Unverified Voracity Should Have Signed With Barca So They'd Pay For The HGH Shots It So Desperately Needs

Unverified Voracity Should Have Signed With Barca So They'd Pay For The HGH Shots It So Desperately Needs

Submitted by Brian on July 30th, 2010 at 12:13 PM

SON OF A. 2011 forward recruit Lucas Lessio is now headed to the OHL, which sucks. I assume he's doing it because he doesn't want to move to the USHL's footprint or play in Junior B in his draft year. This is bad. Worse: Michigan's 2011 class is now Alex Guptill and they have to replace nine graduating seniors.

It's not quite as bad as it sounds since this year's team is going to be the deepest I've ever seen, but they are going to need four or five additional players and have scant time to add them in the accelerated world of college hockey recruiting. This might be what Red's three-year contract is about. We're having a JoePa problem.

At this point Michigan will be scouring the USHL for late-emerging and possibly older players to fill in the gap before the 2012 class, which does have a couple of high-end commits already, arrives.

LOL WUT. So here's Kenny Chesney hanging out with Desmond Howard and… um… some guy at Newsterbaan:

imageUnfortunately, this means two things: the creepy country dwarf is going to be involved with college football again this fall despite his epic fail last year, and Michigan is going to be involved with this fiasco. Whenever music gets involved with the Rich Rodriguez era terrible things happen.

Of all the lousy ways to save a buck. The general reaction to the AD's stealth decision to ban all water bottles, sealed or not, from Michigan Stadium…

All bottles (including all types of water bottles) are prohibited from being brought into the stadium. There are newly installed water fountains located throughout the concourse and complimentary cups of water are available at each concession stand that has soda dispensing ability.

…has met the same sort of reaction that Clark Griswold's boss got when he offered his employees the Jelly of the Month Club for Christmas bonuses, and I'm with the mob. Either the "complimentary cups of water" are soda-sized and the ban on bringing in bottles is an exercise in forcing people to wait in line pointlessly or they're little teeny cups that will be an unsuccessful attempt to make it seem like the ban is not the brainchild of some soulless MBA looking to maximize revenue efficiency.

I have a question in about this decision and am hoping the answers aren't unconvincing boilerplate about terrorism and people sneaking in drinks, but we'll see.

Vintage. 1966 is not a common year for footage to come from, but here's some stuff for the history mavens:

The point is probably that we're even discussing it. Genuinely Sarcastic launches a self-defeating argument about the amount of success Michigan and Michigan State have had in state. The numbers in summary:

Since 2008, the head to head scoreboard is Michigan 11, Michigan State 9.
Since 2008, Michigan has offered 38 in-state prospects, landing commitments from 16 of those 38 (42.1%).
MSU, on the other hand, has offered a staggering 73 players in-state. Of those 73, they've landed 38 (52.1%).

Same as it ever was except for some seriously pissed off you guys coaches at Renaissance and Southeastern, one of whom is now employed by Michigan State. That Michigan blogs are even putting the effort into State's recruiting, which remains as Motor City-tastic as ever* says all it needs to. Nothing's changed on MSU's side of the ledger—they mostly go .500 and hired a coach who went basically .500 before he arrived at State. It's Michigan that's concerned about their place in things.

*(Lawrence Thomas is a big get; to Rivals the rest of MSU's recruits are three stars, and not even high three stars: one player gets a 5.7 and the rest are 5.6 or worse, with three unranked players and a two-star. Michigan isn't burning up the charts yet but they are killing State, as they did last year and the year before, etc. Three of Michigan's four 5.6-or-worse guys (Sousa, Fisher, and Kellen Jones) are likely to move up.)

Scatterplots. If there's one thing Michigan State bloggers like more than bad recruiting it's not writing up a Worst Plays of the Decade list. But if there are two things, it's not writing up a Worst Plays of the Decade list and scatterplots. Here's a scatterplot of the Big Ten according to Football Outsiders' clunkily named F+ (they should call it deathbacker), which is basically an efficiency metric that adjusts for schedule strength, garbage time drives, and all the little details that can make PPG or YPG misleading. You will not be surprised:

f -scatterMichigan's offense was slightly below average and their defense was… significantly less eye-rending than I'd have guessed. I expected them to be hanging out with Indiana and Illinois on the Island of Token Resistance. The guessas to why that happened: Michigan missed three of the five crappy teams in the league: themselves, Northwestern, and Minnesota. Their schedule difficulty was probably the toughest in the league, especially since Minnesota had by far the worst offense in the Big Ten.

Etc.: If you didn't get enough of the worst plays of the decade, The Wolverine Blog would like to bring your attention to the Post-Apocalyptic Oregon Game. I'm going to go listen to some Morrissey now. Pre-Snap Read, which is apparently the guy who did the season preview for the NYT last year doing the same thing independently, ranks Michigan a job-saving #37th and says the team is "ready to take the next step," by which he means "first step." Who is Zoltan Mesko? Baby don't hurt me, no more.

Unverified Voracity Still Vulnerable To Italicized Exclamations

Unverified Voracity Still Vulnerable To Italicized Exclamations

Submitted by Brian on May 27th, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Softball go. Reminder: tonight and tomorrow Michigan takes on Tennessee at Alumni Field for the right to advance to the Women's College World Series. Tomorrow's game is at 7:30 and is on ESPN (just plain ESPN); the Friday games are at 4:30 on ESPNU and (if necessary) 7:30 on ESPN2. Tickets are 5-10 bucks. Actual athletic competition between people! No documents at all!

For the billionth time. I linked this on the sidebar but I think it's worth posting up. Dave Brandon on Rodriguez and whatnot:

Insert the usual hosannas about Brandon and his ability to act as the face of the athletic department in tough times.

Be attractive in private, thanks. Remember Mike Cox doing a bit of modeling for Bivouac? Yeah, that was a secondary violation:

Nov. 11, 2009
The violation: A football player engaged in impermissible modeling for two local stores.
The punishment: The stores were issued cease-and-desist letters to remove all images of the player from their websites, and the athlete was declared temporarily ineligible. His eligibility was later restated.

That was one of nine Michigan football secondary violations since 2005 revealed in the document dump. The rest are pedestrian stuff involving a phone call here, 60 bucks there, etc. Birkett does point out that Michigan's had a relative paucity of secondary violations in comparison to Lane Kiffin, or Ohio State, which has averaged almost 42 per year for its athletic department over the last decade.

Oversigning ramps up.

The single dumbest thing written about the Day Of Slight Reckoning, non Hat Guy Edition. Yes, Hat Guy wrote something, and it exists in its own Hat Guy category, impervious to logic, reason, and the American Way. Outside of Hat Guy territory, the crown goes to Lynn Henning:

Once upon a time it was Michigan State that got into all the trouble. It was East Lansing where there were stability problems. …

Michigan State is now the regional example for how a Big Ten athletic program should be run. There was a bad mess with November's dormitory fracas. But between Mark Dantonio's reconstructed football program and Tom Izzo's spotless work in making MSU basketball an elite and ongoing force, MSU has become the Michigan of 20 and 30 years ago, while Michigan has taken MSU's unenviable place as the campus where too much bad sports news originates.

"Fracas"? The number of kids kicked off the team reached double digits! It was the second consecutive year a large group of Michigan State football players descended upon a group of innocent bystanders and heard the lamentation of the women! Just the most recent incident has outstripped the entire Rodriguez era when it comes to player arrests… by a factor of five! Dantonio was directly responsible for the second incident because he let Glenn Winston walk out of jail and directly on to a practice field! This is brushed off in a single sentence!

You think you could let six months pass without 20% of the Spartan team beating down some engineers before declaring it a paragon of righteousness and virtue. Apparently not. People on the board have mentioned that when you contact Henning he seems like a nice guy—one willing to listen—so there's that, but good Lord that's dumb.

Also, Mark Dantonio's "reconstructed" football program won one (one) more game than Michigan last year, losing to a MAC team along the way. If not for the fact that MSU was the second-luckiest team in the nation in 2008, Dantonio's first three years at Michigan State would look exactly like his three years at Cincinnati and the last 30 years of Spartan football.

Just when you think you're a hardened observer of sportswriters, incapable of being stunned into a series of italics-laced exclamations at the sheer stupidity of an argument, they go and prove you wrong. Hat Guy, by the way, made fun of Michigan for firing Herron for lying to the NCAA.

Maybe we can have something resembling competition? The American Needle decision handed down by the Supreme Court seems like the prelude to something instead of actually something—all they said is the lawsuit can go ahead—but the most relevant outcome may be a weakening of EA's iron grasp on sports games ever since 2K got uppity and EA started shoveling money at the leagues for exclusive licenses. This can only be good, as some of the 2K games were pushing, or far better than, EA's editions of the same.

In other video game news. Hot on the heels of the announcement that CHL teams will appear in NHL 2011, Paul Kelly of College Hockey, Inc. announces that colleges will appear as well:

"We've actually been in discussions with EA for a couple of weeks," Kelly began, "and while we don't have a formal announcement to make at this moment, we are certainly in discussions with EA Sports and they are very interested in having a college component to their game. We, the colleges, are very interested in having that happen and we are just currently in the process of figuring out what dimensions that ought to take."

Hockey players will be under the same restrictions as football and basketball players, but you'll be able to figure out who C #12 is. This might be short lived if the Ed O'Bannon case ends up going in favor of the plaintiffs: while EA will probably have to figure out a way to license likenesses for football and basketball, hockey will just get dropped.

Hockey destinations. Chris Dilks of Western College Hockey has a brief correction on Boo Nieves's plans:

Nieves was drafted by Indiana, but he's actually going to be attending Kent School in Connecticut next year, where he'll be coached by former Michigan captain Matt Herr, and then probably playing in the USHL for his senior year.

FWIW. The OHL is not a threat here.

As far as 2011 question mark Lucas Lessio goes, Waterloo's GM thinks they've got an excellent shot. They're also bringing in Alex Guptill (now Michigan's only other 2011 commit with Derek Deblois arriving this fall) and hope that will suffice as enticement:

We're taking a calculated risk," O'Handley said of Lessio. "We know he has options. Nick Ebert (current Black Hawk) has options, so it is no different. If you get him, to some degree you win the lottery.

"We wouldn't have done it if there was absolutely no way. We wouldn't have done it if it was 50-50. And, we're going to have to work hard to get him."

Note that the USHL has two drafts, the Futures Draft Nieves went in earlier, where players are not eligible this year but you can maintain their rights, and the Entry Draft, in which you get the guy's rights for a year and if you don't sign him you get nothing. Lessio was picked in the Entry Draft, so Waterloo's put a lot on the line to acquire him.

Speaking of that 2011 class, Michigan might need to get cracking on it. They lose Rust, Hagelin, Caporusso, Vaughn, Winnett, Llewellyn, Langlais, and Hogan after the season. They've got two forwards committed, leaving them to find another three forwards, two defenders, and a goalie if they're going to keep the same levels of roster depth. (Joel Vienneau, the Canadian goalie they were looking at for this year, committed to Minnesota for 2011.) They likely aren't—this fall's Michigan team will be the deepest I can ever remember—but they need at least another forward, defenseman, and goalie to feel comfortable going into '11, especially since there will be a number of flight risks next offseason.

Hockey lack of destinations. The buzz around the hockey program is that they would not lose anyone early to the NHL this year, and here's further confirmation of that from Mike Spath:

There is no rumored candidate expected to bolt for the NHL. In fact, the Wolverines seem to be taking a cue from forwards Louie Caporusso, Matt Rust and Carl Hagelin, who all declared their intentions to return for their senior seasons.

Also I must have missed this, but in April Michigan named captains: Hagelin gets the C (obvs), Glendening is the ultra-rare second captain as an ultra-rare junior (was the last one Ortmeyer? I think I'm missing one), and Rust and Caporusso get As.

Etc.: New Michigan blog Holdin' The Rope takes a page out of the OSU playbook and analyzes the development of Terrelle Pryor in the Rose Bowl. If you're wondering, no, Michigan's baseball team can't swing an at-large bid to the tournament.

Wetzel & Co at Yahoo break a major story about parts of the Kansas athletic department being complicit in Final Four ticket scalping, providing both a major story to blow Michigan's off the front page nationally and an example of how an investigative piece can be scrupulously fair. One complaint: late in the piece Yahoo cites "published reports" about complaints primo seats at Allen Fieldhouse are going to scalpers without even bothering to mention where the report was published.

Lucas Lessio Fence-Sitting Time

Lucas Lessio Fence-Sitting Time

Submitted by Brian on May 19th, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Highly touted Michigan hockey recruit Lucas Lessio is scheduled to be the centerpiece of the 2011 recruiting class. Usually after the OHL draft passes and the player has spurned advances from a team that took you seventh overall the window of danger has passed, but Oshawa traded for Lessio and has made enough of a push that he made an appearance at their rookie camp:

The fact he showed up to orientation camp is a positive sign at this point in the game, says Generals coach/GM Chris DePiero.

"I think the fact he came to rookie camp was step one," DePiero said on Tuesday. "My conversations with him over the last three months have been pretty positive in terms of him giving us at least a full shot and chance."

Lessio can attend the camp and maintain his eligibility; still, showing up is an obvious sign the OHL door is not closed.

On the other hand, the USHL's Waterloo franchise just took him eighth overall in their futures draft. That indicates they're confident he'll be with them next year, especially because Lessio would be a one-year player in the USHL. All of this appears to indicate a desire to get away from the CCHL, where Lessio obliterated the competition to the tune of a 30-42-72 line in just 41 games. The USHL is a major step up in competition; hopefully it will be attractive enough to keep him committed.

Unverified Voracity Likes It Draconian

Unverified Voracity Likes It Draconian

Submitted by Brian on October 23rd, 2009 at 11:22 AM

It lives! Tim has assembled and published the first edition of the 2011 recruiting board. Fear him. It's also up on the menu under "Useful Stuff" now.

It's open. Press release:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team will open its practice to the public on Saturday (Oct. 24) from noon to 2 p.m., prior to the Wolverine football team's game against Penn State at 3:30 p.m. at Michigan Stadium.

All Wolverine fans will enter and exit through the Crisler Arena tunnel. The concourse will not be accessible to fans during the practice. Admission is free.

Worth checking out, probably, as long as the noon games are lame. Which is a strong possibility.

Hello Cissoko? Boubacar Cissoko may return to the field this weekend according to Rodriguez:

"If he does what he needs to do (Friday), he’ll be ready to go in action Saturday," Rodriguez said.

He's struggled so far but given the depth at corner even a struggling player is an important addition. If he gets his head right he can contribute this year and possibly even start next year if Warren makes the leap to the NFL everyone expects he will.

And stay out. The NCAA is about to adopt legislation that would significantly relax restrictions on players who happen to play with professionals but aren't professionals themselves. The main thrust is to allow the Robin Benzings of the world to not get screwed over because they practiced with some bearded professionals:

Of the 490 incoming athletes penalized for amateurism violations last year, 434 were foreign students, according to the NCAA. Punishments range from being forced to sit out games to, more rarely, permanent ineligibility.

That might be a slight aid to the Eurobig-friendly basketball program.

Interestingly, NCAA hockey wants no part of this. Puck Daddy highlights an NCAA hockey request for an exemption to the rule relaxation:

The ice hockey community believes that prospects who wish to participate in NCAA hockey would choose to participate in Major Junior A hockey before coming to college, and the recruit could be influenced to take action that could jeopardize his eligibility at the NCAA level (taking more than actual and necessary expenses, signing with an agent or signing a professional contract that provides more than actual and necessary expenses). Additionally, time demands of participation in the Major Junior A hockey league could hurt a recruit's academic performance.

Basically, NCAA hockey doesn't want to give kids the option of heading to major junior with the intent of attending college at a later date. It makes sense: any major junior team that acquires a kid with NCAA aspirations will have a ton of motivation to render him ineligible by hook or by crook. The natural inertia of playing in MJ, plus the lack of academic emphasis there, would see virtually no players actually follow through on the their NCAA plans. All it would do is help MJ recruit against the NCAA.

With the USHL and NTDP in place, college hockey has feeder leagues that feature play essentially equivalent to the CHL and shouldn't be losing anyone because they don't have a good place to play at 16 and 17, so there's no benefit here.

And as long as we're on hockey, a scouting blog checked out one of Lucas Lessio's games. The report is strangely muted for a player called "arguably the top 1993 player in OHL territory" and "probably a top half first rounder in 2011":

On the ice, he’s not the most flashy player, but he’s a very effective one. He’s got good size, and he’s a player that competes extremely hard on the ice. He’ll go to battle for loose pucks in the corner, and he’s not afraid to take a hit to make a play, or dish out a hit when he has the opportunity. His skating is above average, and could use some work, but he does a good job of protecting the puck in stride. Lessio has a pretty good set of hands, but his poise could use some work. Sometimes he overthinks the game when he has the puck, and he doesn’t have the same natural creativity that high end goal scorers have. His niche is definitely driving the puck to the net. He has a very good shot, and he has a knack of finding loose pucks around the goal mouth, which is where he can make a big impact.

The report makes him sound like a version of Brandon Kaleniecki that goes in the first round of the draft, which is a hard player to conceive of.

Also, Ben Winnett missed last night's game against Niagara with a "nagging groin injury."

Etc.: Rivals ranks basketball #14. I thought this was going to be about Corey Tropp for some reason as I'd forgotten about the incident that made some guy swinging a stick at Kampfer's head even scarier than it would otherwise be: former football walk-on and wrestler Mike Milano has been convicted of a misdemeanor assault charge for the incident that put Kampfer in a neck brace. Oddly, the judge in the case complained about the verdict.

Unverified Voracity Officially Licenses A Snuggie

Unverified Voracity Officially Licenses A Snuggie

Submitted by Brian on October 8th, 2009 at 4:00 PM

The Mealer item. E:60's report on Mealer:

Return of the FORK. Troy Woolfolk is at least getting a tryout at cornerback:

Woolfolk practiced at corner Wednesday, with Jordan Kovacs and Mike Williams at safety.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez did not address the possible position switch in his pre-practice meeting with the media, and it’s unclear where Woolfolk will play Saturday against Iowa.

I'm not sure if I like that or not. Woolfolk might allow the corners to press up more, but can Williams play deep centerfield?

The Ill-Fated Punt. MVictors has an excellent clip from Rodriguez's press conference in which he explains what happened on that punt. It is as suggested: Michigan has a rugby call, which they made, that always has a read element, which Mesko botched. A couple emailers suggested that Rodriguez's honesty about the call constituted throwing Zoltan under the bus, but if you listen to the clip it's clear that he's doing nothing of the sort. He does sound pretty baffled by the whole thing, as was everyone.

Get on the bus. A hockey version of the Maize Rage has/is forming and intends to use its power for invasion:

According to co-founders of the group, juniors Jamie Fogel and Chuck Boyer, organized trips to games in East Lansing, Madison, Sault Ste. Marie and Toledo are in the works. The group also plans to have buses available for the Great Lakes Invitational tournament at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Dec. 29.

"Some of this will obviously depend on how involved people get and whether or not people want to take the initiative," Fogel said. "But this is also something that will eventually grow, because it’s only the first year."

The Madison game is the outdoor one. I'm all for Michigan becoming a team that travels to reasonably nearby places and takes over. Munn should be deliciously empty this year, ripe for someone to come in and make any noise whatsoever, shocking all in attendance.

It will always be in Florida. It will always be against the SEC. When the bowl realignments were tentatively announced in late August, the Gator Bowl entered our lives. The Big Ten #4 was supposed to get the ACC #3, and everyone kind of shrugged. Everyone above .500 in the conference plays on New Year's Day, the Big Ten plays up, annoyingly, everything's the same lalala.





The Konica Minolta Gator Bowl is on the verge of announcing a deal that will bring a Southeastern Conference team vs. a Big Ten team to the New Year's Day bowl game at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, from 2010-2013.

Out goes the ACC. In comes the SEC, and everyone groans at Yet Another Big Ten-SEC New Year's Day In Florida matchup. One twist: the Gator still gets the Big Ten #4, but it's stooping all the way to the SEC #6(!), which means that for the first time the Big Ten is playing down in a bowl game instead of up. So there's that. Last year Northwestern would have taken on Vanderbilt, which sounds like a horrendous New Year's game but a fantastic opportunity to buff up the ol' bowl record.

(HT: Doc Sat.)

Breakin' ankles. Via UMHoops, some tantalizing highlights of Darius Morris:

He is now Angerererererererery. Starting Iowa linebacker and obviously fake person who only exists in a movie script Pat Angerer has torn ligaments in his thumb and will wear a cast on Saturday. This (very) marginally increases Michigan's chances of victory. If Tate Forcier throws a ball at Angerer or Robinson darts into him, the folk in question may escape with their lives. But really I'm just mentioning it for this:

"You don't need thumbs,'' he said. "My best friend is my brother's dog. He doesn't have any thumbs and he's doing fine.''

That is all.

Something between advertisin' note and horror. There are Michigan-themed Snuggies at the M-Den now. Get one for the Michigan-biased Big Ten ref you love best today!

Diiirty. Remember that Rick Nash goal that Lucas Lessio reportedly scored in an OPJHL game? Yeah, UMGoBlog found it:

"Watch out, Sydney Crosby" is a bit much but daaaang.

Etc.: Daily notes that Michigan's hockey game at Camp Randall is actually exempt by the NCAA(!). Michigan will get in 37 regular season games this year with the trip to Alaska. Do you need bizarrely swarthy Forcier-as-Link wallpaper? Sure you do.

They Have Technically Dropped The Puck

They Have Technically Dropped The Puck

Submitted by Brian on October 6th, 2009 at 5:05 PM

louie-caporusso-shooting Various impressions from Michigan's exhibition weekend.

Michigan lacks that one pure dirty scorer. There's no Cammalleri or Comrie or Hensick on this team, nor is there a senior duo like Kolarik and Porter. The best player on the team is probably Carl Hagelin, a guy who dumps in his share of goals but gets them via dint of hard work and speed more than stickhandling through a phone booth and roofing it in close. Caporusso (right) is probably going to end up being the top scorer, and while he's talented he seems a step down from the Hobey types mentioned above. His main skills are getting himself open in dangerous positions and a deadly accurate close-range wrister that allows him to take advantage of the opportunities he gets from there.

The best guys in terms of stickhandling might actually be a pair of defensemen. According to the Daily, Berenson would like to get his freewheeling defense corps more involved in the offense this year. Yost saw signs of that last weekend,with both Langlais and Burlon putting on the pirate hats and sallying forth into the offensive zone. Langlais's ability to zip through traffic and set up the power play was reminiscent of the last guy to wear #7—Hensick—at certain points, and he was clearly looking to yo-ho-ho into the offensive zone when the opportunity presented itself. I've probably made this comparison before, but Langlais is a near clone of Eric Werner, another undersized swashbuckling defenseman who thrilled Yost with his offensive abilities.

Burlon, meanwhile, isn't quite as flashy but is ultra-composed on the puck and has an excellent shot. With those two in the lineup, Michigan will probably deploy two defenders on the top power play unit for the first time in a very long while. BONUS: the offensive dropoff from those two to Kampfer and Summers isn't particularly steep, either. What Michigan lacks in pure death scoring from the forwards they can probably make up for with defensive contributions.

Freshmen. Bullets on the new kids:

  • Everyone's been calling AJ Treais a less dynamic version of TJ Hensick and that was borne out. In Hensick's debut as a Michigan player he zipped all over the ice and lit a pair of exhibition opponents up for something like five points; Treais didn't quite get that and he wasn't as dynamic but displayed hints of that kind of ability. He'll probably be stuck on the third line this year, but second power-play unit time awaits and he could hit 20 points.
  • Chris Brown is a big, physical dude who needs polish. He tried the old trick where you get position on the defender and then ride in front of him across the net for a scoring chance, but instead of going across the net he went directly into the back of it. He was a second-round pick, but that's way less exciting for the college team in question when you're 6'2"; NHL guys go for size over immediate impact with regularity. Brown was good about putting the body on folks and had some flashes of offensive competence; tough to tell this early but a Ryznar or a Nystrom might be a good comparable.
  • Kevin Lynch didn't do much I observed. Judgement withheld.
  • I didn't notice Lee Moffie much, either, except for a few instances where he showed good poise with the puck. Another Kampfer? He's a bit bigger. He'll probably see a fair amount of healthy scratches this year, as he's the seventh defenseman.
  • The two walk-ons, Jeff Rohkemper and Lindsay Sparks, didn't do a whole lot. I liked Sparks better, he seems quick and eminently capable of being an annoyance on the forecheck. He had some pop in junior, too.

Lines? The official hockey twitter threw out the following lines for Sunday's game against Windsor:

  1. Wohlberg, Caporusso, Czarnik
  2. Lebler, Treais, Winnett
  3. Hagelin, Lynch, Brown
  4. Rohrkemper, Ciraulo, Vaughan

During the season, Rust will draw into the lineup somewhere, bumping someone on the top three lines onto the fourth. Before the weekend I would have assumed this was a lock to be Lebler, but Lebler looked surprisingly good for a guy who's mostly been an end-of-roster grinder thus far.

The fourth line will be whoever the top-nine refugee is plus a blender of Glendening, Ciraulo, Vaughn, Sparks, and Rohrkemper. I'm betting on Glendening to play most of the games and everyone else to rotate, drawing in when injuries and whatnot happen.

That is a lot of depth. The nominal second line here is really the third line; a top line like that above backed up with something like Hagelin/Rust/Brown and a third line of Winnett/Lynch/Treais is a lot of scoring depth, and that's not even considering the defense, which was scratching an NHL draft pick last year and is currently Summers-Kampfer-Langlais-Burlon-Llewellyn-Pateryn. I am confident in all of those guys, though I'm not a big fan of Llewellyn's tendency towards unnecessary roughing penalties, and then you've got a scholarship kid on the bench. In all places except goal, this is the deepest Michigan team in a while.

The Blues Brothers. Okay. Okay: seriously. Okay. Remember that one guy who was really, really into Kid A in college and whenever you'd go over to his room, Kid A would be on and at first it was cool and then eventually you just dreaded it because God who wants to listen to Kid A again? I, sadly, am at that point with "Can't Turn You Loose." Ever since Jack Johnson left and Superfan sold out and there was no alpha dancing dog, the second period dancing thing has been a chaotic mess**. Then at the end of the season two years ago the entire student section started dancing, which would have made for a really cool end-of-year tradition. Instead, it happens every second period and then the students demand more and the band is playing "Can't Turn You Loose" for like ten minutes straight.

Sure, everybody loves Kid A*. But sometimes it's a little too much, proto-emo kid. You make me want to go hang out with that guy who's always watching The Breakfast Club and mouthing the lines.

*(Except me. Never got the whole Radiohead thing.)

**(In the long long ago, there was just one guy who danced. Usually it was Superfan. When Superfan was not there it fell to either 1) guy in a ridiculous costume or 2) most humorously fat guy in the section. Then Jack Johnson came along and his dad did it to the delight of all other than Jack Johnson; after Johnson left about eight different people tried to take the mantle, one of whom was just a complete failure and would not listen to reason, thus causing the long descent into Unapproved Behavior. The unwritten law, now discarded, of Can't Turn You Loose is this order:

  1. Jack Johnson Sr
  2. Superfan
  3. Frankenberry costume or penguin costume guy.
  4. Other humorously attired student.
  5. Guys dressed up like Blues Brothers
  6. Biggest, most ungainly guy in the section is drafted.

At no point should anyone who has ever worked for WOLV dance. YES I TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY.)

Other band note. Major plus points for playing Temptation—all of Temptation—and Hawaiian War Chant in the first intermission. The You Can't Have One Without The Other duo is criminally underused across all Michigan sports and should be implemented whenever and wherever possible. Hopefully they continue that all season.

Minor ding: probably shouldn't play the Victors right before the team comes out, because then you're just going to have to play the Victors again.

2011 Recruitin'. High-end forward commit Lucas Lessio's playing at St. Mike's—the program that provided Cogliano, Caporusso, and Burlon to Michigan—in the OPJHL, but saw his OHL rights traded to another team that might have a better shot at him. The Wolverine's Bob Miller points out an interview with Lessio conducted after that trade. He's not headed for the OHL:

"I just love it there; I fell in love with it when I went to watch a game three years ago," said Lessio. "My heart's been set there probably ever since." …

"I try not to see these two seasons as an opportunity to relax knowing where I will be in two years," Lessio informed. "I always try to work hard at everything I do because if you work hard, even in practice, that's how you'll get better. Working hard should be your number one priority and then the rest of the things will fall into place so that's my number one priority when I go out there every game."

Rest of the article is worth a read; apparently Lessio just pulled out a version of this baby:

Miller also suggests that Austin Czarnik, the Michigan State decommit and last year's NTDP U-17 points leader, could be headed to an arena near you in the not particularly near future:

Heard this evening that a certain forward may who recently de-committed from wearing green and white may just wind up wearing maize and blue in the end. Cough...Austin Czarnik...cough. Info was second hand, but from a knowledgeable source.

Czarnik is one of those 5'8" puck wizards Michigan has a rich history of deploying to entertaining effect, and would be a great pickup to go with Lessio in the burgeoning 2011 class.

Unverified Voracity Addresses The Rest Of The Universe

Unverified Voracity Addresses The Rest Of The Universe

Submitted by Brian on August 31st, 2009 at 9:41 AM


Witty: not dead yet. Freshman cornerback Adrian Witty, the last incoming recruit held up by the Clearinghouse, retook the SAT in search of a point. In the process he may have revealed why he needs another point on the SAT:

"I think I did good on it," Witty said.

Witty's missed the entirety of fall camp; if he gets in he's all but guaranteed to redshirt. If he doesn't, I believe he can prep for a semester and come in January since he's so close. The NCAA cracked down on the prep school route a couple years ago but left the window open for guys who need one or two grades, IIRC.

Paki-bomb loaded and ready to run for two yards. Did I tell you about Angry Iowa Running Back-Hating God or did I tell you?

The big injury is Jewel Hampton's right knee, which has kept him off the practice field for most of camp. Ferentz told me it's unrealistic to expect Hampton to play Sept. 5 in the season opener against Northern Iowa. The coach also didn't rule out Hampton's injury affecting his availability this season.

Hampton is "80 percent likely" to take a redshirt year according to Iowa Scout.com guy Jon Miller. Redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson, the nominal #2, missed most of camp with an ankle issue, leaving walk-on and broad comic stereotype mashup Paki O'Meara atop the depth chart.

Black Heart Gold Pants, naturally, is all over this.

Historian. This time it's a recap of Michigan's first 38-0 win over Notre Dame in two parts:

Part II is lightboxed for your perusal.

This is a different thing now. All right, Michigan's strength and conditioning program this offseason has been sweet!

"I think so," Rodriguez tells Bret Bakita and Michael Grey, of The Starting Lineup, on WBBL-FM, "just judging on the way they look and how strong they feel.

"I think that's natural, particularly when you've got younger players; they're going to make a big gain in strength and conditioning from their first year to their second year. But even overall, the whole team has really bought in to what Mike and his staff are teaching down there in the weight room.

"Hopefully it'll show up on the field. Certainly, they look like they're moving around quicker, and I think their strength is certainly up from what it was a year ago."

Did I say something?

Hang the DJ. I am so down with using Morrissey as a half-serious, half-mocking approach to Michigan fandom, and sports fandom in general. There's a tag on this blog that I've used way more than I ever wanted to named "i know it's over and oh it never really began but in my heart it was so real." And next week one of your very special season preview posts is Morrissey based. (50 MGoPoints to the first person to guess which song is referenced.)

So, yeah:

I’ve seen it happen/in other people’s lives/ now it’s happening in mine. Morrissey and contemporary Michigan continue to be made for each other, and not in the good kind of way. The joke won’t be funny once you get to the Notre Dame game, especially if Nick Sheridan as starter has to face a TAH-NOO-TAH defense unafraid to send blitzers from the corner, safety, and occasionally just running in crowds off the bench.

Son of a bitch I should have thought of that lyric last year. You haven't heard the last of this, Swindle! (You probably have.)

Schwing? Michigan's deadly 2010 hockey recruiting class looks set to get even deadlier with the news that Ontario forward Lucas Lessio has left Niagara's camp, presumably because he intends to commit to Michigan. Lessio was the #7 pick in the OHL draft and a source told the Wolverine's Michael Spath that Lessio would be the "best player to come to Michigan out of Ontario in the last decade," which would make him a more highly touted prospect than Mike Cammalleri, Brandon Burlon, Louie Caporusso, and Andrew Cogliano. Two of those guys are scoring-line NHL players and two are current or upcoming stars at Michigan. That is high praise.

As always, do not count your chickens before they show up on campus… but, yeah, Lessio has signed with St. Mikes and Yost Built diagnoses the positivity coming from Niagara's GM as Iraqi Minister of Information stuff. He actually played on Friday, picking up two goals and an assist in a 5-4 loss. It sounds like he's made his decision for justice.

Here's a Hockey News scouting report on Lessio. Summary: he good.

Etc.: Whoah. FO's ESPN insider content($) on the Big Ten predicts Michigan at 8-4… and Illinois at 4-8! Stanford decommit picks Northwestern over ND because he thinks "Northwestern has a better football program than Notre Dame." Two-part Rittenberg interview with Rodriguez: part one and part two. Dylan takes on expectations for the basketball team; personally I'll be happy with a season that ends in the second round of the NCAA tournament as long as the bid isn't in question on the last day of the regular season.

Unverified Voracity Is Distorted For Fun

Unverified Voracity Is Distorted For Fun

Submitted by Brian on June 10th, 2009 at 11:12 AM

Baseball draftin'. While the Major League Baseball draft isn't a major concern for anyone currently on the team—only Chris Fetter is expected to get drafted, and he's a senior—there are a couple of recruits who will be watching carefully to see where they go:

Derek Dennis, a shortstop from Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central High School, Daniel Fields, an infielder from University of Detroit Jesuit, and Patrick Biondi, a Dearborn Divine Child outfielder, are all potential early-round draft prospects.

Maloney said Baseball America projects Dennis as a third- or fourth-round pick and Fields as a fifth- or sixth-round pick.

Dennis, Baseball America's #6 high school shortstop, appears to be leaning towards school. Varsity Blue highlights a Grand Rapids Press article and sums up:

Michigan is close to signing Forest Hills shortstop Derek Dennis.  Dennis visited this last week, talked with Coach Maloney, Lloyd Carr, John Beilien, and Red Berenson to discuss the benefits of college.  The GRP makes it sound like if he’s not taken in the top 3 rounds, he will forgo signing and come to Michigan.  This may bode well, as if a team suspects he may not sign, he may get drafted even lower, increasing his odds of coming to Ann Arbor.

Dennis did not go yesterday, when rounds 1-3 were held. Fields, meanwhile, was the subject of an ESPNRise article in May that contains only this about the probability he'll end up on campus:

"He's got the combination of speed and potential power that a lot of people covet," says his father. "The power has to be more consistent, and I think it will be. To me, he's a potential five-tool player."

"He's the whole package," adds Fernandez.

MLB scouts will likely come out in droves this spring to watch Fields, who knows he has another great option -- his scholarship to Michigan -- in case the draft doesn't work out.

I didn't find anything on Biondi.

Zonin' it. Florida State, now possessors of former Rodriguez offensive line coach Rick Trickett, is something of a funhouse mirror via which we can discern things in the Michigan program. Trickett's installed the same sort of zone blocking Michigan has, and this has led to a fantastic post at Tomahawk Nation about the system. My favorite bits are the ones where TN transcribes a video of Alex Gibbs, the longtime Broncos guru and a guy who had major influence on zone running games across the country, including the spread 'n' shred:

Above all, we want guys who want play so bad they could die.  We want guys who can run, who are athletic, who have "recoverability", but who maybe lacks bulk and strength.  Maybe doesn't know what his body is about yet.  We want guys who are going to take advantage of that redshirt year.

TACKLES:  Tall, length, maybe no basic strength, but he can run, and we're willing to let him add that power. 6'5 1/2" is usually the max we want.

GUARDS & CENTERS:  height and length doesn't mean ****.  Marginal height, but plays with great leverage.  "LOW WAISTED" (long torso short legs), with leverage under our bodies.  Healthier by not being heavy.   RARE for them to play early.  Nobody over 6'3".  My center must be football brilliant.

Very intelligent on the inside.  The "test score limit would SCARE YOU."

In here you see the initial seeds of Molk, Omameh, and Huyge's successes, plus the coaching staff's out-and-out glee at picking up 6'3" Quinton Washington. You can also see why maybe Dann O'Neill was buried and why Mr. Plow said "screw you guys, I'm going home." Also of interest: that Christian Pace AMP interview where he came off like a future engineer.

Also note Florida State's heir apparent at running back, Jermaine Thomas. Thomas was a nondescript three-star—though ESPN made googly eyes—with but two major offers (Florida State and LSU). All he did last year was this:

Name No Gain Loss Net AVG
Smith,Antone 177 868 76 792 4.5
Thomas,Jermaine 69 492 10 482 7.0
Jones,Carlton 11 106 7 99 9.0
Sims,Marcus 23 68 4 64 2.8

And that's not especially cherry-picked runs against I-AA teams, either: take out Thomas's 18 carries against them and his average drops, sure, but only to 6.2 YPC. His highlight video is strikingly reminiscent of someone you might be familiar with:

That guy is a smaller, possibly faster, version of Brandon Minor down to the upright running style. One cut. Go. Also, check out how many of Thomas' big runs here are outside zones that get, you know, outside. I don't think I saw Michigan pull this off at any point last year. I specifically remember posting UFRs that openly questioned why the fullback always shot outside of a tackle who was getting shoved back to the point where the tailback had no choice but to turn it up between said tackle and Molk's generally-effective reach block. Since I never saw anyone actually get outside the tackle, it seemed like a waste.

I wonder what caused that. There are a number of possibilities:

  • The tackles weren't that good.
  • Molk's youth and lack of strength made it tough for him to anchor and dangerous for the tackle to hold his ground lest the holes evaporate entirely.
  • Opposing teams, confident in their ability to avoid second-level blocks from Michigan's ponderous guards, sold out to stop players from getting outside.

The answer was probably some mix of the three.

Say what? Tennessee blogs are casting about, looking for ways to explain the flood of secondary violations that have descended upon the program since Lane Kiffin was hired. Bruce Feldman helps out:

Truth is, almost every program has at least a dozen secondary violations a year. Until recently, they almost never made news.

Uh… maybe if Feldman is talking about entire athletic departments, and even that's a stretch. To suggest the Keystone Kiffins are anywhere near an NCAA median—or even under it—is wrong:

Of the 21 NCAA recruiting violations committed by Big Ten schools during the 2007-08 year, Ohio State committed more than half with 13.

Big Ten teams not named Ohio State averaged 0.8 secondary recruiting violations last year… for their entire athletic department. Even violation-happy Ohio State had only four fey self-applied wrist taps given to the football team, which is two fewer than Tennessee has racked up in six months.

How much does this matter? In no way whatsoever, apparently. But let's not pretend that this is some sort of media explosion over nothing*: Kiffin is racking up secondary violations at a rapid pace, and the reason they're so much more visible than the others are is that other secondary violations are things like "accidentally talked to recruit on Shrove Tuesday." Kiffin's blunders are far stupider, and far more public.

*(WE GET IT, Clay Travis. The SEC is going to dominate everything forever and everything that happens is evidence of this.)

Holy pants. Yost Built relays word that Michigan's disgusting 2010 hockey recruiting class looks to get disgustinger in the near future:

Mike Spath posted that Lucas Lessio, a first-round pick in the OHL Draft, may become a Wolverine. He would then play at St. Mike's (The school that produced Caporusso, Cogliano, and Burlon) next season. His source told him that Lessio would be the best player to come to Michigan out of Ontario in the last decade (which includes the names listed above as well as Mike Cammalleri). Lofty praise. He's been compared to Rick Nash in the past, according to that thread.

Holy hotpants. Please get to campus, everyone.

Tim also has a complaint about the home schedule, which finishes up with a Thursday night game against new power Notre Dame, but a commenter corrects him:

Spring break doesn't start until Feb. 27 or something like that next year, so thankfully students will actually get to be there for senior day. I'm assuming that is part of the reason why the game is on a Thursday.

If so, this is a fantastic move by the AD. Most previous senior days have been over breaks, which has been an enormous missed opportunity. Having a full-fledged home crowd for what could be a CCHA-title deciding game also seems like a good idea.

It will continue. Michigan's basketball scheduling looks like it will remain shiny as long as Beilein's around:

"When you have a situation like we're in right now when you have an (experienced) team coming back, I wanted to get my arms around this thing," coach John Beilein said. "We wanted to have enough games so we can have enough games in this (Crisler) arena. At the same time, when you've got a team coming off the NCAA tournament and a lot of people back, that's the time to go after it."

Adding Kansas to the mix may be the most intriguing element.

"I always would like to have one really marquee big-time team coming here," Beilein said.

Etc.: Nick Montana commits to… Washington? What? Some flashy Darius Morris highlights at UMHoops.