Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Ohio State

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Ohio State

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on January 30th, 2018 at 11:37 AM

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[JD Scott]

Friday, January 26, 2018

#6 Ohio State 4, #17 Michigan 0

1st period

Miller goal

OSU 1 UM 0 EV 16:40 Assists: Joshua & Parran

Cecconi pinches and misses the puck, which is passed off the wall to Parran in the high slot. Parran sees Joshua leaving the defensive zone with four Michigan defenders still turning, and he’s able to hit him with a nice outlet pass about halfway between the blue line and center ice.

m ohst fri 1-1

Joshua reads Hughes, Michigan’s lone defender back, and decides that he’s far enough outside Joshua to dish before entering the offensive zone. Miller carries the puck in.

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Joshua swings his stick over, which Hughes uses against him. Hughes lifts the stick back into the air, effectively erasing Miller’s pass. Miller is on the same page; he brings the puck to his side and prepares his shot.

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Hughes is almost able to get over and poke-check the puck off Miller’s stick. Miller’s just able to get the shot off, though. Lavigne has stepped up to challenge and even stands up when he sees where the puck is headed, but the shot somehow ends up going just under the crossbar. There was a reverse angle replay later that shows the puck on Miller’s stick, Lavigne standing, and the net moving. Lavigne raised his right shoulder and thus the left dipped just a bit as the shot was released, and I guess that was enough to create the tiny window Miller needed.

m ohst fri 1-4

[After THE JUMP: we turn our attention to Pairwise]

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Penn State

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Penn State

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on January 23rd, 2018 at 12:02 PM

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I agree with Luke Martin [Bill Rapai]

Friday, January 19, 2018

#20 Michigan 4, #12 Penn State 0

1st period

BECKER GOAL

UM 1 PSU 0 EV 12:27 Assists: Norris & Slaker

Becker picks up the puck behind the net and passes up the boards for Norris. He then heads for the front of the net as Slaker loops around and gets into position to receive a pass on the red line. Michigan’s power play has just expired (see the still-present chyron at the top of the screen cap) but they’re still looking to isolate and exploit one defender’s coverage.

Norris holds the puck long enough to get the high defender to commit to shutting down the passing lane back to the point, which leaves him a clear pass to Slaker with one defender having to temper his aggressiveness since he’s playing a 2-on-1.

m p fri 1-1

Norris starts to skate for the front of the net after he passes, then he curls around to get in position for a pass from Slaker. Meanwhile, Slaker skates up to where Norris was; Hults circles and sticks with Slaker, leaving Norris for someone else to check. No one does, though, as Biro pursues Norris and then breaks off his path to get back to the top corner of the now-unnecessary box for…reasons. This leaves Norris wiiiiide open.

m p fri 1-2

Norris has a clear shot but also has an option since Becker has gotten great position in front of the net, rotating to open himself up so that he could take a pass. The defender on Becker has definitely not gotten great position, instead going around Becker and leaving himself walled off by the guy he’s supposed to be covering.

m p fri 1-3 

Norris’ shot goes off the back of Becker’s blade and in before Autio can even think about getting his stick around Becker. I think he went over the top of Becker to potentially play the lane between Norris and Becker and was way too late to even finish getting to that part of the ice.

m p fri 1-4

[After THE JUMP: no more cycling but some unreal passing]

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Minnesota

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Minnesota

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on January 16th, 2018 at 11:08 AM

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a defenseman in a shooting lane was a common sight this series [JD Scott]

Friday, January 12, 2018

#9 Minnesota 3, Michigan 5

1st period

DANCS GOAL

MINN 0 MICH 1 EV 00:14 Assists: Calderone

Michigan has Calderone high to forecheck, and his presence at the edge of the neutral zone is enough to get Lindgren to pass the puck to Sadek along the boards. Dancs reads the pass and comes charging hard at Sadek.

mich minn fri 1-1

Dancs’ rapid pursuit causes Sadek to recoil, and the puck rolls off his stick as he pulls it back across his body. Calderone has skated to the area and picks up the loose puck, turning with it and entering the offensive zone with Sadek in pursuit.

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Sadek closes the gap quickly and Calderone feels the pressure. He decides his best play is to pass back to Dancs, who has plenty of space to operate and picks up the pass cleanly.

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Dancs starts to cut through the middle of the faceoff circle when he pulls the puck out to his side. He holds it there long enough that Sadek reads it as a shot and gets ready to block it. Sadek pulls his stick in and starts to bring his knees together; Dancs still has the puck held out to his side and now has room to shoot around Sadek. He doesn’t try to dangle Sadek, instead opting for a filthy snapshot that beats Robson in the far-side top corner. It’s a perfectly-placed shot, and it doesn’t go in if a.) the goalie has an elite glove hand or b.) the shooter misses his mark.

mich minn fri 1-4

[After THE JUMP: this post is antithetical to showing good defense but it was there and we should talk about it]

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Notre Dame

Goal-by-Goal Analysis: Notre Dame

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on January 9th, 2018 at 10:03 AM

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[Fuller]

Friday, January 5, 2018

Michigan 1, #2 Notre Dame 2

1st Period

Hellickson goal

UM 0 ND 1 PPG 4:44 Assists: Morrison & Burke

Hellickson passes to Evans, whom Slaker tries to close on. Evans turns on the puck and fires, which causes Slaker to drop in an attempt to block the shot. It gets through, but Lavigne makes the save.

m nd fri 1-1

Not without giving up a long and, if you’re Michigan, very unfortunately placed rebound, though. Burke is lurking in the faceoff circle (as you would expect in a 1-3-1) and he doesn’t even have to move to have a perfect opportunity for a one-timer. The rebound happens so quickly that Martin’s spinning around to see where the puck went and Winborg is pushing off his back skate by the time the puck is released.

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Another in a series of unfortunate rebounds, the puck hits Lavigne and falls directly in front of him. Piazza is trying to shove Morrison out of the crease to no avail, and with Martin having taken a step toward Burke there’s space for Morrison to get off a shot.

m nd fri 1-3

[Find the rest of this goal, all the others, and some thoughts on where Michigan stands after this series after THE JUMP]

Notes From A Hockey Exhibition

Notes From A Hockey Exhibition

Submitted by Brian on October 5th, 2017 at 12:15 PM

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan walloped a bad CIS team on Saturday, beating Western Ontario 10-1. The Mustangs were not a good team last year and seemingly came to Yost with less than a full complement of skaters; things did not improve with one injury and three ejections. But Michigan hockey has played a CIS punching bag annually and they haven't always looked like that. Since 2009-10, with tourney teams bolded:

  • Michigan 6, Windsor 2, shots 33-16 M
  • Michigan 4, Western Ontario 2, shots 39-29 M
  • Ontario Tech 3, Michigan 2, shots 56-28 M
  • Michigan 7, Windsor 3, shots 43-30 M
  • Waterloo 2, Michigan 1, shots 35-22 M
  • Michigan 5, Wilfred Laurier 2, shots 52-24 M
  • Michigan 8, Toronto 1, shots 52-12 M
  • Michigan 2, Windsor 0, shots 36-32 M

Beating up on Western Ontario doesn't mean Michigan Is Back, but the trend there is clear. All but one tourney team doubled up the opposition in shots; all but one team that missed was in a relatively competitive game, give or take the goaltending. Not clobbering Western Ontario would have been a real bad sign. Michigan avoided that.

GENERAL FEELINGSBALL

Feelingspuck? Doesn't sound right. Anyway: Michigan felt like a much-improved hockey team. Odd-man rushes, which happened seemingly three times a period during the last few years, were restricted to one early two-on-one and a breakaway when Quinn Hughes's stick broke. Meanwhile Michigan's breakout impressed with the diversity of approaches they took and their success at breaking the WO forecheck.

The forward corps is still short on talent, with two or three guys who would ideally be third-liners on the top two lines and a questionable bottom six. On the other hand, the return of Cutler Martin to defense—where I've always liked him—gives Michigan seven defensemen ranging from competent to excellent. Michigan has almost never had the kind of defensive depth they have this year, and with a more organized team supporting them and two good goalies backing them up Michigan could find success as a grind-it-out outfit that wins games 3-2 and 2-1.

Nobody wants Michigan hockey to look like that long term but beggars can't be choosers this year. If they get to the tournament, that's how.

[After THE JUMP: player-specific takes and a feel for the season.]

Unverified Voracity Converts Speed To Power

Unverified Voracity Converts Speed To Power

Submitted by Brian on July 13th, 2017 at 1:32 PM

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Sponsor note! If you're headed down to Dallas for the Florida game, the alumni association has packages that may be of interest. The star: an air-conditioned, open bar tailgate with adjacent parking. They've got various packages available, including a ticket + tailgate combo ($300 for adults) and a travel package with two nights at the Omni Forth Worth, transportation, tickets, and the tailgate for $799. The deadline for that is the end of the month. 

Hit up the Alumni Association website for more details.

Bill Connelly preview time. That defensive radar though:

MichiganDefRadar

That's from Connelly's comprehensive preview of this year's edition of Michigan. It's good, read it. S&P+ projects Michigan 10th nationally but has them just on the wrong side of 10-2 versus 9-3.

I have but one semi-quibble: as he runs down the many departures from last year's team he notes that three all-conference OL are gone. This is somehow true—both Kyle Kalis and Ben Braden made the second team—but that's an artifact of the All Big Ten coach's selections being the SID's selections and their long tenure as senior starters on a good team. A more accurate measure of the departed players' prowess is that none of them got drafted, or even invited to the combine. I think most Michigan fans are expecting a step forward on the OL despite the departures. (As long as right tackle isn't a disaster.)

Speaking of that offensive line. This is a bit of a frustrating thing to hear in re: last year.

"This year has been a lot more serious," Kugler said. "We've been getting out there and putting in the work. We'll hit the sleds occasionally but that's more for fall camp. It's about getting the technique down properly and just running through blitz cards and stuff like that, getting ready to for what we'll see against Florida."

The level of seriousness is not dependent on Jim Harbaugh, that's for sure. In the offseason it's up to the players to do it themselves, and apparently this is another level from the guys who were more Hoke holdovers than not.

Here's an excellent definition of "speed to power." From Jon Runyan Jr:

"Rashan's going to be one of the best players in the country, going up against him in practice every day is only going to help everyone -- he's the measuring stick for everyone here," offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. says. "He'll do this thing off the edge, they call it speed-to-power. You think he's just speed rushing you and then he comes through with a bull rush and he blows you back five yards."

Also, Rashan Gary is good.

Still a good decision. DJ Wilson is impressing in the NBA summer league:

Through three NBA Summer League games in Las Vegas, Wilson is averaging 14.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 blocks in 27.7 minutes per game. Draining 5 of 13 3-pointers, throwing down dunks and guarding multiple positions, the 6-foot-10 forward has made a strong first impression with his new franchise.

"He's a specimen," said Milwaukee guard and 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year winner Malcolm Brogdon. "He's big, he's athletic. Very skilled. I really like him, I think he's going to be really, really good for us."

He also signed a contract worth six million dollars, so he's got that going for him.

In other Michigan-to-the-NBA news, Derrick Walton might stick with the Orlando Magic. The Magic just waived their backup PG before his contract became guaranteed. The current roster situation:

C.J. Watson is a candidate to be cut soon (his contract becomes guaranteed on July 10) and the Magic are likely shopping D.J. Augustin’s contract, so it is possible there will be an opportunity for Walton, although the recent acquisition of point guard Shelvin Mack complicates the logistics.

If the Magic indeed move Watson and Augustin, Walton would conceivably have a chance at a job as the third point guard on the Magic behind Shelvin Mack and starter Elfrid Payton (although Kalin Lucas of the Erie Bayhawks, the Magic’s G-League affiliate, might have something to say about that).

Walton isn't an NBA athlete unless he's going for a defensive rebound, but efficient pull-up three maestros can find a spot in the league despite other deficiencies. Hopefully he sticks. If not he can be a star in Europe.

More on Josh Norris. NHL gent scouting Josh Norris after his participation at the San Jose Sharks summer camp:

"One of those guys when they're first skating around, the first five minutes, you go, 'He can move,' " Sommer said. "And a lot of guys are like that, and then you put a puck on their stick and they slow down, but he skates the same way with a puck that he does without a puck. You can just tell he's like kind of above everyone else with his skill level."

Fun fact: he spent seven years in Germany growing up because his dad was playing and then acting as general manager for a German team. He's fluent in German.

There's no way this is what it seems like. I find this hilarious since Detroit City's motto is nigh literally "fuck you", but if you think about it for a half second it's probably not what it seems like:

Gores' Palace Sports files federal trademark for 'Detroit City Soccer Club'

I am not a lawyer but it beggars belief that DCSC would not be found to violate DCFC's trademarks. Same city, same undertaking, same name save one word that is a synonym. If it means anything—and it probably doesn't—it means Gilbert and Gores are covering their bases in case they buy DCFC. Or they're just trolling the supremely trollable DCFC fanbase.

Meanwhile in Detroit's MLS bid. Dan Gilbert has submitted a final proposal to the city for the fail jail swap. Key bits:

  • Gilbert pledges to build a 520 million dollar jail plus a bunch of other related stuff on East Forest avenue. Cost to the city: 380 million, with Rock responsible for any overruns.
  • There is a competing bid to complete the fail jail for 320 million, with no cost overrun assurances. It also appears to be a more modest project that only completes the jail without the various other stuff.
  • Gilbert makes up the 140 million dollar gap by getting the current fail jail site, where he and Gores want to build a billion-dollar stadium and mixed used blah blah blah.
  • Gilbert also gets "credits" for the savings that the city forecasts as a result of combining all the criminal justice things into one campus.

The jail was suspended after a whopping 91 million dollars of overruns on a project supposed to cost 220 million total. Meanwhile the city has been spending over a million dollars a month to maintain the existing construction site.

This is a very weird stadium deal and that makes it difficult to evaluate whether or not this qualifies as a public subsidy. The 520 million number may be largely fictional, in which case the Rock deal is the city paying 60 million + whatever the land is worth. It may be real, in which case it looks fairly even. The pledge to pay for overruns could be worth nothing, or it could be worth a hundred million dollars. These "credits" are loosely defined but appear to be a way for Rock to get back some of the gap between what the county will pay up front and their projected cost for the complex. They're kind of like property tax reductions cities will offer brownfield developments.

Shifting the downside away from the city is an attractive proposition after the previous debacle. And while stadium economic impact studies are without fail overblown hoo-haw, "jail plus nothing" is worse than "jail plus soccer stadium and condos and whatnot."

If Gilbert and Gores do get the deal done, Detroit will become a highly attractive target for MLS. The ownership group consists of billionaires. The market is large and there are many nearby rivals. Detroit has a lot of immigrants to appeal to and is generally an excellent pro sports town—people still go to Lions games! And one by one other cities are finding it difficult to bring together bids without public support that is not forthcoming. Previous heavy favorites St. Louis and San Diego are all but out of the running after votes failed. Ditto Charlotte and Indianapolis. Remaining realistic locations other than Detroit are Sacramento (the one bid that is shovel ready right now), Phoenix, Tampa, Cincinnati, Nashville, and San Antonio.  Four bids will get approved; all bids other than Sacramento have hurdles to clear.

Etc.: MSU hockey loses Mason "Larry" Appleton to the NHL. He had 31 points in 35 games for a struggling MSU team and qualifies as a big loss indeed, even if no one expects much out of Danton Cole in year one. Or year two. Michigan as autonomous driving hub. Shutdown Fullcast on the Big Ten East. Freeze lawsuits. David DeJulius profiled.

World's Greatest/Only Hockey Recruiting Overview: 2017

World's Greatest/Only Hockey Recruiting Overview: 2017

Submitted by Brian on June 29th, 2017 at 11:26 AM

With a renewed sense of hope I decided to check out the incoming class to see what's on deck for Michigan hockey. The answer is surprisingly pleasant given the long period of uncertainty that preceded Mel Pearson's hire. Then I kept going, but that's another post.

2017

There are twin headliners and a third guy to keep an eye on. Josh Norris was the 19th pick in the most recent draft after leading the NTDP U18s in scoring* and crushing the NHL combine. Norris sounds like a Carl Hagelin or JT Compher sort of gent:

… tough competitor that is willing to engage physically to win puck battles…strong skater that isn’t easily pushed off the puck. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he’s a good enough four-direction skater that he’s capable of playing the center position at the next level. … competes hard on the defensive end and plays a responsible game. … lot of his offense comes from driving hard to the net and winning battles for loose pucks, and creating opportunities by chasing the play. …. ability to handle the puck is fine, but it’s not an area of strength.

He'll play both ways and pile up points because of his physical ability, effort, and reasonable skill level. That skill level might be a bit higher than the above take, depending on who you listen to. His NTDP coach:

“He can hammer a puck. He can skate. He’s got a great first step. He competes, and he’s coachable. He’s got a lot going for him. I think he’s got a great deal of God-given talent. He is a heck of a kid and extremely coachable. Those items right there lead up to a player who has some ability and a bright future.”

Given the dearth of center talent on the roster Norris is likely to slot in on the top line from day one; he and Will Lockwood are Compher and Motte in search of Connor. (Connor is not on this roster.)

Side note: Norris's father Dwayne starred for Michigan State back in the day. Completing this odd circle of betrayal: MSU has a commitment from Mike Knuble's kid, Cam Knuble, for 2018.

*[He tied Grant Mismash with 61 points but took four fewer games to get there.]

also: 1 G 2 A vs Finland in this year's Five Nations

Quinn Hughes is the second headliner. He was too young for this year's draft by three months and is being mentioned as a potential first rounder next year… like, a first half of the first round pick. and if "5'9" defenseman who might be a top 15 pick" sounds awesome, you and I have the same taste in hockey players. Hughes put up 10-43-53 in 65 games with the U18s this year, and per Red that's no fluke:

Berenson projected Hughes as an “elite-skating, offensive-minded defenseman” at the college level and also called him one of the “top young defensemen” of his class.

“He’s really a special player, and we’re excited about the fact that he’ll bring an element to our defense that maybe we don’t have right now,” Berenson said. “He could definitely add to our power play. His smarts, his vision and his skating ability really separate him from a lot of players.”

Hughes is highly likely to slot into Michigan's first team power play from the drop and chase Eric Werner for the title of MGoDiminutiveDefensemanFaveRave.

There were some OHL rumors about Hughes that seem to have petered out after his brother also went the NTDP route. More about him in another post; he's a 2019 kid.

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The non-headliner but maybe-guy-to-watch is Mike Pastujov. Back in the day when the Pastujov brothers committed, Nick (who is coming off a freshman year in which he had three points in 28 games) was much more modestly regarded than his younger brother. Fast forward a few years and Nick is one who got drafted, albeit in the seventh round. Mike went from potentially being the #1 pick in the OHL draft to undrafted after a few seasons of injuries and struggle. Scouting from way back when:

1. Michael Pastujov (#11 Black) 6-0/186 Honeybaked U16 (Michigan) - A strong and powerful skater who committed to the Wolverines along with his brother Nick, a '98, less than a week after the camp ended. He's a flight risk to the OHL, but he's a strong skater who drives the net well. He made plays happen from all over the ice, really dishes the puck well to his linemates and he wins one-on-one battles. He's a complete package offensively.

Clearly things have gone awry. The primary issue is his inability to stay on the ice. Injuries cost him almost all of his sophomore and junior years; he also missed about a dozen games with the U18s. He still played in 55 and could only put up a 9-15-24 line. Michigan will hope his indifferent final year with the NTDP is more about the injuries than his talent level. If he can repair this

Slow first step

Pastjuov’s biggest issue this past season was his skating. His first step was really slow, which meant he lost a lot of races to loose pucks, and had trouble creating much when he did have the puck.

…then maybe Michigan will get a third headliner in the class.

Pastujov did get healthy enough to catch the eye again at the World U18s, scoring a PPG over a seven-game span as the US took the tourney title. Various scouting services, including the NHL's CSB, moved him from off their lists into the top 100—usually good enough to get drafted in the fourth or fifth round. He was nonetheless passed over.

wpid-20150304__150304_JackBecker_mahtomedi_hockey

The other three guys in the class are all overagers. All are 97s. Jack Becker was Pearson's first commit; unsurprisingly he was a flip from Tech. He was a Wisconsin commit in the long long ago. He'll be 21 in January and was only even somewhat productive in the USHL in his final season, when he put up a 16-12-28 line. Bizarrely for a guy with his profile, he was a 7th round pick of the Bruins in 2015. Becker is a very large person at 6'4", so he might have a shot to be a Ben Winnett sort.

Dakota Raabe could be a little fast dude who ends up on a scoring line or peter out into a checking line guy and penalty killer. He's a few months younger than Becker. While he steadily increased his production in the BCHL, a PPG as an overager in that offense-mad league is not always enough to translate to NCAA productivity. Incredibly, Raabe was only eighth(!) on his team in PPG. (He was 25th in the league.) This is not BCHL slam dunk territory. It's BCHL maybe territory.

FWIW, MSU's Taro Hirose was almost the exact same size and age coming out of the BCHL a year ago; he had a 6-18-24 line as a freshman. That might not sound like much but he was second on his moribund team in scoring and looked like their most dangerous forward when Michigan played them. Unfortunately this isn't a direct comparison; Hirose was a much better BCHL point-acquirer. He had 71 points in 58 games—a cut above Raabe, especially since he was his team's leading scorer by 15 points.

Raabe's head coach says he's got "elite speed," so he's got that going for him. Also his transition from a Southern California major midget team to the BCHL must have been a shock to the system. He does have some late bloomer potential:

“Being on the ice every day has helped me so much,” Raabe said. “My shot has gotten harder and I’ve gotten faster. I’d say my hockey IQ has improved as well because I’m learning how to play the game at a faster level.”

Berenson:

“I’m told Dakota is a high-end skater,” Berenson said. “He’d be one of our fastest skaters. ... It looks like he’s going to be a real good addition to our forward group, and the big thing is because of his speed and work ethic.”

He'll probably have an indifferent freshman year and then his second year will tell the tale. He's a good gamble for a team needing to fill roster spots during a transition period. He is very much a gamble.

Finally, Gustaf Westlund is a Parisian Swede who committed little over a year ago. He had enough about him to warrant an NHL draft profile from SBN:

…intriguing prospect as this was his first season playing in North America. …The left-shot center is a true athlete who oozes potential. .. very good skater. He has a long, smooth stride that appears effortless. He can really get going quickly and seems to have that extra gear. …makes good passes, has above average vision and has a soft touch. … an athletic player with above average tools.

Future Considerations took a look at him about a year ago:

…effortless skater who gets himself to smart areas of the ice to get a shot on net.  …good athletic frame, but is thin and could stand to add some considerable strength to his legs, core and upper body. …handles the puck well with soft hands and creative moves, weaving his way through traffic with a surprisingly long reach. …shot will become a real weapon as he adds strength and puts more velocity behind it. … has much room to develop. 

Berenson:

“We think he’ll add a little bit of everything,” Berenson said. “He’ll be similar to (Adam) Winborg in that he’s good with the puck, good without the puck, he plays physical, he plays hard.”

He put up 8-27-35 in 59 games in the USHL a year ago; not great but he was on a team that struggled to score. He was third on the team in points.

Westlund's move from overseas to prep to the USHL to the NCAA is a challenging route; like Raabe he's a guy who might not show much in year one but has the potential to evolve into a scoring line player over the course of his career. While he's a 97 like the other two guys, he was born in December—he's almost a year younger than Becker.

Upshot

Norris and Hughes are going to be college stars, and Michigan will seek to get two scoring line upperclassmen out of Raabe/Westlund/Pastujov. Becker looks to be a project who will do well to get past the third line. Given the fact that everyone in this class knew they wouldn't be finishing their careers under Red Berenson, it's as good of a group as is reasonable to expect and should patch a couple of last year's biggest holes—a two-way #1 center and a power play quarterback.

Unverified Voracity Humps The Shark

Unverified Voracity Humps The Shark

Submitted by Brian on June 5th, 2017 at 12:44 PM


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Jim McElwain, right. Used vacuum salesman, left.

Oh, man, this one's a doozy. I stopped calling people "horseface" around the time that Dennis Dodd toned it down sufficiently to blend in with the great mass of lukewarm take columnists. There has been a long hiatus from "look at this crazy thing Dennis Dodd wrote," then. That détente can last no longer after this:

"I think its an indictment upon society to be honest with you," he said during the SEC spring meetings here at the Hilton Sandestin.

Of course it is. The man who has won consecutive SEC East titles -- a family man with a couple of national championship rings -- suddenly found himself disproving a negative.

" … It effects family, it effects my employer because of something that is totally not true or has any basis," McElwain continued. "I will say this: At least it [looked like] me and not someone else in our program. I'll take [the hits]."

When Naked Shark Guy hit CFB twitter his vague resemblance to Jim McElwain was a covfefe: a short-lived, timeline-intensive twitter joke that burns itself out in a day or so. Nobody ever seriously thought that Naked Shark Guy was McElwain—his hair is too curly and his teeth insufficiently alarming. And yet here's this Dennis Dodd column that takes McElwain's strained protestations with the seriousness of a threat on the Queen's life:

McElwain, 55, is a stand-up guy like most coaches in his position. He's used to putting out fires, making snap decisions, taking blame when it is fair. But in the blink of moment, he became a social media victim.

The photo, of course, was not of McElwain. One report said had he had been "vindicated." Of what? Vindication is defined as, "clearing someone of blame or suspicion."

Except there was no blame to clear, no crime committed. The only connection was our brains seeing a resemblance and somehow believing McElwain was capable of such a pose. 

Unfortunately, the default setting on the Twitterverse was that had to be Florida's coach. Right?

No, you complete ninny, no. Dodd manages to get so upset about people making jokes about someone who nobody thinks is humping a shark that he self-refutes:

What's the big deal jumping to conclusions about a shark, a boat and a coach?

Common human decency, for one thing. When it was determined the man on the shark was reportedly a former NYPD officer, one wag wrote, "We finally have proof of what appears to be McElwain's innocence."

What about assuming his innocence instead of what looked like a badly Photoshopped pic? Instead, that indicted society McElwain spoke of took it way too far.

The whole thing is a magnificent edifice of farts based on a deliberate misunderstanding of jokes on twitter. Spurred by McElwain, certainly. His reaction to the situation improves my opinion of Michigan's chances this fall—this is not the reaction of the sharpest knife in the drawer…

"Ultimately, what do you want me to say?" McElwain said. "It's not me. I felt bad for my family and the university because … really?

"Here I am getting some real bad personal attacks. How ridiculous is that?"

…but there is some water too silly to carry. Or at least there should be.

Follow Harbaugh around and he gives you news. Jim Harbaugh can be odd and standoffish at press conferences—or even entirely absent, as he was after the spring game—but if you travel a long distance to be where he is, he spits out newsbits like mad. Satellite camp season is an opportunity to do this, and sure enough we've got some extra insight into next year's team.

We've mentioned walk-on slot receiver Nate Schoenle as a potential contributor; Harbaugh offers up some additional information on him:

"Nate Schoenle -- he continues to grade out as the top guy right now," Harbaugh said. "The competition is really going to rage on."

Harbaugh further confirmed that Ben Mason was a fullback and Brad Hawkins was maybe probably definitely going to play defense. On Hawkins:

"Brad Hawkins could be a safety." …

"What's transpired though: Don Brown got to him," Harbaugh mused. "Don Brown said that he talked to Brad and Brad wanted to play safety. I accuse Don Brown of some recruiting going on there. We haven't investigated the whole thing yet. But I think it's a little of both."

The WR flood and relative dearth of safeties always made that move likely, especially after Michigan realized it wasn't going to cram its class full with other guys and circled back on Oliver Martin. It's official enough that we've moved him to safety on the Depth Chart By Class.

FWIW, Hawkins did play both ways in high school, making 53 tackles as a senior at Camden.

Finally, Harbaugh announced that Grant Perry had rejoined the team:

"He's back working out with the team," Harbaugh told reporters following a coaches' satellite camp at John Carroll University, according to the Detroit Free Press.

He has a court date July 17th. I'd imagine that will be some sort of plea or diversion.

Two conferences with a scheduling agreement. The current state of the 14-team, 8-game SEC:

To be fair to Alabama, Nick Saban appears to be the only coach in the league who actually wants to go to nine games. (Because playing Tennessee is basically the same as playing Chattanooga to Bama.) That is still mindblowing. The problem is extensive and has no solutions. Auburn's trying to find one by moving to the East, where Alabama would not be a perpetual roadblock to the championship game, and that causes more problems than it solves.

The Big Ten going to 14 was immensely dumb but at least they didn't compound that error by continuing to have eight-game conference seasons with protected crossover games.

Real Housecoaches Of Destin. Meanwhile in the SEC, everyone is livid with the new, very boring recruiting rules, and they've got laughably flimsy reasons why!

Bielema said it wasn’t smart to host official visits during the spring of a prospect’s junior year, which is arguably the most important one academically.

They've got an astounding lack of perspective!

"I think it's reckless, really," Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze said.

They haven't yet muzzled their commissioner!

"I just fail to see how those things are the right decisions for football overall," Sankey said. "Those are the things that I'm not sure we got right."

They have even more flimsy reasons!

"December is a pretty busy time in the world of college football from a hiring standpoint," Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said. "And you're now going to introduce that in the middle of young people making decisions? Plus you're pushing up the evaluation process, which I can't see how that's good for the young person or for the team."

Would Bret Bielema allow a recruit to visit Arkansas unofficially during the new official window? Dozens do annually. Do SEC coaches offer and accept commitments from kids two or three years out from this December signing window? Dozens annually. Does Greg Sankey interpret "football overall" as "the SEC"? Absolutely.

It's nice to see Waffle House Nation splutter about rule changes they don't like instead of rules Jim Harbaugh isn't breaking for a change.

Last one out of East Lansing please conclude the investigation. MSU has lost another couple members of the secondary:

Sophomore safety Kenney Lyke told ESPN on Saturday that he planned to transfer to Mississippi Delta Community College in hopes of eventually landing at an SEC school in the future. A day earlier, Michigan State confirmed that redshirt sophomore Kaleel Gaines was also leaving the program.

Rumor has it that several more folks are on their way out. There are the three players under sexual assault investigation and a couple more potential academic casualties. There's a real possibility MSU goes into this year with 75 scholarship players, the last eight or so freshman who MSU picked off from the likes of Temple in their late scramble to fill their class. Prospects for a bounce-back are dim.

Zaire incoming. The SEC did tweak their transfer rule so that former ND QB Malik Zaire could land at UF; he duly announced that was his destination shortly after. This is of interest to Georgia blog Get The Picture for obvious reasons, so Mr. Blutarsky took a look at Zaire's relatively brief on-field history:

He was spectacular in that Texas game, no doubt, finishing with a passer rating over 250.  It was all downhill from there, though, as he only threw one more pass in all of 2016 than he did against the Longhorns, on his way to posting a 106.73 passer rating as the back up.

He does bring something to the position that Florida’s lacked under McElwain:  mobility. …

if Zaire is supposed to usher in a new era, there isn’t a lot of time to restructure the offense to tailor it to his strengths, or, alternatively, for Zaire to learn Nussmeier’s system.  None of which is to say it’s not useful to sign an experienced quarterback.  Before Zaire’s arrival, Florida was looking at a choice of Luke Del Rio, himself a transfer, recovering from an injury that caused him to miss half the regular season, and redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, who had a nice spring game, and… did I mention he had a nice spring game?

This would terrify me if it was ten years ago, when Michigan was still deep in their total inability to defend a mobile quarterback. It's still unsettling: first game with ten new starters, one returning starter is not a great space player. Don Brown has shifted Michigan to a 4-2-5 featuring a bullet LB in Devin Bush, though. Hopefully those issues will be mitigated even when Michigan's defense isn't the overwhelming unit they were a year ago.

I'll take it. Chris Dilks profiles Joshua Norris, NHL draft hopeful, and comes out with an encouraging comp:

As a player comparison, Norris reminds me a lot of JT Compher. Both are super-competitive two-way centers. Compher was ranked right around the same range for the NHL Draft(he ended up going 35th overall in 2012) after putting up similar numbers with the NTDP. Compher blew up offensively in his junior season at Michigan, thanks in part to some great linemates, but still projects as more of a solid role player at the NHL level. The same is likely true for Norris. He projects as a nice player at the NHL level, especially if he can remain at the center position, but one that probably tops out as a second or third line player, rather than a true star.

Adding a Compher-alike to any team would improve it, and Michigan more than most after last year's disaster. FWIW, Norris just competed at the NHL draft combine and killed it:

image

I don't think the combine is a big deal for draft position but that should at least indicate that Norris is ready to make an immediate impact.

Etc.: NCAA rules kill Sound Mind, Sound Body. Signs you may be in the middle of a Florida football season.