Items. Isaiah Hole has launched a new Michigan site called Wolverines Wire, and has started off with some insider takes on the team. Another walk-on WR is making a name for himself:
While we’re told that second-year WRs Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black have continued their impressive ascent from a year ago, a name we keep hearing come up is a fellow second-year receiver from Solon(OH): walk-on Jake McCurry.
One source told WolverinesWire that McCurry’s ascent has been notable across the entire team.
That take was endorsed by various Michigan players on Twitter, which is unusual. McCurry probably isn't going to have much opportunity what with Black and DPJ and Grant Perry looking set as the top options at each of the three starting slots, plus a reasonable amount of highly-rated depth. But he could get some run.
You'll never compete with Alabama until you start looking like Alabama. Michigan's new strength staff has them headed in that direction. Karan Higdon 2017 vs. 2018 pic.twitter.com/TDKHbPi6Qg
Hurst has been more than a pleasant surprise for Oakland in that he is running with the first-team defense in its 4-3 base at left defensive tackle (last year's starter, Eddie Vanderdoes, is rehabbing from a torn ACL) and has starred in the offseason. Beating All-Pro Kelechi Osemele when he flipped sides not only opened the eyes of the coaches, but also got the attention of Osemele, who gave the rookie the, ahem, business. -- Paul Gutierrez
Gonna be a lot more embarrassed NFL guards in the near future. His DC:
The 6-2, 290-pounder is a perfect fit for Guenther’s 4-3 defense that relies heavily on defensive lineman to create pressure without blitzing. His skill set is comparable to six-time Pro Bowler Geno Atkins, who saw some of his most productive seasons under Guenther when he was the Bengals defensive coordinator from 2014-2017.
“He has great off,” added Guenther. “The three-technique is the penetrator of our defense. He does a great job with that. He’s going to have to learn big man’s game a little bit where you don’t get the double teams as much in college. You’re going to get a lot more of that in the NFL. Then obviously in the pass rush. He’s slippery in the pass rush. He has good side to side movement. He’s a powerful guy.”
Hopefully Hurst becomes infamous as the second-worst scouted NFL draft pick in Michigan history.
[After THE JUMP: the trolliest NBA career, hockey rule changes, and hockey scouting.]
this bullet mentions Charles Matthews and Nick Ward [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
Implications of exclusion. Charles Matthews was not invited to the NBA draft combine, and MLive's Kyle Austin has some data on what that means:
In the two NBA drafts since 2016, when college players were first allowed to return to school after declaring, 254 college players have declared early. Of them, the majority (157) didn't receive a combine invite.
Most prospects in that situation opt to return to school -- a total of 130 players have withdrawn from the draft in the last two years. But 47 of those players have opted stayed in the draft despite no combine invitation. None of those 47 players were drafted.
Many of the 47 who stayed in had reasons: they were going to be ineligible or were never going to be NBA players anyway and wanted to get on with overseas careers. (CC: Nick Ward?) A few have worked their way into the league after going undrafted, but it's a rough way to attempt to break in.
Another year of John Beilein Development™ is a better path to the league for Matthews, who clearly has NBA upside if he can just learn to shoot some.
WOULD BE NICE. Standard offseason new position coach articles do come with a little more oomph when the coach in question has the track record of Ed Warinner. Angelique Chengelis got a hell of a quote from Stephen Spanellis:
“It’s really amazing,” lineman Stephen Spanellis said during the team’s trip to Paris this past week. “Coach Warinner’s philosophy, he tells us that he doesn’t to start calculus before everybody can pass Algebra 1. I felt like before we would go straight to rocket science and try to cover everything possible in every meeting. And some guys can’t keep up and it doesn’t have value for a guy to sit in a meeting and they have no idea what’s going on fundamentally with normal plays like inside zone or power.
“So why not slow it down and learn all the basics before you progress? What makes it hard is our defense is so complex, that they break a lot of rules and you have to advance a little bit. But fundamentally, slowing it down a little bit has a lot of value especially for the younger guys who are still learning the offense. For example, James Hudson coming over from defense, it takes a long time to learn the offense in general. Why leave a guy like that at a disadvantage by making it too complicated?”
"No idea what's going on with normal plays" is unfortunately the story of every Michigan line since 2011, and the most depressing thing about last year was that disease following Michigan through a third head coach, and the one who should have been least susceptible to such a thing. But at least the ax fell.
It will not be another off year for Michigan in the NFL draft. The league's official site put out a list of 150 guys to watch for next year's draft, and Michigan players are liberally sprinkled throughout:
#3 Rashan Gary: "A big man with linebacker-like movement skills"
#10(!) Devin Bush: "the new prototype for linebacker in college and the NFL -- not necessarily big, but fast and aggressive."
#25 Shea Patterson: "shows off great escapability on the run and an ability to move the ball through the air."
#47 Chase Winovich: "can rush from a two- or three-point stance. He can also be effective bringing pressure from the interior."
#65 Karan Higdon: "clearly superior to Ohio State's Mike Weber."
#76 Khaleke Hudson
#112 Lavert Hill
David Long's continued absence from these lists is baffling.
Per Zach Shaw, Michigan has the fourth-most players on the list, behind Clemson, Alabama, and OSU. A couple of OSU's are a little… uh… speculative. JK Dobbins, who isn't eligible for the upcoming draft, is there. So is Dwayne Haskins, who hasn't started a game yet.
On Mo Hurst in the NFL. Hurst dropped to the fifth round because of his heart issue, and the Raiders picking him prompted a bunch of criticism from everyone's favorite, the Anonymous NFL Insider. A former NFL team doctor reps his bros in response:
I actually think it is not only unfair and inaccurate but also irresponsible for a scout to characterize the drafting as "irresponsible." There is no way for a non-medical person to know.
As an orthopedic surgeon and physician, even I would rely on my primary care doctor and cardiology consultants to weigh in.
I do not see how a personnel person can make this proclamation. This opinion should carry the same weight as a team physician publicly criticizing Baker Mayfield as not worthy of the first pick in the draft.
I also don't know what's going on with Hurst's heart; hopefully everything works out for him.
Apparent hockey exit. The USHL's various drafts are ongoing—I won't bother you with the details—but since one weird hockey thing is that transfers will often return to the USHL for their NCAA mandated sit-out year, you occasionally get roster news. Roster news:
Wisconsin's JD Greenway selected 7th by Chicago; Michigan's James Sanchez selected 8th by Dubuque. A good indication that both are leaving their respective programs to return to juniors.
Sanchez had 8 points in 27 games last year after playing in 34 as a freshman; he was stuck on the fourth line and probably had a talk about whether that was ever going to change.
Also in USHL draft news, highly touted 2020 commit Owen Power went 7th overall to Chicago in a different USHL draft—yes there are like seven different ways to get in this league—after being an early second-round pick in the OHL draft. That's a good sign for this edition of Michigan's never-ending blood war with the OHL.
Fellow touted 2020 commit Cole Perfetti went in the third round, also to Chicago. He went fifth overall in the OHL draft and will either be traded to a different OHL team for a bushel of picks in August or September and report or stick with his commitment. Due to yet more details about junior hockey that you don't need to know*, a high OHL draft selection is not necessarily the kiss of death. As Antonio Stranges demonstrated, it's more about location than draft slot.
*[OK, fine: Saginaw has a nearly full roster this year with or without Perfetti and will get a compensatory pick one slot lower than Perfetti's #5 selection next year if he doesn't report and is declared "defective."]
What? Mo Hurst did not go in the first round of the NFL draft, which is now #1 on my list of WTF NFL draft moments in the I-look-at-everything-in-detail era:
Jonas Mouton, constantly out of position looks-like-Tarzan dude, goes in the second round.
Alan Branch falls into the second round behind three DT jabronis.
Lamarr Woodley also falls into the second round of that draft.
David Harris, same thing, same draft.
Ernest Shazor dropping out entirely was a twitter suggestion but Shazor checked out immediately after ending that Purdue receiver and reportedly had some off-field issues. The most absurd thing from Michigan's end was Ryan Mundy transferring to WVU and then getting drafted.
I reserve the right to revise this opinion if it turns out that Hurst's heart condition is more severe than people are letting on. Todd McShay did assert he would plummet because of it before yesterday's first round.
This is not a true thing. Don Brown is not a sitcom dad. And only a sitcom dad would do this.
Don Brown shared that during a previous trip to Paris “I had a bad experience. I was having a hard time finding coffee and I got a bunch of espressos and out them in a big glass. Oh my God I thought I was having the big one!” (Imagine Don Brown on espresso!!! Lol)
Don Brown did not pour 30 dollars worth of espresso in a cup and slam it with one gulp and then almost die. He is a highly competent leader of men. This isn't I Love Lucy.
Oh God. What if it is? What if we're in the I Love Lucy universe? IT WOULD EXPLAIN AN AWFUL LOT, WOULDN'T IT.
I'll take a carton of Cartons. 247 basketball analyst guy Brian Snow has issued a Michigan prediction for "soon to be five star"(!) IA PG DJ Carton based on a bunch of people's assertions about Carton's recruitment. Pick sounds somewhat speculative—it's a number of people with low-confidence opinions, not one or two with a high-confidence one—but it's still a situation where Michigan is recruiting against the rest of the Big Ten instead of one-and-done powerhouses that they're batting 0.100 against. (McGary.) There are no regional offers left to get, and he's been everywhere already:
He’s also a step ahead of most of his classmates in his recruiting process. That’s due in large part to a busy visit scheduled his family has managed for him over the past year.
“I have been to Creighton, Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa, Marquette, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, that’s all I can think of right now.” Carton said in Texas.
Michigan is in a good place, as Carton is currently Recruit Who Asserts He Has No Future Visits Set Up Except This One School:
Another trip to Indiana is under serious consideration per his father and another Big Ten campus trip seems likely as well.
“I don’t have any scheduled right now but I did talk to (Michigan) coach (John) Beilein and he is wanting me to come to campus as soon as possible,” Carton said. “My family and I are going to probably scheduled that one soon.”
As a bonus, Sam agrees and also asserts that 5-star TX SF Jalen Wilson is highly realistic. He's taking an unofficial in two weeks and… uh… commit watch maybe? Probably not. But maybe? And then we shoot Boeheim if he looks even a little squirrelly?
The Hoiberg plan. Nebrasketball picks up that Robert Morris transfer:
Robert Morris transfer Dachon Burke has committed to Nebraska. The 6'4" guard averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.1 steals per game this past season.
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“Scrambly and herping body control as a pass protection”
Ace: That killed me.
Seth: We should…
THE NFL DRAFT ROUNDTABLE!
1. Where do you think the Michigan guys (Hurst, Cole, McCray) will go? Best fit? Anyone else you think might catch on an NFL roster?
Ace: Mo Hurst should absolutely go in the first round now that his health is no longer a concern. One big shift in both college and the NFL recently is how much you need pass-rushing out of your defensive tackles; quarterbacks get the ball out so fast these days that having that much less ground to cover to generate pressure really makes a difference. Hurst may be the best pass-rushing DT in the draft and he’s no slouch against the run; the only thing that may keep him from going in the top half of the first round is he’s a touch undersized. I expect teams to regret passing on him for that reason.
Brian: NFL is such a passing league that Hurst should be the first DT off the board, but probably won't be.
Ace: Yeah, I’m surprised that Vita Vea—a 340-pound nose—is getting mocked higher in most places. I mean, I’m a homer, but I don’t think you really need those so much these days.
If you’d rather have Mone we’ve got one but we think you’ll like Mo. [Fuller]
Brian: And since people are apparently going to take all the meh quarterbacks, I'll say he goes 14th to Walla Walla.
Seth: The "he'll be a third rounder because of his heart" story is debunked but still getting passed around, and I don't trust NFL execs to be smart enough to see past it. Which means he'll go to a smarter team but also might end up a very value pick in the late 1st.
Ace: I’m holding out sick hope the Lions take him and reel me back in. They could really use him, too.
Seth: What about Mason Cole? There's a lot of tape of him at left tackle, where he won't play, but not great tape of him at center.
Ace: I’m guessing Cole is going to go on the last day, somewhere in the 4-6 round range. He’s limited to center and didn’t really blow away the combine.
Also, NFL DTs are stronk.
Brian: And he has not displayed any stretch ability, which should be his calling card.
Ace: NFL teams will take on serious OL projects. Problem with Cole is there’s an obvious ceiling and I’m not sure it’s much higher than backup center.
Brian: I think teams are going to see his film at C against McDowell and Colorado's Josh Tupou and knock him down their boards.
Ace: Same here.
[After THE JUMP: we are hard on the Lions, harder on the Browns, hardest on the NFL]
Sponsor note. Good to see you got out of jail after punching that police horse. Hope you didn't call Richard Hoeg about that. That would be silly to do, use your one phone call on a small business lawyer instead of a criminal defense attorney. But now that you're out, maybe you've got an idea for a small company that doesn't involve any sort of jail time. Maybe a company that sells extremely lifelike horse statues for punching in the aftermath of Super Bowl wins? Think of the wear and tear saved on horse and man.
Listen, this guy even recorded our practices and broke down our mistakes the following days like it was game-film.
We watched drills! I am not lying when I say he would show us a simple passing drill we did the day before so he could correct guys on their technique. I hadn’t been corrected on my passing technique since I was 10.
It was time-consuming and mentally consuming, but we were definitely better off for this attention to detail. I never felt underprepared for any game, and it was a huge part of any success we had during my college career. Just don’t turn all the lights off during one of those hour-long film sessions, or you’re going to hear snoring coming from those comfortable seats.
Film was always the first thing we turned to when preparing for an opponent. It helped us prepare for all aspects of the next game. We broke down the basic components of their offense and defense, and even a majority of their favorite plays and what they called them.
Overall, we looked deeply at strengths, weaknesses, statistics, and tendencies of each team and player. Then the coaches would combine all of that to set up specific strategies to attack their defense and to halt their players, plays, and overall offensive system.
This would change from game to game depending on who we played. We’d change how we wanted to guard certain screens on and off the ball and other actions away from the ball based on their offensive system and personnel.
We would trap a Talor Battle ball screen until he gave the ball up and then full out deny him to make other players score, but that strategy didn’t happen with Northwestern’s “Princeton offense” under Bill Carmody (one of the most time-consuming scouts we did because of their unique off-ball actions coupled with young players playing major minutes that had never defended them before).
The upshot is: everyone knows what Beilein is trying to do already and it doesn't matter. He does not explain why taking a Michigan grad transfer immediately makes the team in question a thousand times better, though.
Brief hockey bracketology update. Not really enough for its own post, but: Michigan is 10th after this weekend's action. Avoiding a pitfall against Arizona State didn't help much because 1) it was expected and 2) results elsewhere did not go their way. Most notably, Penn State played itself into a two-thirds shot at an at-large with a sweep of Minnesota. Michigan is still 96% in per CHN's Pairwise Predictor, with only a 30% shot of even being on the four line.
Michigan gets Wisconsin this weekend at Yost in a best two-out-of-three series. The worst case scenario featuring a series win (three games and a subsequent loss to OSU) would put them at 12th, give or take some movement around them. It would take a huge number of things going the wrong way to boot them in that case. A three-game series loss is the same situation.
If Michigan gets swept they'll move down to ~14th, which is Danger Zone time. Two stolen bids would boot them, one if someone got hot and moved past them. They'd still be 50/50 to make it; there would be a lot of nervous rooting for favorites in various conference tournaments.
On the more optimistic side of the ledger, Michigan's ceiling is #7. Not that it matters, because here's your regionals setup:
One West regional is in South Dakota. The other is more or less in Philly. You'll love next year's too:
Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and the Pittsburgh area provide about a quarter of college hockey's teams. They get nothing for the next two years. 0/10 sites.
The somewhat good news is that the NCAA has not announced sites in 2020 yet. That's unusual and may indicate that the powers that be are finally moving away from the "how empty can we make this building in the middle of nowhere" era. Home sites, please.
I have a take that was once lukewarm, and is now hot, and should be freezing cold. Michigan’s Maurice Hurst is the best interior defensive line prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft, and it is not close. Vita Vea, Derrick Nnadi, Taven Bryan, Da’Ron Payne and others all offer intriguing traits and characteristics, but none of them can make the consistent high-value impact that Hurst can.
In terms of explosiveness, Bryan is the only other top interior defensive lineman who can rival Hurst, and he isn’t nearly as flexible or nuanced in his rush game after that initial burst. Hurst has the ability to quickly capture a guard’s edge, and then either turn a tight corner to the pocket or get back underneath with a counter.
He's 16 so could be a 2019 or 2020 if he decides on the same route Mo did. Michigan seems like an excellent fit for him if he does:
Franz Wagner ('01) from Alba Berlin is shooting the lights out at #AdidasNGT a bit low release but quick, repeatable and effortless. Grew, body is filling out. Didn't improve much ball skills but still underdeveloped and worse case scenario will be high level shooter w/ pos size
As a bonus, imagine all the "oh no not another one" takes from opposing fanbases.
Random things about Syracuse. I was curious about how Tyus Battle was doing so I clicked over to Kenpom's Syracuse page and found the strangest team in the country. 'Cuse runs nothing but 2-3 zone, of course, and recruits to that model. This explains some of the things. It doesn't explain all of it:
Syracuse has thee of the top ten MPG players in the country. Battle, who has been off the floor for a total of eight minutes since December 2nd, is #1. Frank Howard has missed 32 minutes since that same date. That's a span of 23 games.
Syracuse is the tallest team in the country, has the fewest bench minutes, and gives up the highest A/FGM rate in the country;—74%.
Other stats that are extremely extreme but not quite that extreme: they're 311th in eFG%, 318th at 3s, and 275t hat giving up steals. Opponents chuck threes 44% of the time, which is 332nd. OTOH they have the #2 block rate in the country, the #15 teal rate, the #12 2P% allowed, and the #44 3P% allowed.
This adds up to the #129 offense and #9 defense.
It's a weird team man. FWIW, Battle is keeping his head above water despite a 31% shot rate and 49/31 shooting splits by not turning it over much and hitting a bunch of FTs. M filled his spot with Matthews, more or less.
RUTGERS. A valuable addition to the conference!
Congratulations to Rutgers, who for the first time finish the B1G season with >50% of the win total of the 13th place team. pic.twitter.com/ZpabUe09tc
On the awful MSU thing. I have all these tabs open and am struggling to say anything that's not all-caps and spittle-flecked. Most of these tabs have the same theme: how on earth can these people survey the devastation wrought under their leadership-type substance and not commit career seppuku? The lack of shame on the part of MSU's leadership is unprecedented; all these people should be voted out, if possible. The two guys who would have been up for election in November are getting out of the way, but if I know anything it's that a... person like Joel Ferguson will try to bluster his way through:
Joel Ferguson, vice chairman of the MSU board of trustees: “The meeting we had the other day was five hours. Talking (Simon) was 10 minutes. ... There's so many more things going on at this university than just 'this Nassar thing.' ”https://t.co/sRE6lPb5kE
“But if Coach Klages was told as early as 1997 about this and didn’t do anything, isn’t the university at fault?” Jones asked.
“I wouldn’t say that at all,” Ferguson said. “That’s a bad decision that she made, and it has to be stretched to us by all the folks chasing ambulances, because there’s no payday by her.”
He's up in 2020, and if the state Democratic party knows what's good for them they won't let him get to the ballot. Does anyone know if you can recall trustees?
Meanwhile, Lou Anna Simon should not resign. She should be put in jail. She was told that there was a sexual predator at the university she purports to be in charge of, and she said "don't tell me about it," by her own admission:
"I told people to play it straight up, and I did not receive a copy of the report."
If three Penn State executives saw jail time for failure to report, Simon should too. It is absolutely indisputable that her purported leadership increased the number of victims from the worst serial sex assault case in American history. I feel like I'm going crazy here. At long last, does Michigan State have no shame?
The nice old man who expresses himself in Werther's Originals sculpture. A very John Beilein criticism is leveled here.
Patterson status. Michigan is waiting on Shea Patterson's appeal for immediate eligibility, but the folks in charge are dotting and crossing letters before they make their move. "Late February" is the current timeframe; Sam Webb provides the most thorough update I've seen so far:
There are six other kids/schools I know of at this point – Houston (Deonte Anderson), Florida (Van Jefferson), Nebraska (Breon Dixon), Georgia Tech (Jack DeFoor), Central Florida (Tre Nixon), and UAB (Jarrion Street). My gut tells me that the process for gathering information for each kid’s appeal is painstakingly thorough and they all want to make sure no details are missed. So the delay is largely due to their desire to make sure no corroborating details are missed, because as one source close to Patterson’s circle told me… “you only get one shot at this. You can’t go back and add things after the fact.)”
There are several additional paragraphs at the link.
The delay comes from meticulousness as the lawyer who's working with these guys collects everything from all seven of them so he can present the best case to the NCAA that Ole Miss went out of its way to lie to that year's recruiting class so they would end up signing. NCAA waivers seem to make no sense from the outside but the large number of guys petitioning gives several different schools motivation to get this done, and collectively they should be able to gather sufficient hard evidence that Ole Miss got them to sign by lying their asses off to convince the NCAA of that fact. Hopefully that's enough for the waiver.
Hurst is an undersized defensive tackle with exceptional quickness and awareness. Against the pass, he has elite get-off. He explodes off the snap and has a collection of effective hand moves to generate pressure. His bread-and-butter move is a quick swipe before wrapping around the blocker and exploding toward the quarterback. Against the run, he relies on his quickness to beat cut-off blocks and disrupt. Occasionally, he'll get stuck on blocks and is moved out of the hole. His effort is excellent. Overall, Hurst is an ideal 3-technique and could emerge as one of the best interior pass rushers in the league.
No complaints with that evaluation. I do think that #21 might be low for him since the NFL is now such a passing-heavy league. The kind of interior disruption Hurst provides is much more important than his tendency to get clunked on the rare occasions anyone can land a clean shot on him. Naturally, PFF has him third overall because they're just behind Mo Hurst's mom on the list of entities that like Mo Hurst. (MGoBlog is #3.)
Never again. Stu Douglass has a story about offensive rebounding:
Good story to backup the "emphasis" part:
I once got a tip dunk in the half court during our euro trip & during film (you guys know he clips everything) he showed the play and I was so proud of it up until "you will never do that again". I was a good O-rebounder before college
The agent thing has always been more pressing in hockey because of competition from Canadian juniors. Agents prefer the security of a contract to the probable-but-not-definite relationship they had with an NCAA prospect as their "advisor," so the prevailing thought amongst college hockey coaches is that agents tend to push their guys towards the CHL. That barrier is gone. Probably won't change much in the ongoing CHL-NCAA blood war, but neither will it do anything to the competitive landscape of college hockey.
It's past time for everyone to get that consideration.
Don't get it stolen, don't get it blocked. Defense by possession start:
summary of possession efficiency after a 'start type' in CBB through saturday's games this year. the % transition column counts a possession as transition if it ends within 10 seconds of the start. didn't expect to see recovered blocks that high. pic.twitter.com/mKpRMV9OfS
I honestly don't know how anyone goes bowling and doesn't get in a massive brawl. You've just spent several hours of your time flinging a ball at various inanimate objects and the objects generally win. You are losing to some smug-ass ovoid shapes. In such circumstances, it is only natural to become so irrationally angry that you start a yell-fight over the circumstances you find yourself in.
This is art on par with the raptor gif. And they said bowl season didn't mean anything.
You cannot understand the Brohm of it all. Purdue beat Arizona in an extremely entertaining game that featured one of those college-only back-to-back-to-back touchdowns in the last few minutes to swing the game to and fro. In the end Purdue's margin depended heavily on this play at the end of the first half:
That is a perfectly legal play that I've seen Auburn and Arkansas execute over the past few years. People are describing it as a "fake kneel," though, and they do have a point: Purdue had a guy lined up as the traditional we're-gonna-kneel "safety" on the play. Shame on Arizona for biting on that after Purdue got the ball back with almost a minute left...
Remember that Purdue fake kneel down play? Both Rich Rod & Arizona's players say the refs told them beforehand it was a kneel & not to rush the passer.
[/mentions fill up with "intent to deceive" outrage]
Well... you're not wrong. If a team is going to line up in a formation that causes the refs to demand the opposition stop playing they should stop playing too. One dollar says that there's a new rule covering running actual plays from a kneel-down formation next year. Which is a shame:
Random bits from Zach Shaw. Shaw has been poking around the 24/7 database for article on various Michigan units, and has come across a number of things that look promising for next year's defense:
On the DL, Aubrey Solomon had a "stop rate"—tackles at or near the LOS—of just over 10%, which was on par with Hurst and Winovich. Nearly identical to both, in fact. Those guys were 10th and 11th nationally in that stat. If Solomon maintains that productivity he should be at least good and, with some extra pass rush, potentially great next year.
At linebacker, Khaleke Hudson and Devin Bush Jr. missed just three tackles each all year. Both guys had a ton of QB pressures but not many stops—probably because the DL was crushing so many plays before they could even get to the LBs.
The cornerbacks did this: "Michigan’s three cornerbacks — all first-year starters — allowed 32 of 81 passes for 478 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and 16 pass breakups." That is, of course, bonkers. Like having Jourdan Lewis clones coming out of your ears.
The safeties were good-ish. In the aftermath of a tough game for Metellus against Ohio State there have been a lot of criticisms of the safeties, and by implication departed safeties coach Brian Smith. But collectively there were middle of the pack when targeted and had an acceptable missed tackle rate—Metellus's was more acceptable than Kinnel's. The individual stats don't take into account the general lack of huge plays against M. Michigan gave up quite a few 20+ yard plays (59th) but relatively few 30+ (22nd); a lot of those longer plays were the inevitable result of Michigan's very aggressive defense cracking. The safeties mostly held down those opportunities.
If Solomon improves as much as most rising sophomores he could be only a reasonable step back from Mo Hurst, and then Michigan just has to find a linebacker from 5-6 options and a develop some DL depth to have the kind of defense that could be #1 nationally. Again.
One downer: per Football Outsiders Michigan's punting efficiency was 121st nationally, and the early shanks from Will hart didn't have much of an impact. Brad Robbins's net yardage was 121st. Shoulda got an Aussie.
I found my copy of the free game program from The Game 20 years ago in a box of old school stuff. Thought you guys might enjoy the Punt / Counterpunt column from that day.
Here's a zoomed in version.
Thanks to Nick and Ken for being a formative part of my fandom.
If Hurst is worried about getting injured and the NFL draft. Lloyds of London will insure him for injury for the one game.
So you're asking Mo Hurst to literally pay for the privilege of playing in a football game that is mostly interesting because it will feature Ryan Nanni as a bloomin' onion? Nah.
I'd be vaguely upset if Hurst wasn't going to play in a New Year's Six game but more or less understand. The Outback Bowl? Hurst going in the top ten of the draft is probably more helpful to the program in the long term than whatever bonus chance he provides of beating South Carolina.
If you want players to compete in dink bowl games, there's an easy way to do so: pay them and sign them to a contract that says "you play in bowl games."
Recruiting is DISAPPOINT.
Is it fair to say, absent a change in trajectory, that '18 recruiting heads toward at best "unexciting", possibly even "disappointing"? I guess I have grown quite used to having a consensus top 100 'bell cow' (I loved it when K Jackson used to call FB players bell cows) at basically every position group, and a difference-maker (DPJ - Solomon) for each unit. Is that a reasonable standard, or is that Osu/Bama, which I don't think is realistic until we experience some playoff success and maybe never, given relative boundary-pushing of three programs. (Although the rush to Oxford has me questioning my prejudices.)
I'd say unexciting is about right. Michigan's sole composite top 100 prospect right now, Otis Reese, is pretty wobbly. That's a comedown from Harbaugh's first two full efforts, which delivered guys like Rashan Gary, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Aubrey Solomon, and Cesar Ruiz—amongst many others.
There are a lot of reasons for this: it's a severely down year in-state; Michigan had to hire yet another recruiting director; playing time is hard to sell when you return a zillion starters. And, yes, Michigan is working uphill for a lot of guys because they don't have a bagman network—at least that's what I've heard from guys close to the program for years.
But the class is still 11th and should add a couple additional big fish to finish. Adding the three Ole Miss players also helps fill scholarships with talented players. And this looks like a blip. Michigan already has two five-star-ish DEs in the 2019 class plus top 100 guard Nolan Rumler and four-star LB Charles Thomas. I expect Michigan to bounce back to their previous level in 2019 now that they've got what looks like a solid recruiting infrastructure that isn't going to take a position coaching job next year.
I am sure if I posted this as a thread I would be down voted as a babe in the woods and comments of “this is what it takes to beat OSU and Alabama” would rain down from the heavens. But i have to say, going after Peterson when you have two VERY good QBs that harbaugh recruited in the stable feels very unmichigan. What say you?
Thank you again for all you do and next year, please think of adding Boston to your season preview tour. We would love to host!
I don't think taking a transfer is a problem. Players at the same position as that guy might be a little cheesed off, but I'm sure Harbaugh didn't promise them they'd get to start. Because that's crazy. But that doesn't mean it's wrong. If Patterson does come in and start—which is not a foregone conclusion—because he's the best option, that's a negative for the other quarterbacks but a positive for the rest of the team.
Michigan doesn't take JUCOs because they can't get them through admissions, and I guess that's the reason taking a transfer seems weird? I find this take baffling. Recruiting kids in college isn't any different than recruiting them in high school. And if a school that was flagrantly buying guys out from under Michigan's nose suffers as a result, all the better.
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So, as a lawyer I got to thinking, .Maybe a lawsuit for violating the Constitutions First Amendmenment protection of Free Speech is in order. Maybe Ill win maybe I wont Probably will) but even if not , it wont cost me one nickle. However you will need a battery of lawyers to deal the various and numerous motions I could file. Hope you have deep pockets.
Expect to be served
This gentleman was upset that I shut the comments down and has challenged me to a dance-off.
“Uh, I don’t know. It was kind of tough for me. Felt like I probably should have gotten the award, me or Chase [Winovich], but it happens. Can’t dwell on it now. It’s just the way things go sometimes.”
Were you expecting it?
“Uh…you know, kind of but…whatever.”
Do you ever think about not playing in the bowl game?
“A little bit. Still not really sure. Right now it’s just business as usual, practicing and all that type of stuff.”
So you haven’t made a decision?
“No, I haven’t.”
What’s going to go into that decision for you?
“Just, you know, speaking with my family, talking to Jake [Butt], talking to Chris [Wormley], some of the other guys that may have had a similar decision. Talking to coach Harbaugh—just trying to use all my resources to make sure that I make the best decision for myself and my family.”
[After THE JUMP: Hurst on his timeline and insurance, Karan Higdon: South Carolina fan, Kugler on next year’s O-line, and McCray on SEC speed and the 2018 defense]
Shea Patterson and friends watch. It's happening? I mean. Can't throw a rock without hitting someone who says SOURCES are telling him that Shea Patterson is a lock for Michigan and possibly as soon as this weekend. Sam Webb's put in a crystal ball, which he hastens to say is not a Gut Feeling, and here's the Blade's Michigan beat writer:
Sources: Michigan is the front-runner to land Shea Patterson, and the Ole Miss QB expects to be eligible to play immediately.
He had 49 catches for 543 yards and was on pace to best that as a sophomore when he dislocated his elbow before the Texas A&M game.
That is likely it despite some overheated reports that up to seven Ole Miss players are interested in Michigan. Taking the three guys above already stretches Michigan's scholarships pretty thin. Anyone who doesn't play tackle is in tough for playing time, and per Rashan Gary's mom Greg Little isn't interested. Gary and Little became friends over the course of their recruitment so that's as good a source as any.
The other guys mentioned haven't set visits and it's unclear that Michigan would be interested in them.
Why wasn't it Cracker Barrel though? For some reason, Harbaugh flying down to see guys he might have on his football team caused the internet to blow up. Harbaugh claps back at Mark Dantonio? Go crazy, guys. Harbaugh does a thing literally all football coaches do dozens of times a year with high school players? Maybe let that one slide.
What do you say, internet?
Actually, it's very cool and good that Ole Miss got in trouble for loaner cars but a multi-millionaire can fly a private jet into Oxford to recruit players away from the team. Very cool. Very good. https://t.co/YS4mD9r79b
Personally, I'd take the CBs who whooped up on Simmie Cobbs over the one who got whooped until he got a safety bracket, but Michigan's guys were probably hurt by a lack of volume.
Add in Rashan Gary to the five returning guys in the above tweets and you've got quite a platform to build on.
Missed tackles: nah. Josh Liskiewitz, one of PFF's Big Ten evaluators, was grilled by Iowa fans because Josey Jewell was omitted from the team above. This spawned an interesting twitter thread in which Liskiewitz defended himself with various stats he'd compiled. The most interesting from a Michigan fan's perspective:
[he == Jewell, FWIW]
This is true to an extent, but among #B1G LBs he ranked 38th in tackling efficiency, which takes into account misses per attempt. By comparison, #Boilermakers LB Ja'Whuan Bentley had more total tackles than Jewell and half the MTs. Devin Bush missed just 3 total.
Jewell had an 86 grade—which would have made him first team All-SEC or All-Pac12, but finished 9th(!) in the Big Ten. We assume that Tegray Scales, Jason Cabinda, and Ryan Connelly are three of the five guys in front of Jewell, FWIW.
Prior to the injury, Peters was 37 of 64 for 486 yards passing in five games, including three starts. He's thrown a team-high four touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Sweet fancy Moses.
In other bowl injury news, Tarik Black is back in practice and could play in the bowl game. Harbaugh says he's "leaning towards not doing it," and, I mean... don't. Michigan's in a good spot in the bowl game without him and a potential fifth year is far more valuable than whatever marginal bonus chance at a bowl win he provides.
Good luck, whoever you are. South Carolina has axed their offensive coordinator. Er, their co-offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. The other guy, Bryan McClendon, is at least temporarily the only cook in the Gamecock kitchen. He is 33 years old and facing down Don Brown with one of the worst offenses in the country. Good luck with that, sir.
"My reaction is that there should be more than four teams in the playoffs," Harbaugh told reporters. "Again, I want to reiterate: 8 teams, 12 teams, 16 teams. Sixteen would be ideal in the playoffs."
For one, a team that reached the finals is playing 17 games. For two, the urgency of the regular season is obliterated if last year's Michigan team finishes their season they way they did and still gets in.
Add one fan. ESPN's Sarah Spain has been on a journey across college football to find a team to root for, and she stopped by the MGoTailgate before the OSU game last week:
Saturday morning I headed out to meet one of my hosts for the day, Gordie Fall (named in honor of Gordie Howe), at the famous MGoBus. The tailgate featured craft beer from Wolverine State Brewing Company, loads of breakfast food and, of course, the maize and blue MGoBus owned by Matt and Sara Demorest. While I was there, I learned more about life on campus and the UM scene with Brian Cook and Seth Fisher, of popular Michigan sports site MGoBlog.com. I also met former Wolverines running back Vincent Smith (you may remember him from this), who's now running community gardens in Flint, Michigan, and his hometown of Pahokee, Florida, to increase access to healthy foods, reduce juvenile crime and use gardening-based intervention to curtail violence. Very cool.
Adam was also there! Adam doesn't talk much. Thanks to everyone else's contributions but certainly not ours, Michigan was the pick. Welcome, Sarah. Prepare to be called a Walmart Wolverine despite going to Cornell.