Mailbag: All The Coach Dissatisfaction You Can Muster

Mailbag: All The Coach Dissatisfaction You Can Muster

Submitted by Brian on September 10th, 2014 at 11:31 AM

[DATELINE: THE BURNED OUT HULK THAT USED TO BE ANN ARBOR.]

CONNECTION SHAKY. MASS PANIC AND RIOTS. WHOLE FOODS RAIDED. SINGLE ENDIVE LEAF ALL THAT REMAINS. ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT BUNKERED IN WHAT IS LITERALLY FORT SCHEMBECHLER NOW. TAKING POTSHOTS AT PASSERS-BY THEY CLAIM ARE ZOMBIES. SOME ARE. SOME.

SEND DVDS OF 1997 SEASON. ALSO WATER.

IF… IF I DON'T MAKE IT TELL CHARLES WOODSON I LOVE HIM.

loot[1]

I kid you not, GIS for "looting" and this guy in an off-brand Michigan jersey shows up

panic

Brian,

Let me know when I should start panicking. I am ready at your command.

Peter

Okay this is where I'm at. I've got a go bag ready. Passports, about 10k in cash, various fake mustaches and sunglasses. I'm up do date on all my vaccines. Are you up to date on your vaccines? I can be in Laos in 15 hours, never to be seen again. Rumors of the white tiger of the jungle will flourish. I will become known only in song and legend.

BUT: note that I am not already in Laos. I am sticking around to see what this season has in store, because weird things happen against Notre Dame and—and bear with me here—this game actually felt much less bad than some hammerings from last year. There are some obvious problems at cornerback and Gardner has to play better but when things went wrong it was mostly one thing going wrong, not eight. So it might get fixed. There is no reason to demand a coaching change right now. Let the season play out and see what happens. If Michigan does catch fire in the crappy Big Ten this game will be a footnote.

Meanwhile, there's no reason to assume a coaching change is coming unless you're literally 75% of my inbox…

A true Michigan Man keeps his promises about the Austro-Hungarian Empire circa July 1914.

Brian,

You may recall that I said I would never write to you about Michigan football again after the BW3 Bowl and my comparison of Michigan football to the Austro-Hungarian Empire circa July 1914.  Since the last part is still true, I won’t make this long.  But your entry today about coaching prospects caused me to think about my second school (the Syracuse Orange).

Here are a LOT of assumptions, but (a) assuming the tire fire rages, (b) Hoke is fired, (c) none of the few big names worth watching (i.e., Miles, the Harbros) is/are available, and (d) Syracuse goes 8-5 or better again this year with a mid to late-December victory, what about a guy like Scott Schafer?  He’s in his mid-40s.  He runs an attacking style defense.  He’s from the Midwest.  He favors an up-tempo offense.  He has to coach against Clemson, FSU, Louisville (and ND this year).  He picked up the pieces after Doug Marrone ran off to the NFL with half of his coaching staff last year.

Might he be someone to watch?  I know the experience as Rich Rod’s DC did not work out.  But given his success running the defense at SU (particularly following GROB), that seems like it was more an issue of Rodriguez trying to make him run a defense he didn’t want to run.  He left with grace and took the blame that may not have been 100% his.

Just a thought – I’m grasping at straws . . .

Dan G

UM ‘85

Syr. Law ‘88

I don't think Shafer has a track record to get excited about. He did improve the Syracuse defense upon his arrival but he hit a ceiling pretty quick. FEI rankings for his defenses at 'Cuse:

2009: 70th
2010: 38th
2011: 39th
2012: 39th
2013: 65th (as head coach)

In FEI there are a lot of schedule adjustments so 39th isn't nearly as good as it is in straight yardage rankings. Meanwhile he'd have two years of head coaching experience, the first a 7-6 season, and the second an 8-5 one. I liked Shafer and know for a fact he got a raw deal from Rodriguez's defensive assistants, and then Rodriguez himself. But even if you don't hold that against him his resume is thin.

He is a guy to track, since he is a poachable head coach not in the MAC. That he's worth tracking is a good summation of the available talent this year.

[After The JUMP: I REGRET TO INFORM YOU YOU WILL NOT STOP DRINKING.]

The Time of Shane is Upon Us

The Time of Shane is Upon Us

Submitted by Seth on December 26th, 2013 at 1:29 PM

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[Fuller]

Per Hoke's press conference this morning, Shane Morris will start the Copper Bowl in place of Devin Gardner, whose fourth metatarsal finally fell off after hanging precariously from a piece of torn cloth that was being used to hold together what remained of his last rib. Or, you know. Per people on twitter Gardner broke his foot against OSU, then kept playing.  Add to the list of people who should never have to pay for beer within 4 miles of Ann Arbor the rest of his life (once he's eligible to have beers bought for him).

In the recent practice report video are guys talking about Morris; you can take Jehu Chesson:

"He does a good job, you know, reading the defense, you know, getting the ball to us. A lot of people talk about his arm; he has a good arm, great arm, um, uh, [shakes head]. The other people talk about does he throw the ball too hard. You know, with Shane, whenever he's going to be in the game, or when he's in the game or what, he's going to make the right throws at the right time and the right decisions because that's what a Michigan quarterback is expected to do."

…and Taylor Lewan:

"He has the potential to be an extremely good player. [Thing about lefty QB means Lewan is no longer blind side]. I think given the opportunity, and if he stays confident and all those things, he's going to be very successful."

…at their words. Or you can read between lines and use your expertise from watching Lie to Me to discern panicky things from Jehu's microexpressions. Being a negative nancy blogger I shall of course do the latter.

Also in that video the starting linebackers are both practicing, so there's that at least.

This Week's Obsession: Oh, Line

This Week's Obsession: Oh, Line

Submitted by Seth on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:51 AM

 molkmiller-Heiko

Molk/Definitely Not Molk [Heiko]

We waited to pass judgment on this offensive line until they weren't freshmen or true freshmen. We waited for the end of spring and and the end of fall and until we saw them play actual football, and do so against actual NFL-bound defensive linemen. We waited after Akron because everybody was getting a mulligan. We waited until after the UConn game was UFR'd. While nobody among the struggling is so old that their careers are discountable, the evidence is clear that Michigan, so far, hasn't had five guys who can credibly block at a collegiate level.

So…depth chart today:

LT: Brian Cook—turned down NFL to write about college

LG: Ace Anbender—Good find, should be multi-year starter, moonlighted at first as a…

C: Coach Brown—Recipient of much internet scorn lately. A good sport about it.

RG: Blue in South Bend—Top young prospect, struggles with moderation.

RT: Seth Fisher—Been here forever, appreciated but consensus is he's not a star like Brian

IMG_5059
First rule of position group panic: anyone on the depth chart with a plausible excuse for not playing yet is a god. [Upchurch]

And the question:

The OL complaints have had a few weeks now to percolate through reality and drip a little possibility of personnel changes into our cups. How do we feel about this? How much improvement would you expect out of an assumed Bryant->LG, Glasgow->Center, Miller->Bench plan, and what's the catch? Any other moves you'd consider?

Brian: There are two catches with the proposed Bryant insertion:

Bryant is liable to catch on fire at any moment. He's injury-prone. This is often an overblown thing better attributable to bad luck than anything else, but with very large offensive linemen it's a real thing, especially ones coming off a leg injury who end up getting their knee drained just before the season.

A position switch for Glagsow may limit his effectiveness. Can he snap? Can he get the line calls right? Will he have the requisite agility? That move seems like a recipe for more of the same when it comes to mental errors unless Glasgow is even more of a player than I think he is after four games.

Those issues are not enough to keep Miller on the field after consecutive rough outings against low-level competition against both pass and run. If they're going to continue with the stretch, the center is probably the single most important guy on your OL and Miller is busting too often both mentally and physically not to attempt a change. How effective your stretch is going to be when Chris Bryant is trying to move laterally remains unknown. Add that to the pile of issues, I guess. Here:

Does a Bryant/Kalis guard pairing throw away your offseason prep? Michigan wants to run the stretch for some reason. Their guards don't seem like good fits. Can you run inside zone now? Power?

I feel not good about midseason switches; I still feel that there will be improvement; there is no other move to consider except prepping Bosch or Kugler to enter the lineup in the event Bryant gets hurt or doesn't perform.

[More responses after the jump.]

Guess the Score, Win Stuff: Connaître Cuit

Guess the Score, Win Stuff: Connaître Cuit

Submitted by Seth on September 19th, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Guessthescore-uconn

Try as he might, Dave Brandon couldn't get the Huskies to acknowledge their football team is utterly irrelevant except for its proximity to New York.

How this works again:

  1. I put up a winnable prize that consists of a desirable good.
  2. You guess the final scores of this weekend's designated game (football or hoops, depending on the season), and put it in the comments like so:
    [Michigan Score]-[Opponent Score]. First person to post a particular score has it.
  3. If you got it right, we contact you. If not, go to (5)
  4. The desirable good arrives at the address you give us.
  5. Non-winners can acquire the same desirable good by trading currency for it.

Last Week's Game:

Really, you want to talk about this? No, nobody won this. SAvoodoo said 101-0 (and Gallon scores them all) but was clearly joking; not so much 84-0 BlueReign and 98-3 Hail-Storm.

This Week:

You, Khan vs. any hope that events which occur follow the events that preceded them, with the hopeful exception of any event from last Saturday.

And the Prize:

Panic_1024x1024

Sorry, Brian, but we couldn't get the rights toPanic, while for the other the photographer was only too happy to oblige.

If you can read this you don’t need glasses:

One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). If nobody gets the score, this week's prize carries over to the following week's unless we beat Akron 28-24 when they had the ball at the Michigan 1 with time left in which case I am burning the prize. Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game (since I won't have time to pull them on gamedays). Those caught changing their scores after the game has started will be disqualified for life. MGoEmployees and Moderators--anyone else with moderator privileges--are exempt from winning because you could change your timestamp. If you choose the score that Brian published in the official preview and it actually ends up the final score, well, that would be pretty amazing because Brian picks scores like 29-11 all the time. We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves. The algorithm is just a regional rivalry. The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. The algorithm constantly finds Jesus. This is not the algorithm. This is close.

The Worst Part Of It

The Worst Part Of It

Submitted by Brian on September 16th, 2013 at 12:02 PM

9/14/2013 – Michigan 28, Akron 24 – 3-0

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Bryan Fuller

What was the worst thing about the events that took place in Michigan Stadium on Saturday? There are dozens of candidates vying for the crown. A selection:

That moment when Taylor Lewan was down. Almost picked up the very cute small child in front of me and threw it onto the field. Hey, don't judge me. It could have popped on an Akron helmet and stopped Fitzgerald Toussaint for a one-yard loss. It would have been in no danger of anything except padding its stats.

Small children stopping Fitzgerald Toussaint for one-yard losses. Akron's line consists of a six-year-old, ten-year-old, a guy named Bob who they found walking into the game, and an actual scholarship athlete who chose Akron and is therefore so crazy he insists everyone calls him "Pope Licentiousness III." Fitzgerald Toussaint averaged under four yards a carry against them, and about 80% of his first down runs resulted in second and eleven.

That pick-six. Not digging that M starts every game in an 0-7 hole.

All of it. An obvious contender.

The ruination of an entire Saturday of college football. Don't know about you, but that sapped me so much that I could barely remain awake after it and looked at the other games dully before falling asleep just into the second half of Purdue-Notre Dame. I missed the Wisconsin-Arizona State madness as a result. Never has a win felt so much like a loss.

The severe correction in season expectations. Michigan plays Akron straight up; Notre Dame executes a stirring fourth-quarter comeback to top a team that beat Indiana State thanks to a trick kickoff return on the first play of the day. I liked it better when Michigan had solidly defeated a team obviously headed for ten wins because of its overwhelming talent, and was not the equal of one of the worst teams in college football.

The repudiation of the idea that events follow from other events and can be projected with any certainty. Just because something happened before does not mean it is likely to happen again. Devin Gardner can beat Notre Dame nearly singlehandedly and lose to Akron nearly singlehandedly. Michigan can look like the best team in the Big Ten for two weeks and play a dead-even game with a team that has gone 1-11 the past three seasons and hasn't beaten a I-A opponent since November of 2010. At any moment the laws of physics that bind our component molecules together could catastrophically alter themselves, turning us all into rapidly disintegrating collections of atoms that suddenly hate each other. (IE, how you felt in the fourth quarter.)

My adorable nine-year old niece experiencing her first Michigan game one seat away from me. Sometimes it is nice to take the pressure building inside your head and throw some of it into the atmosphere via colorful expectoration of words. In this manner, you vent dangerous levels of pressure to the atmosphere. When the best you can muster is an under-your-breath "Jesus Christ," your inner control panels look like Chernobyl instead of Fukushima, and you can hear the BEEP BLORP BEEP BLORP as you try not to fall over.

MGoNiece reports that the game was "fun" and "exciting," and not "three hours during which I learned many new words that make my mom cry and that Uncle Brian is possessed by Satan." MGoNiece remains as pure as the driven snow, at all costs.

How familiar it all felt. The first time I thought "this can't be happening" in Michigan Stadium, Michigan was losing to Northwestern. That Northwestern outfit would win en route to their first Rose Bowl in forever, but they walked in overrated pretenders to my 15-year-old self. They were not. Over the course of the game my attitude shifted from  annoyance to disappointment to concern to chest-clenching-panic. Back then I kept thinking "how can this happen?"

Here we are again, following up a Notre Dame win with a severe expectations check that bodes unwell for the season. In 2010, a 42-37 win over UMass was an early indicator that Michigan had the worst defense in the history of the program. This one promises a year of quarterbacks given time to complete PhDs in the pocket and far too many "my bad" blocks.

Now our best hope is that contender a little farther up the page: that causation has failed and we're just coasting along on the universe's sufferance. Michigan will come out against UConn and turn them into gray paste, because that's what the random number generator says next Saturday. That's the ticket.

I don't think "how can this happen" anymore. Not after 10-7 over Utah or 24-21 over SDSU or that Ball State game or The Horror or Toledo. I think "not again." I thought I was done thinking "not again" for a while. Apparently not. I'll be over here, trying to keep all my molecules from fleeing into space.

Highlights

BEWARE

This is Akron's perspective:

At 1:40 you can see that the pick intended for Gallon is just a horrible read; with the corner sinking the crossing route to Funchess is the obvious throw. The deciding play from the first row of the student section.

Parkinggod:

He's going to have to start putting some good things that happen to the other team if he can only get up to seven minutes by including Akron not executing the snap correctly.

[After THE JUMP: a first-ever for Epic Double Point, and a lot of complaining.]

Michigan 28, Akron 24

Michigan 28, Akron 24

Submitted by Ace on September 14th, 2013 at 4:15 PM

NOW FOR SALE IN THE MGOSTORE

This afternoon in front of a late-arriving, non-sellout crowd at the Big House, Michigan faced off against an Akron team that went 1-11, 1-11, and 1-11 in the last three seasons, started the year with a 38-7 loss to UCF, spent last weekend getting outgained and nearly outscored by FCS James Madison, and is considered the worst team in the FBS. This was a game to work out the kinks in the playbook, get in some good reps for the backups, and give a good show for the fans who probably paid $5 for a ticket from their friend who likes to sleep in on Saturdays.

OR NOT.

At first, it looked like all would go as expected; Michigan forced an Akron punt on their opening drive, and after Fitz Toussaint rushed for a two-yard loss, Devin Gardner completed five consecutive passes, capped by a 48-yard toss to Devin Funchess, who outran the entire Akron secondary en route to the end zone.

Concern started to grow when Michigan's next drive netted zero yards. The first quarter ended with the score at 7-3, Wolverines; surely, Michigan would pull away any time now.

Then Brendan Gibbons missed a 45-yard field goal to start the second quarter, snapping his streak of 16 consecutive makes. After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Wolverines drove deep into Zips territory, only for Devin Gardner to fumble away the possession on a speed option—a play in which Fitz Toussaint had a clear touchdown if Gardner would've pitched. The defense again picked up the offense, as Blake Countess intercepted a Kyle Pohl pass and returned it all the way to the Akron 20-yard line. Any time now...

Three plays later, Gardner forced a pass into coverage that Akron's DeAndre Scott intercepted easily. The Zips were able to mount a plodding drive that oozed into Michigan territory; after taking a delay of game on fourth-and-one, however, Robert Stein's 45-yard field goal clanged off the left upright. Any time now...

Two plays later, Gardner threw the ball to a well-covered Jeremy Gallon; Akron's Justin March came away with the interception. Luckily for Michigan, only 29 seconds remained on the clock. Stein's 55-yard attempt with 0:05 left in the half went wide left, and the Wolverines were happy to kneel out the clock and regroup at halftime. Any time now...

The second half began inauspiciously, with the Wolverines gaining just one yard on three plays before a Matt Wile punt. Akron's ensuing possession went 75 yards in eight plays, ending in a 28-yard touchdown from Pohl to a wide-open Zach D'Orazio, who went unmolested up the seam as the linebackers failed to get depth on their drops and the safeties couldn't close the gap. Akron 10, Michigan 7. ANY TIME NOW...

Devin Gardner bounced back from his turnovers and gave U-M fans a brief respite from PANIC on the next possession, scoring on a 36-yard inverted veer keeper—for seemingly the first time all day, Michigan got great blocking up front, and Jeremy Jackson guaranteed the score by wiping out three Akron defenders downfield. The defense held up their end, too, forcing another three-and-out, and the Wolverines took a 21-10 lead when Jehu Chesson took his first career reception on a crossing route, broke through a few (poor) tackling attempts by the Akron secondary, and jetted into the corner of the end zone. After Michigan came up with another stop, disaster averted, right?

Wrong. Two plays into the fourth quarter, Al Borges tried to set up a screen pass on third-and-9. Facing heavy pressure, Gardner sidearmed a horribly ill-advised throw directly into the arms of Justin March; as noted earlier, March plays for Akron. He waltzed 27 yards untouched into the end zone. ANY TIME NOW...

Michigan's next drive went nowhere, and Wile didn't help matters by booting a 35-yard punt—not even among his two worst on the day—to set up the Zips on their own 39. A 43-yard pass from Pohl to L.T. Smith set up Akron at the Michigan seven. The Wolverines caught a huge break two plays later, when Pohl threw a play-action pass right to Jarrod Wilson (above, Upchurch). Wilson smartly took a knee in the end zone, giving Michigan the ball on the 20. Time to run out the clock, yes?

Well, not quite. Fitz Toussaint started the drive with a 16-yard run, but his two ensuing carries netted a lone yard. After Gardner's third-down pass to Gallon came up just short of the sticks, Wile shanked a 22-yard punt. The Zips went on an 11-play march down the field, and after getting stuffed twice at the goal line, scored the go-ahead touchdown when they spread the field—Pohl rolled right and found receiver Tyrell Goodman all alone. 24-21, Akron. 4:10 left on the clock. Full-blown PANIC.

Gardner went back to what he'd done best all game, run the football, taking off for a 35-yard gain to move Michigan into Akron territory on the next possession. He found Gallon on the sideline for a 20-yard gain on the very next play, and Michigan got another first down when Gardner's throw to Jake Butt in the end zone drew a pass interference call. Toussaint found a big hole on the left side of the line and took advantage for a two-yard touchdown on the next play. 28-24, Michigan. 2:49 left. Now was the time, yes?

Well, kinda. First, Pohl found Jerrod Dillard for a 24-yard gain, and the Zips moved into Michigan territory two plays later when Blake Countess jumped offsides on a blitz. A 19-yard run by Conor Hundley on third-and-five gave the Zips a first down at the Michigan 27. Despite a holding call moving them back ten yards, Akron kept pushing downfield, with Pohl finding Smith all alone at the 11-yard line after escaping the pocket. Another pass to Smith gave Akron a third-and-one on the Michigan two as the clock ticked down to 0:15. An ill-advised toss play to Jawon Chisholm moved the ball back two yards; the Zips burned their final timeout. Fourth down, five seconds left, ball on the Michigan four.

Greg Mattison dialed up a heavy blitz, and Pohl's desperation pass found only fieldturf, perhaps helped by a missed holding call in the Michigan secondary. The time had finally come, with zero seconds on the clock. Michigan 28, Akron 24, The Horror II narrowly avoided.

In the end, Michigan outgained the worst FBS team outside of Georgia State by seven yards—seven very critical yards, as it turned out. Gardner's 248 passing yards and 103 rushing yards were offset by his four turnovers, including his second pick-six in as many games. The offensive line struggled to open up holes against a very small Akron defensive front. The defense, for their part, allowed far too many passes over the middle and couldn't muster a good pass rush until the game's final play; they gave up big plays, too, as both Raymon Taylor and Jourdan Lewis were beat for big gains over the top.

"This is an embarrassment," Taylor Lewan said after the game. Even with the victory, there's no argument here.

Ryan After Panic Report

Ryan After Panic Report

Submitted by Brian on March 20th, 2013 at 2:13 PM

WEEKS OF BREATHING IN A PAPER BAG HAVE PASSED BEFORE OUR PROTAGONIST FINALLY RAISES HIS BLOODSHOT EYES FROM THE TABLE WHERE HIS FOREHEAD HAS POUNDED A DISTURBINGLY DEEP GROOVE OVER THESE LAST, TERRIBLE HOURS. A RAGGED BREATH, and then…

Freshman safety Cameron Gordon plays in Michigan's spring football game on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at the Big House.  (ARIEL BOND/Daily)

CAM GORDON INNNER MONOLOGUE: YALL READY FOR THIS

IT COULD BE WORSE. Hello Cam Gordon, you senior you. You guy who has been playing SAM or its rough equivalent since Rich Rodriguez executed the last of his ill-fated in-season defensive rearrangements. You four-star athlete kind of without a position previously, now a strapping 233 pounds who saw plenty of time last year. You fellow who was getting a level of spring praise that might mean something even before this incident:

"Jake [Ryan] and Cam [Gordon] -- Cam’s had a tremendous winter. It will be exciting and fun to see the different things that we might be able to do with both of them on the field. Jake is one of those guys with his hand on the ground can rush the passer sometimes. It gives us some things that we can do.”

Can Jake and Cam be on the field at the same time?

“Can be.”

You're going to be okay, you Cam Gordon senior you.

IT COULD NOT BE WORSE. aaaaaah not Jake Ryan, destroyer of all things.

What with the 16.5 TFLs and the 4.5 sacks and four forced fumbles and being the leading tackler in both solo and assist terms and also playing pass-rush DE quite a bit on a team that badly needs pass rush.

Damn you, cruel fate!

I GUESS I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT SOMEONE MOVING TO SAM NOW. Less than ideal, this, but there was always a hole behind Gordon and Ryan in the SAM pecking order that got worse when it turned out that none of the four guys from last year's freshman class seemed big enough to hack that spot. Brennen Beyer started there, was moved to WDE last year to platoon with Ojemudia and Clark, and added a couple pounds only as Clark hulked up to 277. Gordon now has no backup save true freshman Mike McCray, and WDE has three or four plausible bodies in the aforementioned three and early-enrolling, 265-pound Taco Charlton.

Beyer or Ojemudia, likely Beyer, is headed to the other side of the line.

WHAT ABOUT NICKEL PASS RUSH. Well… Hopefully Clark can make a leap. Even in that case, Michigan lifted the NT and moved the SAM down to that spot. Gordon has experience doing that; he has not produced. Ojemudia may step into that role, or Charlton. Freshman edge terror in the nickel package is a spot at which freshman errors are not that lethal if said freshman is also turning in the proverbial Plays.

COULD THE DUDE RETURN? It was about this time last year that Branden Dawson tore his ACL and he returned in time for Michigan State's basketball season. Will Heininger tore his ACL on March 30th and dressed for six games the following season, but did not play until November 20th, the week before OSU. That season started in November; that sport does not feature guys trying to cut-block you except when you play Wisconsin. ACLs are no longer yearlong injuries… but this one is cutting it too close to count on the guy at all.

If you can get him back, you might as well play him. IIRC his redshirt was not injury related. You may as well put him on the field since it'll take another catastrophic injury for him to get a sixth year.

BALLS. balls balls balls

Unverified Voracity, Straight Outta Tha Cocoon

Unverified Voracity, Straight Outta Tha Cocoon

Submitted by Brian on February 22nd, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Not good. The latest update on Vada Murray's condition is not good at all:

Vada was admitted to the hospital early last week, shortly after we learned that the cancer had metastasized to his brain.  This, and a number of other complications from his pain meds caused a 5 day hospital stay.

Unfortunately, he was readmitted to the hospital this afternoon. … Because Vada is extremely tired & we are struggling to get his pain under control, we humbly ask you for privacy at this time.

That sounds like he doesn't have much time left. I don't have any personal memories of Murray—too young—but when and if the time comes I'll be looking for some from people who do.

HT: Gustave Ferbert on the board.

Forty gallons in a steady stream. Misopogon bumped UMHero's offer list to a diary and I was all like—dude. So I created a new wiki page for it. You can see it under "Useful Stuff" and people with over 500 points should be able to edit it. You will have to do this every thirty seconds to keep up with Michigan's enormous offer hose.

butterfly

Via Black Heart Gold Pants 

CEASE PANIC. Yesterday's offhand mention that Darius Morris was "leaning towards entering the draft" from NBADraft.net set the Michigan internets ablaze. Morris immediately appeared on the BTN, endured someone calling him "the butterfly" to his face without threatening to eat someone's pinky finger ("I don't know if it's catchy, but some people like it"), and said things that reassure:

The PANIC-related bits come at the end when Morris is asked about next year:

"We still have a lot of work to do. It's not going to come easy, it's going to take a lot of time in the weight room, a lot of time in the gym. But I definitely think we have the potential to be good  down the road, be one of the dominant teams in the Big Ten in the future. I tell everybody 'just keep working hard, no matter what it looks like today.' We're always looking towards our future, and our future does look bright. We're all young, and we're all coming back next year."

Now, in the context of the interview that last statement was not a repudiation of the idea he'd leave. It was more a restatement of the fact that Michigan has no seniors. But even NBADraft.net suggested that Morris leaving would be pretty odd since he has an opportunity to play himself into a first round pick down the road and right now he'd be leaving for the un-guaranteed contracts of the second round. You'd have to be really mad to leave.

I have an email in to the author of the piece—who is not a random crank, BTW, he's making it his job—and will let you know if I get any more details.

On projected improvement. The Only Colors surveys this year's uniquely senior-laden Big Ten, finding that all the really good teams are getting about 50% of their points from old guys save OSU, and OSU is probably going to lose at least one guy in the offseason. You know this but Michigan checks in dead last with 0%. TOC on this:

Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan will basically return every significant contributor next season.  Not surprisingly, the youngest teams also find themselves at or near the bottom of the standings.

This was written before the Iowa game when Michigan was hanging out in eighth but even then there's a big difference between where Michigan is and where Iowa and Indiana are. File under yet more reasons for optimism. The big takeaway: Penn State is going to be awful next year.

Also while we're on TOC, there's a diary purveying "enhanced" PORPAG but I'm pretty sure the basketball statistical community isn't a big fan of steals and blocks as a picture of defense, which is usually a team thing stats barely shed light on.

Where Michigan is: the vague bubble. After Michigan completed its nonconference schedule the conventional wisdom was that being vaguely on the bubble was M's best case scenario as the season wound down. The season is winding down and Michigan is indeed vaguely on the bubble. Huzzah for predictions.

The other prediction of late has been that 9-9 and a win in the Big Ten Tourney would be enough. Is that reasonable? I'm not sure—hockey bracketology is my specialty—but Maize and Go Blue has assembled a chart (chart) of various teams that are in the tournament according to Joe Lunardi:

Team Record Conf. Pos. Conf. Rank RPI KenPom SOS v. Top 50
v. Top 100
A 15-11 (7-7) 7 2 40 42 5 4-8 8-10
B 18-9 (7-6) 5 5 65 36 83 2-4 7-7
C 17-11 (7-8) 6 2 58 50 24 2-8 7-10
D 16-11 (4-9) 11 3 56 82 36 3-5 5-10
E 17-9 (6-6) T5 3 79 59 69 1-4 4-6
F 18-8 (10-2) T1 6 76 33 128 2-2 3-4
G 16-11 (7-7) 11 1 67 32 33 3-10 5-11
H 17-9 (6-8) 8 2 39 39 30 3-6 5-7
I 16-10 (6-6) T6 5 45 70 19 1-6 7-9

One of those teams is Michigan. The other eight are in the tourney according to Lunardi. I won't spoil the surprise for people who don't know Michigan's conference record, but the studies of the other teams are pretty interesting. You have to think that going 2-1 against Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan State would be enough if this rabble is in.

More Ward. AP article on the upcoming Willis Ward documentary contains quote on par with O Brother Where Art Thou in old-timey elegance:

"On Monday morning, (Ford) and Bill Borgmann told me that they'd done something during the game for me and I'll never forget it," Ward said. "It seems as though as the game got started, a fellow on the other side of the line made a remark about him loving people like me. And his adjectives, they were 'bleep' adjectives, so I won't use it. Whereupon Jerry and Bill put a block on him that ended that fellow's participation in the game. So they came back that Monday and told me that they dedicated that block to me."

Details as to that game and the rest of the Harry Kipke era can be found at MVictors. Also check out the comments to the AP article for a fun discussion of slavery and racism between morons. Godwin happens in post #5. Amurrica.

"Wurst state ever." What it says on the tin.

Etc.: NCAA baseball clamps down on metal bats to reduce the number of 25-19 games. Michigan folk estimate home runs will be halved; they'd gone up 41 percent(!) just since 2006. Wonk/Gasaway explains his thinking to Sippin' On Purple after the author there went slapfight on him. Man applies to manage Middlesborough FC based on Football Manager experience. Bruce Ciskie on college hockey's upcoming Big Ten realignment.

New Jerseys! PANIC? PANIC!

New Jerseys! PANIC? PANIC!

Submitted by Brian on May 5th, 2010 at 12:51 PM

UPDATE: ABORT. REPEAT: ABORT PANIC. RESUME YOUR DAY TO DAY LIVES. CEASE HOARDING CLIF BARS. REMOVE NEIGHBOR'S DOG FROM OVEN.

Finally something from twitter other than players complaining about how lame the party they're at is:

image

Presumably this means there will be new road jerseys because changing the home ones would cause frogs to rain from the sky and the Huron River to run red with blood. I can't wait for the piping/bib controversy that will engulf the month of July. What will it be this time?

Guesses:

  1. Numbers will be replaced with hieroglyphs depicting wolverines in various states of repose, anger, and triumph.
  2. The pants will contain a legend for the hieroglyphs…
  3. …and a treasure map!
  4. Bamboo socks.
  5. One shoulder will have epaulets.

I expect the paint crew will have mockups of potential new jerseys ("it's a cross between the Wild's third jerseys and Barcelona!") in short order. Then we have only to wait to see how tearfully accurate our sarcastic exaggerations are. Come, Armageddon, come.

Demar Dorsey's Potentially Bogus JUCO Journey

Demar Dorsey's Potentially Bogus JUCO Journey

Submitted by Brian on April 2nd, 2010 at 11:34 AM

As people who hit the message board already know and have vented about, there's a website out there that lists junior college LOIs for Fort Scott Community College. This would not be of interest to anybody except for this bit:

imageCommence running around and screaming and stuff. Or, if you're of the helpful persuasion, look up the NLI FAQ to get some clarity on this…

You may sign a National Letter of Intent if you have already signed a letter of intent with a junior college or an NAIA school. The National Letter of Intent is a voluntary program with more than 600 participating institutions, all of which are members of either NCAA Division I or II. By entering the National Letter of Intent program, participating institutions agree to honor one another's commitments.

…and do the grinding legwork of finding out how many of these 70-deep JUCO recruiting classes actually end up in JUCO:

56% of last year's "class" for the CC never materialized.... yeah, I think many of these are back up plans.

So. At some point Demar Dorsey signed a LOI with a JUCO, so he's not qualified yet and has made a backup plan. Tom tracked down Fort Scott HC Jeff Sims to confirm:

"He's working very hard to be a Wolverine, but he has to be ready just in case, to recover if he doesn't get in. If he comes here, we'd love to develop him, and get him to his goals. We are his back up plan. He may never end up at our school. If he can't get qualified, then he needs to know that he has a backup plan, and that's us."

He's still got the rest of this high school semester and the summer to get his grades in order but there's obviously a nonzero chance that happens. Players with truly hideous grades usually don't end up recruited by the Floridas and USCs and Florida States. Commence steady, relaxing breathing.