My Heart Is Full Of Nick Ward's Ankles

My Heart Is Full Of Nick Ward's Ankles Comment Count

Brian January 15th, 2018 at 12:56 PM

1/13/2018 – Michigan 82, Michigan State 72 – 15-4, 4-2 Big Ten

image

You may be aware that many college athletes with the option leave early for the pros.

I, too, am aware of this phenomenon because it has impacted me repeatedly. I am at peace with some of these departures. Win a big thing, do a business, and/or scrape the ceiling of your potential and I'm cool with it. Charles Woodson, Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Jack Johnson: go on, get out of here.

image

Other guys absolutely should not and do not have to listen to my feelingsball about their careers, but their departures sting because they're on the verge of an all-conquering season that we never get to see. They leave Michigan without an indelible moment, or cathartically satisfying victory, or without setting several college towns across the Midwest ablaze with their mind.

image

That's mostly fine; I'm not going to tell anyone to not get paid if they can get paid. But their careers at Michigan will perpetually feel a little incomplete. Guys in this bucket: DJ Wilson, Max Pacioretty, Mitch McGary, and yeah probably even Jabrill Peppers. The first thing I think about when any of those guys gets brought up is what could have been and was not. Nobody's fault. Just a thing. If "oh God what if DJ Wilson was on this team" didn't flash across your mind at some point during this week, you're a more serene man that I.

image

Anyway, Moe Wagner can go now.

Moe Wagner could announce he's leaving the team this afternoon and I'd be fine with it*. Moe Wagner induced the most beautiful and futile Michigan State floor-slap of all time from Nick Ward's face. My heart is as full of Moe Wagner as it needs to be, for all time.

image

*[Note to Moe Wagner: please do not call this bluff.]

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

That there is a rest of the season after the events of this week is promising and also somewhat alarming. If Michigan could pull a Costanza here and immediately leave the meeting I would counsel them to do so, but there are games scheduled and so we press on. Suddenly every single one of those games except @ Purdue and maybe home against OSU is a game we're going to be real upset about losing, because the Big Ten is bad and Michigan is... very good?

Yes. Poke a rating system and it will tell you this. Kenpom flung Michigan up to 17th after the MSU game; Bart Torvik's system has them 14th. At some point we're probably going to start futzing with the stuff on Torvik's site that allows you to rank teams over an arbitrary period of time, like we did last year. Last year's post-Maverick team was a top ten outfit, period. This one might get there.

If it does, Michigan's ability to play unprecedented Beilein-era defense while simultaneously running a vicious five-out offense will be the reason. The play of the game wasn't actually Wagner turning Nick Ward's ankles into slurry (yes it was –ed) but rather his first pick-and-pop three just a couple minutes into the game. He canned that, and his next one, and aside from that one terrifying period midway through the first half when Jaren Jackson was Dikembe Mutumbo, Wagner's ability to haul his man out to the three point line created driving lanes.

These were less lanes and more caverns against Cassius Winston. Zavier Simpson missed three fast-break bunnies in the first minute, possibly because Jackson was swinging his crazy Gumby arms at them. After that he had 12 points on seven shot equivalents from inside the arc, five assists, and no turnovers. Simpson is coming into his own here, but if you took bets about who was going to be Michigan's most efficient scorer against a team of Ents that's blocking 20% of opponent shot attempts... well, Simpson's odds would have looked a lot like the Vikings'.

Meanwhile on the other end, Winston hit a couple shots but turned it over four times and finished with a game ORTG of 90. Simpson took that dude to the cleaners to the point where Izzo called his point guard out in the post-game press conference. (Izzo would like to make it clear that it's all his fault and he's taking 100% responsibility and also his point guard sucks and he hates him.)

Anyone who tells you they saw that coming short of Zavier Simpson's mom is lying... probably. Maybe there is a cadre of the aggressively reasonable out there, folks who can squint through whatever struggles that freshman or sophomore is having in John Beilein's offense and can see through to the finished product. If there are Michigan versions of these people they are sages indeed. Hypothetical MSU versions just have to look at the court, because whatever Miles Bridges is today he'll be until he escapes Tom Izzo's sweaty, increasingly unhinged paws.

Moe Wagner is one of the country's 40 best defensive rebounders, incidentally. He's a human vacuum now, which is convenient. We have to get the exploded remnants of Nick Ward's lower body off the court before resuming. That's tough, but I've got just the guy for the job.

BULLETS

Obligatory ref rogering section. Michigan State was in the bonus with five minutes gone in each half. This happens every time Michigan plays at Breslin despite Michigan's annual status as one of the nation's most foul-averse teams. (They're less so this year, 93rd instead of top ten, FWIW.)

The only surprising thing was that it took three minutes for TV Teddy to put a garbage foul on Mo Wagner, who watched Nick Ward fall over—inner ear issues for that dude—of his own volition and got hit with a potentially critical foul that took Michigan's leading scorer out of the lineup. His second foul was similarly phantom. It continued much in that vein:

Michigan had 16 free throws during Tom Izzo Eats His Liver Time; before that they had 19 to MSU's 33. This was not an effect of three point shooting. Michigan had just 15 threes; MSU had 12. Michigan had 14 bonus possessions (+3 OREB and -11 turnovers) and continued attacking inside. Michigan got called for nonsense, and MSU didn't.

This annually makes me furious. It's never going to get any better. But after Michigan was good enough to pull away and force TIEHLT with two minutes left, it's all the more reason to savor the performance. It would have been very, very easy to lose composure. Equivalent performances on a neutral court and Michigan blows the doors off by 20.

How about those free throws, though. Michigan was 18/19 from the line before those four terrifying Simpson misses. If they hit their season average... it does not bear thinking about. One dollar to whoever came up with the inbounds play where Simpson and MAAR swapped roles after the whistle blew. That got a 91% shooter to the line instead of a 52% shooter.

Simpson's performance at the line is increasingly inexplicable with every three he cans. He's verging on having a better 3PT% (47%) than FT% (52%). He was at 71% last year on 31 attempts, and he's a much better shooter this year. I don't get it. Hopefully it's salvageable. Having two non-big 50% FT shooters on the floor is rough.

D up. I caught a couple more Jordan-Poole-gets-caught backcuts on the replay; those stood out as almost the only easy buckets MSU got all game. Remember MSU running off of makes for 6-10 points for the last five years? Yeah, that's gone. MSU had almost literally zero transition offense.

This is a trend. Ace mentioned this on the podcast: Michigan's transition D is absurd.

Now that the rest of the D is actually pretty good that's paying off more and more.

Duncan was okay, and this is a big W. Michigan largely got away with Duncan Robinson versus Jaren Jackson. Jackson got a couple buckets on him, but Robinson was able to push Jackson out almost to the three point line repeatedly. MSU was trying to force the ball down Robinson's throat to the detriment of their offensive flow, and several possessions featured MSU wasting half the shot clock trying to exploit that matchup.

With Livers in foul trouble for a chunk of the game Michigan's ability to cope with Duncan Robinson on a top 5 NBA draft pick was a huge factor in the W.

Rebounding: real. I'm calling it: Michigan is a legitimately excellent defensive rebounding team. They just played the two burliest teams in the league and outrebounded both. They've also played Iowa, which is the top OREB team in league play, and fought them to a standstill.

I enjoy Jon Teske. Teske had 3 OREBs in just 8 minutes here and put up 4 points on 3 shot equivalents; he committed three fouls, but see above about the impossibility of a Michigan shot-challenger staying on the court at Breslin.

As a bonus Austin Davis didn't look overwhelmed during his two minutes, grabbing a board and playing a couple of defensive possessions well. Never write off a big.

Comments

Double Digit Dub At Breslin Muppets

Double Digit Dub At Breslin Muppets Comment Count

Brian January 13th, 2018 at 2:39 PM

TV Teddy made it so very TV Teddy but ALSO THIS

Michigan beats the Fightin' Larry Nassars 82-72 and now has a real attention-getting W for tournament purposes. Coulda shoulda been two this week, but even though the results didn't go as well as possible the play certainly did. Muppets? Yes.

And you can't have one without the other...

Comments

Unverified Voracity Gets It Right The Second Time

Unverified Voracity Gets It Right The Second Time Comment Count

Brian November 29th, 2017 at 1:01 PM

26190969565_03e27f11ae_z

[Eric Upchurch]

Malzone exit. Alex Malzone's long-rumored transfer is now official. This was foretold last year, when Michigan had a three-way QB competition in which Malzone was guy #4. He's graduating and will have two years to play somewhere else, so that's not the worst deal: a degree and a shot to see the field.

Why aren't various MSU honchos in jail? Larry Nassar was shielded from consequences for twenty years because of the upper management at Michigan State:

Nassar also worked at Michigan State. For two decades, the public university paid him, provided him with facilities, referred student-athletes from across the athletic department to his practice, showered him with awards, and even used his work with the Olympic team as a recruiting tool. This is despite the fact that, between 1997 and 2015, at least seven girls and women raised concerns about Nassar’s actions to authority figures at the school — including trainers, police, and MSU university officials.

Despite what Michigan State would like you to believe, a pedophile who allegedly perpetrated abuse on such an enormous scale cannot exist in a vacuum. So how will this prominent university and athletic department be held accountable for their involvement in the abuse of more than 140 people?

PSU people went to jail in shame. The institutional behavior here is just as bad. And yet. MSU is also facing a Title IX lawsuit that alleges MSU let Keith Mumphrey back on campus after supposedly banning him. And nobody cares about this! Graham Couch is too busy thinking up MLK day zingers to notice.

So much for San Diego. Per Brett McMurphy, Michigan is a "lock" to play in the Outback Bowl. There they'd get South Carolina, another 8-4 team with a thin resume. S&P+ thinks this is an awesome matchup for Michigan, as it thinks South Carolina is really a 6-6 team masquerading as an 8-4 team; they rank 67th, with an offense that's a bit worse than Michigan's and a mediocre defense. S&P+ would favor Michigan by 9 or 10, which is a huge statistical gap for a nominally even matchup against an SEC team.

Exit one thorn, one potential thorn. PSU offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead is the new coach at Mississippi State. This is a good idea, and not just because it gets him out of the Big Ten. Moorhead managed to put together a very functional Penn State offense without an offensive line. Other names in the Mississippi State search included Brent Venables and Jeremy Pruitt, which is refreshingly sane in a world where Tennessee is doing Tennessee things and Arizona State is interviewing Herm Edwards.

Speaking of:

Poor damn Purdue. Don't even get to have the 9-3 season before SEC teams start horning in on your best idea since Joe Tiller. If Tennessee does pull this off, an internet flash mob that hated the Schiano hire will get an excellent result because they revolted against a person just in charge of things.

ASU, on the other hand, should immediately fire their athletic director. He used to be an agent, which is insane to begin with, and one of his clients used to be Herm Edwards. The Herm Edwards who hasn't coached, at all, since 2008. The Herm Edwards who is 63. The Herm Edwards who says he'd keep Todd Graham's coordinators, virtually announcing he'd be a figurehead before the job even starts. Gob-smacking!

Here's a nice pat on the head though. Even Spike Albrecht thinks this is audacious, Moorhead:

Sources told FootballScoop that Moorhead targeted Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown to join him at Mississippi State, but Brown will remain in Ann Arbor.

That's from Football Scoop and thus may be total balderdash—remember when the guy behind it started trolling the message board?—but it's funny to imagine that conversation.

J: "Hey, Don."
D: "Yeah?"
J: "Feel like leaving Rashan Gary and eight other returning starters from a top ten defense to come to Starkville?"
*dialtone*

That's fine, because Mississippi State fans didn't want him anyway.

Hall transfer watch might still be on. Seth posted the news item about JaRaymond Hall staying but the statement itself is pretty noncommittal, noting he's "made no decision" on his future; Sam Webb still asserts that he did receive a release, which is almost always the prelude to a departure.

This reminds me of the time that I told everyone Sam McGuffie was going to transfer and then twisted in the wind for a week as he waffled on whether to stay or go. That suuuuuuucked, and I stopped reporting about transfers as a result. Dang people can change their dang minds, I tellya.

Might be a thing where he goes through bowl practices and makes a final decision afterwards.

Vicious Vic: the revengening! There was a great catastrophic despair in the MGoSlack when this happened:

Vic Viramontes, a dual-threat junior college quarterback from Riverside (Calif.) City College, announced on Twitter on Monday that he has verbally committed to the Gophers.

“I would like to announce that I am officially committed to the University of Minnesota! #RowTheBoat’’ Viramontes tweeted.

“I can’t wait to play for the Golden Gophers!’’ Viramontes also tweeted. ...

Viramontes, a freshman at Riverside and a transfer from Cal, passed for 1,868 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1,346 yards and 21 TDs this season for Riverside, which lost in the SoCal championship game on Saturday. The Norco, Calif., native spent the 2016 season as a redshirt at Cal. He would have three seasons of eligibility remaining with Minnesota.

Viramontes is the quintessential Minnesota quarterback and is almost certainly going to start since Connor Rhoda's eligibility expired and Demry Croft is transferring after being suspended in week two for some sort of door incident he says he wasn't responsible for. The rest of Minnesota's quarterbacks were worse than Croft. Therefore: the Viramontes era.

Will be fascinating to see how he does.

Etc.: College football is popular amongst gamblers, and the Times is on it. Mississippi State even has Hugh-Freeze-exposing recruiting reporters. They're living right. Detroit one of four finalists for two near-term MLS expansion slots. If they don't get it this time around they'll try again for the next two.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Borks The Cup

Unverified Voracity Borks The Cup Comment Count

Brian June 12th, 2017 at 3:56 PM

Bork! Last night Carl Hagelin had a case of deja vu when a ref blew the play dead despite a very loose puck in the crease. Luckily for him, the grave miscarriage of justice happened to the other team this time. Result:

Hagelin had the empty-netter to seal it, and that's Carl Hagelin: the guy you put on the ice with a minute left when you're up 1-0 in game six of the Stanley Cup finals. Congrats to the Penguins and their veritable horde of college hockey alums; nuts to all the people who call Sidney Crosby "Cindy."

Better than perfect. I don't know how Michigan is claiming a 1006 APR for one year, but they are indeed:

This is a much better thing to try to figure out than "what score do they need to not get nailed?"

Amateurism is bad and dumb, part 300. UCF has a kicker. You probably did not know this but could extrapolate it from facts. It is a certainty that no one wants to give this kicker money for playing college football. He plays for Central Florida. He is a kicker. He has zero career field goals. But he's also a minor Youtube star with 52,000 subscribers. Fly, meet nuclear bomb:

On Saturday, June 10, De La Haye uploaded a new YouTube video titled, “Quit college sports or quit YouTube?”. In the video, the kicker showed up to a meeting at the football offices exclaiming he felt like it was Judgement Day.

“Everything’s going to go well,” he said in the video. “We’re just going to talk about ways that I can keep doing what I’m doing and follow the rules.”

It’s unclear who the meeting was with, but upon returning, De La Haye said he was basically given an ultimatum of choosing between football or YouTube videos.

“The meeting went well, but it didn’t go well at the same time,” he said. “Basically, I’m not allowed to make any money off of my YouTube videos. I’m working hard basically as a job — filming, editing and things of that sort, and I’m not allowed to make any money. If I do, then bad things happen for me. I feel like they’re making me pick between my passion for what I love to do shooting videos and entertaining and my other passion, playing football.”

This isn't an anomaly. This is the ruthless logic of amateurism as practiced by the NCAA: not only will we not give you any money, but nobody else can give it to you either. Even if it has nothing to do with sports. Even if you are so obscure that you're not even an AAC school's primary kicker.

Lavall Jordan moving on up? Jordan just took over UWM but there's an opening at Butler and he almost got the job once before:

Jordan will certainly be a person of interest when Beilein decides to hang 'em up, and Butler would be a fine platform via which to confirm or dis-confirm the idea that he should be the successor.

What is even going on in Oxford. The Ole Miss saga—I can call it a saga because it involves men in helmets bellowing nonsense and ends with an axe going through someone's forehead—takes an odd twist:

A business in Oxford, Miss., has filed a civil complaint alleging defamation that could reverberate through the University of Mississippi’s ongoing NCAA case. Rebel Rags LLC, an Oxford-based clothing company, filed the complaint Friday in Lafayette County Circuit Court.

The suit alleges defamation in the NCAA testimony of two Mississippi State football players, Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones, and also Lindsey Miller, the estranged stepfather of former Rebel star Laremy Tunsil. In Ole Miss’s response to the NCAA’s notice of allegations last week, it attempts to deny the allegations that two recruits and the family member of a recruit—Lewis, Jones and Miller—received a total of $2,800 in gear from Rebel Rags.

The store in question is named as a booster and if disassociated will lose its ability to sell Ole Miss gear. This is a slight problem for a store that only sells Ole Miss gear. Therefore this, which cannot be good for Ole Miss. Either the NCAA will pause for the outcome of a court case, lengthening the recruiting purgatory that caused Hugh Freeze to refer to his 2017 class as a penalty, or it will do whatever it's going to do anyway. The general thought is that the NCAA will do the latter, leaving this defamation lawsuit as an attempt to exact some revenge on the folks who set the Ole Miss program on fire.

What is even going on in East Lansing. Another gent who won't be playing for MSU this year:

Former Michigan State lineman Cassius Peat says he felt "blindsided" earlier this week when coaches told him he didn't have a spot on the team less than a week from when he was supposed to report to East Lansing.

Peat told the Detroit Free Press that Michigan State coaches informed him Wednesday that he shouldn't return to campus for summer workouts.

"I have respect for them, and I understand it's a business," Peat told the Free Press. "But morally, man, as a 20-year-old kid with a family, for them to do that is -- I can't even put it into words, to be honest."

Peat was the ultra-rare JUCO guy who was set to return to his original school. Since he is an ambulatory person large enough to play DL and Michigan State looks set to have two walk-ons on their DE depth chart, this could not have been voluntary on MSU's part. Peat must have failed to get by the Clearinghouse.

The number of players MSU has lost to offseason attrition is truly prodigious:

  • OL Thiyo Lukusa: quits team, says he's giving up football, ends up at JUCO.
  • S Drake Martinez: probably a playing time transfer
  • DE Donovan Winter: dropped after armed burglary charge
  • LB Jon Reshcke: dropped N-bomb on teammate
  • WR Donnie Corley: charged with criminal sexual conduct
  • DE Josh King: charged with criminal sexual conduct
  • S Demetric Vance: charged with criminal sexual conduct
  • DE Auston Robertson, charged with criminal sexual conduct
  • DT Cassius Peat: probably not qualified?
  • CB Kaleel Gaines: JUCO transfer, academics related?
  • S Kenney Lyke: another JUCO transfer, academics related?

That might not be it, either. MSU's Scout site reported that CB Vayante Copeland and DE Robert Bowers were gone as well; Dantonio directly refuted that report but when insider sites report negative news there's almost always something to it. If those guys do end up gone MSU will be down almost an entire recruiting class of guys they expected to be on the team this fall. Add in the dismal finish to MSU's 2017 class and they're going to go into this season with a roster as depleted as a sanctioned PSU program was a few years back.

This is an amazing carousel. Via Get The Picture, an amazing thing about Florida:

Transfer quarterbacks are nothing new for Florida, which has seen six of its own quarterbacks transfer since 2010 and had signal-callers Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby transfer in to the program. So far, the players coming in haven’t done much more than the players going out, and Zaire is hoping that all changes with him.

That's a transfer out per year. Since you usually recruit one quarterback a year… carry the two… some long division… take the cosine… that's bad.

Not bad enough for Florida to stop winning the SEC East, apparently.

Etc.: DJ Wilson #16 on the SBN mock draft. State theater renovations underway; end result will be four small theaters. Bruce Arena helped the US scratch out a draw at Azteca yesterday because he's not a goof pretending to be a coach. CMU to be a bodybag game for basketball this fall. This would be a good fix for illegal men downfield being hard to call. It's Harbaugh's job to find the loopholes though. Harbaugh goes to Washington. Wagner up to 245.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Humps The Shark

Unverified Voracity Humps The Shark Comment Count

Brian June 5th, 2017 at 12:44 PM


1-sfzwOtWx3H7wVQLnT4Zj3w

Jim McElwain, right. Used vacuum salesman, left.

Oh, man, this one's a doozy. I stopped calling people "horseface" around the time that Dennis Dodd toned it down sufficiently to blend in with the great mass of lukewarm take columnists. There has been a long hiatus from "look at this crazy thing Dennis Dodd wrote," then. That détente can last no longer after this:

"I think its an indictment upon society to be honest with you," he said during the SEC spring meetings here at the Hilton Sandestin.

Of course it is. The man who has won consecutive SEC East titles -- a family man with a couple of national championship rings -- suddenly found himself disproving a negative.

" … It effects family, it effects my employer because of something that is totally not true or has any basis," McElwain continued. "I will say this: At least it [looked like] me and not someone else in our program. I'll take [the hits]."

When Naked Shark Guy hit CFB twitter his vague resemblance to Jim McElwain was a covfefe: a short-lived, timeline-intensive twitter joke that burns itself out in a day or so. Nobody ever seriously thought that Naked Shark Guy was McElwain—his hair is too curly and his teeth insufficiently alarming. And yet here's this Dennis Dodd column that takes McElwain's strained protestations with the seriousness of a threat on the Queen's life:

McElwain, 55, is a stand-up guy like most coaches in his position. He's used to putting out fires, making snap decisions, taking blame when it is fair. But in the blink of moment, he became a social media victim.

The photo, of course, was not of McElwain. One report said had he had been "vindicated." Of what? Vindication is defined as, "clearing someone of blame or suspicion."

Except there was no blame to clear, no crime committed. The only connection was our brains seeing a resemblance and somehow believing McElwain was capable of such a pose. 

Unfortunately, the default setting on the Twitterverse was that had to be Florida's coach. Right?

No, you complete ninny, no. Dodd manages to get so upset about people making jokes about someone who nobody thinks is humping a shark that he self-refutes:

What's the big deal jumping to conclusions about a shark, a boat and a coach?

Common human decency, for one thing. When it was determined the man on the shark was reportedly a former NYPD officer, one wag wrote, "We finally have proof of what appears to be McElwain's innocence."

What about assuming his innocence instead of what looked like a badly Photoshopped pic? Instead, that indicted society McElwain spoke of took it way too far.

The whole thing is a magnificent edifice of farts based on a deliberate misunderstanding of jokes on twitter. Spurred by McElwain, certainly. His reaction to the situation improves my opinion of Michigan's chances this fall—this is not the reaction of the sharpest knife in the drawer…

"Ultimately, what do you want me to say?" McElwain said. "It's not me. I felt bad for my family and the university because … really?

"Here I am getting some real bad personal attacks. How ridiculous is that?"

…but there is some water too silly to carry. Or at least there should be.

Follow Harbaugh around and he gives you news. Jim Harbaugh can be odd and standoffish at press conferences—or even entirely absent, as he was after the spring game—but if you travel a long distance to be where he is, he spits out newsbits like mad. Satellite camp season is an opportunity to do this, and sure enough we've got some extra insight into next year's team.

We've mentioned walk-on slot receiver Nate Schoenle as a potential contributor; Harbaugh offers up some additional information on him:

"Nate Schoenle -- he continues to grade out as the top guy right now," Harbaugh said. "The competition is really going to rage on."

Harbaugh further confirmed that Ben Mason was a fullback and Brad Hawkins was maybe probably definitely going to play defense. On Hawkins:

"Brad Hawkins could be a safety." …

"What's transpired though: Don Brown got to him," Harbaugh mused. "Don Brown said that he talked to Brad and Brad wanted to play safety. I accuse Don Brown of some recruiting going on there. We haven't investigated the whole thing yet. But I think it's a little of both."

The WR flood and relative dearth of safeties always made that move likely, especially after Michigan realized it wasn't going to cram its class full with other guys and circled back on Oliver Martin. It's official enough that we've moved him to safety on the Depth Chart By Class.

FWIW, Hawkins did play both ways in high school, making 53 tackles as a senior at Camden.

Finally, Harbaugh announced that Grant Perry had rejoined the team:

"He's back working out with the team," Harbaugh told reporters following a coaches' satellite camp at John Carroll University, according to the Detroit Free Press.

He has a court date July 17th. I'd imagine that will be some sort of plea or diversion.

Two conferences with a scheduling agreement. The current state of the 14-team, 8-game SEC:

To be fair to Alabama, Nick Saban appears to be the only coach in the league who actually wants to go to nine games. (Because playing Tennessee is basically the same as playing Chattanooga to Bama.) That is still mindblowing. The problem is extensive and has no solutions. Auburn's trying to find one by moving to the East, where Alabama would not be a perpetual roadblock to the championship game, and that causes more problems than it solves.

The Big Ten going to 14 was immensely dumb but at least they didn't compound that error by continuing to have eight-game conference seasons with protected crossover games.

Real Housecoaches Of Destin. Meanwhile in the SEC, everyone is livid with the new, very boring recruiting rules, and they've got laughably flimsy reasons why!

Bielema said it wasn’t smart to host official visits during the spring of a prospect’s junior year, which is arguably the most important one academically.

They've got an astounding lack of perspective!

"I think it's reckless, really," Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze said.

They haven't yet muzzled their commissioner!

"I just fail to see how those things are the right decisions for football overall," Sankey said. "Those are the things that I'm not sure we got right."

They have even more flimsy reasons!

"December is a pretty busy time in the world of college football from a hiring standpoint," Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said. "And you're now going to introduce that in the middle of young people making decisions? Plus you're pushing up the evaluation process, which I can't see how that's good for the young person or for the team."

Would Bret Bielema allow a recruit to visit Arkansas unofficially during the new official window? Dozens do annually. Do SEC coaches offer and accept commitments from kids two or three years out from this December signing window? Dozens annually. Does Greg Sankey interpret "football overall" as "the SEC"? Absolutely.

It's nice to see Waffle House Nation splutter about rule changes they don't like instead of rules Jim Harbaugh isn't breaking for a change.

Last one out of East Lansing please conclude the investigation. MSU has lost another couple members of the secondary:

Sophomore safety Kenney Lyke told ESPN on Saturday that he planned to transfer to Mississippi Delta Community College in hopes of eventually landing at an SEC school in the future. A day earlier, Michigan State confirmed that redshirt sophomore Kaleel Gaines was also leaving the program.

Rumor has it that several more folks are on their way out. There are the three players under sexual assault investigation and a couple more potential academic casualties. There's a real possibility MSU goes into this year with 75 scholarship players, the last eight or so freshman who MSU picked off from the likes of Temple in their late scramble to fill their class. Prospects for a bounce-back are dim.

Zaire incoming. The SEC did tweak their transfer rule so that former ND QB Malik Zaire could land at UF; he duly announced that was his destination shortly after. This is of interest to Georgia blog Get The Picture for obvious reasons, so Mr. Blutarsky took a look at Zaire's relatively brief on-field history:

He was spectacular in that Texas game, no doubt, finishing with a passer rating over 250.  It was all downhill from there, though, as he only threw one more pass in all of 2016 than he did against the Longhorns, on his way to posting a 106.73 passer rating as the back up.

He does bring something to the position that Florida’s lacked under McElwain:  mobility. …

if Zaire is supposed to usher in a new era, there isn’t a lot of time to restructure the offense to tailor it to his strengths, or, alternatively, for Zaire to learn Nussmeier’s system.  None of which is to say it’s not useful to sign an experienced quarterback.  Before Zaire’s arrival, Florida was looking at a choice of Luke Del Rio, himself a transfer, recovering from an injury that caused him to miss half the regular season, and redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks, who had a nice spring game, and… did I mention he had a nice spring game?

This would terrify me if it was ten years ago, when Michigan was still deep in their total inability to defend a mobile quarterback. It's still unsettling: first game with ten new starters, one returning starter is not a great space player. Don Brown has shifted Michigan to a 4-2-5 featuring a bullet LB in Devin Bush, though. Hopefully those issues will be mitigated even when Michigan's defense isn't the overwhelming unit they were a year ago.

I'll take it. Chris Dilks profiles Joshua Norris, NHL draft hopeful, and comes out with an encouraging comp:

As a player comparison, Norris reminds me a lot of JT Compher. Both are super-competitive two-way centers. Compher was ranked right around the same range for the NHL Draft(he ended up going 35th overall in 2012) after putting up similar numbers with the NTDP. Compher blew up offensively in his junior season at Michigan, thanks in part to some great linemates, but still projects as more of a solid role player at the NHL level. The same is likely true for Norris. He projects as a nice player at the NHL level, especially if he can remain at the center position, but one that probably tops out as a second or third line player, rather than a true star.

Adding a Compher-alike to any team would improve it, and Michigan more than most after last year's disaster. FWIW, Norris just competed at the NHL draft combine and killed it:

image

I don't think the combine is a big deal for draft position but that should at least indicate that Norris is ready to make an immediate impact.

Etc.: NCAA rules kill Sound Mind, Sound Body. Signs you may be in the middle of a Florida football season.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Mints Three Dollar Coin

Unverified Voracity Mints Three Dollar Coin Comment Count

Brian May 31st, 2017 at 12:24 PM

33961911732_3d30b524bb_z

[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Baseball returns to the tournament. They kick off their tourney run at 1 on Friday against Florida Gulf Coast. Michigan was one of the last four teams in after a bit of a slump to end the season; they've got excellent pitching and questionable bats.

The Zaire holdup. Former ND quarterback Malik Zaire is going to grad transfer somewhere, and reports have suggested that if it can be Florida it will be. This is the holdup on UF's end:

The SEC has always been stricter on graduate transfers than other leagues, largely because some coaches disapproved of Ole Miss getting a waiver to enroll Jeremiah Masoli from Oregon in 2010, especially when he didn’t complete a graduate degree. So it put some rules in place, one of which restricts schools from taking graduates transfers for three years if their previous transfers didn’t work out academically. Well, Florida had two graduate transfers in 2015 that didn't meet academic benchmarks, so technically they shouldn’t be able to take Zaire -- unless the rule changes this week, allowing the SEC to drop all pretense that academics matter in this discussion.

Florida should know one way or the other soon, and then Michigan will know if they'll be taking on Zaire or (probably) redshirt freshman Felipe Franks in the opener. Zaire's done pretty well in sparing time over the last three years, completing 59% of his 98 attempts for 8.3 YPA and a 6-0 TD-INT ratio. It would be better for Michigan if the Gators did not have that option, and that's why everyone expects the SEC's grad transfer rule to go by the wayside in the near future.

Spartan blackout nearing its end. After months of nothing, the wheels have started to turn in East Lansing:

Blackwell's contract had been extended by a month twice, which struck me as odd by may have been required for the school's now-concluded Title IX investigation. With that complete a decision from the county prosecutor can't be far behind. Probably.

Meanwhile it was revealed today that former MSU WR Keith Mumphery was expelled last year for sexual misconduct. If the anonymous trio ends up booted, as it appears they will be, that's five in two years. 

Somebody still writes for ESPN! Congratulations to Kevin Pelton, the last man standing. He's got a fascinating piece on the emergence of the pull-up three pointer in the NBA. This is relevant to Michigan's interests since they've seen the same thing happen over the last few years with Nik Stauskas and Derrick Walton. The pull up 3 is a very very average shot even for guys who are the best at it, but the threat of it opens other things up on the pick and roll:

Portland point guard Damian Lillard, whose 445 pull-up 3-pointers since 2013-14 rank him third in the league over that span behind Curry and James Harden of the Houston Rockets, recalls learning the intricacy of pick-and-roll play from a trainer in 10th grade.

"He would always tell me, 'Everything is a setup,' " Lillard said.

The ability to shoot the pull-up 3 changes the way opponents defend pick-and-rolls and isolation plays, forcing them to come out higher to be able to contest a deep shot off the dribble. Lillard says he feels that difference on both ends of the court.

"You just know that you've got to be more in their space," he says of defending a player who can shoot the pull-up 3. "I know when a guy gives me space and I come off the pick-and-roll clean, that's a shot that I'm looking for because people want three points over two points now, especially with so many guys that can take and make that shot. So when I'm guarding a guy like that, I'm aware of it."

Here is a chart of pick and roll efficacy versus pull-up threes attempted for NBA players:

i 

Michigan fans are nodding at that slope. This is especially relevant to our interests because Michigan was about to find out what happens at the very lower end of that scale when Xavier Simpson stepped into Walton's shoes. Simpson was just 5/19 on threes last year and just about all of those were must-take catch and shoots.

Now they're likely to be on the higher end of the scale. Jaaron Simmons is coming off a season where he took a whopping 104 jumpers off the dribble, per Synergy, and managed exactly 1 PPP on them. That was 87th percentile. He was at 1.16 PPP last year when shooting off the dribble after accepting a pick and roll; that was 88th percentile. His eFG in those situations was 58%—ie, insane.

Amongst D-I players with at least 50 PNR pull-ups last year Simmons was 11th in PPP, and the folks around him are almost exclusively low-low majors. Two notable exceptions were #9 Markelle Fultz, the probable top pick in the NBA draft, and #2 Derrick Walton.

Muckalt more or less done. Also: Flin Flon! George Sipple confirms Tech Hockey Guide's report that Bill Muckalt will be Mel Pearson's second assistant. Tech promoted assistant Joe Shawhan.

In less relevant hockey news, today I learned that Pearson is from a place named "Flin Flon," which is a silly name to give to a place. Pearson is now the only person you know who worked in a zinc plant:

“I did a little bit of everything,” Pearson said. “I worked in the zinc plant one summer. I went underground at North Main for a couple summers, working in the steel shop, straightening steel and sharpening up. I had to fill in at the changehouse one year, too. I enjoyed it. You meet a lot of really neat people there and learn about the industry and the mine itself and how things operate.”

Flin Flon is a remote town of 5k. Very remote:

image

And its name was acquired in the usual way:

The town's name is taken from the lead character in a paperback novel, The Sunless City by J. E. Preston Muddock. Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin piloted a submarine through a bottomless lake where he passed into a strange underground world through a hole lined with gold. A copy of the book was allegedly found and read by prospector Tom Creighton.

When Tom Creighton discovered a high-grade exposure of copper, he thought of the book and called it Flin Flon's mine, and the town that developed around the mine adopted the name. Flin Flon shares with Tarzana, California, the distinction of being named after a character in a science fiction novel.

The character of "Flinty", as he is locally known, is of such importance to the identity of the city that the local Chamber of Commerce commissioned the minting of a $3.00 coin which was considered legal tender amongst locally participating retailers during the year following its issue. A statue representing Flinty was designed by cartoonist Al Capp and is one of the points of interest of the city. In 1978, the National Film Board of Canada produced the short documentary Canada Vignettes: Flin Flon about the origin of the city's name.[4]

This has been today's MGoDiscussionOfCanadianSmallTownNames.

download

Hello: guy. Hockey has added this person:

Becker is an odd duck. He'll be 20 before he arrives this fall; unusually for an overager he was drafted. (In the seventh round, sure. Still: odd.) He was a Wisconsin commit who got thrown back in the pool when Mike Eaves was fired. His second try at a commitment was Tech.

Becker had a 16-12-28 line in 49 games last year. At 19 that's a statline indicative of a bottom six player. He's a big dude at 6'4", 198. More details at Tech Hockey Guide.

Also in hockey recruiting:

I've seen Norris anywhere from late first round to late second in draft projections; Pastujov seems to be moving back up into the third or fourth round range after an injury-plagued year or two. Chris Dilks recently profiled him:

After being considered one of the top prospects in his age group, Pastujov missed all but 5 games of his U16 season, and all but 14 games of his U17 seasons with the NTDP due to injury. He also missed a handful of games this season due to injury. I have no idea on the likelihood of re-occurrence. But even if he remains healthy, he has missed a lot of key development time in the past few years. …

NHL Central Scouting omitted him completely from their mid-term rankings before placing him 80th on their final list, and he followed that up with a point-per-game performance at the World U18s, which probably helps. There’s likely to be an extremely wide range of opinions on Pastujov though, just because there’s a tantalizing ceiling, but so little in terms of track record to go on.

If I were picking, I’d probably start looking at Pastujov as early as the late-second round. I have serious concerns given his injury history, but high-end scoring ability like he potentially has is going to be very hard to come by in this Draft.

Pastujov was a big big deal when he committed to Michigan; with Norris he has the potential to insert some of the top end scoring last year's team so badly missed.

Golazo. Francis Atuahene did this in a US Open Cup match:

Unfortunately for Michigan, Atuahene was about all they had going for them last year as they finished 4-11-4.

Etc.: Ryan Veingrad beats cancer, walks on. Florida opener set for 3:30, which is not at the same time as Bama-FSU. Northwestern scatback Solomon Vault will miss the 2017 season with injury. I am honor bound to link assertions that adding Rutgers and Maryland was a dumb long term move, but Delany's got his 20 mil so he don't care.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Is Rando Slander Turtleneck Doof

Unverified Voracity Is Rando Slander Turtleneck Doof Comment Count

Brian April 25th, 2017 at 12:59 PM

When in Rome, kayak as the Romans did. Cesar Ruiz's displacement is an asset on the football field. In a kayak not so much.

This trip is probably the most Summer Of Harbaugh thing that's happened yet. Except for the shirtless touch football game at a camp he participated in. That's permanently #1.

I could use more Gus in my life. ESPN's college football announcing crew was decimated this year so I'm much more into this than I would have been previously:

...this season kicks off Fox Sports' six-year, $1.44 billion deal with the Big Ten Conference. Under the terms of the new pact, not only has Fox wrested the deed to the annual Ohio State-Michigan game from co-rights holder ESPN/ABC, but it will also broadcast the Big Ten football championship game in December. (And no, the change of broadcast venues doesn't suggest that the Buckeyes-Wolverines grudge match is going to move under the lights for a primetime airing any time soon -- tradition still demands a noon game.)

Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt might be the best extant CFB announce team and I'm totally down with those guys calling M-OSU. Hopefully FOX tones down the robots and goes with a more collegiate feel for their Big Ten games.

I am far less enthused about this, however:

“It’s still a concern,” Manuel said. “The only difference is, the Big Ten and television can assign us to a primetime game and it’s not our option. In November, we have the option if we choose to do so. I don’t anticipate that choice being made.” ...

“It comes out in terms of we agreed to it several years ago as a part of negotiating the new Big Ten television contract that we would allow up to two games at night,” Manuel said. “Last year for this (2016) football season, we had the option. Next year and moving forward the Big Ten can assign us and television in the Big Ten. In the month of September and October.” ...

“Jim (Harbaugh) and I have been in lockstep, saying our preference is in the afternoon and not in the evening,” Manuel said. “In this particular case, we have granted the ability for the Big Ten to assign two home games in the evening. That’s where it will go.”

I don't know if that's yet another Dave Brandon ace negotiation or an unfortunate side-effect of being part of the Big Ten during a period when it's being run by someone who cares about nothing other than stacking dollars. It kind of sounds like the former since Manuel says "we have granted the ability" to the Big Ten. Which is another going-away president from the worst AD in history. Also in "Dave Brandon's icy hand reaches out from the grave": he scheduled Air Force again. Never schedule Air Force.

Cord cutting leads to other forms of cutting. ESPN is about to have an on-air bloodletting:

ESPN will part ways with more than 40 people, all of them “talent,” a label that ESPN applies to radio hosts and writers (almost all of whom regularly do video or audio), not just traditional TV personalities. ESPN says it has 1,000 people in the category. Still, you can expect most of the people cut to be faces you’ve seen on TV. In some cases, ESPN may buy people out of existing long-term contracts—as Sports Illustrated points out, that is unusual.

Most of these folks are probably going to be peripheral folks with few names you'd be familiar with, but the story speculates about one potential exit that would be frown-inducing:

The New York Daily News has some speculation, including SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross, whose contract expires on July 1.

Nooooooooooo. Buccigross is probably the network's foremost college hockey proponent and things would not be the same without him. Here's hoping his skillset keeps him on the four-letter.

tmpdLBMJd-mdly-photo

who are you going to believe, your own lying eyes or this dipshit?

This week in bullshit. Danny Kanell brings his turtleneck to a fact party:

Kanell is way out of line here. Consider the environment he's living in at the time of the FSU game: various players have outright skipped bowl games and gotten praise for it in the media; neither Leonard Fournette nor Christian McCaffrey has seen his draft stock altered one iota by that decision. Even if Peppers wasn't going to play by his choice he could have just said "nope" privately and not dressed, as is common in football.

Instead he dressed and attempted to warm up, whereupon he looked like a guy who'd injured his hamstring. So unless he's a pathological liar who's simultaneously extremely convincing at faking muscle injuries, he was, you know, injured. Kanell is slandering Peppers without proof.  Probably because he's dumb as a brick.

Here's a guy in need of some firin', ESPN.

When third chances go wrong. If your program has a guy get in trouble, it had a guy get in trouble. It happens. If your program takes a guy with two arrests in his recent past you'd better do your homework, because if he gets in trouble again that is on you. This is on Mark Dantonio:

Robertson was arrested for criminal mischief* in 2015, then arrested shortly before Signing Day for inappropriately grabbing a female student at his high school. MSU issued a statement about the deep background they did on the guy in an attempt to justify the signing:

“Our decision to accept Auston Robertson’s signed National Letter of Intent and Big Ten Tender has been evaluated over the last three months while utilizing all resources available to us to thoroughly review his situation,” Dantonio said.

“Our relationship with Auston began last summer when he committed to Michigan State. When we accepted his verbal (commitment), we also made a commitment to him and his family. We elected not to sign him in early February, and since then he has been accepted into a pretrial diversionary program and must continue to satisfy those requirements. Given all the information available to us, we believe Auston should be provided with an opportunity to begin his education and playing career at Michigan State.”

He lasted barely a year before getting charged with criminal sexual conduct in East Lansing, a charge that is easily predicted by the nature of the battery he got diverted. The above statement should have read "We know this is a risk for the people who will be around Robertson. Sorry. (Not sorry.)" That risk seems to have resulted in something very bad indeed, given the fact that Robertson went on the lam for two days. Even more ominously, Mark Dantonio saw fit to remove him from MSU's team. Short of failing to meet academic eligibility requirements, when does that happen?

This isn't and shouldn't be a rivalry thing. Hopefully the fact that I bombed Brady Hoke and Dave Brandon for their useless lies about Brendan Gibbons demonstrates that 1) nobody is immune from this sort of thing and 2) I'm not just a message board dude with my rivalry lols. It should be about what looks like an institution that has serious issues with sexual assault, at multiple levels.

*[And "resisting law enforcement," a charge which I'm always extremely dubious about.]

Expected starter confirmation. Chris Evans on his spring game deployment:

"I wanted to play more  ... But they said 'nah, nah, nah, you're not going to play, you're not going to play.' I just respected that and just back to the drawing board (for spring practice) on Tuesday."

That is a leader in the clubhouse.

Red encomiums. John Bacon:

Berenson loved the game from the start. When he was a 6-year old kid in Regina, Saskatchewan, for Christmas his parents gave him new skates, new gloves and new shin pads. He was so excited, he called his best friend – at 6 a.m.

When his friend's mom answered, she asked, "Do you know what time it is?"

Berenson replied, "Yes -- but this is important!"

From CHN:

Berenson stepped down Monday after 33 years as Michigan's head coach. He was hired during a tumultuous time in the program's history, May 1984. It was the third time then-athletic director Don Canham had asked him to take over. He was an assistant coach in the NHL at the time. He finally accepted.

"I left a job making $85,000 a year to take a job making $40,000," Berenson said. "I thought, 'Did I get my MBA at Michigan to make a decision like this?' But it was the right thing to do. I loved Michigan and loved the experience I had."

MGoBlue has a thing that's more of a pretty-design item than a story but here is a picture:

9788358

And Hoover Street Rag:

Red Berenson did not invent Michigan hockey, that's Vic Heyliger and Al Renfrew.  But Red did save Michigan hockey, first with the Regina Regiment, then by coming home to Ann Arbor in 1984.  He was hired by Don Canham, and he, slowly but surely, brought Michigan back from the abyss.  He won 848 games in the NCAA, fourth most in college hockey, and starting in 1990-91 when Michigan posted a 34-win season and its made first trip to the NCAAs in 14 years, an event they would not miss for the next 22 seasons, Michigan began a streak of 8 straight 30-win seasons, with 6 Frozen Fours and 2 national titles, Michigan's eighth and ninth all time.  And in all of this, in the down seasons, after the Hunwick fueled miracle run in 2011, after Mel left, and we wondered when would this moment come.  Then came last year, when Michigan hockey was fun again and four NHL-caliber players were lighting the lamp and Michigan won the conference tournament, there was the notion of maybe the old magic had been recaptured, let Red have one more run this year and then hand the reins off after one more season.  But, wishing doesn't make it so, and Michigan Hockey Summer took its toll, as it is wont to do.

Woke Harbaugh continues. Harbaugh on Colin Kaepernick in Time:

Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem. At times in our nation's history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.

Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.

That writing style is familiar from the opening video at home games. Feels like every word is capitalized, which is very Harbaugh.

Etc.: Some Peppers fluff. Tom Herman wants it nice and light. Fart man. John Borton reports that Brad Hawkins will play safety at Michigan, as expected. Graham Couch, man.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Is The Situation

Unverified Voracity Is The Situation Comment Count

Brian November 8th, 2016 at 1:13 PM

Here's this. Bobby Loesch made it and is a gentleman and a scholar.

Y4KBre2

It's time for America's greatest rivalry game. Michigan State. Rutgers. This game is the situation, and they play for America's greatest rivalry trophy.

One of these teams will leave with a Big Ten win and The Situation. Noon. Probably on television. Check BeIN Sports 2. No? Does QVC have an overflow channel? Well, I'm sure you'll find it. They televise everything these days. I saw Magic: The Gathering once.

At least you've got your vomit-soaked sidewalks. Michigan State may be 2-7 and playing Rutgers to find out which Big Ten team is going winless in conference, but at least the city it's located in has a detailed bill it would like to present the university.

EAST LANSING — East Lansing has determined what it says Michigan State University is costing city residents.

Right down to the vomit removal.

Fire department calls, police overtime and downtown cleanup after student nightlife are among the issues that cost the city about $3.75 million last year, according to a recent study paid for by the city.

I say just leave the vomit—it's not like anyone can tell that you cleaned it up. And the RCMB agrees!

I remember back in the late 80s when I transferred to MSU. I went to WMU for a year and then transferred. K'zoo was a complete dump. Nothing to do. Other than Lafayette Square, it wasn't happening. I couldn't wait to leave K'zoo and I also couldn't wait to leave GR after the summer was over to get back to East Lansing for the fall terms to begin. Now? K'zoo and GR are so much better than East Lansing. And even they aren't the greatest. But it tells you just how far East Lansing has fallen.

I moved back to Lansing from 2009 to 2013. I could not wait to move away from there again in 2013. It was a mistake to move back to Lansing. Lansing is dismal but almost better than East Lansing now. East Lansing is a complete shell of itself. Just terrible. It lacked any of the vitality it once held. It was is of depressing to see.

That's part of a wildly entertaining five-page thread full of Spartans dumping venom on East Lansing's taxes, generic chain restaurants, city leadership, vacant storefronts, and DUI conviction rate. (That latter might not be East Lansing's fault, guys.)  Highly recommended. The Spartans' profession appears to be self-owning.

A bountiful cornucopia in Ann Arbor. NFL scouts have noticed that Michigan appears to be somewhat good this year. ESPN asks which Big Ten players have seen their NFL stock go up and literally every observer starts with something along these lines:

Everybody at Michigan. (laughs) I’ll tell you what, Harbaugh, he just brings out the best in all his players. Shoot, every one of those guys has elevated their draft stock.

Amara Darboh, Mason Cole, Channing Stribling, Jabrill Peppers, Ben Gedeon, Delano Hill, De'Veon Smith, Chris Wormley, and Jake Butt all come in for praise. I'm slightly dubious about Cole's NFL potential given the struggles he's had against 3-4 nose tackles this year but hey man whatever. Michigan is set to have a dozen guys drafted, and you'd better believe that'll perk up recruits' ears. That goes double when scouts are praising Harbaugh's development as the direct cause of said draftees.

Best part of this: no Maurice Hurst. Let's keep that on the low for another year, yes please.

An eye for detail. Dan Murphy on the Harbauffense and the idea that it's a stodgy pro-style attack:

The Wolverines' beefy, pro-style offense snapped the ball 34 times in the first half and averaged 11.8 yards per play. They did it with a litany of creative wrinkles cloaked in the feel-good nostalgia of two-tight end sets and fullback dives. They are like a phonograph that can stream your iTunes through Bluetooth.

Stodgy is what Michigan will see this weekend in Iowa City. Michigan's got a new thing every week.

Don Brown, football dude. This is a week old but I must have missed it. The WaPo on Don Brown:

Yes, Brown and Michigan: “It’s a perfect place for him,” said Compton, whose father was Brown’s high school coach and Brown’s wife’s high school biology teacher. “He looks good in the colors. It’s perfect. Perfect! He likes that weather. It’s a natural fit for him.”

In that passage lies another thing about Brown, 61: Three former players go beyond the normal, fond recollections of former players. They effuse, and say old teammates do likewise. Somehow, this seems like big toughness mixed with big, big love. ...

Ihedigbo said: “That demeanor. That presence. He truly cares about you. It’s one of those things where you feel like you’re in it together. It’s not just trying to get the most out of you.”

Michigan has exceeded even the towering expectations placed on them by optimistic folks (hi!) preseason, and looks set for a showdown against Ohio State that could change the shape of the Big Ten for years to come. Still cannot get over what a great hire Brown was.

Old-school playcalling. Great Dr. Sap piece on the evolution of playcalling:

In the 1970’s, Bo would talk on the phone with Hanlon who was upstairs in the press box.  After asking, “What do you want, Jerry?” Bo sent in the plays with offensive guards that rotated in and out of the game.  It looked and sounded like this:

In the 1980’s, rotating wide receivers became the method of communication.  The clip below can be summed up thusly, “Oh geez, Mo, let me handle this!  AC, you tell Wangs to throw you the damn ball!  Now THAT is how you do it, Gary!”

After a few delay of game penalties in critical situations, a change needed to be made.

Rotating guards bringing the playcall in! That is absolutely insane from a modern perspective. Also don't miss the Bo smirk at the end of the first video. Probably thinking about this going down in the huddle:

BRANDSTATTER: and he says to get your ass in there
RB: what?
BRANDSTATTER: CUT IT IN, he says
RB: in what
BRANDSTATTER: man... just get your ass in there
RB: i will take this under advisement

Etc.: Mike MacIntyre talks to SBN about how Colorado is good now. Marc Tracy on Harbaugh's Heisman push for Jabrill Peppers. A first look at Iowa isn't pretty. More Peppers gushing from NFL scouts. Ibi Watson exists. MSU had a lot of injuries so they lost to Illinois and their third string QB and three of their top four WRs out. Joe Kerridge will make his NFL debut this week.

Comments

Paul Bunyan Muppets

Paul Bunyan Muppets Comment Count

BiSB October 29th, 2016 at 4:06 PM

It was a blowout until it wasn't, and Mark Dantonio couldn't decide whether he was trying to win this game. Pick a lane, Mark, or get run over. Nevertheless, Paul Bunyan's ugly mug returns to Ann Arbor for the first time in a while.

Muppets? MUPPETS.

And of course, you can't have one without the other.

 

Comments

WTKA Roundtable 10/20/2016

WTKA Roundtable 10/20/2016

43 minutes

image

[Paul Sherman]

Things discussed:

  • At least Notre Dame didn’t jazz us this year.
  • Michigan State as the Beilein Michigan program: how did they get so bad so fast?How good are they when they inevitably rebound?
  • What did we learn about Ohio State? The next pro offense of any consequence they’ll see is Michigan. The trick to Bad J.T. Barrett is make it rain.
  • Don Brown’s DBs are much better prepared for Ohio State.
  • Biggest concern until Columbus: Indiana.
  • Playoff route is beat Ohio State and win conference championship, period.
  • Mo Hurst had his best week of practice ever.
  • Purdue should run the triple option.
  •  
  • You can catch the entire episode on

Segment 2 is here. Segment 3 is here.

THE USUAL LINKS