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

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

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

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[courtesy Yasmeen Alcindor]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outback Bowl Teleconference: Jim Harbaugh

Outback Bowl Teleconference: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 4th, 2017 at 10:00 AM

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[Fuller]

“Yeah, on behalf of the 2017 Michigan Wolverines football team and the University of Michigan, we’re excited as heck to be coming down to the Outback Bowl. We all have—most of us, anyway, on the team—friends and family in Florida. We are excited about the competition in South Carolina and… hard football team. Been watching them a little bit and they’re tough. They’re really well coached.

“We’re excited about the New Year’s Day game on January 1st. I think it’s gonna be one of the most exciting January 1st lineup of bowl games that I’ve ever seen, so excited to be part of it and can’t wait. Know it’s going to be a lot of preparation our team will take up, get underway here this week.

“We know we’ve got to be better and that starts today and having a great matchup against South Carolina really helps motivate us to do that.”

What’s your reaction to the Big Ten getting shut out of the playoff this year and the decision to go with Alabama over Ohio State?

“My reaction is there should be more than four teams in the playoffs. Again, just to reiterate, eight teams, 12 teams, 16 teams—16 would ideal to be in the playoffs. It would make us more like every other spot, every other collegiate sport that has a playoff, every league in sports that has a playoff and a championship that does it through a playoff format.
“FCS, I mean, they have that format. It’s been in place. I think it’s up to 24 teams now and at that level I think it’s the ideal way to do it, so that’s my first reaction.”

I know you always talk about bowl practices as a way to catapult the team into next season but how much are you guys looking at this bowl game as more of maybe a way to validate the season for yourselves? There were a lot of variables this year: some injuries, three quarterbacks. How much are you looking at this game as kind of more just a validation of this season rather so much than catapulting into next season?

“I’d say both, Adam. Really building and attacking at the same time. This season and next season all at the same time. It’s both.”

If I could follow up real quick, just a few weeks or actually about a month or so of bowl preparation. How much more are you looking to see out of you team going into this bowl game. Is there another level that you feel you can reach that you haven’t reached in the regular season?

“Absolutely. We look at it right now, we’re not good enough. Not good enough to win all our games and we need to be better. We need to be good enough, and that starts now. That starts now, today. That started—well, really started last week, you know, as we go forward building and attacking, using our meeting time, using our training time, using our practice time, [and] this next ball game all to motivate us and improve as a football team.”

[After THE JUMP: Peters’ status (wrt the concussion and otherwise), Speight’s transfer, a Tarik Black update, and a discussion about better redshirt rules]

Monday Presser 8-28-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 8-28-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on August 28th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Upchurch]

“Hello. Thanks for coming out to Schembechler Hall.”

Can you talk about the two guys that were selected as captains and what you think their teammates saw in them that put them there?

“Yeah, first of all, it was a really good group. We looked at the seniors and the fifth-year players who could be elected captain and put it up there on the wall, on the screen. Really good leaders in that group so felt like we’d get two really good captains. We voted and we did: Mason Cole on offense, Mike McCray on defense. Both “Go Blue” guys, both poised to have big years, both starting players, both very good players at the highest level, so excited about both of our captains.

“And, as I said before, all of our seniors, our leaders, the way the leadership group is coming together.”

Are you ready to announce who is starting at quarterback?

“Have not heard Florida announce who their starting quarterback will be and we would love to have that information.”

Is that a no?

“So, uh, no, we’re not announcing our starting quarterback. As I said before, people make a big deal about our roster or not announcing a starting quarterback; I’m not seeing a starting quarterback—I haven’t seen the starting quarterback come out at Florida but never any mention of that. Very interesting. But yes, we would like to have that information from them. I’m sure they’d like to have it from us and right now neither is giving that information.”

This is typical [in that] you normally don’t name a quarterback early. Do you have a certain philosophy as to why that’s the case?

“Well, it’s been that the philosophy is it’s a meritocracy and competition is healthy and fair and productive. It’s been very good. As I said, it’s been a good camp for our quarterbacks and we feel confident in our guys. We believe in them.”

Obviously you don’t want to tell us but do you have a plan in mind? Do those guys know who’s going to be in at quarterback heading into game week at this point?

“We’re, uh, working on it, yes. It’s been formulated and we’ve communicated it.”

[After THE JUMP: a more focused offensive line, one surefire starter at corner, Florida standouts, and the deputization of leadership]

Big Ten Media Days Presser 7-25-17: Jim Harbaugh

Big Ten Media Days Presser 7-25-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on July 26th, 2017 at 10:00 AM

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[Isaiah Hole/247 Sports]

I wasn’t there but I figured this would make for a good workday read since it took place during a workday. Have at it, you transcription junkie.

“Good afternoon. Wonderful to be here. Gotta come from behind the curtain. Can’t enter from in front of the curtain, apparently. I can take questions.”

Your team took a trip to Rome in April where they practiced and had many unique experiences mixed in. You said about the trip that it was the best thing you’ve been a part of on a football team and that not all learning is done in the classroom and not all learning is done on the football field. After this season you plan on taking a team trip to Paris, Normandy, and London. My question is can you expound on why the Rome trip was valuable and why trips in the future will be valuable to your football team?

“Yes. It’s just incredible to connect with somebody from a different country, to see something that you’ve never seen before, taste food that you’ve never tasted or hear a language that you’ve never heard and then experience it as a team, like eighth grade classes that go to Washington D.C. for a field trip or a twelfth grade class the goes to Rome, much like that.

“To be able to experience it as a group makes it so much better, 900x better, because you’re getting not only your own experience but everyone in the group’s and it’s a chance to put the ‘college’ back in ‘college football.’ It’s a chance to have the whole world be your classroom. Not all learning is done in a classroom or on a football field. It’s out there living, out there seeing and doing. I would recommend it because it has bee the best thing that I’ve ever done personally as a part of a football team.”

Could you talk about Rashan Gary? I can’t recall any D-lineman at Michigan having this much preseason hype since LaMarr Woodley. Talk about how Rashan has handled that and how high the ceiling is for this young man.

“Thank you, yes. Very interesting to see how Rashan has handled it. To me, I’ve watched it—was one of the top recruits, maybe the top recruit coming out of high school. He’s had a lot of hype. He’s had a lot of adulation. You know, there’s some people that that’s what they live for. They live for that approval of others and to be recognized as a hyped-up player and then there’s other people that they see that hype or that adulation and they go by it like it’s a cone, an orange cone, on the side of the road.

“There’s some people that are just aspiring to greater things than just the adulation of somebody, and I think Rashan is that type of guy. You really like him. He really doesn’t care too much about that. He’s gone by it like it’s a cone, an orange cone, on the side of the road. He just works, and I really think competing is his favorite thing to do. And he has the license and ability to be great, to be really good. I don’t know what more to say about that.”

[After THE JUMP: thoughts on every class, dropping two-a-days, how long it takes to find a starting QB, and tapping a losing streak for motivation]

Unverified Voracity Hires Guys On The Spot

Unverified Voracity Hires Guys On The Spot

Submitted by Brian on March 30th, 2017 at 1:49 PM

The first of more than a few planeteam retrospectives. From BTN:

From the blog world, Hoover Street Rag probably has an aero engineer on staff and so has all the details of what exactly happened with that plane:

The MD-83 turning onto Runway 23L at Willow Run International Airport (KYIP) would never be able to takeoff, but no one on board knew that. The right elevator was jammed in the down position, and the pilots had no chance of ever being able to raise the nose enough to lift off.

Designing and flying a safe airplane is about delicately balancing huge forces. Gravity's remorseless tug must be balanced by lift; thrust is balanced by drag. If you do this right, you get steady level flight. To turn, you have to slightly perturb this arrangement. The ailerons on the wings bank the airplane (this is called the roll axis). The rudder rotates the plane left or right (yaw). The elevator, meanwhile, rotates the nose up or down (pitch).

The tail (or the empennage, if you want to sound fancy) on most conventional airplanes consists of a vertical stabilizer, sticking up like a shark fin and housing the rudder, while the horizontal stabilizer sprouts from either side of the tail, each containing half the elevator.

And Holdin' The Rope:

After 20 minutes, Michigan trailed by two -- but it felt like it should have been much more.

After 40 minutes, Michigan lost by one -- but it felt like it should have been much less, another outcome, a different narrative track.

Various Harbaugh stories, as per usual. David Lombardi's article on Stanford assistant Tsuyoshi Kawata is interesting on its own; it will be of special interest to Michigan folks because of Harbaugh doing Harbaugh things:

Kawata could barely speak English, but he was looking for an entry point into coaching in the United States.

Kawata had thought about what he was going to say to Harbaugh before he entered his office. He told Harbaugh that he was a major influence in his football education, and that he remembered him as "Captain Comeback" from watching his games in Japan on grainy television broadcasts.

"I told him that story to make his mood better," Kawata said with a laugh.

"Do you love football?" Harbaugh asked.

"Yes, Coach, absolutely," Kawata replied.

"Come and join us," Harbaugh said.

...

"It was one of those deals where, all of a sudden, Jim hired him and didn't tell anybody," said Shaw, who was Stanford's offensive coordinator at the time. "So [Kawata] walked out onto the field, and it was like, 'Who is this guy? He's on the field? He's got a clipboard?'"

"Hired" in this context means "gave an unpaid internship to," but I enjoy the idea of coaches showing up at practice not knowing if there's going to be a mysterious new guy.

Also in Harbaugh is this story his brother told Peter King:

Last Memorial Day we did vacation together. My wife and I have a cottage up north in Michigan on Lake Huron. We get Jim to drive up with the kids and all that, and we have a basketball hoop in the front yard in the driveway, and we were going to play a little game with the kids, and we just started shooting around, and next thing you know it was a 4-on-4 game.

It was Jack, who is two-and-a-half, Addy, who is six, Katie, who is four-and-a-half or five at the time, Allison who is 13 or 14 and she is a little basketball player, and Jim and me and Sarah, my wife. We're playing, and you can picture the kind of game it is, right? Allison happens to hit a couple jumpers and we're playing to seven, and we're up maybe 5-1. Next thing you know, Jim starts going over the top of Allison for rebounds, he's boxing her out 10 feet away from the basket.

Next thing you know, it's 5-5 and Jim has made all the shots for his team of course. I'm like, you know, maybe Addy would like to touch the ball? Maybe Katie or Jack could dribble a little bit now and then? It goes 6-6 and a long rebound comes out the side, he goes and gets it. I see Allison happens to be over there, so I see him going to the basket, he's going to take Allison to the hole, you know, he's about 6'3", 235, so I'm going to go cut him off. I get him with my right arm bar across his chest and I'm trying to body check him into the pricker bushes behind the driveway, and he just powers his way to the basket, lays one over the top, a reverse layup off the board, and all he could talk about is how he won.

He picks up Jack and says, 'Doesn't it feel great, Jack, to win? Doesn't it feel great to win?' An hour later we were crossing paths in the backyard to go get a soda or something, and he looks me right in the eye and he says, ‘Hey John, have you won anything yet?’”

This isn't even surprising, down to the wicked burn he delivers his relatively normal brother. Relatively normal brother is a long-time NFL coach, which has a 100% derangement rate, and yet.

Theory of Kalis confirmed. PFF is revealing various draft grades they have, and while Michigan is going to have a bunch of guys picked it looks like OL won't be among them. The only one of Michigan's three graduates to even make their charts is Kalis, and he sticks out like a red, red thumb in  their guard listings:

2017-G-Class-Rank

Kalis is the guy with the most red on his profile. He's relatively good at screen blocks and getting plus run blocks; he's bad to terrible at everything else. That fits with the Theory of Kalis: physically talented but error-prone.

Also worth noting: the guy on the line above him who's got a very draftable grade and a lot of green on his row is Kyle Bosch. Glad to see he bounced back after personal issues caused him to leave Michigan. Also, ugh that only increases curse level of the already-thoroughly-cursed 2013 OL recruiting class.

Hockey coaching name. Providence's Nate Leaman has turned two schools with little history of hockey success into powers. He's in Hockey East and he's taken the Friars to the tourney four straight years. Big talk that he's not available:

There aren't many jobs in the NCAA that could be better than his current situation. And there's reason to believe that any interview and offer from another program would be matched by Providence in a second.

Asked recently about the terms of Leaman's contract, Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll joked that it's a lifetime contract. To wit: Leaman will be the head coach of the Providence College Friars as long as he wants to be.

"I would never hold him back in something he wants to do," Driscoll said. "But my assumption is that he's very happy here. I believe he'll be here for a very long time."

We'll see if Michigan even pokes around with him.

Etc.: Ball control isn't really a thing in football. DJ Wilson profiled by Draft Express. PFF scouts Darboh. Rashan Gary buzz? If I must.

Monday Presser 11-21-16: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 11-21-16: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 21st, 2016 at 3:19 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Dymonte Thomas the last couple games has made some big plays for you. Talk about what he’s given you on the field?

“He’s always given solid play, and lately big hits, momentum-changing plays. He’s a very good player. Always has been consistently good.”

You’re going to a place where they really don’t know what to make of you down there. Some people say you’re crazy like a fox, some people say you’re just crazy, but they all say you’re progressive. Could you describe who you are to Ohioans?

“Not crazy. Wouldn’t describe myself as that.”
Anything beyond that?

“No. I mean, I don’t know that my personality really, how relevant that will be to the ballgame this week. Probably irrelevant.”

Is there anything unique about competing against Urban Meyer, whether it’s on the field or recruiting or anywhere else you come up against each other?

“Unique in that it’s at the highest level.”

How so?

“In terms of competition on the field or recruiting, everything’s at the highest level. Competition’s at the highest level.”

Can you update us on Wilton Speight’s condition, and do you expect him to play?

“No, I do not have an update today. Hasn’t been evaluated today.”

[After THE JUMP: Harbaugh waxes poetic about Peppers, lists all the cities he lived in as a kid, and explains why love for his children and football can’t be accurately expressed with a pie chart]

Maryland Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Maryland Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 6th, 2016 at 11:00 AM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

Might be a broken record, but might that have been Wilton Speight’s best game, and could you talk about how he extended plays by sliding around in the pocket when he needed to?

“Yeah, that was…statistically, and just the eyeball, that’s the best half of football I’ve ever seen a Michigan quarterback play. I think the statistics back that up. Yeah, moving and throwing and accuracy and extending plays, all of the above. I don’t know how you play better than Wilton did. I think there was one throw that wasn’t a great throw. That was it. Other than that, it was a perfect game as a quarterback and that’s really tough to do.”

This team continuing to roll. How much more enjoyment do you get out of seeing these guys as the season progresses and you see the execution as it is each and every week?

“I enjoy it a lot. I really felt that the week of practice we had was outstanding, and then you, when you have a week like that where it seems better every week and the practices are really sharp and crisp, then you want to see that again on gameday. You feel like if you’re good in practice you’re going to be good in the game, and I thought our guys were great in practice this week and then they were great in the game, so that, get a lot of enjoyment from that.”

De’Veon Smith went over 100 yards. I know you talk a lot about liking how hard he runs. How’d he look to you today?

“He looked great. He really did. He was one of the big factors in our team’s success. We didn’t punt again in the ballgame. I don’t know if we’ve done that in the season—maybe one or two times. But it was, a big part was him. The yards he got after contact were real eye-opening, and he’s so tough to get down. Three touchdowns, but extending drives and contributing. We had a lot of first downs today, and he contributed to that in a big way.”

Clearly the scoreboard reflected it, but what was it like for you to coach against DJ Durkin, your former defensive coordinator, and what were the emotions that went into it?

“The normal emotions. Definitely a friend. Watch what he’s done at Maryland, he’s doing a fantastic job. And what he did for us, what he did for our football team—he was a great contributor to our ballclub.”

[Hit THE JUMP to find out what offended Harbaugh’s football sensibility and the football gods themselves]

WTKA Roundtable 10/26/2016

WTKA Roundtable 10/26/2016

43 minutes

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[Fuller]

Things discussed:

  • Competition junkies vs. fake punt conspiracy theories
  • Michigan’s not playing these teams; they’re playing Ohio State.
  • Speight’s bye week refinement.
  • How is State going to move the ball? Was O’Connor saved for this game?
  • Blocking punts: has Michigan solved the spread?
  • Big XII offense: nearly a mile a game.
  • How good is Washington? Man, if Josh Rosen didn’t play for a crap program
  • Hoops open practice: Xavier Simpson can D, no shoot, might be enough to push Walton to the 2 and use MAAR as your rotation guy.

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.

Segment 2 is here. Segment 3 is here.

THE USUAL LINKS

Monday Presser 10-24-16: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-24-16: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 24th, 2016 at 6:00 PM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

News bullets and other items:

  • Chris Evans was concussed, and it’s too early in the week to tell his status for the game
  • Not sure whether Braden at LT and Bredeson at LG will be the starting left side Saturday as Bushell-Beatty is very much in the competition
  • You’re doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t read the whole thing for the discussion of where the refs spotted the ball after a play that left Michigan two yards short of the sticks on third down up 41-8; Harbaugh challenged, and the subsequent call was the worst he said he’s ever seen.

After watching the film, how’d that left side of the line hold up with the two Bens?

“Good. Real good. Yeah. Both played two of their best games. Yeah, good in protection, good in the run game, made the right calls.”

Is that something you think you’ll stick with this week probably?

“Yeah, we’ll see. Juwann Bushell-Beatty also is a huge factor.”

Talk about what Wormley gives you both as a leader and as a player. I think it was Chase Winovich who referred to him as ‘papa.’

“Really consummate…consummate…great football character, great human character. Really good leadership skills. Strong and makes well thought-out decisions. He’s equally as good on the football field. Just always been a rock-solid guy you like being around and somebody that you try to emulate his qualities. He’s a thinker and makes good decisions.”

Reading some of the players’ postgame comments from Saturday, they talked about last year how you kind of let the finish of the game sink in a little bit, but since then you guys have gone 11-1 over two seasons. Is that something where that kind of has fueled them since, or this week is it really going to come out in an aggressive form?

“This is a big game for us. Championship type of ballgame. Our preparations will need to be at their best. I don’t know much more to say about it than that. That says it all.”

[We need a rules expert after THE JUMP]

Monday Presser 10-17-16: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-17-16: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 17th, 2016 at 5:52 PM

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[Fuller/MGoBlog]

Graham Glasgow started for the Lions. Did you see that, and is there some kind of a similarity between him and Jordan [Glasgow] in terms of temperament; he was just Special Teams Player of the Week.

“Yeah, I mean, they’re brothers. Similar. Very similar, yeah. Similar parents.”

In terms of their temperament and the way they approach the game, is there something there?

“Yeah. All three brothers are really smart guys, good guys, good teammates, good football players. Breed ‘em well in the Glasgow family.”

You guys had the knee braces on the offensive line. Did you guys have a talk about that after Grant [Newsome] got injured or what led to that?

“Yeah, yeah. No longer optional. All linemen are wearing knee braces.”

What is Grant’s status now? Is he out of the hospital and what’s his prognosis at this stage?

“Um…there’s been good progress and he still has more surgeries to go.”

Without specifics, can you talk about your recruiting trips and how you got involved with the chain gain and the homecoming announcement?

“Yeah, I was asked to announce the winner at the homecoming game, and Tatiana Mendez was the winner. It was great to be a part of the activity. Then the chain gang, we needed a guy and was promised a tri-tip steak sandwich at halftime. That was all I needed to hear. That was a lot of fun.”

Can you assess the play of Kalis and the right side of the line?

“He’s really--somebody asked last week how is his intensity and that’s really what he does. That’s his forte. He’s—he brings to the whole offense a great amount of intensity and good physical play. Strength. The lost art of toughness in football. Also, the valuable talent that is toughness and strength. It’s a respected quality.”

[Hit THE JUMP for more]