaston on Colin Kaepernick. Am I a bad person if support NJ.com's petulant FOIA of Michigan's roster? The Stephen A Smith tweets in repose. I did not realize this was an Onion article for about 15 seconds. Coach paranoia is fun.