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: Players

Monday Presser 11-21-16: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 22nd, 2016 at 5:00 PM

osu week players presser

Erik Magnuson, Kyle Kalis, Jake Butt, and Chris Wormley

For the Ohio guys especially, is this the biggest game you’ve ever played in your career to date?

CW: “I think so. It’s #2 versus #3. It’s for a Big Ten championship berth. Big game.”

JB: “I second that.”

KK: “Agreed.”
EM: “I’m not from Ohio.”

Pretty well documented the struggles the program’s had against OSU in the past 10 or 12 years. How important is it for you guys to end that and get Michigan [?]?

JB: “It’s not as important to win this game for what’s been going on in the past, what’s been going on the past 11, 12 years. Really, we just need to win this game for what we have in front of us right now, and that’s all we’re focused on is we have an unbelievable opportunity to go on the road and compete against a really good team. Everything’s on the line right now. Our whole entire season’s on the line, so we need to win the game for that reason.”

I have a similar question: to be a great rivalry both teams have to win, and that hasn’t happened. How much do you guys need to win not only for yourselves but knowing Michigan has lost 11 out of 12?

KK: “Again, I don’t think you can focus that much on the past, especially when it’s this type of game coming up. It’ll be a big game. We’re definitely going to put in the work this week to prepare ourselves for it. I can’t wait to go out there and just play with all the guys. It’ll be the last time we play together as a team in a regular season game against Ohio State, so it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

[Guy identifies himself as being from a Columbus newspaper] The Jim Harbaugh we see, that we just saw about five minutes ago, would you guys know that side? How is that different from the Jim Harbaugh you see?

CW: “Compared to what you guys see?

Yeah.

EM: “Michigan reporters only.”

KK: “Yeah, no comment.”

EM: “I’m sorry, I’m just kidding. I think he’s probably very similar to what you guys see. He’s as real as they come. The media kind of paints a bad picture of him sometimes because of his antics like going after referees and stuff like that, but he’ll fight to the death for his players. He’s a player’s coach in that aspect and he’s somebody that you’d run through a wall for, but he’s pretty similar to what you see. In everyday life, that’s who he is.”

[Hit THE JUMP for a good Jabrill story and a lot on the personalities of great coaches]

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Iowa

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Iowa

Submitted by Brian on November 17th, 2016 at 12:03 PM

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SPONSOR NOTES: You're in big trouble, Sauce Castillo. Not Nik Stauskas. User Sauce Castillo, who we are blaming for this. We also blame Sauce Castillo for a pending FEDERAL INTEREST RATE HIKE that means you should get a mortgage now.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Hey, it's Iowa.

image

4-3 over with two high safeties on just about every play. Iowa will insert safeties into the box post-snap like Michigan's done with some frequency this year; they are a cover-two-heavy 4-3 defense like they have always been and will always be.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: The usual at QB and OL. Darboh got almost every snap (55 of 61), with Butt not far behind at 48. Chesson was at 37. Smith got two-thirds of the RB snaps with Chris Evans getting the bulk of the remainder; Higdon(5 snaps) and Isaac(1) saw reduced usage. Hill had an edge in FB snaps with 19 to Poggi's 12.

Rounding out the offense were scattered snaps for Perry, McDoom, Crawford, Wheatley, Asiasi, Drake Harris, and Juwann Bushell-Beatty.

[After THE JUMP: plane, meet mountain]

Hard Right Turn

Hard Right Turn

Submitted by Brian on November 14th, 2016 at 1:25 PM

11/12/2016 – Michigan 13, Iowa 14 – 9-1, 6-1 Big Ten

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[Eric Upchurch]

The punt landed on the four and took an abrupt right turn, as if God himself had decided to intervene with a brief misapplication of the rules of physics. In my experience punts do not do this. Usually they continue forward on their merry way. Sometimes they'll catch the turf in a particular way and bounce backwards, which still would have been great for Iowa but not quite as great as what happened. Which was, again, a punt hitting inside the five and veering away from the endzone like it was remote-controlled. It settled at the two.

Behind me, an Iowa fan exclaimed "RON COLUZZI IS A GOLDEN GOD." You, dear reader, may think this was some sort of cynical punt-to-win exclamation from a fanbase that hasn't had much else to hold onto this year. I do not think this was the case. Coluzzi had already dropped a coffin corner punt inside Michigan's ten and induced Devin Bush's ejection with a certainly-intentional mid-play flip. I feel that the Iowa fan was expressing a genuine opinion that Ron Coluzzi has occult powers given to him in a satanic ritual.

After Khalid Hill fielded a pop-up to start the second half and fumbled it to Iowa, I had no choice but to agree. Ron Coluzzi is a golden god. Yea, and wroth.

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

The game veered at the same instant that punt did. Michigan was up 10-0 after a 72-yard touchdown drive and had collected 125 yards midway through the second quarter—not the flamethrower operation they'd been the previous three weeks, but not bad for three drives, one of them starting in Iowa territory and ending with a goal-to-go field goal.

Two plays later Michigan had given up a safety because Kyle Kalis let Iowa's best lineman into the backfield more or less free. Their next four drives went three-and-out, with a fifth stillborn thanks to Coluzzi's occult powers. Passes were dropped. Deep balls were vastly errant. Michigan's ground game could do little against a defense that just gave up a 300-yard day to Penn State.

And what do you say about that? Michigan appeared to be a knockoff version of itself, cheaply made and sold out of the back of a van. Iowa was vastly improved in this game after a wakeup call against Penn State. They brought out a bunch of traps and quick pitches and in general looked like a team actively attempting to win a football game, instead of one present at it and hoping things go their way. Desmond King made a series of excellent run defense plays; Jaleel Johnson got a bunch of pressure; Akrum Wadley is currently looking at an industrial washer on the spin cycle and thinking is that all you got? They were good enough to compete.

They should not have been good enough to win. This had little to do with the Iowa defense:

...an array of overthrown, late and underthrown deep balls saw the Michigan quarterback complete just one of his 13 passes aimed 10 or more yards down the field — a 29-yard gain to Jehu Chesson.

PFF had Iowa's coverage -4.2 on the night largely because Amara Darboh repeatedly got screamingly wide open downfield. Two yards here, four yards there—nobody was in his area code. Michigan completed none of these throws. When Wilton Speight did give his receivers reasonable opportunities, too many times they went clang. Chesson, Butt, and Darboh all had reasonably catchable balls thunk off their hands and too the turf. Yes, Speight could have done better. Yes, the receivers could have done better. They did not.

Michigan isn't this team. Unfortunately, it appears that neither are they the rampaging death machine that stomped through this season, barely dented by nine different teams' best shot. Because of the 9 in the record above and the way that 9 was acquired, this game has drawn a truly epic amount of stupid overreactions to it. This means Michigan isn't 'Bama. It doesn't mean they can't beat a team that beat Northwestern 24-20 at home.

How much of this is Michigan being a CLOWN FRAUD and how much is just college football losing its damn mind like it always does it yet to be determined. Ron Coluzzi is a golden god; Ron Coluzzi probably did not plan for his punt to veer sideways. Randomness is always a factor. Teams put up stinkers every year for no other reason than having a bunch of weighted coin flips go the wrong way, and it's not hard to move one or two balls a couple feet and exit this game undefeated and not particularly challenged.

They did not, and now it's a long wait to see how much of a weird night in Iowa is being in the wrong place when a punter ascends to the heavens and how much are real chinks in Michigan's once-impregnable armor.


AWARDS

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[Upchurch]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Chris Wormley had a sack and another TFL; he did a great job on a reverse to pursue and get outside to hold the damage down on a play that looked real bad for a second; he bounced between DE and DT and was consistently pushing the middle of the pocket on passing plays; he dismissed various tight ends with authority, as per usual. His impact outstripped the box score, and the box score is pretty good.

#2 Taco Charlton was similarly dominant on the night. He got the hit on Beathard that resulted in the late interception, dismissed yet more tight ends, and had a major hand in Michigan's dominant pass rush despite not picking up the stats himself.

#3 Channing Stribling had that late interception and was repeatedly tested by an Iowa offense determined to keep it away from Jourdan Lewis at all costs. He had multiple pass breakups and dominated a couple plays so comprehensively that Beathard just booted the ball out of bounds instead of risking a throw. A pass or two completed against him and some iffy run D don't offset an otherwise terrific game.

Honorable mention: Jourdan Lewis, as per usual. Ryan Glasgow and Maurice Hurst were both good on the interior; Chris Evans had a solid day running the ball; Mason Cole was a bright spot on an OL that had a rough night.

KFaTAotW Standings.

10: Wilton Speight (#1 UCF, #1 Illinois, #3 MSU, #1 Maryland)
9: Jabrill Peppers(T2, Hawaii; #3 UCF, #1 Colorado, #2 Rutgers, #2 MSU)
5: Ryan Glasgow(#2 UCF, #1 UW), Chris Wormley (three-way T1, PSU, same vs Rutgers, #1 Iowa), Taco Charlton(three-way T1, PSU, same vs Rutgers, #3 Maryland, #2 Iowa).
3: Mike McCray(#1, Hawaii), Ben Gedeon(#3 Colorado, #3 PSU, three-way T1 Rutgers), Amara Darboh(#1 MSU), Jourdan Lewis (#3 UW, #2 Maryland).
2.5: Karan Higdon(four-way T2, PSU, #2 Illinois).
2: Jake Butt(#2 Colorado), Kyle Kalis (#2 UW)
1: Delano Hill (T2, Hawaii), Chris Evans (T3, Hawaii, four-way T2, PSU),  Maurice Hurst (three-way T1, PSU),  Devin Asiasi(#3 Rutgers), Ben Braden (#3 Illinois), Channing Stribling (#3 Iowa).
0.5: Mason Cole(T3, Hawaii), De'Veon Smith (four-way T2, PSU), Ty Isaac (four-way T2, PSU).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

This week's best thing ever.

Ty Isaac puts Michigan up 10-0.

Honorable mention: Interception that nearly sealed the game; Kenny Allen nails a 51-yard field goal to give Michigan the lead.

WGIBTUs Past.

Hawaii: Laughter-inducing Peppers punt return.
UCF: Speight opens his Rex Grossman account.
Colorado: Peppers cashes it in.
PSU: Wormley's sack establishes a theme.
UW: Darboh puts Michigan ahead for good.
Rutgers: Peppers presses "on".
Illinois: TRAIN 2.0.
MSU: lol, two points.
Maryland: very complicated bomb.
Iowa: The touchdown.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

This week's worst thing ever.

Kyle Kalis leaves Jaleel Johnson on the two yard line, creating a safety that started Michigan's weird ride towards a loss.

Honorable mention: QB sneak is down a yard short of the first down line and is not reviewed; Ron Coluzzi being a golden god repeatedly; Darboh can't bring in a fade that would have just about ended it

PREVIOUS EPIC DOUBLE BIRDs

Hawaii: Not Mone again.
UCF: Uh, Dymonte, you may want to either tackle or at least lightly brush that guy.
Colorado: Speight blindsided.
PSU: Clark's noncontact ACL injury.
UW: Newsome joins the ranks of the injured.
Rutgers: you can't call back the Mona Lisa of punt returns, man.
Illinois: They scored a what now? On Michigan? A touchdown?
Michigan State: a terrifying first drive momentarily makes you think you're in the mirror universe.
Maryland: Edge defense is a confirmed issue.
Iowa: Kalis hands Iowa a safety.

[After THE JUMP: WELP.]

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs MSU

Submitted by Brian on November 2nd, 2016 at 4:18 PM

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SPONSOR NOTES: Matt reminds me that there is some chatter that the Federal Reserve could finally raise rates in the near future, which would be bad for your mortgage.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan broke out the 'bone a couple times:

flexbone

That is a bonafide flexbone. One of these snaps was a jet sweep, the other a trap that coulda shoulda worked in the fourth quarter but for McDowell blowing Cole up.

Pistol diamond with MSU in their very standard arrangement:

pistol diamond

4-3 over, two safeties sitting at 8-10 yards, on damn near every play.

Late MSU did split their LBs and blitz them as they threw the kitchen sink at M in an attempt to get the ball back.

split lbs

But it was mostly "here we are running quarters."

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Starting line with the Braden/Bredeson left side for the second straight game, Speight your QB. Peppers got six wildcat snaps and one as a WR; Morris got thee QB/FB snaps. JBB got five snaps as a TE-type substance.

Darboh led the way at WR with 54 snaps; Chesson had 40 and Harris, Crawford, and McDoom got the scattered remainder. Poggi and Hill again split FB snaps about down the middle. Smith got 60% of the RB snaps with Higdon and Evans splitting most of the rest; Isaac was only used on four snaps, three of them sweeps.

Butt got 57 snaps as the primary TE; Asiasi (31) and Wheatley (18) also got significant action. Bunting was briefly on the field as well.

[After THE JUMP: three quarters of up and down the field followed by (correct) turtle time.]

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Illinois

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Illinois

Submitted by Brian on October 27th, 2016 at 4:11 PM

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SPONSOR NOTES: I was struck when we were hanging out at the Bo Store that it was very cool that some of our main sponsors were very much like us: small businesses in the Michigan community run by guys who are just dudes, you know? I like to think that UGP and Homesure are the MGoBlogs of their respective fields: small, detailed, involved, pantsless.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Illinois loaded the box the entire game, usually in an over front

illinois 4-4

They played with one safety exclusively and had 8 or 9 in the box depending on whether M was in a big formation or not.

Michigan didn't have anything too weird except a slightly modified T:

t-formation

This was one play only. Oh, right, and TRAIN.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Starting line of Braden-Bredeson-Cole-Kalis-Magnuson went most of the way, getting 66 snaps each. The backup line now reads JBB-Runyan-Kugler-Onwenu-Dawson, FWIW. Ulizio got bumped by JBB, must be primarily a tackle.

Butt got the most snaps of any skill player with 56, and Asiasi wasn't far behind with 41. Wheatley had his most extended playing time in a while with 31 snaps; Bunting returned on a single snap. With Perry out the main beneficiary was Kekoa Crawford, who had 35 snaps; Chesson had 33 and Darboh 44. McDoom had his usual deployment.

Poggi and Hill again split snaps about down the middle.

[After THE JUMP: a diversity of items.]

Draftageddon 2016: Roundtable at the Midpoint

Draftageddon 2016: Roundtable at the Midpoint

Submitted by Seth on October 18th, 2016 at 2:18 PM

Four_Horsemen_by_MarkWilkinson1

Previously: We drafted teams.

As is tradition, in lieu of a short hot-takey preseason all-conference list, this past offseason the MGoBlog staff drafted entire teams from the pool of Big Ten players. This provided interesting content to those who tend to watch the rest of the league, and generated ire from those who’ve convinced themselves these are fantasy teams.

We check in at the midpoint to see how our expectations have fared.

1. MGoBlog’s Mid-Season All-Big Ten team:

Pos Ace Adam Seth Brian
QB Barrett (OSU) Barrett Barrett Barrett
RB Barkley (PSU) Barkley Samuel (OSU) Barkley
WR Darboh (M) Carr (NW) Godwin (PSU) Godwin
WR Carr Darboh Carr Fumagalli (WI)
TE Butt (M) Butt Kittle (IA) Kittle
Flex Samuel Samuel Butt Butt
OT Gates (NE) Ramcyzk (WI) Ramcyzk Ramcyzk
OT Ramczyk Gates Gates Gates
OG Price (OSU) Price Feeney (IN) Price
OG Kalis (M) Roos (PU) Price Kalis
C Elflein (OSU) Elflein Elflein Elflein
NT Glasgow (M) Glasgow Glasgow Glasgow
DT Replogle (PU) McDowell (MSU) Replogle GodinHurst (M)
SDE Wormley (M) Wormley Wormley Wormley
RUSH Watt (WI) Watt Watt Charlton (M)
MLB McMillan (OSU) Gedeon (M) McMillan Gedeon
WLB Cichy (WI) Cichy Cichy McCray (M)
SAM Scales (IN) Peppers (M) Peppers Peppers
CB Conley (OSU) Lewis (M) Lewis Lewis
CB Lewis Stribling King Stribling
FS Hooker (OSU) Hooker Hooker Hill (M)
SS Peppers Travis (MN) Hill Thomas
K Carpenter (MN) Carpenter Carpenter N/A
P Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston
K/P ret Peppers Peppers Peppers Peppers
Honorably mentioned: Godwin Igwebuike (S-NWern), Josiah Price (TE-MSU), Jerome Baker (LB-OSU)

Seth: It seems we mostly agree on things. In choosing between Godwin and Darboh I knocked Darboh for some badly timed drops, though his Wisconsin TD is Michigan's most important catch of the season. I wanted to include so many more TEs: Kittle added scary downfield threat to his great blocking, Josiah Price is playing like an All-American, and Troy Fumagalli is Wisconsin's best offensive weapon. McDowell or Replogle was a tough decision for everyone.

Ace I take it you put Peppers at safety to get out of splitting hairs between Igwebuike, Travis, and Delano Hill. But I'm surprised you put Scales above Jerome Baker, who's been a huge part of Ohio State's tough run D.

Ace: I put Peppers at safety more because there are a bunch of linebackers I’ve liked so far. I seriously considered Baker, Ben Gedeon, and Josey Jewell. What I’ve seen from Scales has been really impressive, though. He leads the conference in solo tackles to go with 7.5 TFLs, two sacks, a pick-six, a forced fumble, and a couple pass breakups. The Indiana defense has improved quite a bit, and he’s the player that leaps out to me from that unit.

Brian: I regret nothing.

BiSB: You hired Ace.

Ace: Image result for expressionless emoji

Seth: Godin over Hurst?

Brian: FIXED

seriously though

Ace: I’ll admit I tried not to come off as too homery and the defense made that exceptionally difficult.

Seth: I mean I'd argue but Mathlete just put this in our slack chat:

image

If you're standing on Michigan and use a telescope you might be able to make out an average Top 10 defense.

Ace: @brian just saying, you’ve got some honorable mention slots for D-linemen 6-9.

Brian: Seriously though

I'm serious

[Hit THE JUMP for more SERIOUS THINGS]

Midseason Expectations Reset: Offense Part II

Midseason Expectations Reset: Offense Part II

Submitted by Brian on October 18th, 2016 at 11:36 AM

Previously: Offense Part I.

WIDE RECEIVER

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[Patrick Barron]

SEASON PREVIEW TAKE: Jehu Chesson was given top billing as the preview went with on-field production and Chesson's trajectory over Amara Darboh's offseason hype, but both guys were declared real real good. Chesson was expected to be a complete WR and off the board in the first couple of rounds of the draft; I was skeptical about Darboh's ability to get deep on folks.

Grant Perry was projected to be a solid third option, and nobody knew anything about who would emerge from the backups. Eddie McDoom was given a shout.

NUMBERS AT THE HALFWAY MARK: A pile of blowouts and profusion of tight ends has made for uninspiring numbers. Seventeen different Wolverines have caught passes, including three different fullbacks and five different TEs. Meanwhile the starters have been on the bench for most of the second half in each outing.

Darboh has indeed emerged as the top wideout with 25 catches for 400 yards; his 9.5 yards per target is an impressive number, and he's on the end of a quarter of Speight's passes. Chesson has 15 catches for 231 yards and has had some iffy plays on balls downfield, though he's been hurt by bad throws. Chesson's also got seven carries for 44 yards.

Here ends significant WR contributions. Perry has six catches, McDoom three, and Kekoa Crawford one. McDoom's been a frequent jet sweep runner.

FEELINGSBALL: This is what happens when you're hammering almost all your opposition and your quarterback is struggling mightily in the two games (Colorado and Wisconsin) in which second-half passing won't be interpreted as a slap in the face. The wide receivers have been hamstrung by the situation.

It has been a mild disappointment that both starters have failed to high-point a number of passes that weren't perfect but were good enough to force a PI or result in a spectacular catch. On the other hand, WR blocking has been excellent on Michigan's many crack sweeps.

UP OR DOWN OR EH: This unit gets an incomplete.

TIGHT END

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[Bryan Fuller]

SEASON PREVIEW TAKE: Jake Butt is the best receiving tight end in the country, Ian Bunting is set for a breakout, and look out for the Kaiju brothers, Ty Wheatley Jr and Devin Asiasi... but probably next year. Since we also cover all blocky/catchy types in that post, fullbacks Henry Poggi and Khalid Hill were both mentioned as potential X factors since they obviously had a lot of potential as blockers but had targeting or technique issues.

NUMBERS AT THE HALFWAY MARK: Butt had two inexplicable drops early and has since been Jake Butt. He's since recovered to post a 71% catch rate per S&P+, which is excellent, and 8.3 yards per target, also excellent for a tight end. His blocking was alarming to start but has settled in at "decent," which is a minor upgrade on last year. Bunting was playing a bunch but had not been featured; he's missed the last couple games with an undisclosed injury.

Meanwhile Hill and Poggi have grabbed the rest of the targets here. Hill's caught all eight balls thrown his way and is averaging the same 8.3 yards per target that Butt is. While some of that is scheme, Hill has made a couple of difficult catches. 

FEELINGSBALL: Meanwhile in things that don't pick up numbers: blocking. Butt is a bit better than last year, and the fullbacks have improved a great deal. Hill has had a few spectacular blocks where he blows through a linebacker without slowing and then gets to a third level player; these don't show up except in UFR and PFF, where Hill is clearly preferred by both metrics. I've been more enthused about Poggi than PFF; he's cut out most of the targeting issues that plagued him last year.

Meanwhile, Asiasi has emerged over the last few games. Against Rutgers most big runs featured Asiasi moving a DL and then popping out to blast a LB or DB. He's got a combination of power and agility that make him effective against just about anyone a defense fields, and at nearly 290 pounds his upside in this department is considerable.

UP OR DOWN OR EH: Asiasi's emergence over the last few games as a plus blocker—as a blocker who could be a difference-maker—is the main reason this spot feels like an upgrade over expectations. Khalid Hill whacking guys has also been an unexpected positive. Butt's been about what you expect.

OFFENSIVE LINE

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[Barron]

SEASON PREVIEW TAKE: Meh. Mason Cole was projected to be a very good player. Grant Newsome was fretted over, largely because Ben Bredeson was pushing him for the job. Ben Braden and Erik Magnuson were declared acceptable offensive linemen with little upside. Kyle Kalis was an infinitely frustrating mauler who blew assignments all the time, but was declared an X factor because if he could just figure things out...

NUMBERS AT THE HALFWAY MARK: OL don't have numbers.

FEELINGSBALL: The line has been acceptable. Newsome, the projected weak link, was exactly that before the knee injury that ended his season. He had some pass protection issues but was not a revolving door; on the ground he was an able puller and decent enough at the point of attack. Magnuson has somewhat exceeded expectations as he's combined with Kalis to be a powerful right side of the line. Pass protection issues have lingered for him, though. He's somewhere between some preseason NFL scouting, which saw him as a potential high pick, and my "eh, undrafted FA" take from the preview.

The interior has been about as good as expected but the star has been Kalis, not Cole. Kalis did indeed cut out the vast majority of the mental errors and round into the mauling five-star guard everyone wanted him to be immediately out of high school. Cole, however, has struggled against zero-tech nose tackles. (Michigan has played an inordinate number of 3-4s early in the year.) While I think Colorado's Josh Tupou is just that good, Cole's impact has been muted at C.

Braden has clearly and vastly outperformed Bredeson at LG to the point where the only explanation for Bredeson's playing time is injury.

UP OR DOWN OR EH: The guys who started the season were actually a slight upgrade on expectations because Newsome was not a problem. However, Juwann Bushell-Beatty has been shaky in relief. He's been beat on edge rushes a ton; he's taken holding calls; he's been iffy on the ground. He looms as a potential issue down the road, so this is a sad injury downgrade.

Monday Presser 10-17-16: Players

Monday Presser 10-17-16: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 18th, 2016 at 10:31 AM

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[Upchurch/Barron-MGoBlog]

Kyle Kalis and Mike McCray

Kyle, you guys went back to the knee braces after the Newsome thing. Was that a direct order from the coaches, and would you have done it anyway?

“Me personally, I’ve always worn knee braces but yeah, for everybody else it was kind of a mandatory thing. With Grant’s injury, it’s hard to tell if it would have made a difference, but it can’t hurt you so that’s kind of why we went back to wearing them is for precautionary reasons.”

Mike, you’ve had a pretty successful year kind of quietly. Do you feel like maybe you’re an unsung guy on the team?

“Not really. You know, it’s the whole defense. I feel like we’ve done a great job so far the first six games, and I don’t think about myself getting noticed and things like that because it’s a whole-team thing. So, I really don’t think about it at all.”

Jim had mentioned when he got here you weren’t completely healthy and that he’s seen you come through a lot. Can you walk me through that as far as this time last year and a backup role or maybe not playing to you’re at the forefront now.

“Last year, didn’t play at all. It’s just a lot different now than it was this time last year. I feel a lot better. My spirit, I’m not down about myself of anything like that, so it’s a great time right now.”

MGoQuestion: Kyle, were knee braces optional last year as well or was that something new this year?

“Yeah, they were optional last year as well. Yeah.”

[After THE JUMP: keeping an eye on OSU]

This Week's Obsession: Midseason Roundtable Espectaculo

This Week's Obsession: Midseason Roundtable Espectaculo

Submitted by Brian on October 12th, 2016 at 11:57 AM

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So far the train’s on time. [Bryan Fuller]

As is tradition, we go long for the midpoint.

The Questions:

1. Most pleasant surprise?
2. Biggest downer?
3. Most improved player?
4. Guy who will emerge in the second half of the season?
5. Expectations relative to preseason outlook?
6. Biggest surprise in the conference?
7. Ditto, except national?
8. Predict three stats, individual or team, that will be by year's end.

The Responses:

1. Most pleasant surprise?

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Linebackers have not been a problem [Bryan Fuller]

Adam: The linebackers. What seemed like a weak point heading into the season has been anything but a liability. Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray have been great in the run game and good in coverage, and their athleticism has not gone unnoticed by us or by the stat sheet; Gedeon's second on the team with 7.5 TFLs and has 3.0 sacks, while McCray has 4.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, and 3 PBUs. Peppers has been generating earnest Heisman hype this week in part because of his 32 tackles, 10 TFLs, and 2.5 sacks (and also because he's so good that his head coach has to go back to the early 20th century to find a comparable athlete), and including him with the linebackers leaves a position group sans concerns.

Seth: Agree on Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray. Also it's fun to have blitzing from that position again: Adam mentioned that Gedeon already has 7.5 TFLs—that means he’s on pace to beat the 14 that Bolden (6.5), Morgan (2), and Ross (5.5) had combined in 2015.

David: Karan Higdon. He got like 5-10 snaps last year, looked ok-ish, then disappeared. With Walker and Evans coming in (and potentially other big names in 2017), I was wondering if he would get passed by. NOPE!

Brian: Matt Godin. He got lucky with some injury issues for Hurst and Mone but both guys are back now and Godin's playing time isn't budging. He's been productive beyond expectations, and here I should remind you that I was advocating for a role for him in the season preview since he's always been a solid... SDE.

That he's playing DT and mostly holding up to double teams is a leap in performance I could not project. Hurst has been the more dynamic player and I do expect him to suck up more snaps as the season goes on, but Godin may have even played himself into late-round NFL drat chatter.

Ace: I’ll go with the most Harbaugh answer here and say Khalid Hill. Some of what he’s done has been expected; we knew coming out of high school that he was a skilled receiver, and that’s translated over to fullback, where he’s made a habit of picking throws off his shoestrings in the flat and still turning upfield for extra yardage. The surprising parts have been his blocking, which has been solid between the tackles and often spectacular in the open field, and his knack for converting goal-to-go situations. I mean, he dubbed himself the Hammering Panda, and we’re going to not only let the self-nicknaming slide—we’re running with it ourselves.

[Hit THE JUMP for the other seven]