Unverified Voracity Is Cajun Brady Hoke

Unverified Voracity Is Cajun Brady Hoke

Submitted by Brian on October 3rd, 2017 at 12:48 PM

EdOrgeronCoachingTree-645x356

no idea

A challenger appears. LSU's Joe Alleva offered this contract to an interim coach nobody else would hire who was 10-25 at Ole Miss in his first tenure as a head coach:

If Orgeron is fired “without cause” (namely for losing too much rather than NCAA violations or legal issues) prior to Nov. 28 of each year, then he is owed $12 million this year, $8.5 million next, $6 million in 2019, $4.5 million in 2020 and $1 million in 2021. Those numbers are “minus compensation paid during the terminating year.” So subtract $3.5 million pro-rated at however many months he’s worked that year.

This is worse than Brady Hoke's contract, which started off with an 8 million dollar buyout despite the fact that he, too, had zero other suitors. And despite his many, many flaws it should be apparent that Brady Hoke is a better coach than Ed Orgeron.

Also I don't know how you don't walk away from the deal as soon as you see the name of this LLC:

LSU’s contract is actually with “O” The Rosy Finch Boyz, LLC, which was incorporated last January when he got the job.

You gave a five year, eight figure deal to a guy who put an unironic Z in his LLC, which sounds a gang comprised of private-school sixth-graders. Coulda had Jeff Brohm, but no, had to go with the carnival barker. People are just in charge of things for no reason, man.

Reasons that Cajun Brady Hoke is losing games. Yahoo has an article with some Tiller-level anonymous quotes on LSU:

“It wasn’t what you expect,” said one assistant coach. “You expect guys ready to kick your ass. There wasn’t any fire. Genetically they weren’t as good. On film, they weren’t as good. But these guys, I don’t know. These guys, I don’t even know what to say. I can’t believe they play the way they do. They’re soft. Soft. It doesn’t make sense.”

Added another personnel executive: “When everything got super tough against Mississippi State, they tapped out. State was giving it to them and they didn’t want any piece of it. They were tapping out the entire game.”

We've seen what happens when you believe your coach is incompetent first hand. I'm sure people called Devin Funchess soft after his indifferent final year in Ann Arbor; he doesn't seem soft in the NFL. When your leadership sucks you don't give it your best, because what does it matter?

Speaking of Tiller level. RIP to former Purdue coach Joe Tiller, who still defines Purdue football to this day. Tiller brought basketball on grass to the Big Ten, won a bunch of games, and was probably the source of a bunch of harsh-but-true things in those anonymous coach quote articles. Their spiciness level dropped off a cliff after Tiller retired.

636368543538721636-LAFBer-05-02-2017-JC-1-C001-2017-05-01-IMG-Title-TILLER-BREES-1-1-7HI8E0K7-L1021297053-IMG-Title-TILLER-BREES-1-1-7HI8E0K7

Tiller's mustache game was fierce and he made the Big Ten a more interesting place. RIP. SBNation has assembled a collection of remembrances for those so inclined.

FBI fallout of the week. Many articles saying "pay the players" have come out, because obviously. If the NCAA can't touch 90% of the malfeasance going on without the involvement of the FBI—which can hardly be counted on going forward—you have a choice between the current system, where shady characters run riot and you've got a choice between your eligibility and reporting your income, and something that makes any sense.

We'll see if any of that sticks. This guy in the WaPo doesn't think so and he's got history on his side:

In 1915, the University of Chicago Daily Maroon upended the college football community by pushing the matter further. Given that the editor of the college newspaper and the tuba player in the marching band received compensation from the university, the Maroon argued, why not the college athletes? “They work hard for the university organization known as the football team, which is a money making enterprise, the receipts from football being something like $20,000 [roughly $478,000 today] more than expenditures for the sport. Why not give the players a share of the profits accruing from their hard and faithful labors?”

The University of Chicago was only one year removed from a national championship in football; its voice on the subject mattered.

102 years later we're still all like "man... these dudes have accrued with hard and faithful labors."

Hockey recruiting item. SBN's Jeff Cox had one main takeaway from the USHL Fall Classic camp:

Green Bay Gamblers left defenseman Michael Vukojevic was the best pro prospect on the ice Wednesday, but the ‘01 isn’t eligible until the 2019 NHL Draft. The Oakville, Ontario native was selected by Green Bay in the first round, eighth overall, of the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft.

A Michigan commit, Vukojevic has the size and skating ability to be an elite defenseman. He plays older, communicates well and makes plays in both ends. He’s still adjusting to junior hockey and rushed a couple of breakout passes, but he’s a big time prospect. Kitchener holds his OHL rights.

Kitchener is one of the OHL teams with the resources to woo committed prospects but at the moment Vukojevic seems committed to the college route. For one, he's at USHL camps. If Michigan does manage to get all their committed defensemen to campus they are going to be more loaded on D than they have been since I've been paying attention. Vukojevic, Quinn Hughes, Bode Wilde, and Mattias Sameulsson aren't just potential first round picks but potential top ten picks.

Chances are at least one gets picked off or leaves in a flash, but even so Michigan's blue line is going to be stacked.

On Hughes. Adam Herman breaks down what makes Quinn Hughes an elite prospect:

He has immaculate skating ability, both in terms of straight-line speed as well as agility. Furthermore, he reads plays from the back-end similarly to how an elite football quarterback might survey the field.

In the age of analytics, the ability to make clean entries into the offensive zone with possession has been highlighted as an effective first step towards creating threatening shifts. Hughes’ previously highlighted abilities plus his fearlessness when dealing with the opposition’s forecheck make him elite in creating these types of shifts. ...

He is adept at walking the blue line and creating time and space for himself to set up a play. He takes on defenders, makes crisp passes to open players in dangerous spots, and can get the puck off his stick quickly to surprise goaltenders with a hard shot.

Hughes's PPG pace in 26 USHL games with the U18s is unprecedented for a player two years away from the draft, although in Hughes's case he only missed this year's edition by three weeks—he's several months older than Werenski was when he accelerated and joined Michigan a year early.

Those who exited. Michigan's transfers are surveyed at MLive. Still sucks that Keith Washington bolted; he's got 2 INTs and 4 PBUs already for his JUCO. Also of note: Ross Douglas, RB/CB at Michigan, is starting for Rutgers. At linebacker. Spacebacker, to be sure, but yikes. Rutgers might not be good.

THE FOUG CONSPIRACY. Bruce Feldman collects some data on James "Doug" Foug:

Jim Harbaugh has quite a weapon in kickoff man James Foug. Purdue special teams coordinator Tony Levine told me that in 15 years as a coach he’s never seen a kickoff guy get the kind of hang time Foug gets. Most of his kickoffs end up as touchbacks. The ones that are returned end up with the opponent’s average starting field position at their 17.

Levine says anything over four seconds of hang time on a kickoff is exceptional; Foug’s kicks consistently come in around 4.5. Usually when the returner catches the kick, you want the coverage guys to be inside the 35-yard line; Levine says that by the time Michigan’s opponents receive the ball, the Wolverines’ coverage team is typically inside the 25.

Michigan is definitely trying to keep the ball just short of the endzone so they can pick up that 5-10 yards of field position. Weird that Harbaugh told the media that Seychel would kick off when they've got this dude hammering them.

Also, Troy Calhoun on what he faced down:

Two weeks ago, the Wolverines held Air Force to 232 yards of total offense, its lowest output since 2012. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun told me this was one of the best defenses he’s ever faced. The guy who really caught his eye was linebacker Devin Bush Jr. “He doesn’t look like much, he’s maybe 5'10", but he’s so quick and tough. He just unloads and knocks the heck out of people.”

Whenever people talk about Bush I'm reminded of this Ringer article about the evolution of the NFL linebacker. He's a modern linebacker all the way.

Etc.: Some good news, at least. Contains this quote: "“We can get them dead, but they’ve got to go someplace." Hidden gems of Washtenaw County foods. Talkin' Ben Mason. Harbaugh on kneeling. Gasaway on FBI. Drum major Kevin Zhang profiled.

Unverified Voracity Is In Year Eight Of This

Unverified Voracity Is In Year Eight Of This

Submitted by Brian on September 5th, 2017 at 12:19 PM

36618398570_1ef2703fcc_z

run run run run run run run away oh oh oh [Christopher Cook]

We're #3.5. Spencer's top whatever:

Handing Florida two pick-sixes was only sportsmanlike, really. Without them, this is a 41-3 game or so, a complete wash, an elimination. Michigan’s chief concerns coming into the year were finding playmakers down the field. Tarik Black and Nick Eubanks did that serviceably enough, particularly so when you consider that Wilton Speight didn’t really have a great game and that the run game took a minute to lock in a stranglehold.

In sum, this Michigan team has great bones, is a handful along the defensive line, has two running backs capable of following an mean offensive line down the field, and has a quarterback who needs help from all that. But really, who doesn’t need a team? And who, among Michgan fans, will ever question the team? The team, the team, the team?

Alabama is a boring #1, as they always are.

Further Florida aftermath. I forgot to check Matt Hinton's weekly column on the SEC since usually it doesn't include extended treatises on a Big Ten team. This time it does:

It was, as McElwain said, a “plain and simple, take your whooping” kind of defeat. But the response from Florida fans was obvious too: Just how long do they have to keep taking it? Is Florida content to be a “take your whooping” kind of outfit? The Gators are nearly a decade removed from national relevance, or even from fielding a remotely competent quarterback for more than a week or two at a time. They’re no closer to filling that role after flip-flopping between Feleipe Franks and Malik Zaire on Saturday, to little effect, or to identifying a reliable playmaker among the skill players. The top two candidates, tailback Jordan Scarlett and receiver Antonio Callaway, were both among the late-breaking wave of suspensions before the game, but anyone who thinks either would have made a notable difference against the Wolverines hasn’t been paying close enough attention over the past two years.

Hinton also includes a long discussion of what the hell was going on with the illegal formation penalty—"dunno," more or less—and surveys the wreckage of the Florida offensive line:

That play — exactly the type of overwhelming debacle that used to unleash “S-E-C! S-E-C!” chants on beaten and broken-down Big Ten teams — was irrelevant to the outcome. But it was thoroughly emblematic of the line’s gradual deterioration over the course of the game. The play that preceded it was also a sack resulting in a fumble; in retrospect the Gators would have been better off if Michigan had recovered the first one just short of the goal line, or frankly if they’d just conceded at that point to taking an intentional safety. At least taking a knee in the end zone would have saved Zaire from a blindside hit everyone else in the building saw coming a mile away.

Every year you take up the banner of whatever P5 team you played in the nonconference. Last year Colorado worked out spectacularly well. This year... it's going to be weird and frustrating to be a proxy Florida fan this year. I fear I will understand the mindset all too well.

Also in aftermath, audio versions. Do you like goofily uninformed folks yellin'? Here you go:

How about the reasonably informed?

This was a bit of a comedown for a fanbase that was a wee bit optimistic headed into a game they were solid underdogs in.

They're not wrong though. Michigan's defensive performance was highly encouraging but it would be wise to pump the breaks at least a little. Florida's wasted more talent than anyone else in the country on that side of the ball:

That is incredible. Tim Tebow left eight years ago. Florida has endured eight years of Al Borges.

Is this the best sideline reporter moment of all time? Yes. Yes it is.

It's pushed over the top by Orgeron standing in the background of the shot. Congratulations to Allison Williams for surviving this stunt; going in there was a 50/50 chance Orgeron would overhear and turn her into gumbo.

I mean, okay, I guess you are Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh on the first INT, which I still think is mostly on Crawford:

"Not throwing the ball high over the middle. Those balls get tipped and have a tendancy to go up in the air. During camp we played a lot against man-to-man defenses (vs. Don Brown), with a lot of pressure," Harbaugh said. "I take this onto myself coaching. There are times you throw high and you get away with it because it's zero coverage and there's no deep safeties back there. ... But when you're playing against (zone) safeties, you have to keep the ball below the shoulders.

"Shoulders down, so the arms of the receivers don't go up and tip the ball. We've made more of an emphasis on that."

Speight could have thrown it better; Crawford still had it hit him in the hands, and it looked like he wasn't even fully extended when the ball hit.

I don't really get the other bit of Harbaugh press conference Speight critique:

"Quarterbacks, they want to show that they're the one and they're the guy. And sometimes that leads to always trying to make a big play or always trying to make a play that proves that," he said. "We talked about that (with Speight). You have to let that come to you. Operate within the system, with the reads, be a disciple with mechanics and those big plays will come to you.

Speight's deep shots in this game:

  • completions to Tarik Black and Nick Eubanks
  • PI drawn by Crawford on accurate post
  • Fade route down sideline to Crawford is OOB
  • pick six on high-ish ball at open receiver
  • incompletion when Speight makes a killer check only to miss a wide open TD

I think that's it. The only one of those that was even a little forced was the PI. Speight's decisions against Florida were excellent. His execution was occasionally lacking. I imagine that's a response to a leading I-already-wrote-my-article question and not something Harbaugh's pulling out of thin air.

Wild thing. Yes, this occurred:

Harbaugh said he’s looking for “a season of increases.” That applies, he said, to everyone on the roster -- the coaching staff, the starting quarterback, players on both sides of the ball and even the rookie kicker who carved a zig-zag pattern into the back of his hair last week as an ode to the closer mentality of Rick Vaughn.

Yes, that would be Charlie Sheen’s heartthrob, fire-throwing, near-sighted ex-con character from "Major League" -- yet another reference that predates the referencer’s existence on this planet. Nordin said he had to show YouTube clips to a couple of his teammates for them to understand what he was going for. When asked Saturday if the similarities between him and Vaughn stretch beyond their hairstyles, Nordin smiled. “Yeah, I think so,” he said. Then he turned and walked back into the locker room.

Even the damn kicker on this team has some attitude.

Etc.: Georgia will be without Jacob Eason against ND this weekend; ND favored by almost a touchdown. Here's a new Michigan tumblr. Maryland's win over Texas came at high cost: torn ACL for Piggy, fractured ankle for Aniebonam.

Unverified Voracity Remembers Cajun Brady Hoke

Unverified Voracity Remembers Cajun Brady Hoke

Submitted by Brian on June 20th, 2017 at 2:42 PM

31153384964_ce34d8b20b_z

[Bryan Fuller]

Naturally. If Harbaugh can't do camps he's going to do something:

Jim Harbaugh takes on clerk role in Genesee Probate Court

This will result in lawyers dorkin' out:

Flint Attorney Rick Hetherington, who appeared on a child support motion, on the way out asked: "Excuse me judge, but for clarification, I was wondering ... who has it better than us?"

Before the judge could respond, Harbaugh replied,

"I know the answer to that...Nobody!"

There's a 50% chance that guy has a username.

On the Go Blue Guarantee. Michigan has declared that instate students with family incomes of less than 65k a year will no longer pay tuition. This is a good thing. Maybe it's less of a "whoah" moment than it first appears since Michigan was already paying the bulk of costs for students in this income bracket, but taking it to zero means something. It also drops out a bunch of paperwork:

"The 'Go Blue Guarantee' cuts through the complexities of financial aid to help us reach talented students from all communities in our state. I have always believed that talent is ubiquitous in our society, but opportunity most certainly is not. The 'Go Blue Guarantee' helps us ensure wider opportunity."

I have Read The Comments on this, unfortunately, and one of the most common attempted gotchas is weeping for the family making 66k. They're not exactly boned by this move:

Tuition slides up gradually as income increases. As it would in any non-insane system. Concerns about families making twice the state median having problems shouldering their burden should be mitigated by the existence of 529 plans, which allow folks who have money to invest—ie, 120k-per-year households—to grow that money tax-free. You have to have a plan, but you can afford to have one at that point.

As state appropriations have shrunk as a portion of Michigan's budget, Michigan has responded by continually increasing costs for the wealthy. They've also tried to up their appeal to that segment of the population. If anything it's worked too well; Michigan's ability to enroll lower-income students has fallen off a cliff. This will help. It is unlikely to have a huge impact since ability to meet admissions standards is highly correlated with family income.

There's not much of a sports angle here unless Michigan starts covering large chunks of living costs as well. Those are estimated at about 15k annually and are covered by an athletic scholarship elsewhere. Since the sort of families covered by the guarantee are also the ones for whom 15k is a huge deal, this does not get Michigan a bunch of free scholarships for instate kids. If Michigan manages to extend this to room and board, then you might see a notably improved class of walk-on. Until then hold your birdman dot gifs about gaming the system.

Athletic budget notes. Michigan continues to live in the black after late Brandon shenanigans, projecting a two million dollar surplus this year. Athletic department budgets being what they are, a tiny profit is all that will ever be allowed. This helps schools cry poor when amateurism is questioned. Michigan can't quite disguise why a good year for the AD is always a 1% profit margin, because the way they make this happen is a PR boon:

Included in the department's projections is an increase in transfers to the university from $3.825 million in FY17 to $7.875 million in FY18.

Does the athletic department need to double the amount of money they transfer back to the general fund? No. Does the general fund need a four million dollar drop in a swimming pool of funding? No.

Michigan's also setting aside four million dollars into its deferred maintenance fund. They need to do this for major renovations—they cannot soak taxpayers by issuing bonds like pro teams—but that is also money that exits that they expensed away with some handwaving. Michigan expects to make at least 14 million dollars profit in 17-18.

That's due in no small part to this:

Conference distributions are projected to increase to $51.1 million in FY18 from $36.3 million in FY17 due mostly to a new conference media rights agreement.

You might be able to pay the players now instead of coming up with increasingly transparent ways of laundering the money.

Get hype for Gary. Peppers kind of talk about Mr. Gary from Don Brown:

Brown was asked Saturday after Michigan’s high school football camps how good Gary, a defensive end, can be.

“Best I’ve ever seen,” Brown said. “Best I’ve ever seen combining speed, strength, change of direction, and the mental curve. He’s unbelievable. The sky is the limit.

“The good thing is I think he understands that there’s a lot on his shoulders.”

It is rare to hear that kind of thing from a coach, and it portends good things.

Other minor roster notes from recent coach availabilities: Grant Perry won't play until his court issue is resolved and Grant Newsome is still expected to redshirt.

It's a contract. The NCPA, an NCAA union with the minor problem of not having any officially-designated employees to unionize, is doing what it can in the current regulatory environment. They've introduced a binding contract that they say is kosher with the NCAA that covers various aspects of the player-school relationship not covered by the LOI. Highlights:

According to the contract document obtained by CBS Sports, the CAP Agreement can be used instead of the National Letter of Intent or with the NLI. Either way, it would cover several areas the letter of intent doesn't. …

A school could be bound to an all-encompassing transfer release for a prospect before enrollment. The document asks if an institution "agrees"  or "does not agree" "to comply with any request for transfer" and "to not restrict the ability" of a player to transfer to any other school. …

A school could not "cancel, reduce or fail to renew financial aid … due to injury or athletic performance." …

A player could negotiate the cost of a remaining scholarship to complete a degree at some point in the future should he/she leave early for a professional draft.

These things rarely get off the ground, unfortunately. High level players are deciding between competing under-the-table offers that supersede the relatively minor concerns this contract can cover, especially in basketball.

(Also, since I just rolled my eyes at Dennis Dodd I should point out that this is a good and interesting piece he got first.)

Da Coach D. I forgot that LSU hired Cajun Brady Hoke after running Les Miles out of town, and have been momentarily boggled by this once again. LSU has all the money in the world, and they hired an interim coach whose previous experience was crashing and burning at Ole Miss. Anyway, Orgeron is using the NCAA's new camp rules to shut the rest of the country out of Louisiana. Michigan canceled a scheduled camp of their own, but that pales in comparison to the hoops Texas has been trying to jump through:

This marks the third announced camp in Louisiana that Texas was scheduled to take part in. And it’s the third camp that LSU has worked hard behind the scenes to prevent from happening. In a phone interview earlier on Tuesday, the local high school coach who initially helped facilitate the field for the Baton Rouge camp expressed pessimism about it happening. “We're in LSU's backyard,” said Mike Roach, the coach at Madison Prep in Baton Rouge and the father of Texas player Malcolm Roach. “Louisiana home cooking may have played a part in it.”​ Roach, who initially tried to help facilitate the camp, declined to go into details on what LSU may have done to attempt to prevent the camp from being held at Memorial Stadium. But his comments proved to be prescient.

After camps affiliated with Texas got canceled at Louisiana College and Southeastern Louisiana in the past few weeks, Mumme acknowledged on Tuesday afternoon there was still a chance LSU or political officials in the state would attempt to thwart Texas’s presence. “Oh yeah,” Mumme said. “But it’s only a day away now. I don’t think there’s a lot they can do. The only thing that can kill it is if it rains.”

He was wrong.

A silly waste of time on their part, and one that does nothing to help anyone. It sucks most of all for the mid-level kids who might catch on at Cornell or Belhaven or wherever if they can just get in front of some coaches; top-level guys don't need and rarely work out at these satellite camps.

But Orgeron's mostly notable for being unintelligible, so that fits.

Somebody did it for me. Many thanks to the Crimson Quarry, which donned its fisking hat in response to this:

This saves me a couple hours of brow-furrowed typing. For real:

[Politi:] Big Ten rival Michigan

[CQ]: Ahh of course, that famous Rutger rival Michigan, against whom the games are always close.

This is a thing a person said and was paid for.

I do have assorted comments about the Rutgers thing three years in that will not reference the Politi column:

  • The huge uptick in dough raked in by the league is approximately zero percent Rutgers's doing. Rutgers was useful to Delany as he attempted to expand the Big Ten Network's footprint. The 15-million-dollar uplift this year is because of the Big Ten's new national contracts with FOX and ESPN. The Michigan-OSU game, which is on FOX for the first time this year, is a bigger reason for the uplift than every game Rutgers plays in every sport.
  • Rutgers is probably worth it in this brief window when they don't get a a full share and cable cutting has not been epidemic, which is all Jim Delany cares about since he's old and will never have any legacy other than dollar bills.
  • We should kick Rutgers out the instant they're supposed to get a full share.

Matt Brown addresses the elephant in the room for fans: we get zilch from the Big Ten's constant dollar chasing. We get less than that.

Does the difference between $51 million in conference payouts and $43 million in conference payouts change the fan experience, or even the trajectory of football or basketball programs in a meaningful way? It’s very hard to argue it does, especially if you’re a fan of an already rich program, like say, Ohio State.

Nobody gets a bowl invitation because they got the biggest conference check. There is no trophy for it. It’s a meaningless thing to brag about.

But the addition of Rutgers does impact the fan experience and day to day performance of football and basketball programs. It means fewer games between traditional opponents for your favorite teams. It means an RPI anchor in basketball and baseball. It means an expensive road trip. And it means a lot of unwatchable games.

Again, we should kick 'em out in three years just for the fun of it.

Oh okay. Sympathy for John Calipari is still reading zero:

"They need more inventory for their own network so you just play more league games and then you have more inventory for your network to put on," Calipari said via teleconference Tuesday. "Hopefully in our case in this league (the Southeastern Conference) we stay where we are and if we don't, we'll make it work."

"What you do is, you take away some of those kind of games that have been good to us," Calipari said. "North Carolina, for example: If they go to 20 games we won't have any more series with North Carolina, so I'm not for it."

Calipari cancelled the UK-Indiana rivalry because Indiana refused to play at a neutral site. He can pound rocks.

Some hockey recruiting stuff. Bob MacKenzie's annual poll of NHL scouts and GMs in the run-up to the draft is out. Incoming freshman Josh Norris is a late first round pick at #23; rising sophomore Luke Martin is #69, nicely slotted into the early third round. Michigan also picked up its first new commit of the Pearson era when Phillipe Lapointe jumped on board a couple days ago. Phillipe is former Red Wing Martin Lapointe's son

Etc.: Muckalt hire official. Hooray for (potential) (slight) changes in municipal bonds that would (hypothetically) make it tougher for billionaires to get public money for stadiums. All hail the double team.  Second string OSU TE out for season.

Oklahoma State's mascot is stranger than fiction. As college and NFL OL play diverges, busts become more common. Should be sent to all linemen considering M. Paris, London, and Normandy Beach on the docket next year. Obamas invited to be honorary captains. DJ made a good decision.

Unverified Voracity Dorfs It A Bit

Unverified Voracity Dorfs It A Bit

Submitted by Brian on February 22nd, 2017 at 12:47 PM

32985513666_f10234a435_z

photo does not fit with theme of bullet [Patrick Barron]

Pretty grim. Mark Titus on the state of Big Ten basketball:

We’re only four years removed from the Big Ten’s incredible 2012–13 campaign, when six different teams cracked the top 10 of the AP poll and the regular-season title came down to the final shot on the final day of conference play. A Big Ten national title seemed imminent then, if not in the 2013 tournament then certainly in the immediate years to come. Now, coming off a tourney in which the league’s champion got blasted in the Sweet 16 and its best team lost to a no. 15 seed, the Big Ten could fare even worse in 2016–17; its only hope of remaining in title contention by the end of the tournament’s opening weekend could hinge on Purdue, a team that blew a 14-point lead with five minutes to play against Arkansas–Little Rock in the first round of the 2016 tournament.

It's not great, Bob. Simultaneous collapses by OSU, MSU, Indiana, and (to a slightly lesser extent) Michigan have sapped the top of the conference. A few years ago there were 6 or 7 teams as good as any of the top end contenders this year and one to three teams who were legitimately elite.

Injuries play a role, but Matta seems to have hit a wall; Izzo and Beilein are 62 and 64, respectively, and may be slowing down as they near the end of their careers. Crean may be gone after this year.

Donnal departure is already agreed to, apparently. It's not like it's a huge surprise but Mark Donnal taking a grad transfer next year has migrated past "open secret" and reached "fait accompli":

Donnal is not being offered a fifth year at Michigan.

"There have been a lot of ups and downs," he said. "I really think my career here shaped me as a better person. Now I'm moving on."

Michigan has three recruits coming in and Donnal is the third senior. Without attrition they'd be full next year, but attrition is always a possibility. [CORRECTION: Michigan still has an open slot.]

Today in Big Ten refs. How did Iowa-Indiana go last night?

God, shucks, there were a lot of those, huh? 57 (!!) total in this game, with four Indiana players fouling out — something that likely cost a thin Indiana team this contest, ultimately.

Both sides of this game have reps on my twitter feed and both sides were incredulous at what they were watching. An explanation is not forthcoming.

Seriously, MLive asked after the Minnesota debacle and got this response from the league:

MLive requested a comment or clarification regarding the technical. Via a Minnesota spokesman, the Big Ten stated that the technical was a judgment call and, thus, the night's head official, Rob Riley, would not be made available for comment.

"We question the judgment of your officials."
"The judgment of our officials is not in question, the end."

This is gaslighting, right? Did I do that correctly? I'm not good with words and stuff.

The last unicorn. Indiana RB coach Deland McCullough is off to USC. With that move, Indiana has now lost the entirety of Kevin Wilson's braintrust. Almost everybody moved up. Greg Frey ended up at Michigan, McCullough at USC, Wilson himself ended up as OSU's OC, etc., etc.

Indiana responded by bringing in Mike Debord. While that's going to be bad for anyone who liked #chaosteam—and as a fan of a Big Ten team that managed not to lose to them—it's going to be great for anyone who wants to see what happens when you put a sloth in a NASCAR race. Let's gooooooo (not very fast). 

The nation's foremost water-carrier. Tony Barnhart has always been a reliable mouthpiece for any rich guy involved in college athletics but this takes the cake. He writes an article about the spate of post-Signing Day coaching moves, which are cynically delayed until players are locked in to a LOI. He lists several examples, and then:

I did some calling around and the feedback I got essentially was this: “If this bothers you, then you’re being pretty naïve. Coaches leaving, or being asked to leave, right after signing day is just a fact of life in college football.”

Who did he talk to? Mack Brown and Rick Neuheisel. Both those guys—shock—think it's no big deal. This is like asking the head of Big Ten officials whether he sucks at his job. It's the full Greenstein right here.

Annual targeting revamp. Via Get the Picture, the NCAA is going to tweak targeting again:

As targeting ejections have doubled over three years, the NCAA Football Rules Committee is looking at changing the replay standards so a targeting ejection only occurs if the penalty is confirmed. Currently, if replay doesn’t have enough evidence to confirm targeting but can’t rule it’s not targeting, the call on the field stands and the player gets ejected.

There could be three different outcomes to targeting reviews:

  1. Confirmed: ejection, 15 yards.
  2. Stands: no ejection, 15 yards.
  3. Overturned: no penalty.

I'm not sure how many targeting penalties fall into that gray area in the middle, but we're about to find out. I guess a way to get calls like that Penn State targeting ejection less wrong is good?

Good ol' boys. It's still 1975 in Louisiana:

After FSU and Baylor and Tennessee you'd think these kinds of wink-wink nudge-nudge events would be frowned upon. There are clear costs that have resulted in far worse things than the occasional drunken escapade on a stolen moped.

Indiana parallels. In depth piece on Indiana basketball finding its footing in a world where it's no longer the 1970s at the Crimson Quarry:

The factors that made Indiana a great job 30 years ago simply don’t hold as much water today. We live in a world that is now smaller due to cheaper travel, social media, national AAU programs and circuits, prep schools. Indiana is far less cordoned off than it once was, and college basketball in the state and nationally is far deeper than it was in the peak of the Bob Knight era. Bloomington isn’t an NBA market like Los Angeles. Indianapolis is known for quality, not necessarily quantity, in producing top-level recruits that power programs to titles.

The comparisons between Indiana basketball and Michigan football over the past 40 or so years aren't dead on but there are some parallel tracks:

  • Bo and Bob Knight are both cantankerous program legends who cast a long shadow for anyone who follows.
  • Immediate successors are assistants promoted to the head job. Gary Moeller is the hand-picked successor; Mike Davis is an interim after Knight goes off the rails late who eventually gets the head job. Both have decent teams that aren't good enough to keep people from yelling for their heads and don't last.
  • Controversial outsiders Rich Rodriguez and Kelvin Sampson are brought in, have short, tumultuous reigns featuring NCAA trouble. (Sampson's are much worse, resulting in a five-year show cause penalty.) Both last just three years.
  • Dorfy-looking head coaches with somewhat questionable credentials are next. Major difference here is that Crean inherited a disaster zone and Hoke inherited Denard Robinson, so Hoke's tenure looks like a man careening downhill on moguls he doesn't know how to ski and Crean had an upward trajectory until recently. Still: dorfy.

It's rough when you've done things one way for a million years and then have to adapt.

Etc.: More croot profiles: J'Marick Woods, Kwity Paye, Luiji Vilain, Deron Irving-Bey, Ambry Thomas. Nevermind on Michael Johnson, who took a WR job at Oregon because he is terribly unqualified. What if Michigan never returned to the Big Ten?

Unverified Voracity Has Ur Email

Unverified Voracity Has Ur Email

Submitted by Brian on January 5th, 2015 at 4:43 PM

image

SEEMS LEGIT

DIRECTORY STALKING IS THE NEW REAL ESTATE STALKING (WHICH WAS THE NEW FLIGHT AWARE). A couple of gentlemen with names matching prospective assistant coaches and no marker to indicate they're students, alumni, or faculty have popped up in the UMich directory: Tim Drevno and DJ Durkin. John Morton is also being kicked around, but if you log in it shows he's not that John Morton. It would be a bit of coincidence if the first two gentlemen were not football coaches, though. Not gospel, Bayesian estimate move, etc.

Fred Jackson, meanwhile, is listed as a retiree, disappointing many who had hoped he would be retained as Michigan's Director Of Reasonable Comparisons. Oh, and Brian Cole and Alex Malzone are on the thing now.

Remember when bloggers were the only people scouring the directory? Now who's in the basement? I don't even have a basement.

GALLON DOCUMENTARY. A full half hour:

Returning starters: we got 'em. Phil Steele compiles returning starters in the Big Ten:

image

Michigan has a 17th coming back in Desmond Morgan as well. Find a QB and some guys who can rush the passer and you're in business.

OUT AND FRUSTRATED. John Chavis left LSU for a DC spot at Texas A&M, and the reason is the same reason it's tough to watch LSU play most of the time:

The sources said the contract negotiations, the Aggies offered $340,000 more annually, were a non-issue in his decision to leave LSU and that Chavis simply felt it was time to go.

Chavis' frustrations reached a crescendo this season when LSU finished first in the SEC in total defense, No. 8 in the nation and second in scoring defense. LSU was 11th in total offense and last in passing offense in the SEC, resulting in an 8-5 record, tied for the worst in coach Les Miles' 10 seasons.

In the past four seasons, Chavis' LSU defenses finished no worse than No. 15.

"(Chavis) threw his hands up and felt he'd done all he could do," one source said. "They made zero progress offensively and it became a sore point, not that he was pointing fingers, but it led to some uncomfortable feelings.

LSU has a lot of returning starters, but I would not be surprised if this was the beginning of the Les Miles death spiral. Better in Baton Rouge than here.

THE NEW OC. Nick Baumgardner tracks down old Tim Drevno charges and asks them about Michigan's new man:

"When you're going through a coach Drevno individual period, you're going to be tough, or you're going to be looking to transfer," says Ben Muth, a former offensive tackle at Stanford during the early part of the Harbaugh era. "You're going to bang heads and there aren't a lot of blocking dummies used. You're going up against other guys, guys who get the hell beat out of them early in their careers.

"It's live. It's intense. And you're going to hit people with him."

Even if Michigan hires a separate OL coach expect Drevno to be heavily involved. Stanford split its coaching between interior line and OT/TE… I would expect something similar.

CHAIT ON HARBAUGH. On his return:

From Harbaugh’s standpoint, if you think of college football as nothing more than a business, it is an act of professional irrationality. The only possible way to make sense of his choice is to consider the possibility that he actually believes what he said in 2004: that he believes he did not merely provide free labor in return for skill development but belonged to a community; that this community stands in his mind for something larger than the self-interest of its component parts; that all this talk about turning boys into men is not just hokum.

UH-OH. Dish announces a small package of channels they'll sell over the internet for twenty bucks. Two of those channels: ESPN and ESPN2. I've been complaining about the shortsightedness of adding Rutgers and Maryland for a lot of reasons, most of them much more important than the amount of money the league makes.

But since the amount of money the league makes is the only possible argument in favor of the expansion, I do take pains to point out that the era of stealing a dollar from New Jersey grannies who don't even know what Rutgers is was always an ephemeral one. Once the cable monopoly shatters in the face of the internet, the only people paying for your content are the people interested, and the fanbases of Maryland and Rutgers are not going to carry the freight. For a momentary bump in revenue the Big Ten galloped towards the nonsense that is a 14-team collegiate conference, but Jim Delany will be retired by then so he DGAF.

WE CAN ACCESS ABOUT ONE OF THESE GUYS. Texas may be in the market for a grad QB after Tyrone Swoopes fell flat this year. Barking Carnival runs down their options, many of whom are JUCOs Michigan isn't likely to acquire. They do mention Kevin Hogan as well:

While he hasn't yet announced formally for transfer, the Stanford graduate clashed withDavid Shaw over his conservative offense and had the unenviable task of replacingAndrew Luck - arguably the most gifted QB walking the planet.  The rumor mill is running hard and fast that he wants out and would like a show case for his wares. While imperfect - and possessing a slow release that Shaun Watson could help him with - Hogan is a proven competitor with good athletic ability and a live arm.  He has 48 touchdowns to 21 career interceptions, won a Rose Bowl, started 30+ games and has a career QB rating around 145.  Yet people treat him as if he's chopped liver.  He's not.  He's also a sneaky running threat who isn't afraid of contact.  He's an upgrade and wouldn't be particularly terrified taking a snap from under center in South Bend next year.  He's roughly comparable to a sophomore David Ash, but with veteran experience.  That's a significant upgrade from Swoopes.  He could help us.  Now forward him this post immediately and get the illegal contacts started.

FAREWELL. Lake The Posts is closing effective January 15th. Always sad when one of the originals hangs it up.

ETC.: If you were vaguely worried that Lavall Jordan would end up at Butler after their coach had to take medical leave, the Bulldogs have taken the interim title off of Chris Holtmann. Stephon Diggs heads to the draft. MVictors has entertaining Harbaugh/Yost trivia and old-timey player intros. Dylan Larkin had an awesome WJC.

Five Star Temptresses And Variance Hating

Five Star Temptresses And Variance Hating

Submitted by Brian on December 15th, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Two pretty much unrelated things in one post. I blame everything.

vince-young.new[1]

Vince Young; Garrett Gilbert

Cautionary tales?

A Braves and Birds post on the recent downfalls of Texas and Florida spurred responses from Blutarsky and Smart Football about the role of various schemes as your talent level waxes and wanes. The B&B theory:

…we can criticize [Texas] for not learning the lesson of the Vince Young era.  Apparently, the lesson that Brown took was “recruit five-star quarterbacks from Texas,” when he should have concluded “recruit quarterbacks who can run.”  In short, Texas was seduced by the prospect of a local five-star pocket passer and shifted their offense away from what worked for them when they were upsetting USC in the game of the decade.*

One can look at Florida and see the same mistake.  Urban Meyer has always won with mobile quarterbacks. … Nevertheless, Meyer was seduced by the same siren that causes Mack Brown to jump off the deck of his ship and swim to his doom.  He had a five-star pocket passer – John Brantley – living one hour from campus, so Meyer committed his post-Tebow Gators to Brantley.  Meanwhile, Meyer did not offer Denard Robinson a chance to play quarterback in Gainesville.

Brantley and Gilbert imploded, the team went with them, and the guys coordinating them left. Michael goes on to say this is a "cautionary tale" for Brady Hoke, whose most successful prior year was with Nate Davis. Davis is claimed to be mobile.

I'm not in agreement with his police work there. Hoke's offensive coordinator at Ball State was Stan Parrish, not Al Borges, and dubbing Nate Davis "mobile" is stretching the term. Davis averaged 3.7 non-sack carries per game in 2008, i.e. he had some scrambles and QB draws. For his part, Borges had great success with statue Ryan Lindley* (-57 rushing yards this year) at SDSU, Davis-ish scrambler Cade McNown (a couple hundred yards per year) at UCLA, and only-secretly-athletic Jason Campbell (30 rushing yards in 2004) at Auburn.

Michigan's long-term trajectory on offense should not expose them to the same problems Texas and Florida experienced. Hoke is a defensive guy who famously goes sans headset and Borges's successes have come with throwers at QB. That some of the throwers have been able to move a little doesn't make a difference. The offense is still not predicated on the QB's legs; instead the legs are a bonus that keeps some plays alive and gets you some yards on scrambles. In Michigan's case they are moving towards their OC's expertise, not away from it. (At least insofar as Greg Davis had any expertise. He and GERG should start a cover band.)

Variance: super teams hate it.

After passing through Get The Picture's digestive system the above post spurred Smart Football to offer some thoughts on the difference between a pro-style offense that is intent on putting up points and one that's intent on not blowing it:

For the truly elite-level recruiting teams, I think the agnosticism of pro-style treats them well because they basically recruit incredible players and then figure out the system and scheme later. Moreover, spread offenses, option offenses, and really any pass-first offense (including West Coast attacks of which I’d put Georgia in the category) require very good quarterback play. Alabama and LSU are basically designed to win in spite of their quarterbacks; Nick Saban does not want to return an all world defense with a bunch of five-star playmakers and lose because his QB was a junior and had some “growing pains”, which absolutely happens at every level. …

For everyone else having an identity and being somewhat contrarian helps a lot because it allows you to focus your recruiting on guys that can help you, and in many cases it means you don’t have to compete with some other teams for those guys. … Moreover, because you have a system with specific skills required, you can develop those skills. There are many examples, but think about how those Texas Tech teams under Leach always had four guys who could contribute and were open, even against the best Big 12 teams, because they’d worked on those skills every day for two years before they got in the game and had countless reps.

The former is what Ohio State did for years under Tressel, managing games with Krenzel and Boeckman and Zwick and Belissari and even most of the time with Troy Smith and Terrelle Pryor. They massaged enough safe points out of their offense to let the reliably crushing D win games. Sometimes—usually against Michigan—they went full-throttle. This happened when they feared the opponent more than variance.

The latter is why hiring Paul Johnson was a good idea for Georgia Tech but would be a bad one for Georgia, why Leach is a great hire at Washington State, and how Rodriguez made West Virginia into a power with rag-tag recruiting classes and some duct tape.

Michigan was in the former camp, but after Bo they accomplished their goals less successfully than OSU. This goes back to the Mo era, when Michigan would show up for the game with three or four losses and inexplicably beat—often thump—John Cooper's national title contenders. To me, Michigan-OSU in the 90s will forever be a fourth quarter exchange between some ranting Buckeye fan and a snot-nosed teen version of yrs truly:

MAN ADVERTISING BEER ON HAT: You have four losses! We're ranked in the top five! We're a national title contender!
FUTURE BLOGGER: You were.

That was fun as far as it went but playing spoiler ain't no way to live. For Michigan to not be a second banana in the league they either had to

  • recruit and execute better
  • get an identity that allowed them to perform better than their recruiting rankings

Rodriguez was an attempt to do the latter. Hoke is an attempt to do the former, or at least he seems like it. Borges is a wildcard. Maybe he's content to ramp his offense down into Tressel/Lloydball territory once the defense is truly locked in, but maybe Michigan will morph into a team with an identity on offense, even if that identity is the Boise State and Stanford have used lately.

When to put the toys in the box

    There is a point at which it makes sense to trundle through games as safely as possible. That point is when you have the LSU/Alabama/OSU massive talent advantage over all comers. If Hoke's recruiting continues at the level it has, Michigan may achieve that. More realistically, a lack of oversigning and/or culture of rampant barely-punished extra benefits will leave them short of that, leave them in the same 8-10 range they usually inhabited under Carr.

    That will mean they'll have to have something to rely on on offense other than don't-screw-it-up-ball if they're going to be nationally relevant more often than they have been in the past 20 years.

    The early returns here are inconclusive since Borges is biding his time with Denard while recruiting Shane Morris. But they are encouraging, both when it comes to Hoke's game theory aggression and Borges's tendency to keep the pedal depressed when it makes sense to. Buried deep in his own territory up 17 against a Nebraska team that has struggled to move the ball, he'll run-run-punt; staked to a three point lead against Ohio State second down is for moving chains.

      Michigan's not going to be that super-talented dreadnaught year-in, year-out that allows them to play crushingly boring football and win. I don't think that's Hoke's plan; even if it is he's spent a lot of time learning about what happens when you don't have that as an option.

      *[Lindley's implosion this year—he's now 80th in passer rating—suggests Borges is a plus playcaller/schemer. SDSU returned much of their offensive line and has Ronnie Hillman; while their WR situation was bound to drag the numbers down it shouldn't have been that severe.]