Exit Legends Jerseys

Exit Legends Jerseys

Submitted by Brian on July 28th, 2015 at 1:20 PM

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Press release:

The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced today (Wednesday, July 28) plans to take the jerseys associated with the Michigan Football Legends back off the field. Gerald Ford (#48), Tom Harmon (#98), Desmond Howard (#21), Ron Kramer (#87), Bennie Oosterbaan (#47) and the Wistert brothers (#11) -- Albert, Alvin and Whitey -- will have their jerseys retired in a ceremony against Ohio State on Nov. 28.

This means that Desmond Howard's jersey, previously available, will now be consigned to history. I liked the legends jersey concept, if not the execution, for both practical and sentimental reasons.

There are a lot of players, and they need a lot of numbers, and having them on the field was a reminder of Michigan's history. It didn't work out the way we hoped, but having 98 on QB was cool and distinctly Michigan.

The patches were too prominent and the frequent number switches annoying; I still liked the idea of having 98 and 47 and etc out there. Not having 21 is kind of sad, isn't it?

On Numbers

On Numbers

Submitted by Seth on April 14th, 2015 at 10:33 AM

If you were to sort everything in the world by a factor of how much I pay attention to it vs. actual importance, what jersey numbers Michigan players wear is probably just below and to the left of Alan Trammell's snub.

important

His career was merely "average" for a Hall of Fame shortstop

If you don't care, I respect that; here's a report from BBC news on the rising nuclear tensions in South Asia that probably matters a lot to the long-term stability of the region and the horrifying possibility that our species might some day wipe out the better portion of the lifeforms we know of. If you do care who wears the numeral we associate with Woodson, maybe read up enough on the arms deal first so people will know you've got your priorities straight. All set? Alright here's what I think we should do with the Legends numbers.

The Legends Question

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Earn it, Keith

I don't think anybody knows what they'll do with the program now. Hackett seems earnest in this evaluation period. I also have an idea where some of the pushback is coming from, since former players—in email groups, in private, and some publically—are a key demographic against them. Part of that's a get-off-my-lawn attitude among older guys regarding the over-attention paid to jersey numbers by kids these days. Part of it's the same jarring fan sensation of having long associations undone—the Kovacs Principle—and part of it's a new guy wearing sacrosanct numbers every year. I saw more complaints about Funchess wearing 87 while not blocking than Moore wearing it while not playing.

I wish they would keep this program, but only for underclassmen. The Seth Plan:

  • Establish a set of attainable criteria for each number. Past Legends have input but this shouldn't be the Braylon gauntlet—that worked for Braylon because Carr tailored it specifically to Braylon.
  • Establish a set of higher criteria for getting added to the patch.
  • Underclassmen interested in wearing a Legends number apply to their coaches
  • Number must be earned before a player either starts his 15th game, or reaches the end of his sophomore season of eligibility, whichever comes first.
  • Back-elevate past Michigan greats based on Legends criteria.
  • Add 2 (for Woodson, defensive backs), 77 (for OTs: Lewan, Long, Jansen, Jenkins), 46 (Harry Newman, for special teams players), and 27 (Benny Friedman, for quarterbacks) to the program. Make 98 for running backs.
  • Establish a set of criteria for having a new number Legendsized (so future HSPs can hope to wear #5)

I imagine if more than one young player wants the same number Harbaugh won't mind competition.

Projecting the Fall Arrivals

I used to try this every year: attempt to predict numbers for the new guys to wear. Before MGoBlog it was an annual rite of rostering the new NCAA game. Last year I missed it; in 2013 I went 12 for 22 with the scholarship guys, but that was in June when some guys already knew their numbers. This year I'm gonna try to do it early and honestly.

[My methodology and sure-to-be-incorrect predictions, after the jump]

Unverified Voracity Remembers Hideki

Unverified Voracity Remembers Hideki

Submitted by Brian on March 31st, 2015 at 12:39 PM

Random Canadian Bo appearance. Fire as per usual:

 

More Jaylen Brown. Brown sat down with Evan Daniels to talk about his recruitment. On Michigan:

Michigan is definitely going to be in the front runner of things. Talking to Coach Beilein, he’s like an offensive genius the way he gets these guys that aren’t really ranked high to be lottery picks in the draft is amazing. It’s definitely something that drew my attention. Also Michigan is a great education school. They have one of the top public universities in America with Cal-Berkeley, UCLA and North Carolina.

He also said that "I took a lot of visits and nobody's basketball programs was as good as Kentucky," so temper that enthusiasm. Rivals is continually throwing cold water on any speculation Michigan might get him, but it sounds like Sam Webb is talking to a lot of people close to the situation while Rivals cites national analyst Eric Bossi.

FWIW, nobody is saying Michigan is a lock or even necessarily a leader: the difference here is between Scout guys thinking Michigan has a legitimate shot and Rivals saying not so much.

UPDATE: Brown told ESPN that he would be going to an Adidas school, flat-out. That would knock out Kentucky, leaving Michigan up against Kansas and UCLA.

Legends update. MVictors talks to Ben McCready, the godson of Bennie Oosterbaan:

Nothing is official, but U-M is indeed evaluating the Legends program and considering changes.

The evaluation is being driven, in part, by feedback from the players.

    McCready’s understanding is that they do intend to maintain the Legends distinction, but are considering honoring those players in a different way.
    All options are on the table including a presence in the stadium to recognize the Legends.

I'm mildly distressed by the "feedback from the players" bit since in the past that's been used as a won't someone think of the children cover for Adidas pandering and the like. Suspect that they don't actually dislike it enough to make a difference. But some sort of in-stadium note that hey, Desmond Howard played here would be nice—with the boxes there is a ton of blank space to act as canvas.

An excellent example of the hockey tournament's absurdity. Providence was literally the last team in the field—if Michigan had won the Big Ten tourney they would have bounced the Friars. They happen to host this year, so #4 seed Providence got to welcome #1 seed Miami.

They won that game in a looney-tunes 7-5 contest in which Miami played with an extra attacker for almost half the third period after falling behind 6-2, then beat Denver the next night and are now in the Frozen Four. This happens almost every year. RIT took out another overall #1 seed in the opener. That's the hockey equivalent of a 16 over 1 upset, something that has never ever happened in basketball but has been achieved by a single small school in upstate New York twice.

Single elimination basketball can be random; it is much less so than hockey. Good basketball teams win almost all their games. Good hockey teams win two thirds. Look at the pro level to see the spread between good teams and bad. Hockey is closer to baseball, where 100 wins—a measly 62%—is considered the benchmark for an excellent team, than basketball, where three NBA teams cleared 70% last year with Indiana a game back of that number.

So Miami has a season worth of a one seed and their reward is to fly cross country to play Providence in Providence in a one-off game in a building that was half empty* even by the inflated official count. I defy you to come up with a system more nonsensical than that. Can't be done.

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Okay, okay, can't be done outside of cricket.

*[Two-day attendance of 14,234 in a building holding 12,400.]

Um? Hockey recruiting coverage is scanty and Auston Matthews is a big deal so let's hold on to this for a brief moment:

Matthews, who is expected to be selected No. 1 in the 2016 NHL draft, will center Heinen and Moore if he chooses DU over Michigan, among others, and the major-junior route.

Later that article reiterates that Matthews's top college choices are those two schools, and reading between the lines it appears that intelligence comes directly from the Denver program. Everett, a WHL team based in a midsize Washington city, has his CHL rights.

I remember. Harbaugh on his CSG presidency aspirations:

Yes, that is a hashtag for "enthusiasm unknown to mankind" that I will be enthusiastically, if ironically adopting.

But the best part of all this is that a Rivals commenter reminded me of the existence of Hideki. Hideki, a contemporary of mine at the university, won the then-MSA presidency in a landslide because he had a silly sign he carried with him everywhere:

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These were the halcyon days in which the the student government's main function was dealing with BAMN so the rest of us didn't have to. We could safely dispatch an amiable man without a platform or a solid grasp of English as our representative, and we were rewarded with petty imbroglios like "that one time the vice president said the president had difficulty communicating and was called super racist":

Wong called for an apology from Secreto for "allowing the election to become a vehicle to foster racism on campus."

Many representatives and constituents said race was not the reason they were unhappy with Tsutsumi"s term.

"My problems are not with his language," said LSA senior Rodolfo Palma-Lulion. "It"s with his ideology."

"I don"t support the attacks on Hideki, but I don"t see them as racist," Kinesiology Rep. T.J. Wharry said. "I can"t understand what my grandparents say but they"re just as white as I am."

Tsutsumi said he felt all attacks on him were politically motivated and that he is "above the fray of party politics."

Drop that mike, Hideki. You clearly had all the vocabulary required to be a politician.

These days the CSG is serious business. It has to fix the athletic department's student ticketing policies, and cannot be solely deployed as a hilarious parody of national politics.

You'll never believe me. It turns out that Nick Saban doesn't care about one solitary thing in this world other than how to win many football games. It's almost like he's a robot programmed to act like a human being… poorly.

Etc.: On gentrifying the stadium experience. Jon Teske highlights. Gundy adapting.

Unverified Voracity Opens Wide For Some Soccer

Unverified Voracity Opens Wide For Some Soccer

Submitted by Brian on March 27th, 2015 at 4:12 PM

AFCAA_FinalWebHello: AFC Ann Arbor. We are getting a minor league soccer team that I am inordinately excited about, and tickets have just gone on sale. I already hate Oakland United FC for having both "United" and "FC" in their name. I bet their crest doesn't even have a tree. Or stripes. I do not know how these tossers deign to call themselves any sort of organization. Down with United Sporting Real FC Oakland Dinamo.

Anyway.

AFCAA has an eight game home schedule over the summer; in year one they're playing at Pioneer. Plenty of current and former Wolverines are on the team, and it sounds like they're importing some food carts (Mark's carts?) for games. I'll be at the home opener May 1st, stop by and say hi.

Jim Harbaugh has the best twitter feed. Tips for identifying good coaching twitter feeds:

GOOD: odd capitalization and grammar, random shoutouts to Cracker Barrel and Judge Judy
BAD: hashtags, motivational sayings, motivational sayings embedded in hashtags

Harbaugh is on the good side of the equation:

Amongst many people saying "don't forget X" I declare Derek Moore the winner for reminding Harbaugh that he should not forget the legend of Tony Pape, AKA "Fat Elvis."

Spring Creaning time. A couple days after Stanford Robinson said "I'm not going anywhere" to media in the IU locker room, the university announced his transfer. Today he was followed by freshman wing Max Hoetzel.

This annual exodus has the same impetus all of Tom Crean's other annual exoduses have: someone must leave (or not show up) because Crean drastically oversigned. This year Indiana has zero seniors, a full roster, and two recruits. And they are still recruiting various players for the late period. To their credit, a lot of Indiana fans hate this.

Every coach is going to have some attrition from guys who don't work out. Few sign multiple guys in November knowing that this means someone on the current team is going to be forcibly ejected from the program as a result. And for what? For a ten seed because your incompetent self can't count or recruit a post player.

We poke at Tom Izzo around here because he's easy to poke at, but he is a legitimate coach and seemingly good dude; Crean is another level of detestable. For everybody's sake let's hope that buyout comes down enough to get rid of him soon. The Big Ten is ill-served by his presence at a basketball mecca.

I'm very disappointed in 61 of you. You guys are jerks.

Upon further review, there is not enough football in episodes of "Coach" to do this.

I guess this is official now? Or at least official-ish:

247 and Rivals are confirming and I'm not sure this is a thing that gets a press release, so… done? Let's call it done.

I'd rather have the inverse but I'm not too bent out of shape about it. I like the clean look the decal-less helmets have and thought the legends jerseys were a good way to remind people that the Wisterts were great and Gerald Ford was an All-American. Hopefully they can do something for the retired numbers other than just put them back in mothballs.

Also semi-official? I can't remember if Wayne Lyons's transfer was already semi-official or has just become slightly more so, but the big news from Mike Zordich's press conference was Zordich accidentally letting the cat out of the bag about Lyons's imminent arrival. Except that Lyons himself said it in February and we already have a Hello post for him.

Nevermind then?

Spike was hurting. Spike Albrecht was not fully right last year:

Albrecht is wrestling with the decision whether to undergo off-season surgery on both of his ailing hips, procedures that would leave him rehabilitating for "probably four to five months, at least."

"That's a tough situation," Albrecht said. "I don't want to sit out, but I also don't want to go through another season like I went through this year, but if that's the only option and that's the best option, then I'll do it."

Apparently those surgeries have to be scheduled consecutively and involve—bleah—"shaving down an area of hip bone." A 4-5 month recovery period is likely, which would make him whole in August or September. Tough decision to weigh a lack of pain against whatever rustiness getting laid up like that would induce.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Zuniga evaluated Albrecht.

Gordon Bell, 1975. Via Dr. Sap:

Also Ufer calling a pretty spectacular Bell touchdown run against Purdue.

Etc.: Sauce Castillo. Sauce Castillo. Neeeerd baseball hits the Daily. On John Calipari. Tattoos ranked by how bad of an idea they are. Jack Miller's decision to quit football was about concussions a bit, unless it wasn't.

In defense of Tim Beckman?

Unverified Voracity Threatens You About Jenga

Unverified Voracity Threatens You About Jenga

Submitted by Brian on March 24th, 2015 at 11:06 AM

Stuff for a good cause. The UM Alumni Club of DC has an annual auction to raise money for the scholarships they endow. It's going on now, and includes things like signed Jake Long and Denard Robinson NFL jerseys, tickets to various games next year, and Michigan jenga. 100% of proceeds help kids go to M. Bid on everything.

Except the jenga. I will cut you if you try to take it from me.

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[Bryan Fuller]

Exit the one thing I liked. I liked the "Legends" jerseys for the most part. Having a QB wearing 98 was unique, and Michigan does not have much recognition of the guys who have had jerseys retired. While yanking numbers around annually was a bit much, I thought it was a nice reminder of those who had gone before. No more?

I understand that we are going to discard many Brady Hoke staples with prejudice. Incessant second and eleven: seeya. Touching your armpits after observing another sack: GTFO. Allowing 400 passing yards to Rutgers: toodleoo. But in this one case I feel we may be throwing the staple out with the staplewater.

Also heavily rumored. Michigan may be rejoining the ranks of the bestickered helmets.

boandjim[1]

I'm in the middle here. I like throwback stuff; I like clean, simple stuff. I would prefer helmet stickers made occasional re-appearances for uniformz games, but that's not really how helmet stickers work.

Swat swat swat swat swat. If you follow me on twitter you know the existence of the UC Irvine Anteaters was killing me as they pushed Louisville to the limit in their first-round tourney outing. Irvine has a 6'8" guy… and two 6'10" guys… and a 7'2" guy… and a 7'6" guy. As someone who has pined for a rim protector ever since it became clear Michigan basketball was going to have a really good offense even if their center's game is limited to finishing around the hoop, I was having tiny little conniption fit about a tiny school that had never been to the tournament grabbing enormous people left and right.

Anyway, long story short Jon Teske is tall and alters shots:

Michigan pledge Jon Teske scored 12 points and blocked six shots in the loss, but had a much greater impact than the numbers might indicate.
Though he was credited for only six blocks, the seven-footer (Rivals.com's No. 96 junion nationally) altered at least a dozen shots near the rim with his ridiculous wingspan and was whistled for two fouls on which it appeared he had all ball.

The first two of those were against Esa Ahmad, a WVU-bound forward who Michigan recruited for a minute several months ago. Teske's currently enduring the usual crazy zone defenses that high school teams deploy when facing someone of his size, and he is a young guy who's still growing. Whatever he's going to be is still a long way off—hopefully that includes college-level rim protection duties.

If it isn't broke but could use some improvement, add gradually. Doesn't have the ring of "if it isn't broke, break it" but has the salutary benefit of applying to Michigan football instead of disruptive "sharing economy" Silicon Valley startups. And it's what DJ Durkin is doing to the defense:

"I wouldn't say we're doing 'most' of either (scheme), if there's a defense that fits a scheme and it exposes something with the offense, we'll play it," senior linebacker Joe Bolden said earlier this spring. "Some plays we'll be in 3-4, another we'll be in 4-3. Just depends on personnel, what the other team runs. The scouting reports in the fall will determine what we play. And, if we're playing a 3-4 better, why would we do a 4-3? And just the same the other way.

"I really don't think it's that hard to grasp, personally."

Michigan's defense won't be exactly the same next season, but it won't be drastically different either. More importantly for Durkin, though, the experience level is high.

And again it's what Michigan is going to try to do with that alignment that matters.

Neither option is good here. Funchess revealed that he had a boo-boo last year:

So either that happened when he was inexplicably playing in garbage time or had already happened by the time he was inexplicably playing in garbage time.

I mean, come on. I'd like to see the NCAA burn as much as the next guy but this is laying it on a little thick:

Khari Harding transferred from Auburn to Tulsa to be closer to his ailing father and maximize his dad’s chances to watch him play live next fall.

Under a new NCAA amendment ratified this week, the latter apparently won’t be possible. The NCAA eliminated immediate eligibility hardship waivers for Football Bowl Subdivision transfers.

The rule change is effective immediately, so it doesn’t matter that Harding — whose father Corie is battling cancer for a second time — has been taking classes at Tulsa for two months before the amendment was ratified.

Surely the ability to go to school for free in immediate proximity to your dad so you can see him all the time is the important thing here, not the fact that your football career is going to be delayed by a year. You could argue that the redshirt is actually a benefit.

Andy Staples disagrees with the above paragraph and proposes one weird trick for transfer rules that would handle cases like this by devolving the responsibility to people a bit less bureaucratic. In bullets:

1. Schools may not prevent athletes from transferring to another school and receiving financial aid.
2. The player must sit out the following season. (With only one possible exception.)
3. The athletic director at the previous school signs a form allowing the transferring player to play immediately.
 

I'd be fine with that. The NCAA couldn't do anything to prevent conference rules from kicking in further restrictions (IIRC the SEC does not allow grad transfers between its institutions; the Big Ten has some restrictions that may or may not apply to Jake Rudock), so if you are concerned about the dread specter of Smotrycz proliferation don't be.

Big Puppy, NBA edition. Just a matter of time before he has his own t-shirts and line of dog food and possibly several different breeds of dog all competing to be renamed McGary:

3. Mitch McGary Running

It’s like the Kramer painting: You can’t look away.

Look at all that churning effort, the weirdly stiff arms and hands, the eager glance backward that says, “Please pass me the ball, I’m open, I’m running really fast, so fast, like the wind, am I going to get the ball?” He’s like a dog looking for a Frisbee.

Jokes aside, big men who run the floor suck in defenders and open up shots for teammates. Good on the rookie for playing out the ball.

Yes, he's a purebred McGary. He generates possessions and feels at an elite level.

NO I WILL NEVER GET OVER IT STOP ASKING. Why has Al Borges never recruited a quarterback who could be considered successful*? Well, it may have something to do with his long-time association with Steve Clarkson, who seems to have fobbed off all his lower-level prospects on mister gullible. This Steve Clarkson as portrayed in Bruce Feldman's "The QB" and reviewed by Spencer Hall:

3. Dilfer's just one of the QB whisperers profiled, a group of guys who all come across with drastically different results. George Whitfield, the man on ESPN chasing guys around with a broom, comes off as half-cracked, but still seemingly legit. The guy who pronounced Tim Tebow's throwing motion to be fixed after three months or so of work, Tom House, might be the biggest beneficiary here: a flaky ex-pitcher with piles of data, a messy office to match, and a stellar roster of clients who quietly swear by him. In contrast, Steve Clarkson, the man who brought Jimmy Clausen to the world, comes off as a money-hoovering huckster prone to announcing any client as "the next [STAR QB GOES HERE]" if given enough cash. Feldman doesn't even have to try, really. You just write down Clarkson's quotes and they do their own work.

Clausen was actually pretty good, if not at all deserving of his hype level. The other guys…

*["successful" is here short for "was the clear starter for his team as an upperclassman."

I only kind of hate Wisconsin basketball. I apologize to that one guy whose entire question to me was a statement about said hatred, but Wisconsin is so fascinated by the NCAA stenographer that Nigel Hayes is answering questions like this:

ncb_hayestranscript_ms_400x600[1]

I didn't know you had to capitalize xylophone. But that's why I'm not a stenographer.

Anyway, I still hate that they get away with the Wisconsin Chest Bump all the dang time but I have always coveted their bigs and I find them relatively tolerable when Michigan is not playing them. This has been a difficult confession. Share yours in the comments!

Etc.: Yes, please. Stopping taxpayer money from being spent on stadiums should be a bipartisan thing right? Jim Boeheim is just kind of this dude who doesn't like NCAA rules. Gasaway on the SCORING CRISIS. Relevant to our current situation: the rise of the vagabond QB. Congrats to Carol Hutchins on her 1400th win, a 20-0(!) bombing of OSU.

When I weep on national television I only get scorn.

The Freshmen Have Numbers 2014

The Freshmen Have Numbers 2014

Submitted by Seth on June 20th, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Obligatory:

The rosters are here! The rosters are here! The big news is Blake Countess will be #2 cause…

charleswoodson97

(artist: Ted Watts)

That’s got to be a new legends number, right? Nobody got 11 or 21, FWIW.

Freshmen #s

The incoming freshmen were all bequeathed their digits as well. I give them here with a few notables to have worn the digit at that position in the past. I’ve chosen to include the freshmen who were here in spring; a list of just the fall arrivals is here, courtesy Wolverine Devotee. Burn these into your memory so that it will hurt more when they’re changed to Legends numbers in a few years.

Player # Pos Ht Wt Significance
Ian Bunting 94 TE 6'7" 223 Matt Studenski was the last TE. Massey, Horn.
Juwann Bushell-Beatty 76 OL 6'5" 295 Steve Hutchinson, and Brandstatter
Freddy Canteen 17 WR 6'1" 170 Forgotten great end (1930s version of WR) Ted Petoskey. Personal fav Carl Tabb.
Mason Cole 52 OL 6'5" 275 Rod Payne. Schilling.
Michael Ferns 51 LB 6'3" 233 John Duerr and a Brackins. (Everitt on offense)
Noah Furbush 59 LB 6'4" 229 89-90 linebacker Alex Marshall. The Sarantos my friend dated.
Drake Harris 14 WR 6'4" 180 Closest I can think of to a receiver getting PT is Andy Mignery.
Lawrence Marshall 93 DE 6'4" 230 Hoban and Jackson in the '70s. I see 93 I think Sam Sword.
Bryan Mone 90 DT 6'4" 315 Norm Heuer was a DT. Feazell, Jamison, DeFelice.
Brady Pallante 54 DT 6'1" 255 Donnie Warner. Imagine if Rudy actually become a really good starter, and was real.
Jabrill Peppers 5 DB 6'1" 210 Jersey manufacturers, start your presses. Coleman Wallace is the best CB, competition is Whitley. Think Jabrill will keep it all 4 years?
Wilton Speight 19 QB 6'6" 230 The other Forcier. And Harry Newman's backup.
Jared Wangler 19 LB 6'2" 215 Early '70s "Wolf" safety Darrell Truitt
Brandon Watson 28 DB 5'11" 185 Early '90s hard-hitter Deon Johnson.
Maurice Ways 85 WR 6'3" 192 Curt Stephenson and Marcus Knight
Chase Winovich 58 LB 6'3" 216 Dave Brandon Endowed This Position With His Own Name Not Kidding Cornerbacks Coach Roy Manning. Also '80s OLB Keith Cowan

Also:

Ty Isaac 32 RB 6'3" 225 A-Train.

Please only give this number to tiny safeties and huge running backs from now on forever kthx.

Heitzman Expansion Principle

This is the corollary to the Heininger Certainty Principle: a person, once removed from Hoke’s defensive line, will apparently grow 1 or more inches in height as his body adjusts to the difference in pressure. Heitzman is now listed 6’4”, one inch taller than he was in spring.

Other changes?

Didn’t spot any. Weights haven’t been updated yet.

Shovel On A Little More Coal

Shovel On A Little More Coal

Submitted by Brian on September 9th, 2013 at 12:14 PM

9/7/2013 – Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30 – 2-0

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Eric Upchurch

The media trend of the last ten years is a demonstration of the power of hope. There are now three national networks covering recruiting, plus ESPN, plus a cottage industry of who-dat bloggers who get picked up by these national networks far faster than actual journalism majors get picked up by, you know, newspapers. (Michigan has no journalism major, which explains why you can't throw a rock at a sports editor without causing him to hire a Daily grad.) This site alone saw two guys snapped up and almost hired a third who was snapped up just a bit later. Meanwhile, newspapers continue to give us Drew Sharp and wonder why they're withering on the vine.

Here's all you need to know about recruiting sites: they can charge for content on the internet. Hope, man. Hope.

Because the next guy is always going to be The Guy. The Guy will rescue us from the purgatory of not being Alabama and deliver us unto glory. He may be a defensive back, or a running back, or a quarterback, or a defensive lineman. He is going to be Woodson or Adrian Peterson or Andrew Luck or Jadeveon Clowney—except Clowney's defense just got torched for 41 points and lost.

Jadeveon Clowney! Indisputably The Guy, and somehow still not. If Jadeveon Clowney can't be the guy, well… there's always the recruiting sites. It's college football. The next arrival is always just around the corner.

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

Devin Gardner turned in what I can confidently state is the worst play in the history of organized football—I have watched all of it from Pop Warner on up—and was still awesome Saturday night. Awesome. I do not mean this in the Spots-gave-me-extra-wings way. I mean this in the light-from-the-sky, tremble-at-the-power, bow-down-lest-we-all-perish kind of way. If I could use the words "yea" and "lo" genuinely, I would deploy them now. The numbers are amazing. The numbers do not do it justice.

Here's the thing about Notre Dame's defense: it's going to be just fine. Gardner ate plenty of defensive lineman Saturday, usually after delivering a perfectly-placed dart. Notre Dame blitzed him almost two-thirds of the time and got the one huge mistake and nothing else. Notre Dame defensive backs were, with rare exceptions, in position to make a play on anything other than a perfectly-placed ball. They could not make plays without committing pass interference, called or not, because Devin Gardner was spitting hot death all night long.

If you happen to rewatch that game you'll see did-that-just-happen surgical strikes even more impressive the second time around.

On third and goal from the 14, Drew Dileo screwed up his route. He ran next to Gallon, bringing a third defender into the area. Gardner fired a ball in between all three guys that hit Gallon in the hands instead of the chest because KeiVarae Russell was riding him like a horse. Earlier in the drive he'd tossed up that back-shoulder throw that he might have been attempting against Central Michigan when he got hit, and Gallon plucked it out of the air. Russell was there. He just couldn't do anything about it.

By the fourth quarter, Gardner and Gallon had become so proficient at the back shoulder fade that Notre Dame was actually sitting on it, which I have never seen before. There were a lot of things last night that I haven't seen before in a winged helmet, that have traditionally been the province of passing specialists like Texas Tech. They tried to man up Crab, once, and Texas Tech beat the #1 team in the country without a running game or defense. Michigan has at least one of those.

In the aftermath, Michael Crabtree looked a lot like you did at some point last night:

11r58iv[1]

IS THIS REAL LIFE

Oh and Gardner led the team in rushing at 7.5 yards an attempt. He might be The Guy. Gardner hinted at this kind of thing over the last six games, and now he has delivered. You could feel it coming, maybe, but Michigan just graduated a guy who was The Guy, like Jadeveon Clowney is, and could not get over the hump, like Clowney. Even in the world where talent comes through it doesn't always end up steamrolling the opposition.

Devin Gardner just left Notre Dame a two-dimensional smudge in the rear view mirror, and now it's downhill for a while. Shovel on a little more coal, and let's watch old 98 roll.

Highlights

Parkinggod has the Michigan stuff:

And Notre Dame has some things that Notre Dame did right:

Pressers are available from Maize and Blue News.

Gardner thing from Gameday:

Also a lady got hit real hard.

Awards

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3_thumb

Brady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. How does a guy who threw four touchdowns at nearly 10 YPA and ran for 90 additional yards split this award? Well, to get the award by himself he has to be a separate entity from guy who caught eight of his passes for 184 yards. This does not appear to be the case. DevinJeremy GardnerGallon, come on down.

Honorable Mention. Thomas Gordon and Jarrod Wilson (invisible all game in a good way), Drew Dileo (THROW IT TO DILEO), Brendan Gibbons (your record-holder for kicking consistency /2009 version of your head explodes), Blake Countess (drifted off his man for critical INT), Brian Kelly (thanks for not running the ball).

SPECIAL NEW RULE. Doubling points from this game because I can.

Epic Double Point Standings.

1.0: Devin Gardner (ND), Jeremy Gallon (ND)
0.5: Cam Gordon (CMU), Brennen Beyer (CMU)

Brady Hoke Epic Double Fist-Pump Of The Week. Since it featured Borges screwing with ND, an NFL dart from Gardner, a crazy spin move from Gallon, and Chesson The Destroyer reveling in the blood of the fallen, this is an easy pick:

Honorable mention: Countess's game-changing interception, Jeremy Jackson catching a long handoff for seven yards because ND is playing in the parking lot against Jeremy Jackson for some reason, Fitz Toussaint using a tackle attempt as an awesome juke to dart 20 yards when Michigan really needed something, either of Gardner's perfect back-shoulder throws to Gallon, Gardner nailing Gallon 40 yards downfield, and Gardner taking off on a zone read so open you'd think Stephen Threet was running it.

Epic Double Fist-Pumps Past.

8/31/2013: Dymonte Thomas introduces himself by blocking a punt.
9/7/2013: Jeremy Gallon spins through four Notre Dame defenders for a 61-yard touchdown.

[After THE JUMP: offense, defense, and everything in-between. Plus incredible chicken gif!]

Mailbag: Computer Predictions, Legends Patches, OSU Game Plan

Mailbag: Computer Predictions, Legends Patches, OSU Game Plan

Submitted by Brian on August 29th, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Norfleet?

NORFLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTT!!!!!!!!!!

-Andrew

I agree.

Season prediction by computers

I'm sure you've seen Brian Fremeau's FEI projections already. If I remember correctly, they had us at 8 wins last year...

This year it's 7 wins.  :(  To tell you the truth, there have been so many positive comments about Gardner, I was starting to get confirmation bias.  Your thoughts?

-Mike

Statistical preseason rankings are often lagging indicators since in an effort to be at all reflective of reality they have to not only take data from the previous year but the previous few. This means they predict what has happened before will happen again. Fremeau's Program FEI rankings look at the last five years. For Michigan that includes the entire Rodriguez era.

They are therefore useless in this case except insofar as the 2010 recruiting class is still with us. Or not with us, as the case may be. I don't put a ton of stock into computer projections, and in Michigan's specific case it's barely any.

Reading the Braden/Bryant tea leaves

What do you/MGoBlog staff think about Braden being shifted to back-up OT?

1. Braden couldn't pull or otherwise do the things they want from their their guards?

2. Bryant has proven himself as a potential starter/legit back-up?

3. Some of both,

4. Completely unclear

-Rod

I lean towards 1 with a bit of 3. It's clear they wanted Braden to be the guy, clear that Braden is a physical monster who demands you try to start him as soon as he's off a redshirt, and also clear that he's not really a guard. Or at least it became clear. Otherwise he would still be competing there, and Glasgow would be competing at center, and the possibility that Bryant's radiator goes out midseason would be covered by the prospect of playing Braden.

HOWEVA, I do think Bryant has legitimately emerged as an option. For one, chatter. For two, they moved Braden back outside, seemingly permanently.

Legends patches. Merph.

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19 coulda been a contendah

Brian-

As three more players get their numbers exchanged for Legends jerseys this year, I shake my head and pine for what #19 could have meant for Michigan fans in three years. My buddy's #10 jersey is now Just Another Brady. Are the jerseys taking away from the chance for new players to carve out their own place in Michigan history?

One man's solution: Assign Legends jerseys (and maybe even some retired numbers?) on one game a year. Homecoming is an obvious choice- the alumni presence will appreciate the old numbers more. Let the players assert, through the first half of the season, who deserves to wear a Legends number, and since it's only one game a year, they don't have to give up their own. Thoughts?

~Garbs

Yes, they are taking away the ability for players to carve out their own number legacy. I was looking forward to seeing #19 on the field and thinking about Funchess, having tight ends want the #19, having a Funchess patch on #19, etc. Now that's not happening. Funchess can annihilate TE receiving records and go zeroth in the NFL draft and no patch. Ditto Gallon: guy was #10, and now he's just the latest guy to wear #21 for one year. (I actually mind the Avery move less, since he's not likely to be a guy you remember forever and sigh about. Rewarding a senior captain who isn't an out-and-out star with the fancy patch is a good thing.)

While your suggestion is an upgrade on the current situation, they should just issue legends jerseys like normal numbers to incoming freshmen. Maybe hold them out and hand them out to promising sophomores—Jake Ryan getting 47 early in his sophomore year is much different than switching a guy burned into your head as some other number. But just hand them out to kids who want them when they show up.

Getting overly precious about numbers is blowing them up, as can be seen with the effectively-retired #1. Players should get numbers and never change those numbers, and I miss handlebar mustaches and gangrene.

Ohio State: what to do?

Hey Brian,

Now that you've looked at some of the OSU game (and I assume managed to stomach some of the run plays again as well), what are your impressions of Borges's second half game plan.

My feelings have been, after watching it a couple times, that the game plan wasn't nearly as much an issue as execution. While some of the play calls didn't lend when to Michigan's abilities, basic execution (such as the interior OL managing to make an effective double at the point of attack so Michigan could pick up a single yard) far out-weighed the possibly poor play calling aspects of the game. Even Lewan struggled to execute regularly in this game IMO.

Again, while I freely admit the game plan and play calling was far from perfect, as with most cases, I think 9 out of 10 times it's execution that is the issue more so than what most fans see as an OC screwing it up with play calling. IMO, if there is any issue, it was the offensive coaches not getting the players up to a point where they could execute fairly simple tasks regularly. What's your take on the situation.

Thanks,

Space Coyote

While execution was a major issue, Michigan had to know that was going to be a problem. The OL had been flailing since at least the Nebraska game. OSU had a front seven laden with players who were always going to overwhelm Michigan's interior line. So I was on-board with the three first-half running back carries. More than doubling that in the second half was foolish.

Also foolish: expecting that Ohio State would not cotton on to the fact that Denard could not throw. The third-down speed option was doomed since the free safety was plunging down at the slot. Meanwhile, Borges called a ton of pointless rollouts (remember that John Simon was out) that ended up as inaccurate passes as Gardner couldn't set his feet.

The argument about execution always gets my dander up, because you as a coordinator are responsible for putting your players in a position to succeed. Their ability to execute opens up some possibilities and closes off others, but—for instance—asking Denard Robinson to execute on naked bootlegs on which a player will always be in his face the instant he turns around is on you, the coordinator. You have to execute as well.

I think Borges's options were limited, but three things stand out:

  1. Refusing to run Gardner. He had three attempts. Michigan could have used the extra blocker on short yardage badly.
  2. Telegraphing second-half run plays with Robinson. You had to know that 19 of the 20 minutes at halftime were spent saying "DENARD CANNOT THROW".
  3. Incessant rollouts.

(And he got super lucky on Michigan's final drive of the first half, as he'd managed to turn a two minute drill into a 30 second drill in two plays… and then Denard stayed up.)

I've detailed why I think Borges's gameplans in three games in particular were atrocious (2011 Iowa, 2011 Michigan State, and 2012 Notre Dame) because they asked players to do things they weren't good, over and over again.

Borges's philosophy is about as opposed to Rodriguez's as can be, and that's fine. He has track records of very efficient offenses in his past. He will have them in the future. But his desire to do Borges things with players ill-suited to do them cost Michigan a couple games over the past couple years. The Ohio State game is probably not in that category… but it's debatable.

Mailbag: Snap Jumping Again, Clock Management Win, Jake Ryan Of Christmas Past, Legends Logistics

Mailbag: Snap Jumping Again, Clock Management Win, Jake Ryan Of Christmas Past, Legends Logistics

Submitted by Brian on October 16th, 2012 at 11:29 AM

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Past Jake Ryan, hopefully not future MSU

Snap jumping. Not again?

Dear MGoBlog,

Please address Sparty jumping the snap. What can be done to prevent it or even use it to the Wolverines' advantage?

Please, please, please use all your influence to prevent Sparty snap jumping from successfully occurring this Saturday.  This is an important key to Michigan's offensive success.

Thank you,
Philip McEachern

I AM USING ALL MY INFLUENCE MAN YOU JUST DON'T KNOW. Unfortunately, that influence consists of squinting really hard and making "wahwahwahwah" noises to project psychic sound waves about me. I have no influence.

I do think that we will see that snap jumping significantly reduced in frequency, possibly almost eliminated. One of the hidden transition costs last year was a coaching staff that had not endured Jerel Worthy's sometimes-offside-but-usually-just-eating-your-heart dance party and did not spend big chunks off the offseason fuming about it and scheming themselves a plan to defeat it. This year everyone is well aware that snap timing blew up the Michigan offense in all different ways and that changes must be made. We have seen Michigan vary their snap counts—they did it last week—and with a home game Michigan should be able to use audible signals if they want. Meanwhile, Worthy is gone and I haven't seen the Spartan replacements be able to replicate that maddening skill of his.

Unfortunately, this prediction about the snap jumping has reached the status of turnovers under Rich Rodriguez: logic says it can't happen again, and then it happens again. At this point I'll have to see a Michigan coaching staff enter a Michigan State game as prepared to play as the Spartans are before I believe it.

If not this year, though, when? Michigan State's coming off three straight nail-biters that required them to dump everything they had on the field in an effort to win the game. Michigan's coming off a bye and two laughers. MSU is shuffling guys on their OL, has benched a senior captain LB, and is trying to find two tight ends to rub together.

They don't have the depth to do much other than what they've done already. They don't have a changeup like Baker they can go to; they don't have the tight end depth that threw Michigan off; they are trying to find anyone who can catch a ball. Please, Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God, yea the most powerful of all fictional supernatural football deities, hear our plea.

Bellomy on the goal line.

Brian,

I am a little confused by the play calling after Denard went out with his "boo-boo".

1) Why is Toussaint in the "jumbo" (unsure if package name is correct)? Rawls just seems to have the short yardage figured out a little bit better i.e. size and running style: see 6:35 Q2. (I know my example comes after and did not have 6/7 on the line and all 11 within 5 of the LOS and inside the tackles but still).  Was Rawls insertion later a sign that he may now have the short yardage job?

You've got me on this one. I have two theories, neither of which seems that convincing.

Theory one: Fitz is in a funk and rusty and getting flack from people and some cheap touchdowns will help his morale, maybe get him driving harder at the goal line.

Theory two: Rawls is fumbling a lot in practice or going BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE.

Pick one or make one up yourself; I think either explanation is going to quickly fall by the wayside as Rawls becomes a preferred option inside the five. He probably would have scored on one of the two attempts. I do think the BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE theory has some credibility behind it since I just watched Rawls look at this…

rawls-wtf

…and decide to bounce that outside the TE instead of slam it up at the gaping cutback lane like he was born to do. Amazingly, the guy seems to have some Michael Shaw to him. Go north-south, young moose.

2) Why the vanilla play calls? It was clear later that they trust Bellomy with some measure of the offense that is clearly larger than watching the RB run into some ineffective down-blocks. With the alignment of weak-side DE, LB, and FS, why not run a PA boot with the TE rubbing off and going all Funchey in the back of the end zone? Is this just a manball fundamental that we must live with this year while the donkey punchers are being groomed?

Stuart

There's a big difference between trusting Bellomy to run around and fling stuff once you're up a billion points and having him take his first meaningful snaps in a rainstorm in a game that could still go either way.

Personally, I wanted him to hand off come hell or high water—when you're the silverback you want to lower variance, and having Bellomy think about all the stuff he's going to do after the snap could lead to bad news. Bellomy fumbled a snap later, after all, and Michigan doesn't want to open the door for anything cheap for the Illini because that's the only way they lose.

In general I don't think there's much to criticize either way about  goal line playcalling. The defense is selling out one way, you pick one or the other and succeed or don't.

[After THE JUMP: clock management, Afghanistan face-off, Legends logistics, Jake Ryan of the past.]

Unverified Voracity Gawps At Stuff

Unverified Voracity Gawps At Stuff

Submitted by Brian on September 5th, 2012 at 12:02 PM

[Programming note: UFR is coming today, but later than usual, say 4 or 5. For some reason I'm having trouble summoning the willpower to slog through all of it.]

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Sponsor note. You may be driving in for the Air Force game and wondering where you will park. It hangs over you like a great dark cloud: where will my friends be? Will I have to walk through miles of jungle to get to them? Where did all this jungle come from anyway?

Well, skip that bit. Park 'n' Party solves those issues by organizing gameday parking. You can park next to your buddies, no intervening jungle. You can reserve a space just where you want it. You can do all of these things. Bonuses this year:

Air Force parking awaits you. Soon they will debut a 2.0 website. Soon.

Holgo. I know they hate our guts and went all ex-girlfriend on us when Rich Rodriguez left, but I can't help but want West Virginia to tear the Big 12 up. They're weird, passionate, isolated from all recruiting hotbeds that are not Pittsburgh, they've got a history of putting up video-game numbers, and their coach says stuff like this:

I don't think it would go well if we hired that guy (learning: I has it), but I'll admire them from afar.

I am not sure you are up on recent events. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun on Michigan:

"There are a handful of programs in college football that are guaranteed at least 10 victories every season," Calhoun said, "Michigan is one of them. They clearly are the favorite to win the Big Ten Conference."

I'm imagining a world where this is literally true. I'm so happy, in this world. I wear sunglasses all the time and high five anyone I come across. I make pancakes a lot just so I can put a whipped-cream smiley face on them. If my car breaks down, I exclaim "aw, shucks!"

I chew bubble-gum nonstop.

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my watch says it is STAB O'CLOCK

How did this not end in homicide? Serious question:

The misery wasn't over for some fans of the No.8-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington when their team took a 41-14 pounding at the hands of then-No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide.

Many who planned to catch a taxi for the return trip to their hotels or other lodgings after the nationally televised football game were in for a long wait. Some complained of standing in line with dozens of other fans and waiting as long as two hours for a cab.

Beer + that game + two hour wait for cab == STABBY STABBY STAB STAB. The local news channel interviewing these folks says this lady is not mincing words!

Michigan fan Elizabeth Jahn minced no words. "If there's a system, and this is where the fans are supposed to be stationed and situated, that should be communicated to the cab companies," she said.

That lady minced those words, TV station. She took those words and made them tiny and even by chopping. If she was not mincing words she would have said "I STAB YOUUUUUUU."

Alphabetical. Spencer kicks it off by talking about how Alabama owned Michigan. At least we're not alone:

Again, it is not a Big Ten thing: disabuse yourself of that notion immediately, Michigan fan. The last thing we want you feeling is special, because what happened to you on Saturday night in Dallas was not special. Slightly different than in past years? Perhaps: Doug Nussmeier's offense appears to be a bit more happy to turn A.J. McCarron loose, particularly in early innings, and the defense didn't pressure so much as constrict Michigan into tiny, useless spaces turning Denard Robinson into a doomed sub captain. Depth charges: Alabama has them

Unfortunately, his assertion that no one died does not account for the Countess injury. Sad face.

Bubble popping? I've muttered about how college football fans are getting close to the breaking point for a while now, and Pat Forde has just documented an opening weekend that was an attendance bust all around. I was shocked at more than one of these factoids:

There was exactly one announced capacity crowd in eight Southeastern Conference home openers. Before the Labor Day Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game, six out of seven Atlantic Coast Conference schools had smaller crowds than their openers last year – some of them much smaller. Attendance was down at six out of eight Big 12 home openers from 2011. Five out of eight Pac-12 schools had smaller crowds as well, and Oregon's 13-year sellout streak was in jeopardy until game day.

I saw the Florida-BGSU game and was shocked at a corner of the endzone in the upper deck that was all but empty. Even the bluebloods are reaching their limit.

Michigan doesn't seem to have similar problems except when it comes to getting the students to show up on time, but they should benefit from this trend. They may have already after snagging one-off home games with Oregon State and Colorado in the near future. Would those have happened ten years ago? Probably not. Increasing ticket prices and the ubiquity of television are pushing the economics of college football back  towards actual games between teams. Tomato cans aren't going away but we should see them gradually recede from their boring-ass apex. High five, epic ongoing recession!

Bubble expanding. Via Get The Picture, the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit that threatens to drain money from the NCAA and give it to the players whose images have been expropriated has decided to aim higher:

O’Bannon seeks a judge’s permission to expand the class action to include current D-I football and men’s basketball players. O’Bannon does not ask that current players be paid while in college. Instead, he wants a temporary trust set up for monies generated by the licensing and sale of their names, images and likenesses. Players could access those trusts at the completion of their collegiate careers.

The O'Bannon plan sends half(!) of broadcasting and a third of video game revenue to the players. Even partial success here would be seismic. I'm in favor, obviously.

Austin Hatch to 2014. Everyone in the world speculated that Austin Hatch would take another year of high school after his tragic plane crash, and now that's official. He's a 2014 recruit now.

Michigan is now at 13 for next year's team will have open spots if Hardaway or Trey Burke head for the NBA, which is why they're still after some 2013 guys. The most prominent is Reggie Cameron, a 2.0 version of Smotrycz hopefully without the existential depression.

As for Hatch, if he doesn't recover to the point where he can play, Michigan will still honor his scholarship. Presumably they would give him a medical; I'm guessing in this situation the NCAA would provide whatever waivers would be necessary lickety-split.

!?!?!?!? Touch the Banner interviews JB Fitzgerald, and he says this!

(3.)  If you had to choose, who was your favorite coach at Michigan, including position coaches?

"So many great coaches I had the privilege of learning from, which I expected going into a program like Michigan. Two coaches really stand out.  First, Greg Robinson - truly a class act and the depth of football knowledge that I was able to gain from him is hard to put a price on. And then of course Coach Hoke."

/gawps

Air Force stuff. Via mgovideo:

Oosterbaan unretirement. MVictors scores an interview with Ben McCready, Bennie Oosterbaan's godson:

MVictors:  As one of the representatives of Bennie Oosterbaan family, did the athletic department reach out to you to ask if the family would be interested in participating in the Legends program?

McCready:  Dave Brandon contacted me last September to see what I thought of the Legends program.  I loved the idea.  He and asked if I could put him in touch with members of Bennie’s family. I was happy to put Dave in touch with Bennie’s surviving relatives (8 in all), most of whom Bennie and his wife Delmas were very close to throughout their lives.  Dave sent letters to all of them. Every member of the family responded to Dave that they loved and supported the Legends Program and the "unretiring" of Bennie’s jersey.

McCready wants Jordan Kovacs to wear 47, which nooooooooooooooooooo.

Seriously, though, as the guy who famously hauled in Benny Friedman's passes, I'd hope Oosterbaan's 47 goes to a wideout. 47 would be a lot more notable on a WR than a defensive player, and Michigan already has to throw Gerald Ford's #48 to someone other than a lineman due to modern-day number restrictions. The Wisterts' #11 should end up on the DL somewhere; Ron Kramer should obviously be given to a TE.

Etc.: Quality diary featuring Hall and Oates. A dinged Rex Burkhead does not need surgery. He may be out a bit but should be fine by the time Michigan hits Lincoln. Texas A&M is going to get pwned. This Week in "John L Smith must stay forever": prank-calls reporter at presser. Comprehensive M blogosphere Alabama react collection. To his credit, Dantonio says MSU players need to shut up.