RIP Charles Drake

RIP Charles Drake Comment Count

Seth July 7th, 2012 at 11:22 AM

charlesdrake

Via @vicsoto

Per Phil Brabbs's twitter, Charles Drake, starting strong safety for Michigan from 2001-'02, has passed away. Drake was a moderately shirtless '99 running back recruit who traded in a career of kick returning to play safety because Michigan had no safeties after June and Curry. Drake did it mostly with athleticism and a taste for (juuuuuust close enough to the whistle to not get flagged) hitting. Personally I remember him going ham against Michigan State a few times, and causing two turnovers in the closer-than-it-seemed 2002 Michigan-Illinois game. In the first he forced Beutjer to throw to Marlin Jackson (at 2:02), the other…

…was his only career interception and sneaky runback that caused know-it-alls on couches across the state of Michigan to exclaim, "remember, he was a kick returner!"

His senior year Drake shared the Ufer Bequest award (for enthusiasm and love for Michigan) with Bennie Joppru. From the little I knew of Drake off the field—all from a guy who worked with the team—"enthusiasm and love for Michigan" was most apropos. Let it stand as a fitting epitaph to a Wolverine who'll be missed.

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Hello: Delaware State

Hello: Delaware State Comment Count

Tim February 6th, 2009 at 1:42 PM

There's a Delaware State?

DSU is a historically black college located in Dover (the capital of The Small Wonder). The school has just over 3,000 students, making it slightly larger than Ann Arbor Pioneer. It was founded as an agricultural school for blacks by the Morrill Act when the doctrine of Separate but Equal kept them out of schools for white students.

Who are the Delaware State Hornets?

DSU's athletic teams are the Hornets, and their colors are Cherry Red and Columbia Blue. They compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) of Division 1-AA. Their football stadium, creatively named "Alumni Stadium" holds 7,193 spectators, by far the smallest of any team Michigan has played in the modern era.

Delaware State is not the 1-AA superpower that Appalachian State was in 2007. The Hornets are an average-ish team in the MEAC, and though they went undefeated in conference in 2007 (their only losses on the year were to 1-A foe Kent State and in the playoffs to 1-AA National runner-up Delaware (the first ever meeting between the two schools, something of a controversial topic)). This past year, however, the team went 5-6, missing out on the 1-AA playoffs.

What Should We Expect?

Head coach Al Lavan has brought a new era of respectability to the Hornets' football program, as the 2007 playoff appearance was the school's first ever. He is 35-22 in his four years in Dover, with the only losing season coming last year.

The Hornets finished 94th out of 118 1-AA teams in total offense, but their defense was stellar, finishing 13th in the country. That wasn't just a product of playing awful offenses from the MEAC, either, as many of them finished middle-of-the-pack or better in 1-AA for total offense.

As you'll see in a moment, last year wasn't exactly a rebuilding one for Del State: They will come into this year minus a ton of talent from last year's senior class.

Offense

The Hornets' pass offense loses 4-year starter Vashon Winton, and will be breaking in a new signal-caller. In addition, they lose 2 of their top 3 receivers.

Speaking of those receivers, one of them was departing tailback Chris Strother, who leaves, along with the next two top rushers, one of whom was Winton. Though I can't find any definitive info, the rushing yardage for a QB would certainly imply that Delaware State employs some type of spread offense.

Defense

Leading tackler Kevin Conner has graduated (along with fellow linebacker Jackie Watkins), and defensive back Avery Grant is the returning leader in that department. He is also the team's returning leader in tackles for a loss (that's right, as a DB), with a whopping 8.5. The defensive line loses a pair of stalwarts as well, with Ronn Spinner Jr. And Akiel Russell mobing on. The remaining starter at linebacker, Joe Mendes, led the team in sacks last year.

The distribution of statistic would lead me to believe that the hornets imply some form of spread defense, likely a 3-3-5 with Grant, the team's star, at Rover/Bandit.

And?

This has been a first glance at the Delaware State Hornets, and I'm sure both Brian and I will give them a more thorough treatment over the off-season and leading up to the game.

The author is the publisher of Varsity Blue.

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Hockey Game Postponed

Hockey Game Postponed Comment Count

Brian January 9th, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Tebow must have raptured up some poor sap driving the Zamboni:

The University of Michigan ice hockey team's game against Miami University tonight (Friday, Jan. 9) has been postponed until Sunday (Jan. 11) at 4 p.m. Yost Ice Arena suffered weather-related damage during the recent snow and wind storms over the holidays.

Don't be there or be square.

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Rodriguez Presser Bits

Rodriguez Presser Bits Comment Count

Brian September 8th, 2008 at 2:42 PM

The Monday press conference distilled into relevant items.

Injuries:

  • Ortmann has a dislocated elbow and will be out a few weeks. Maybe he returns for Wisconsin. Bryant Nowicki and Perry Dorrestein are competing to replace him. Omameh also got a mention.
  • Shaw, Mathews, and Brown will play.
  • Brown was in a white shirt—instead of a light-contact green one—for the first time yesterday.
  • Terrance Robinson has his knee brace off and is a couple of weeks from seeing the field.

Quarterbacks:

"That's an 'or' because it is 'or.' Both of those guys are still in the mix. If one guy would emerge and play to the point where it's just him, that would be good. But our concern is whoever is taking the snaps, can we execute the system."

Feagin is working at quarterback and slot receiver, “helping Michigan out at the receiver position.” This should sound the death knell for his prospects at the position: David Cone is the third QB, not Feagin. I expect a move by the end of the year.

Offensive line:

“I saw them making steps, and I told them. Sometimes whereas it was two, maybe three guys not quite right, a lot of times it was just one guy. We're really not effective, especially in our system, unless all five are getting it done. There is a lot of precision to it.”

Miscellaneous:

  • Koger still hasn’t played but they do plan to get him in at some point. No mention of Roundtree, who IIRC did not play Saturday.
  • There were a couple of questions about  Brown, one neutral, the other “dude… like doesn’t this guy need to get better?” Rodriguez responded “Why do we want to make this negative? Stevie has played some but for a veteran guy, he doesn't have a whole lot of experience.”
  • Warren is still the top guy returning punts but they’re “almost ready to have a rotation” between Warren, Odoms, and Cissoko.
  • Panter and Evans are still “in the mix” at linebacker but Rodriguez “kind of liked the way they lined up this weekend.”

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Transfer Update

Transfer Update Comment Count

Brian September 3rd, 2008 at 12:09 PM

Via Sam Webb on WTKA this morning: Cox has decided to stay, but freshman LB Taylor Hill has decided to go. This latter news can also be creepily stalked out of Facebook if you like.

Hill’s departure is a negative. He was a fringe 4-star guy, top 250 to Rivals but three-star-ish to Scout, and played a position (OLB) at which Michigan isn’t particularly deep.

It’s also kind of weird, because, like, seriously, they’ve played one game. Maybe Hill just changes his mind a lot: he was originally committed to Oklahoma, then West Virginia—though that decommit is understandable—before picking Michigan. Or maybe he just wasn’t going to hack it. Some guys, like Cobrani Mixon, are clear non-contributors as soon as they show up. If he ends up at a MAC school or something that may be it.

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Mike Cox Likely To Transfer

Mike Cox Likely To Transfer Comment Count

Brian September 2nd, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Word has reached the mgobatcave that freshman running back Mike Cox is currently scouting destinations back east in anticipation of a transfer. If he gets registered and such for the fall semester, he can spend this year as his mandatory redshirt and be eligible next fall; if he goes through with it we’ll know soon.

Cox probably saw the writing on the wall with Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw already seeing time and three running back recruits—all of whom are decidedly small shifty types, not thumpers like Cox—in the 2009 class.

The moral, as always: don’t recruiting running backs with funny names.

BONUS SECRET INSIDER INFOS! The band is going to play “Hangin’ Tough” this weekend. NKOTB 4EVA.

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Injuries, Redshirts, Press Conferences

Injuries, Redshirts, Press Conferences Comment Count

Brian September 1st, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Awesome. This is exactly what the team needed:

Michigan sustained injuries to wide receivers Greg Mathews (ankle) and Junior Hemingway (shoulder). Safety Brandon Harrison didn't play the second half because of a groin injury. Running back Carlos Brown was limited with a shoulder injury. Defensive tackle Terrance Taylor hurt his foot and was in a walking boot after the game.

Thankfully, none of these injuries is supposed to be severe. Though Rodriguez downplayed the importance of the depth chart, Mathews is still listed atop one receiver position, although it’s an “or” with Stonum, and Harrison is listed as a starting safety. Hemingway is not present. He wasn’t present last week, either, and still played. Carlos Brown has disappeared from the RB position but Rodriguez said “we think he’ll be available.”

Mathews and Van Bergen (ankle) were “day to day”; Hemingway was “a little nicked” but his absence was “precautionary.” Harrison’s injury was actually a leg, injury, not a groin and he “should be fine.”

Other notes from the first in-season press conference:

  • Feagin “isn’t ready to play” and will be redshirted.
  • Threet had a “few more positive things” and “took the edge a little bit.” Still sounds like both will play. Before the opener Sheridan was getting most of the reps with the top unit; in practice this week they’ll split them evenly. I expect Threet to get the first shot at Miami.
  • Defense was “awful in the first half”; Michigan “not good enough to play bad and win.”
  • Grady is “practicing with the team” and is a maybe to play against Miami.
  • Will Johnson and Obi Ezeh were the best players on defense.
  • Mouton “got in there and provided a spark.” Sounds like they’ll be shuffling the linebackers some.
  • There is “little separation” between Minor, McGuffie, and Shaw. “All three” are in rotation with the first group—no Brown.
  • Redshirts are still somewhat up in the air, but Koger and Roundtree were called out as guys who will probably get in at some point.
  • You can hear the longing in this quote on Miami, can’t you?

    I know they've got nine returning starters on defense, and watching a little film on Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt's biggest plays were when the quarterback took off running. He as a really good athlete and got a lot of big runs, and that was the difference in the ball game.

The rest of it was the usual.

The status of the freshmen in re: redshirts:

  • PLAYED: Shaw, McGuffie, Odoms, Stonum, Fitzgerald, Cissoko, Martin
  • WILL PROBABLY PLAY: Koger, Roundtree, Robinson
  • MIGHT PLAY: Khoury, Barnum, Floyd, Smith, Demens
  • REDSHIRTS: Moore, Feagin, Hill, Cox, Mealer, O'Neill, Omameh, Wermers

Notably, only Fitzgerald saw action solely on special teams. This is a significant change from the Carr days, when many would burn their redshirts covering kicks and punts and the like, and a departure from Rodriguez’s professed philosophy on the redshirt—he, like Carr, prefers to get kids on the field as freshmen for whatever reason. I wonder if the new staff is giving the vast majority of the reps to people they feel can help now and thus the guys who might normally play in an average year are even more unprepared than they otherwise might be.

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St Louis Is Not "Midwest"

St Louis Is Not "Midwest" Comment Count

Brian August 29th, 2008 at 11:24 AM

It’s the eve of football season, so what better time for a hockey complaint? The NCAA has announced four more regional sites for 2010 and 2011. They are:

2010

  • St. Paul
  • Fort Wayne

2011

  • Green Bay
  • St. Louis

There isn’t a D-I program within 500 miles of Saint Louis. As a result, there’s going to be yet another year the CCHA cannot possibly have a home crowd. This year Michigan and Miami were the top two seeds in the entire tournament and had to play hundreds of miles away from home because the West regional sites were in Colorado and Wisconsin.

Putting an NCAA regional in an NHL rink in St Louis is asking for four thousand fans in the seats. In conclusion: bite me, NCAA.

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It Is Done

It Is Done Comment Count

Brian August 27th, 2008 at 12:57 PM

The Midwest’s long regional nightmare is over. Time Warner joins up:

Time Warner Cable and the Big Ten Network have ended more than a year of contract negotiations just in time for a telecast of Ohio State University’s first football game of the season on Aug. 30.

Charter does as well:

Charter Communications Inc. and the Big Ten Network say they've reached a distribution agreement.

The multiyear deal announced Wednesday allows the St. Louis-based cable company to carry the network's programming throughout Big Ten territory, including systems in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and northern Illinois.

With the much publicized Comcast deal and a unconfirmed-but-likely agreement with Mediacom, the Big Ten Network is nearing saturation levels in the footprint. After all the huffing and puffing from the media, fans, and partisans on both sides of the carriage debate, Jim Delany’s diabolical plan has worked.

It cost us a year of irritation and about 70 cents a month. In return, we get

  • vast amounts of HD programming, even when Minnesota plays Northwestern
  • much better coverage of basketball and other lesser sports
  • a comprehensive survey of the various horrible commercials put out by the conference’s alumni associations
  • all the Dinardo you can eat
  • paid cash money homes.

Thanks to Big Ten Network and the conference’s unique contract with ESPN/ABC, which assures that any non-night game on an ESPN network is nationally televised, you can see ever football game your team plays—even if it’s against Cal-Poly on the last week of the year. No pay per view. No Gameplan. No syndicated Michigan State games at noon occupying otherwise interesting slots on ABC.

And it’s keeping us ahead of the Joneses even with the SEC’s mondo ESPN contract:

Under the new deal, that annual number could leap to as much as $15 million per school, which is just shy of the projected average revenue Big Ten schools get from their TV deals each year.

It is difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the two conferences because of the incongruity of the length of the deals and their escalating values. But the Big Ten Network could annually pay its schools an average up to $10.2 million each over the 25-year term of its deal with the Big Ten. The deal started this past year with a payment of $6 million to each school and the number could escalate each year, depending on the network’s revenue.

The Big Ten Conference’s 10-year deals with CBS and ESPN will produce an average of $9.3 million for each school.

So, like… holy crap. It worked. The Big Ten monetized the hell out of content it was getting very little for, got a ton more games into everyone’s home, and provided gainful employment to poor Gerry Dinardo.

This is going to be weird, but here goes:

Thanks, Jim Delany!

Now, no offense, but please refrain from making public statements about anything.

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