Unverified Voracity Womp Womp Wuh Womp Eeeeeer

Unverified Voracity Womp Womp Wuh Womp Eeeeeer

Submitted by Brian on August 2nd, 2017 at 11:19 AM

Sponsor note. Are you thinking of doing a business? Are you sick of working at your business factory? Have you purchased a trench coat and a broom and found two like-minded associates willing to make a foray into the unknown?

hoeglaw_thumb[1]

Hoeg Law can help, because ye gods these things get complicated. Rich is currently doing a deep dive on term sheets that includes sentences like these:

You may have noticed in reading the above that we skipped over one bit of language included in the NVCA’s right of first refusal provision:

Can't say that I did, and in this I am reminded of that time I was presenting at an alumni club and someone raised their hand and asked what a "stunt" was. I explained; Hoeg Law will explain.

The "How Much Does Mike Onwenu Weigh" Game! Lookin' svelte, Medium Mike:

As a further demonstration of Onwenu's superdense construction, most of the contributors around here asked people with the misfortune to be around them how much this man weighs, given that he is 6'3". Prepare yourself for Price Is Right horns:

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I do not know how much Onwenu weighs but… not that. Or within 50 pounds of some of those guesses. Is it weird that I might be more excited to see Onwenu start than guys like Evans and DPJ? I mean, I know what Donovan Peoples-Jones probably looks like on a football field: Braylon Edwards. I have no idea what's going to happen when Mike Onwenu steps on the field. Will they have to offer him snowshoes so he doesn't plunge through the turf? That sort of thing.

Chris Evans, coach. Dan Murphy catches up with Chris Evans's offseason undertakings, which are football and also football:

INDIANAPOLIS -- The little hand on the clock hanging in the gym at Ben Davis High School is creeping toward 8 on a Saturday night in May, and Chris Evans has lost track of the time. One of the parents lingering on the sideline gives him a friendly reminder that dinner hour is whisking past and perhaps it's time to wrap it up. He has, after all, been working with the boys since lunch.

"Oh man, OK. Next touchdown wins," he hollers at the pack of 10-to-12-year-old boys spread out in front of him, then gathers half of them in a huddle. Evans is wearing a blue-collared button-up shirt with his first name sewn on to a patch on his chest and a dark-blue block-M hat, just like the one his head coach Jim Harbaugh wears at Michigan. He's toting a dry-erase clipboard, and he's still using it to draw up plays 30 minutes later when the parents along the wall start making the glances toward their watches a little more obvious. "Last drive," he says. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Evans is trying to squeeze in every rep possible before tomorrow's 7-on-7 tournament, which they've been preparing for all month. Carrie Eller, whose son Gavin is one of the boys on the team, shakes her head and smiles.

"We knew what we signed up for," she says.

They signed up for a guy who signed up for Harbaugh and apparently… is Harbaugh? Caught in a time loop or Quantum Leap kind of situation?

Now I don't have to write this. A tip of the hat to Ty Schalter at the Comeback for rebutting a couple of doofy "Jim Harbaugh wears out his welcome" pieces:

Who, exactly, is Harbaugh “wearing out his welcome” with? Would that be his bosses now coping with full football stadiums, a huge Nike/Jordan brand apparel contract, and figuring out how to spend all of that revenue from the Big Ten’s massive new television deals? Jim Harbaugh may be the best investment Michigan has ever made.

Surely, it must be the underlings working under his tyranny? Assistants are just dying to get away from there. And look how he treats the staff. Inventing the “employee of the year” award and giving it to a custodian. Going out of his way to thank the stadium ushers. It’s an absolute nightmare in Schembechler Hall.

Fans. Gotta be the fans who are upset. One can hear their cries. “Please, Jim. Stop making Michigan one of the coolest programs in the country. Stop being so innovative and energetic. Stop trolling SEC coaches; no one wants that. Stop being relentlessly diligent at your job 365 days per year, seven days per week, 24 hours per day, and for the entire 60 minutes during games.”

Now I don't have to write this identical piece but with more personal insults.

giphy-downsized

this is what giphy usually gives you when you ask it for "Debord"

Anonymous coach quote time. Athlon's annual offer of anonymity in exchange for solid quotes dallies with the ridiculous

"Wilson sold his offense to try and get better talent in there. Besides Ohio State, we didn’t see an offense that had the kind of ceiling Indiana’s did. Mike DeBord runs something that’s as appealing as Wilson’s offense when it comes to recruits. DeBord is so efficient as a coordinator. His offenses show so much confidence and great timing on film. It was a great hire for Allen."

…before arriving at a couple of interesting Michigan bits…

"They want to outwork you. That was the whole satellite camp thing last offseason. He wanted to send a message to the SEC and other schools that he will outwork you to make up for any advantage you might have over Michigan."

"They’re scouting opponents better than anyone in our league. They’re at Alabama’s level of prep and analysis, and as they’ve started to fit talent you’re seeing the effects. It’s hard to surprise them."

…and digging a grave for MSU:

"They’re coming off conference title games, a Rose Bowl, and they’re not in on the top players in their own state in some instances. You can recruit against them easily.

"Jim Harbaugh’s success will directly impact how MSU recovers and maneuvers from here on out. This is a different league than the one Dantonio started in.”

The article contains a bunch of interesting stuff about the rest of the league, as well. An annual Read The Whole Thing.

MLS is happening? Wayne County exec Warren Evans has instructed his staff to focus on the Rock Financial offer to build an integrated criminal justice complex on a site away from the fail jail:

"The Rock Ventures proposal has more upside, less risk and a smaller financial gap than Walsh Construction's proposal. There are, however, many issues to resolve with Rock Ventures before I could recommend the approval of a contract to the County Commission and the County Building Authority."

Among the issues remaining are negotiations over the purchase of city-owned property for a new criminal justice complex built by Rock, and whether the Internal Revenue Service determines whether the county can use bond money left over from the Gratiot jail project to help pay for the Rock Ventures project a few miles north.

Still some hurdles but if they were insurmountable the county would not be proceeding in this direction. Assuming things don't get derailed attention now turns from a stadium plan to the bids currently competing with Detroit. A couple of media members with their ear to the ground think that Detroit is about to jump to somewhere near front of the line:

Sacramento has already broken ground on something destined to be their MLS stadium and is locked in; nobody else is.

This must be 2019 hockey commitment season. Guys are flying off the board left and right to just about everyone, and Michigan's collected another touted prospect in F Dylan Wendt:

He was a third rounder in the most recent USHL draft and the second-leading scorer at the NTDP camp for his birth year. Jeff Cox had him as a maybe for the NTDP:

Dylan Wendt, Grand Haven, Mich., Belle Tire 16U, Right Shot, 5’11”/175 - He’s physically mature and rugged so it’s hard to tell if he’s just dominating at this age because of that, but he’s still worthy of an invite. He has a hard shot and plays heavy on pucks. He can power his way into the scoring areas and wins a lot of battles below the dots. He has decent hands and vision.

He did not make it, but is on the U17 Five Nations team. Sounds a bit like Brandon Kaleniecki plus a couple inches. Now I can embed a very silly goal again:

I'm putting this down here because I'm not going to get invested in it. Canadian RJ Barrett was the top player in the 2019 basketball class. He is now the top player in the 2018 class, and he's going to take an official to Michigan:

Duke, Kentucky, Michigan and Oregon are considered the frontrunners to land Barrett and are expected to host him on an official visit.

Lurking right behind these four schools in his recruitment are Arizona, Kansas, Texas and UCLA.

That official visit is likely to turn into qualified optimism that results in a commitment to Not Michigan.

Etc.: It's weird that 78-0 versus Rutgers is apparently going down in history but here we are. That breathless CTE study in a more sober light. Unstoppable Throw-God Clayton Thorson? Tom Brady owns things. The Pac-12 will experiment with some 15 minute halftimes. Yes please. Hugh Freeze, creeper. Scouting Mo Hurst. UCF kickoff guy meets the long, stupid arm of NCAA law. Fred Jackson at Ypsi High.

This Week’s Obsession: That Team You Hate

This Week’s Obsession: That Team You Hate

Submitted by Seth on November 1st, 2016 at 3:14 PM

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[MLive]

The Question:

Brian: So that Mike DeBord quote I posted in UV reminded me that I now root against Tennessee in just about every game they play because they hired a coach who I think is not good at coaching. That's a pretty weird reason to wish pain and demise on a program. What is your weirdest reason you hate on a CFB program?

Seth: Other than Scott Frost’s mom you mean?

Brian: Some people want to hit Scott Frost's mom with a shovel for obscure reasons. Can't be helped. Mmmbop.

Seth: Michigan fans will cut you.

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

The Responses:

image

no no no no no no no no no no just stop making these

Ace: In the conversation that led to this question, Brian mentioned rooting against Stanford because of David Shaw’s crimes against game theory. I have an entirely different reason. When I was checking out colleges after my junior year of high school, my dad turned a Bay Area business trip into a college tour, and at the time I really liked the idea of going to Stanford.

We joined one of their campus tours. The campus was gorgeous, the university essentially sold itself—and then our guide started talking football. Specifically, he brought up The Play—yes, this play—as a selling point for Stanford, saying some hogwash about how it was really the best reflection of Stanford football since they lost but their band did something wacky. (Notably, this was pre-Harbaugh.)

This offended me to my core. Whenever I’m watching Stanford and I think back to this moment, I hope David Shaw takes his criminally bad game management to new lows. The fans won’t care, anyway.

(I still applied to Stanford. I did not get in. That _totally_ doesn’t play a role here.)

[After the JUMP: screw you and your whole coast]

Unverified Voracity Euthanizes Self

Unverified Voracity Euthanizes Self

Submitted by Brian on November 1st, 2016 at 12:32 PM

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via SteveA

Life comes at you fast. From We Want Bama to the above in under a year. EDSBS says no, no, no, don't no not that:

YOU SEE THAT THIS IS BASICALLY A EUTHANASIA HEADLINE RIGHT? THAT MICHIGAN STATE DIDN’T LOSE THIS GAME, BUT INSTEAD GOT SOME KIND OF WASTING DISEASE AND TRIED TO MAKE IT COUNT BEFORE THEY DIED? WAS MORGAN FREEMAN ON THE SIDELINES TO ACCOMPANY MICHIGAN STATE AS THEY DID EVERYTHING THEY WANTED TO BEFORE THE GRIM END ARRIVED? OH COOL, MICHIGAN STATE, YOUR FONDEST WISH WAS TO HOLD MICHIGAN SCORELESS FOR A QUARTER BEFORE DISPLAYING A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING FOR BASIC SCORING MATH. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. WE’LL CUT THE TRAILER TO “HOLOCENE” AND RELEASE IT IN TIME FOR OSCAR CONSIDERATION.

Come for the all-caps rant, stay for the discussion of the most Michigan serial killer. I've still got HH Holmes. North Campus represent.

Life also runs away from you fast. This isn't quite a 40, but in pads at the end of a game where you played both ways it's still eyepopping:

He might test okay at the combine.

The Stribling Q. How good is he? He had a rough couple plays against MSU but the verdict still appears to be "very good." PFF just published a snapshot of their top corners as rated by NFL passer rating when targeted. Michigan's CBs are #2 and #3, nationally, behind Clemson's Mark Fields. Stats:

  • Lewis has allowed 4 completions on 17 targets for 2.9 YPA with two INTs.
  • Stribling has allowed 10 completions on 35 attempts for 4.1 YPA, one TD, and three INTs.

The only other Big Ten corners on the list are OSU's starters at #7 and #10.

Higdon on his future. Interesting quote from him in a Chengelis profile:

“It was really me looking at life after football, Football is not a promising game. You never know when your last snap or play is going to be, so you have to think about the things that’s going to build you as a person versus building you as a football player. I live with no regrets."

He said the choice between Michigan and Iowa made him "sick to his stomach"; that whole Higdon/Weber thing was balanced on a knife edge.

The Debordenberg Project. Tennessee had a moment there when they were recovering every ball that hit the turf and seemed like a top ten team if you didn't look to closely. After three straight losses, the most recent to South Carolina, not so much.

Losing to year one Will Muschamp is bad enough. Virtually photoshopping yourself into an internet meme at a press conference is worse:

“This football team’s fine,” Jones said. “This football program’s fine. I love our fan base. Everything is fine. We’re going to be just fine.”

Survey says... eh, he's probably right. Tennessee finishes the year against Tennessee Tech, Kentucky, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. They should be a deeply unsatisfying 9-3.

Meanwhile in Mike Debord Is A Coordinator For A Power 5 Program:

"South Carolina was trying to take away the long ball," DeBord told members of the Knoxville Quarterback Club at Calhoun's on the River on Monday. "They didn’t want to give up big plays and they didn’t. The other thing is what we see every week, and it’s been interesting, but what we’re seeing on film throughout the week, teams are changing it up. What you practice against is not always what you see in the game. That’s having to adjust with our players and things like that."

IS THIS A NEW CONCEPT TO YOU

AAAAARGH THIS IS HOW A TEAM WITH TOM BRADY, ANTHONY THOMAS AND LIKE FOUR NFL LINEMEN AVERAGED 3.5 YPC IN 2000

NO I'M NOT OVER THAT

no you're being unreasonable

Fine. It's not our problem any more and I should be nice to Mike DeBord even if he seems to just be cottoning on to the fact teams will try to trick you 30 years into his career. I think I called Michigan a Queensbury's Rules program under Lloyd Carr and... yep. Yep yep yep.

Basketball scrimmages Akron. Kudos to Tony Paul, who got enough about it to post an article—I don't recall Michigan's "secret scrimmage" getting any coverage before this year. Akron is a MAC favorite and in a scrimmage scenario you're going to get a lot of rotation that won't continue in competitive games; I wouldn't read much into the score. Akron "might've" won one of the halves per Paul, which rather emphasizes the lack of emphasis to put on scoring.

On the other hand this is a very nice thing to hear:

Sophomore big man Moritz Wagner, who really came on at the end of his freshman season in the postseason, had a big game against Akron and figures to be "a matchup problem" for several opposing teams, the person in attendance said.

Paul also reports that Jon Teske seemed ahead of Austin Davis in the race to be Michigan's third center, which is a mild surprise after the open practice Michigan had.

Kickers on Kenny Allen. Andrew Kahn talks to Kickin' Compentency Lopata and Garrett Rivas about Kenny Allen's workload. Some really interesting inside baseball therein:

“As great as special teams coaches are, I think most of them don’t know the mechanics of kicking and punting,” Lopata said. “In terms of making a change or what’s actually going on with kicks and punts, the vast majority of players rely on other kickers on the team, a personal coach, and themselves. One of the biggest things I try to instill in the players I coach is self-correction—being able to give yourself objective feedback regarding your mechanics.”

That is not to say U-M’s coaches aren’t paying attention. A couple of weeks ago, Harbaugh said he’d noticed that Allen was rushing some of his kicks. “You want to be in that 1.25, 1.3 [second] operation time and he was getting down there one time where he was 1.1.”

Lopata watches games very closely and liked what he saw last Saturday from Allen. “He’s doing a lot of great things with his body positioning—keeping his chest up and having a smooth and fluid follow-through. The biggest tell is what’s happening with the ball. Although PATs are short, judging from the ball rotation and how high up on the net it is, I can tell he’s back to striking the ball flush.

“You want to see an end-over-end rotation and the ball rotating at the right speed—not too fast or too slow; just at that nice, correct pace, which you only know if you see it.”

Article was posted Friday and Allen made good on Lopata's observations, going 3/3 and hitting a 44-yarder. Whole thing recommended.

Hayden Lavigne's backstory. Zach Shaw on Michigan's #1 or #2 or #3 goaltender:

In 2013, Lavigne committed to the Wolverines when he was 17. It was supposed to be a simple story of a talented Canadian taking his game to Michigan before advancing to the pros, but that got shot to hell.

In the fragile position of goaltending, Lavigne became shattered goods in the United States Hockey League. Cut twice in two years in the league, his career was in jeopardy, and Michigan passed on taking him in two years in a row.

But as Lavigne shifted, lunged, batted, swung at and stopped all 31 shots Union peppered at him in his first college game earlier this month, it was clear that he had put the pieces together.

Goalies are weird.

Lavigne figures to get a lot of opportunities to prove his worth over the course of the season: Michigan got swept last weekend by bad teams and massively outshot. They've managed to defy possession, Corsi, and plain old shot totals en route to a decent start, but they're starting to come back to earth. Unless they radically improve their level of play they won't be in the tournament, or anywhere near it. They were outshot 42-21 by Vermont. They are probably the worst team Red Berenson has fielded since the very beginning of his tenure.

Etc.: if you were confused about Pat Narduzzi to Purdue twitter yesterday, the Crimson Quarry explains. Kinda. Playoff rankings tonight, will be anticlimactic. Glasgows gonna Glasgow. Josh Rosen's out for the year, which might help Michigan in some UCLA/M recruiting battles as the Bruins go 4-8 and Jim Mora goes Brian Kelly on the sideline a bunch. The money's got to go somewhere. Hinton on Peppers's Heisman chances.

Mailbag: Crootin Philosophies, Insane Post-Michigan Hires, 2017 DL, 2016 LB

Mailbag: Crootin Philosophies, Insane Post-Michigan Hires, 2017 DL, 2016 LB

Submitted by Brian on February 12th, 2016 at 2:28 PM

Crootin philosophies

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[Bryan Fuller]

Brian -

Two quick mailbag questions for you during this recruiting season. 

1 - How would you describe Harbaugh's recruiting philosophy? 

I think Hoke's was pretty easy to understand.  If you got an offer from Hoke, it was a commit-able offer.  If you wanted to take visits after accepting an offer, then you were no longer considered committed and they would consider you just a recruit competing for a spot in the class. 

Rodriguez was somewhat similar to Harbaugh i think, but there are some subtle differences.  Rodriguez would fire off a ton of offers and sort out how "official" they were as they learned more about grades, etc.  I think he had less consideration for class distribution by position and that may have gotten him in trouble, but he also chased some of the top players regardless of fit. 

Harbaugh seems to be something along the lines of this:

-- An offer is conditional upon certain requirements (curious your opinion on those)

-- If you commit, that doesn't mean that either you or Michigan is married to another.  Visits are still allowed and Michigan may still explore options for your spot.

-- Until you sign the LOI or enroll, consider things a soft commitment. 

Harbaugh sends out "offers." Hoke did not do that. If you had an offer from Michigan under Hoke you could commit to it. Harbaugh does the thing most people do these days and fires out offers in name only. To date he's been less than circumspect when it comes to allowing kids to commit to those offers (though sometimes that's not his call; some kids announce commitments to uncommitable offers).

A commitment is still mostly a commitment. Of the guys who left Michigan's class only two, Swenson and Weaver, were instances where Michigan flat out didn't want a guy because of their perception of his talent level. It's been more or less directly stated by guys like Steve Wiltfong that other players who decommitted had academic benchmarks they didn't reach or were 100% the player's choice. And Swenson was a unique situation since he was a highly-rated commit who was offered before his sophomore year by Brady Hoke. Michigan evidently made it clear they wanted to see him in action to confirm but didn't make it CLEAR, if you know what I mean. That's an error Harbaugh admitted to and hopefully won't be as much of a thing going forward.

I expect that Michigan will continue to have a few speculative commits who may or may not end up in the class for reasons academic and otherwise. Their offers will continue to keep pace with the state of the art in mangling the English langauge for marketing purposes. Some guys will take those offers. Michigan will make things clear to them, and some of them will end up in the class while others either use their status as a springboard, as Weaver did, or end up where they were going to end up anyway.

[After the JUMP: a graph, 2017 DL worries, 2016 LB worries, and HOW INSANE WAS THIS COACHING HIRE]

Unverified Voracity Rents Monster Truck

Unverified Voracity Rents Monster Truck

Submitted by Brian on October 6th, 2015 at 12:23 PM

Event. The Alumni Associations big homecoming tailgate is this weekend. It features many things:

Five stations of delicious tailgate themed foods.

Cold beer brewed by U-M alumni-owned North Peak Brewing Company.

Performances by student groups.

Appearances by special guests including: University President Mark Schlissel, MGoBlog creator Brian Cook, and New York Times bestseller John U. Bacon.

A performance by the Michigan Marching Band.

The Exclusive Member Lounge - Alumni Association members can meet Sara Moulton between 12:30 - 1:30 and try out some of her favorite tailgating recipes.

One of them is somehow me. I have been tasked with emceeing the event, so send me all your John U Bacon short jokes. Tickets are available here. Teaser: I hear John U Bacon is not very tall, you guys! /rimshot

Whoops. Accidentally left this from LongLiveBo out of the game column:

Felt like this for a while

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Ended up feeling like this.

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You will agree that it is good I have repaired this mistake.

A man who knows his history. Michigan went way back in the annals of football and dug out the T-formation against Maryland. I'm charting it and trying to figure out what the accepted lingo for T-formations with receivers is and hit up the Wikipedia article, and bang:

Yost_regular_formation_(crop)

That is from Fielding Yost's 1905 book "Football for Player and Spectator," which sounds amazing. Also, the section in which this image is found is headlined "Obsolescence," to which Jim Harbaugh would like to say not so fast, my friend.

Another tale in which Michigan is prepared. From Doug Karsch:

"I spoke with D.J. Durkin this week before the game, and he said, 'Look, Caleb Rowe is fine, until he gets pressured. That's where the turnovers have come from. So we're going to need to pressure him.'

"Sure enough, they did. All three of his interceptions came under heavy duress. Desmond Morgan said after the game about his interception, which came on a screen pass, before the ball was snapped, he knew in that down and distance that they liked to go screen. He told the defensive line to watch for the screen."

Michigan got Hurst in on Rowe so quickly he ended up hammering the ball at a running back about five feet from him. The deflection that followed was partially forced by the D.

So many ORs it sounds like a seal convention around here. Looking ahead a little bit to next week, Michigan State's depth chart on offense is certainly uncertain:

Pasted image at 2015_10_06 10_18

Jack Allen is a very good center. As a 6'2" left tackle he's gonna die. MSU really needs Conklin back posthaste. I imagine if there is any way either he or Kieler can play next Saturday they will do so.

It's fatal. Start over. The immediate aftermath of hiring Mike DeBord at Tennessee has exceeded even Michigan fans' extraordinarily jaded expectations:

The Vols are 108th in Bill Connelly's "explosiveness" metric. They've scored a total of 13 points in the second half of games against Oklahoma, Florida, and Arkansas.

The optics here are really bad. Tennessee essentially does not have a quarterbacks coach. That task has fallen to Nick Sheridan (yes, that Nick Sheridan), who is a grad assistant after a couple of years as Willie Taggart's QB coach at WKU and then USF. No offense to Sheridan, but that's an incredibly thin resume for the only guy a major college has with any claim to be a QB coach. Dobbs has seen his completion percentage drop six points and lost 0.6 YPA this year. You want those numbers to go the other way when your QB hits his upperclass years.

You really have to wonder what the hell Butch Jones was thinking.

The love is real. If Cracker Barrel's latest viral marketing campaign was based on kidnapping and hypnotizing Jim Harbaugh, someone needs a raise.

BTW, there is now a hidden subplot in Harbaugh twitter:

This happens a lot in his mentions now. A lot.

Possibly because Licensed Twitter Troll Tim Kawakami is retweeting him. Well done, Licensed Twitter Troll Tim Kawakami.

Cumong man. I am happy with the state of the team. I am getting a little punchy about the outside perception of it from both humans and numbers. Vegas moved Michigan from essentially infinity to 1 for the national title to 22 to 1, which is insane. S&P is not a person but a series of carefully selected numbers; now that Michigan bludgeoned Maryland and all preseason numbers have been dropped Michigan sits third(!) in it. FEI, at least, is more skeptical—Michigan is 22nd.

Pat Forde has a gimmicky column on when the undefeated teams lose in which he essentially says Michigan is goin' to the the playoff:

Northwestern (1)

Expiration date: Oct. 10, at Michigan. Saturday the Wildcats play in the Big House, in front of roughly 75,000 more people than have seen them play at any point this season. First team to 10 may win this matchup of the best defenses in the conference – and that team will be the Wolverines.

Michigan State (8)

Expiration date: Oct. 17, at Michigan. If this comes to pass, the Mitten may lose its mind. But which team is playing better football at the moment? The Wolverines.

Ohio State (20)

Expiration date: Nov. 28, at Michigan. And if it comes to this, Lord have mercy on the scarlet and gray.

I think the Lord's already done plenty for Ohio State, thanks. We have to fire our coach for blatant cheating—oh look Urban Meyer is tanned, rested, and ready. Hooray.

Dadrock is everywhere. The HarPod dominates all sports.

As basketballs bounced on the hardwood, the arena filled with noise: "You get up every morning from your 'larm clock's warning, take the 8:15 into the city."

Yes, Michigan basketball's official opening practice of the 2015-16 season actually included Bachman Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care Of Business."

The Dads. They are rocking.

Quinn also has some useful takes from the open practice:

Speaking of Robinson, yes, he's as advertised. The redshirt sophomore can shoot — really shoot — from all over. It's effortless; more net than rim. As Derrick Walton Jr. told us before practice, "Like, it's weird when he misses."

Now all that Robinson has to prove is that he can get off his shot in live action, defend on the other end, and rebound his space. As for the athleticism question, Robinson rose up and tossed in an ally-oop with ease on Friday. He can jump. Quickness? I'm not sure yet.

I don't know where he got the impression Doyle had any baby fat; guy was as built as I've ever seen a freshman post at M. IIRC his tendency to become exhausted was more because he was constantly ill last year.

It's back! Jim Hackett has resumed wearing his I Got Harbaugh outfit.

This is a welcome development.

Etc.: Russell Bellomy departs UTSA. "A retrospective on Tom Crean's mediocre sext game." A history of moved Michigan games. Aubrey Dawkins oh man oh man oh man. Official site stuff on the Yost renovations. Gary Danielson being himself. ESPN adopts a sensible strategy for game overlap.

This Week's Obsession: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

This Week's Obsession: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Submitted by Seth on December 10th, 2014 at 12:20 PM

NCF_100929_PlaybookGregDavis

Greg Davis is drawing up a zone read, so he can't be a candidate at least

The Question:

Seth: How does Michigan screw this one up?

Adam:

greg-schiano-kickoff
(via midwestsportsfans)

or

Screen_Shot_2014-01-09_at_7.05.38_PM
(via sbnation)

Either of those would be a swift kick to the searchbits; otherwise I'm optimistic about the search (both process and outcome). This may lead to me posting a bunch of Gob Bluth clips on Twitter, but I don't think Michigan screws this up.

[After the jump: more all too realistic scenarios in which Michigan decides we need more mediocrity and stupid.]

Preview 2013: Five Questions, Five Answers, Offense

Preview 2013: Five Questions, Five Answers, Offense

Submitted by Brian on August 30th, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Previously: Podcast 5.0, The Story, Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Friends, Offensive Line, Defensive Tackle, Defensive End, Linebacker, Cornerback, Safety, Special Teams.

1. Is Michigan about to be on the wrong side of history?

When Rich Rodriguez was hired at Michigan, Gary Danielson infamously predicted Michigan would be the last major program to move to a spread offense. Five years later, Michigan is shedding the spread as the NFL adopts it en masse. I am a spread zealot, no foolies, and while I may be influenced by factors like…

  1. Associating pro-style offenses with Mike DeBord, "the expectation is for the position," and opponents saying they knew exactly what was coming game after game.
  2. Psychic scarring from things like Donovan McNabb, Carlyle Holiday, The Horror, The Post-Apocalyptic Oregon Game, Northwestern 2001, and even Braylonfest.
  3. Denard Robinson!

…I've also watched an awful lot of football over the past eight years and there seems to be no substitute for the defense-wrecking ability to run with a guy who can throw, and give him the ability to make that decision after the defense commits.

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'bout to get yards'd

These days the thing that's all the rage is packaged plays that give the quarterback the ability to pick from a number of simple options based on the alignment of a couple players, and not just on the college level: Doug Marrone and company got scooped back up by the NFL largely because they ditched a complicated pro-style offense for quick decisions that make the defense wrong every time. Tavon Austin is a 5'8" wide receiver who went 8th overall in the NFL draft. The Great Satan in Columbus has Denard but tall at quarterback.

Meanwhile, the idea that Michigan needs to run a rough-and-tumble offense to cope with the rough-and-tumble Big Ten is total horseshit. If you haven't noticed, the Big Ten sucks at football, Michigan is recruiting a billion times better than anyone except Ohio State, and Ohio State is a spread option team. If we accept the fact that you have to run power to defend power, isn't the corollary there you have to run the spread to defend the spread? Clueless spread outing after clueless spread outing through Carr's career certainly suggests that. I mean, Michigan was fortunate to escape a home game against Northwestern last year because they gave up 248 rushing yards and 10 YPA.

Add in Michigan's stubborn adherence to the increasingly archaic huddle and it does seem like there's a little bit of dinosaur in the program even if Brady Hoke is hip to Romer. Arguments in favor of the huddle include feelingsball arguments like "it helps your quarterback be a leader"; arguments against include Nebraska lining up with 25 seconds on the play clock and checking into an RPS +3 play once they saw Michigan in a man to man alignment:

Where did they get that call?

From the sideline after they got lined up with 25 seconds on the clock and Michigan showed man coverage with one high safety. That was not aww shucks luck. It's using the extra information the defense gives you to exploit it. Michigan, meanwhile, is usually still in the huddle with 18 seconds on the playclock and often scrambles to the line with no other option than running what's called no matter what the D shows.

It kind of sucks that Michigan doesn't seem to want to do similar things. You'd think every coach would love the opportunity to get whatever information they can before making a decision.

Michigan's not using these newfangled offensive innovations. They suck so much at varying tempo that you, reader, have screamed "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" more than once in two-minute drills the last two years.

I love everything about Brady Hoke, but this is the one thing that makes me fret at night when I forget about Jabrill Peppers.

[After THE JUMP: DeBord is not Borges, Borges is not DeBord. Gardner confirm. Interior line muttering.]

Mailbag: OL Shuffle, Hoke 2008, Do Not Poke The Bubble Bear, Base Offense

Mailbag: OL Shuffle, Hoke 2008, Do Not Poke The Bubble Bear, Base Offense

Submitted by Brian on November 2nd, 2011 at 12:14 PM

With Barnum getting healthy and Schofield playing well any chance we see one of two scenarios: Barnum takes over left guard, Schofield moves to right tackle and slide Huyge down to left guard or Barnum takes over right guard for Omehmeh? I'm partial to the former simply because of two 6' 7" 300 pounders on the edges, yes please.

–Thad

It might be too late to make that change. While Huyge has some experience at guard, that came under Rich Rodriguez, when pulling was not a major part of the offense. Putting him at G seems like an invitation to have the same issues Omameh is having with a different player.

I could see the straight Schofield-for-Huyge swap if the coaches believe Schofield is a much better pass protector. We have no evidence that's the case since he's only played guard, but if I had to bet I'd guess he is. It's tough to take a senior who's only had one bad game out, though.

Dear Brian,

Do you think Borges is leaving our base offense (and by that I mean Denard at QB, lots of RB runs interspersed with a few Denard runs and passes) too early? Against Michigan State and Purdue, our first drives worked to perfection and our run game seemed effective.

Immediately thereafter, we started running a lot of crazy reverses, reverse fakes, and Devin-centric chicanery instead of sticking with what worked. Why? it drives me crazy every week. Also, we seem to love to fake the run before we've even established our running threat. For obvious reasons, this hasn't been effective.

For coaches that talked a lot about man ball and the desire to establish a RB, we seem pretty eager to abandon Toussaint and the run game.

Mark Heid

I addressed this topic in a picture pages yesterday and got a couple inquiries about whether or not I thought Michigan's seeming lack of a base offense was a good or bad thing.

I'm not able to answer that yet. It's a thing. Whether it's good or bad is something we won't be able to tell for a while. I am sure I like it better than DeBord's zone offense, which was predictable and seemed to save every interesting tweak for the Citrus Bowl. I'm not sure if I like it better than the style of offense Michigan was using last year when the omnipresent threat of Denard's running often led to free touchdowns, or at  least long drives before Michigan would turn the ball over. (YAY LAST YEAR.)

But you need opinions, no matter how flimsily justified. So: if I never hear "they did what we expected them to do" again it will be too soon. The only time someone's tried that this year was when Dantonio said something about how Michigan will run tunnel screens when Gallon is in the game as if he's a Calvin-Bell-style designated reverse guy. That is incorrect, so, like, thumbs up. Tentatively.

Why was Borges so terse on the bubble screen question – (btw did you ask it?).  I wonder if it was because he expects the QBs to check into that play and it hasn’t been happening – perhaps he was protecting the players a bit?..

Aveek

The process by which questions about football—as opposed to feelingsball—are asked at press conferences is like so: Heiko goes to the pressers and sometimes asks questions that I've asked him to ask. Sometimes he just reads a bunch of blogs and asks questions the  blogosphere has implied he should ask. The option responsibility Q posed to Mattison after NW was the former. The bubble screen Q was the latter. This is what happened:

Is the bubble screen ever going to be a part of your offense? “I’m not saying one thing about any bubble screens.”

Heiko is in intensive care recovering*. In lieu of flowers you can donate to the EFF.

So… why did the normally accessible Borges fire that off when asked about the lack of a bubble screen? I'm guessing he thinks the bubble screen is stupid. I'd like to find out why he thinks it's stupid since everyone from Dantonio to Rodriguez to Lloyd Carr made it a part of the offense to punish teams that tried to cheat inside or deep. His perspective on the thing would be interesting.

I doubt that it has anything to do with the players not making that check. For one, the alignments that seem to open up the bubble are usually trips formations featuring the #2 WR on the line of scrimmage. The latest BWS bubble complaint:

OHMYGODBUBBLE[1]

That makes for an awkward backwards orbit by the potential bubble guy and puts the main blocker in a less advantageous position than he would be if he was on the LOS. It seems clear that the bubble is just not installed.

As to why Borges isn't saying word one about the bubble, there seem to be two possibilities:

  1. He is vaguely aware of the fan zeitgeist about this and is sick of these laymen bothering him about a stupid play.
  2. He is going to bust it out as part of Michigan's ever-evolving baseless offense.

Meanwhile, between morphine doses I'm trying to get Heiko to ask questions that are less confrontational.

UPDATE: AA.com has a slightly longer version of the quote.

"I'm not saying one thing about any bubble screens," Borges said. "Everyone wants to ask about that play."

Door number one, then.

*[This is actually the second time Heiko's gotten acid in his face asking about something  strategic. He asked Hoke whether he'd ever considered a spread punt and got this answer: "no." End of answer. It's not a surprise that coaches don't take kindly to random people implying heir decisions are not optimal, but it's kind of fun to ask anyway. As long as you're not Heiko.]

Hindsight in re: Three and Out.

Brian:

I know your criticism of the Hoke hiring, and I am not trying to bait you on this.  With the benefit of hindsight, however, I keep asking myself whether a Hoke hire in 2007-08 would have been all that risky given what appears to have transpired (and actually did).  It now seems like it would have been the safe move -- kind of like Bo elevating Gary Moeller, despite Moeller's horrendous record as a head coach at Illinois -- i.e., you don't lose to Northwestern in the late 70s solely because Illinois doesn't recruit well.

Obviously, what's done is done.  But my opinions of Bill Martin and Lloyd Carr have been altered dramatically.

Let's just hope the Notre Dame coaching carousel of fun is not in UM's future. . . .

Daniel

I just don't see how you can hire a guy who is vastly under .500 in the MAC. At that point Hoke hadn't had his 12-1 season or turned around the perpetually moribund San Diego State. He was 22-36 in five years at Ball State.

I mean, envision this situation: the fanbase is even more up in arms about than they were in the brief period between Hoke's hiring and kidnapping Mattison from the Ravens. Martin does not want to shell out for Mattison. Mallett still probably leaves. The team is just as much of a tire fire in 2008. You probably get Threet to stick around the year after, but did he prove himself much better than Tate even given another year to redshirt and learn a system? Eh… not really.

Michigan still turns in a losing season its first year and is 7-5 at best in year two, at which point the coach has had one winning season, period, and has overseen the worst period in Michigan football since the 60s. Can Hoke recruit in that environment? Can anyone?

Unless you believe Hoke turns the tattered roster in 2008 and 2009 into significantly more wins than Rodriguez does—like five or six—he's doomed. I think that's a stretch. You can't cure John Ferrera flipping from DL to start at guard, can't cure the Threet/Sheridan QB combo, can't do much about the disaster zone in the secondary.

Michigan ran a guy with two BCS bowl wins out of town after three years. Were they going to keep a guy whose high water mark was a 7-5 MAC season longer? This is a fascinating hypothetical, actually. They just might have.

Correction.

It has been mentioned on the front page twice that Dungy was a broadcaster in 2007. This is off by a few years. 2009 was his first season out of coaching and in the role of studio analyst.

Er. Sorry about that, Bill Martin. Your coaching desires were crazier but less easy to evaluate than I expected.

Approved by NASA.

Hey Brian

I was on Uni-Watch this morning, and this ad popped up:

the-catch

Finally, the Elvis Grbac simulator we’ve waited 20 years for!

Shane Styles

I'm all like… is that guy wearing #45? I don't understand.

Unverified Voracity Starts Sexy WWII

Unverified Voracity Starts Sexy WWII

Submitted by Brian on October 13th, 2011 at 4:12 PM

My eccentric Oregon financial advisor doppelganger. Smart Football points to a fellow who goes by FishDuck and is all about zone reads, feeding his dog, the violent-yet-genteel devouring of Mike Patrick, and more zone reads:

An interesting point picked up from Chip Kelly's presentations: Oregon has tipped inside/outside zone for six years without ill effect because declaring the play causes people to overreact to it, which opens up constraint plays. More than that, the zone often acts as its own constraint as over-aggressive players flow playside or bunch up inside, opening cutbacks and bounces.

He's also got a video on Oregon's deployment of power, which it uses as a counter to their usual inside zone stuff. We haven't seen this out of Borges yet, but I'm hoping. My desire to see Michigan pair an opposite-side-of-the-line speed option with the inside zone borders on lust. And by "borders on lust" I mean "invades Poland with sexy tanks."

On point. Doctor Saturday lays out the situation and the stakes on Saturday as well as you can:

When he was hired in January, Hoke's mission was explicitly to roll back the Rodriguez era, to restore whatever it was that made Michigan feel like Michigan again. To that end, even Wolverine fans seemed to find the sudden proliferation of countdown clocks, macho posturing and various Buckeye-related eccentricities laying it on a little thick. But six weeks in, the Wolverines are right on schedule in the national polls, the Big Ten standings and the weekly stat sheets. If they clear the midseason hurdle Rodriguez's teams never could at Michigan State, they can claim one more phase of the mission accomplished.

Kind of a big deal, this game.

Point: Tim. Reportorial ex-girlfriend Tim, who now goes by the bizarrely long moniker "Tim Sullivan" over at Rivals, was a committed skeptic about Rob Bolden since he was one of a trio of touted in-state quarterbacks in the 2009 recruiting class.

Despite the rankings, Tim said the guy didn't know how to play football. It seems like his scouting prowess has been borne out:

Game Over, Man.  Game Over.  This quarterback contest is done.  Urban Meyer remarked toward the end of Penn State's first offensive drive that at Thursday practice, he did not see Bolden complete a single pass over five yards.  This makes sense, as Bolden did not throw a single decent pass on the entire first drive.  …

Rob looks completely shattered at this point, and it's time for the coaches, players, and fans to embrace the crazy train that is McGloin Moxie Mania.

It's McGloin o'clock in Bolden's Penn State career. Beaten out by a walk-on, does a transfer again beckon? /NYT headline writer imitation

Point: Hoke. Shudder at the awful puntasaur display in the Iowa-Penn State game:

Iowa got to the PSU 33, faced 4th and 8... and punted.  That Guthrie was able to pin PSU on their own 10-yard line (a solid accomplishment) is irrelevant.  Punting from the other team's 33-yard line is A F---ING STUPID AND TERRIBLE IDEA.  I don't even need statistics to back me up on that one (although they would).  Even if Ferentz didn't want to try to convert on fourth down (4th and 8 isn't easy, obviously), why not give Mike Meyer a crack at a field goal?  It was a beautiful day, the ball was lined up near the middle of the field, and Meyer has made 50+ yard field goals in the past (this year, in fact).  But no.  Ferentz gave a vote of "no confidence" to both Meyer and his offense on that play.  Iowa probably deserved to lose the game for that decision alone. 

Of course, JoePa was determined to out-conservative -- or out-dumb -- Ferentz; he punted three times from the Iowa side of the field, including late in the game on 4th and 2 from the Iowa 36.  If he really didn't think his offense could rip off a two-yard gain against a gassed and reeling Iowa defense, I... I just have no words for the level of neanderthal football thinking on display in this game.

Of course, that coaching blunder on Ferentz's part might be narrowly eclipsed by the decision to eschew running a two-minute offense upon getting the ball at the Iowa 20 with two timeouts and 1:42 to go before halftime.  God forbid we try to score there.  It's not like we don't have a no huddle offense that's been effective this year or a kicker with decent range.  Nope. 

Even if trying the field goal with Gibbons is a mistake, it pales in comparison to that business. I cannot express how much I love the Mathlete's new Dumb Punt of the Week feature. The inaugural winner is Ohio State's Frank Solich, who punted on fourth and one from the Buffalo 36. Buffalo has the #91 rushing defense. After an 11 yard punt, Buffalo drove for a touchdown. Ohio State lost by a point. The game theory gods do not take kindly to being spited so grandiosely. (See also: Kirk Ferentz.)

I missed another Hoke game theory bit: he got the ball at the 22 with about two minutes left and did not pull the Ferentz. Robinson rushed for a loss of one on first down, then five straight passes got Michigan to the Northwestern 44 before Robinson's third awful interception set up a Northwestern field goal drive. While we've seen Hoke eschew half-ending drives a couple times this year, those were with a minute or less on the clock, not two.

Now… it didn't work out that time, but these things are never 100%. Did it make sense at the time to try to score with a couple minutes left against Northwestern's defense? Yeah.

Glarb glarb glarb. So when Michigan shuffled its fullback on third and one and got owned I had a conniption fit. This was the result of DeBord Doom re-emergence:

heavyi4[1]

That's the corpse of Steve Watson you see getting annihilated at the LOS. Glarb.

BWS picture-pages this and points out that the shuffling fullback opened up the Gardner rollout TD on which he had either the run or pass; I'm not so sure showing the first play is worth the cost to get a yard when your redzone offense seems to be able to get a yard whenever it wants. I like diabolical machinations better when they're like the above Oregon stuff—plenty diabolical in their own right without the counter.

Mitchbreaks. Mitch McGary's impending Michigan decision now seems far less certain:

Recently, reports came out that Mitch was nearing or had made a decision. However, Tim refutes that notion “He hasn’t made a decision. I just talked to him tonight (Monday night) and we talked about it a little bit. He’s coming home Wednesday night and we’re going to sit down and talk about it. They get a four or five day break this weekend so he’s flying in to O’hare and my older son will pick him up. We’ll be able to sit down and sort things out.”

Likely rumor vector: AAU coach to national guy, national guy tizzy checks in with coach a few more times, everyone wants to back off. Confidence level: reduced, but still high.

Etc.: Denard Robinson is healthier this year because he is homeopathic or something. Mark Huyge has had a tough year. Holdin' the Rope doesn't like "smug, pompous buffoon" Mark Dantoinio. Jon Merrill suspension 50/50 to end his career. Sad face.