Unverified Voracity Rides The Rails

Unverified Voracity Rides The Rails

Submitted by Brian on August 7th, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Old timey. Railroads were efficient back in the day.

That's less time than it takes by car, isn't it?

Don't hit ladies. But the shirt. Greg Oden was arrested for battery. The mugshot:


JMFJ available for hockey type activties. If you're not doing anything tomorrow, Yost is hosting a charity event featuring Jack Johnson:

Come out and play with (or against!) NHL Star, Olympic Silver Medalist, and U of M alum Jack Johnson as he and Justin Spiro renew their on-ice rivalry in Johnson's collegiate barn, the world famous Yost Ice Arena!!!

The game formerly known as the "Spiro/Johnson Ice Bowl" has been renamed to honor the memory of Andrew Michael Singler. The two squads will compete for the inaugural and already very prestigious Singler Cup.

ALL ages and skill levels are welcome, as this "fierce" exhibition has seen men as old as 65 and boys as young as 10 scoring key goals. Spiro is commonly regarded as the worst skater on the planet, so don't be shy!

Cost is $20 per player, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Andrew Singler Stay Strong Foundation (http://singlerstaystrongfoundation.com/).

You should try to check him and then you'll have a story about how you broke your neck doing something stupid.

One good, one not so much. Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin participated in the Adidas Nations thing recently. Walton looks ready to step forward and become a primary option:

- Derrick Walton Jr. had a good day running the show for his team.

On Friday Walton was very good with regards to distributing the basketball, making sound decisions in the pick-and-roll game and getting his teammates the ball where they were best positioned to enjoy success. One of the beneficiaries was teammate Zak Irvin, who knocked down multiple jump shots on the tail end of those Walton passes. With an eye towards next season, this weekend will be good for the two Wolverines as they (along with Caris LeVert) are the ones best positioned for a breakout 2014-15.

But over the course of the camp, Irvin didn't show that his game had expanded much:

Zak Irvin (Michigan):  …didn’t appear to be much better than when I last saw him in Indianapolis during the Sweet 16/Elite Eight weekend. Irvin can still perform as a catch-and-shoot player, but after losing Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, Irvin needs to step up this season and do more off-the-bounce. That didn’t happen at adidas Nations. Irvin struggled with two-dribble pull-ups and was stripped multiple times while trying to drive to the basket. Still plenty of time before November, but Irvin doesn’t look much better than last season. (SP)

He was not much of a slasher even in high school, preferring to take those midrange pull-ups when he wasn't taking threes. And as we've mentioned several times before, Irvin was far more in the Just A Shooter category than Stauskas was during their respective freshman years. He should diversify a bit; he is still going to be a guy who mostly has shots created for him. With Walton and LeVert around that shouldn't be a huge problem. I might even prefer it if Irvin focused more on his defense, which has the potential to be really good, than expanding his offensive game. Michigan could use a lockdown perimeter defender more than they need another guy to get to the basket.

This should be more fun. I forgot to put this in the last one:

"Acurate" is not a good word to misspell, but inserting an unnecessary and incorrect "whereas" is the hallmark of someone who learned to write by expanding a one page paper to five by inserting meaningless jibberish endlessly.

Yes, yes, MSU fans, scoreboard. Just don't say anything other than "oh no, not again" when Duncan Robinson signs on here rather soon. Then we are good.

All of the other ESPNs are full of Tebow. The lineup of basketball's nonconference tourney has been announced, and one thing in particular jumps off the page:

VCU vs. Villanova, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Michigan vs. Oregon, 9 p.m. (ESPN3)

ESPN3? You have an early-season matchup between an Elite 8 team and an outfit that got to the second round of last year's tourney and that doesn't even warrant placement on ESPNU? I'm not mad, I'm impressed, actually I'm a little mad.

Michigan's "opening round" opponents will be Bucknell and Detroit; both are middling mid-majors. Bucknell was 11-7 in the Patriot league last year, Detroit 6-10 in the Horizon. These are the kind of teams Michigan should be scheduling instead of New Jersey Tech or whatever: respectable, beatable.

As a bonus, Detroit has a couple of interesting names. Juwan Howard Jr is Yes That Juwan Howard's son; Carlton Brundidge spent a year at Michigan before looking for a place he was more likely to play. He got about 20 minutes a game last year for the Titans, shooting 67/44/28.

A couple of hockey departures. Defensemen Spencer Hyman and Mike Szuma are no longer with the team. Hyman will play at Toronto. Szuma is still enrolled. Both were walk-ons; Szuma got 30 games two years ago as Michigan tried to fill some big holes on their blue line but did not play last year.

With Werenski's early entry there are still ten(!) defensemen on the roster, so impact should be minimal. I mean, you can fill out a line chart like so:

  • Werenski-Downing
  • Lohan-De Jong
  • Sinelli-Serville

And you've still got Cutler Martin, Sam Piazza, Mike Chiasson, and Niko Porikos scratched. I don't think I've ever seen a hockey roster with this many dudes on it.

Yup. The current student government president on the athletic department's advisory council:

While this advisory council is a big step forward, it also takes a leap back. These twenty students are handpicked by the Athletic Department based off one's class standing, twitter handle (optional), and the answer to two questions. The questions are: "Why do you want to be a part of the Football Student Advisory Council" and "What is your favorite Michigan Athletics memory?". Oh, and you have to be a season ticket holder. This is problematic for two reasons. The first is that this puts a price on a students' ability to give feedback and make a change. The second is that while students are given more of a voice, it is the AD that is picking the students, not the students themselves. This means that the AD could very easily pick a group of "yes men", take a policy to this group and then say they consulted the students on a policy change.

That is almost certainly going to happen given the way the department has been run the last few years. CYA CYA CYA.

Is this a good thing for you? One of the more laughable quotes from Big Ten Media Days came from Pat Fitzgerald:

"You've got to go win," Fitzgerald said Tuesday. "Finally! You've got to go win. No longer can you have a traditional name behind you and four coaches with statues in front of the stadium and 90,000 people every week and you're automatically going to be ranked ... in the top 20.

"That football side now matters."

Even if the first bit was accurate, the Big Ten was and is the major beneficiary of that tendency. SEC teams win and the other conferences don't have the same lucrative fanbases. And then there's the fact that the first bit is not accurate. The football side "now matters." Okay. Alabama's just around because of statues.

If he's talking about Northwestern specifically, the only team even vaguely eligible for BCS consideration since the Wildcats went to the Rose Bowl was 2012, when Northwestern went 9-3 in the regular season without beating a ranked opponent or even playing one ranked higher than #24 by year's end. The system made the correct call to dump NW into the Gator Bowl.

Etc.: DJ Wilson will not play on Michigan's Italian trip after surgery on a finger, should be fine by the time the season rolls around. Matt Hinton lands at Grantland. I'm not even going to talk about Brandon's radio appearance today. Yeah!

Mike Hart, coach, profiled. NYT on autonomy. Why is Kansas State any good? Countess switches to #2, blogger grumbles uselessly about kids these days.

One Frame At A Time: Northwestern

One Frame At A Time: Northwestern

Submitted by Ace on November 19th, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Despite watching this approximately 457 times, I'm still in utter disbelief that this worked. Things required to have this happen:

  1. Jeremy Gallon immediately pitching the ball to an official.
  2. That official rugby-tossing the ball to the umpire.
  3. The umpire placing the ball down and getting the hell out of the way.
  5. Drew Dileo, barely in the frame when the camera zooms out, realizing after a split-second hesitation that he must sprint to the right spot and slide into position.
  6. Jareth Glanda snapping the ball at the last possible moment so the line doesn't draw a flag.
  7. Brendan Gibbons marking off his steps at warp speed, then drilling a 44-yarder despite still moving backwards at the snap (which is legal, as covered in today's mailbag).

100% complete insanity, indeed.

If you're wondering about the identity of the guy in the black jacket running around like a manic behind the goalposts, that's Greg Dooley of MVictors. Livin' the dream, Greg.

[The rest of the Northwestern game in GIFS after THE JUMP, including Brady Hoke RAWKING OUT, Devin Gardner sacrificing life and rib, Derrick Green truck stick, and more angles of the miraculous field goal.]

Hokepoints Reviews Fourth and Long

Hokepoints Reviews Fourth and Long

Submitted by Seth on November 5th, 2013 at 10:59 AM


Previously in this space: The excerpt. Bacon Q&A with Brian and readers.

So there was a new Bacon book this year. We need to review this book. I'm going to do this with the expectation that you have either read it already or are going to. You should. It is a Bacon book. You are reading MGoBlog; either you are a person who appreciates Bacon or else a visiting Sparty looking for more trolling fodder, in which case help yourself to the board where I promise you there's plenty. Or better yet, read some Bacon—you're in the Big Ten; this concerns you too. And he says the Red Cedar is nice.9040891

This is not a negative review, even though I have a tendency to focus on the "needs work" aspects—I'm the guy who walked out of The Return of the King after five years of unmitigated Peter Jackson man-crushing and complained that there were too many endings. So apologies to John U., who's higher in my esteem than Mr. Jackson and just about everyone whose quotes aren't emblazoned on a wall somewhere, for the plurality of minuses below.

The book is available wherever they sell books these days. Amazon links: Kindle, Hardcover. I bought it on Kindle.

More Bacon. Ever since Bo's Lasting Lessons, the chance to devour a new Bacon book has been somewhat of an event around these parts. As a Michigan fan it would be tough to follow the unparalleled access and insight into the Rich Rod program accomplished with Three and Out, specifically because that unvarnished snapshot was so starkly antithetical to Dave Brandon's meticulous staging of his Michigan show: You knew at the time that no true journalist would be allowed to see behind the bunting again, so it should only come as a mild disappointment that there is little about the Michigan program in this book that you didn't already know.

Fourth and Long: the Fight for the Soul of College Football is four unequal looks at four 2012 Big Ten programs, or four and a half if you count a mini-treatment that Michigan State and Mark Hollis receive as host of an Ohio State road game. In order of detail:

The Kindle X-ray. The next 20 keywords, in order, are Mike Zordich, Ohio State Buckeyes, Dave Brandon, Matt McGloin, Pat Fitzgerald, NFL, Joe Paterno, Nebraska, Wolverines, head coach, Wisconsin, Ohio, Rich Mauti, Jordan Hill, Denard Robinson, Chicago, Spider Caldwell, and Dave Joyner.
  1. Penn State from the point of view of its players, former players, coaches, and equipment managers as they find themselves taking the brunt of the Penn State Awful Thing, and the NCAA's and PSU brass's callow responses to it.
    ======HUGE GAP======
  2. Michigan from Bacon's own point of view of its fans, as those fans interact with Brandon's corporate-itude.
  3. Ohio State from the P.O.V. of Urban Meyer as he goes from win to win trying to get Zach Boren to like him, and
  4. Northwestern as the paragon of virtue.

Bacon set out, as is evident from the title and made clear throughout the book, to examine these four schools from different points of view (players, AD, head coach, and president, respectively), and use the findings to determine if any of the Big Ten's current models for college football are sustainable for college football in general. In it he consistently finds players and fans who "get it" while the people in control seek new and better ways to milk it.

But he could only use what he got from each school. With Ohio State the access was mostly restricted to Urban on game days. He brushes against tatgate but doesn't get into the cars or any other "everybody knows, nobody can prove" things—you have to appreciate that Bacon will never accuse somebody without proof (especially considering he's an avowed Michigan fan talking about Ohio State) but it's really hard to talk about college sports and the competitive problems therein without admitting there are relative bad guys. The Gee quote—"I hope he doesn't fire me!"—is in there in reference to the bloated role of college football head coach in America. The closest he comes to pointing out OSU's exceptionalism in this regard is when addressing the carrying off of Tressel after last year's Game:

"The Buckeyes do not run a renegade program, but they once again demonstrated they don't seem to care if their actions make others think they do."

This isn't a complaint; Bacon handled a sticky situation about as well as he could. With Northwestern he got some key interviews, particularly with Pat Fitzgerald, but no warts (this could be because they don't have any).

With Michigan Bacon was outside looking in, so he used some of the Bacon-usual suspects—Carty, the dueling barbershops, the public comments of James Duderstadt and Don Canham, Brian Cook of MGoBlog, etc. There's also an inside look at the Mud Bowl, and most interestingly, a candid interview with Michigan's band director about Send-the-Band-to-Dallas-gate. I was more intrigued by the comments made by Bill Martin on the corporatization of NCAA football, which I'll come back to. The whole Notre Dame saga is covered. Except for the band's comments most of this is old news to you.

The result is a book that's 52% about Penn State trying to survive 2012, with a bunch of stuff thrown in about some other schools and corporations to underscore a point made clear without leaving Happy Valley.

[After the jump: it's just, like, my opinion man.]

Wednesday Presser Transcript 11-7-12: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 11-7-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on November 7th, 2012 at 3:03 PM


  • Both Denard and Russell Bellomy are day to day. Hoke doesn't want to comment on it, so don't ask or he'll get mad at you.
  • All's quiet on the Devin Gardner redshirt front.
  • Mario Ojemudia is not 100%, still limited in practice. My guess is he probably won't play Saturday.
  • Jeremy Gallon is "good." My guess is he probably will play on Saturday.
  • Joey Burzynski and Jack Miller have taken reps with the ones this week. If they do get shuffled into the offensive line rotation, that decision will be made after tomorrow's practice.

From the mixed up files of Dr. Basil E. Heikoyang

Opening remarks:

“It was a good practice, and I think it’s been like that most of the year. I think we had really good energy. We had good tempo. I think our team -- I know our team understands we’re playing an awfully good team this week. They’re very difficult in some ways to defend from an offensive perspective. Their playmakers on both sides of the ball with Mark and Colter, and Siemian throws the ball awfully well. They have a group of receivers that play the ball well in the air. I think they run after the catch very well. When you look at the big plays they’ve had defensively, they’ve had 20 plus runs. I think they have 12 touchdowns of them. And then throwing the ball, they’ve had a number of those they’ve done a good job with. And then defensively you look at them and, you know, Mike Hankwitz, who played here, the coordinator, does a tremendous job from a defensive perspective. Sound, disciplined, run to the ball, all the things you want to see a defense do. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

“Regarding our two quarterbacks, I’m not going to talk about it as far as what’s going on with Russell and Denard because it’s day to day and in fairness to those kids, I’m not going to give day to day updates. So that’s where that’s at.”

Unverified Voracity Brings Back The Old Man

Unverified Voracity Brings Back The Old Man

Submitted by Brian on March 8th, 2012 at 4:47 PM

The Old Man is coming. The Old Man.


The Old Man is coming.

The McCrayken is alive. All of the internets to user mdoc, who responded to the winged-helmet-kraken request instantly:


This blog is rooting for Mike McCray to be a destructive force so hard.

Penn State's death has been greatly exaggerated. OR: look what we can do when we have a head coach! PSU's 2012 class was terrible. All their good recruits ended up with Urban Meyer and they replaced them with two stars snatched from the MAC. That's going to hurt for a while. Despite that, Nittany Lions fans are probably feeling more chipper than they thought they would about their program's intermediate-term prospects. They've recently swooped in on the following recruits:

  • QB Christian Hackenberg, a consensus four star claiming offers from Alabama and Florida.
  • DE Garrett Sickels, who is rated a lot like Mike McCray (ie: top 50 on Rivals, solid four-star elsewhere)
  • CB Ross Douglas, a three/four star tweener.

They are almost certain to add five-star-ish TE Adam Breneman tomorrow. By doing so they've become the only Big Ten team kind of sort of keeping up with the big two when it comes to shiny stars next to high schoolers' names. The Sandusky effect is looking pretty short-lived.

All you have to do is look at OSU's last class to know that this is good for Michigan. A strong Penn State takes recruits from teams who play Michigan all the time and puts them on one that plays Michigan 40% of the time; also it would be really nice if there was someone strong enough in the East to prevent an annoying B10 championship game instant rematch.

I'm with Fitz, sort of. Pat Fitzgerald does not want 6-6 teams to be excluded from bowl consideration:

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald hopes the Big Ten does not support potential legislation to limit bowl games to teams with at least seven wins.
"The best part of bowl games is about the opportunities -- not just the teams, but for your students, your fans, your alumni, your fans in the area," Fitzgerald told the Tribune on Tuesday. "I'm not for limiting it."

Paging Captain Renault. I agree that if a couple teams want to play some football it's better than watching ping-pong, but I'm not a fan of goofs in blazers bleeding college tuition out of the system. Leave it at 6-6 and severely reduce ticket guarantees. That will cause a bunch of bowls to collapse and solve the problem organically.

And this is 95% of the reason I linked the article:

"I'm not for five-win teams even being able to receive a waiver," Fitzgerald said. "That's tough noogies. If you have a losing record, you are out. A .500 record should be the benchmark."

I love Pat Fitzgerald. May he coach at Northwestern for 30 years.


Al Borges and the interesting things. Borges was on the Huge show recently and the resulting conversation had an unusual density of interesting things said. Borges admits that the early-season (and Iowa) forays into a more pro-style offense were a mistake:

"I think had we had to do it over again, we would have been a little more spread offense early on and gotten better at that. We kind of weaned ourselves into more spread offense as we went. That's really what was best for Denard at the end of the day."

He also makes a great observation about where Denard is at his most dangerous in the passing game:

"Denard is better in the pocket than rolling out," Borges said. "The thing with Denard, where he scares the defense the most, is when he sits in the middle of the pocket, comes underneath the rush, and poses not just a passing threat to the defense, but a running threat too. If you roll him out all the time a lot of time what they did is they would pin us into the sideline where Denard's improv skills aren't used near as much."

Whole thing is recommended. Borges references the "drastic leap" from year one to year two in his passing game. If Denard can just set his feet regularly and not throw into double coverage, Michigan will be cooking.

Sounds good to me. Andy Staples has a fascinating article on the potential impact of full cost of attendance scholarships:

For years, doomsayers have predicted a scenario in which the wealthiest 50 or 60 schools compete only against one another. If such a scenario ever came to fruition, it would have its roots in the debate over the full-cost-of-attendance scholarship.

Doomsayers? As long as we're talking about football here that sounds like heaven.

The article goes into arguments both for and against, with the small schools making arguments that moving some of the money currently going to coaches and facilities to players exacerbates competitive inequity. They don't make the case that this isn't a good thing, and then Nebraska's chancellor just blows it up anyway:

"You can tell me that I can't give them bagels with cream cheese and I can't give them more scholarships and I can't do this and I can't do that, and I follow those rules," Perlman said. "But then what I do to recruit competitively is I spend the money on other stuff. So I build facilities where there is no limit on what I can do, and I make those facilities far beyond what normal students live in because there's no limit on that. There's a standard understanding about regulatory environments that if you regulate something, people will move to the part of their activity that isn't regulated."

At worst the proposal takes the middleman out of competitive inequity.

It sounds like the big schools are getting increasingly exasperated with small schools with no financial weight imposing restrictions on them because they like to pretend they're DI schools when they're really just Indiana State. Eventually some sort of split is coming.


"The kids who are on solely need-based aid can basically work 20 hours a week or whatever and earn a little pizza money or earn a little money for tattoos or whatever they want," Young said, tongue planted firmly in cheek. "Our athletes, on the other hand, work 40-50 hours a week for the school, and they don't get anything except what these other kids get without having to work for it. It seems when one thinks about simple equity, from that perspective, it's hard to argue that these kids shouldn't get something."

You're all right, Washington president Michael Young.

Wat. Brady Hoke is going to loathe this:

Hoke, Beilein and Brandon —along with U-M softball coach Carol Hutchins and a handful of business professors— will host a six-day executive education program intended to teach business leadership through lessons learned in U-M sports. Those lessons, according to a recent U-M announcement, include the trick to "transformations in times of crisis," as well as how to teach people "new ways of doing things" and how to "take on fierce competitors and produce winning results."

Only $15,000! Some people have too much money.

Etc.: Possibly random Hardaway renaissance is retconned into narrative. Please be true, narrative. Mitch McGary's "defensive impact" draws high praise—that would be nice, wouldn't it? If you've got ESPN insider this Wolverine Nation piece in which recruits are anonymously surveyed on recruiting tactics they've faced is a must-read. Excellent Yost student section retrospective. John Beilein for everything.

Trade mag article on how Michigan Stadium amplified the band. Maybe next year they'll have a piece on how they made it sound better in section 44. : (

Unverified Voracity Ran This With Navarre

Unverified Voracity Ran This With Navarre

Submitted by Brian on August 24th, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Countdown: 10.


I figure that if the children are alive when I get home, I've done my job.
Roseanne Barr

Hatch encouragement. Austin Hatch's latest Caring Bridge update is very encouraging.

Pick Six: the return. Notre Dame blog Blue-Gray Sky used to run an annual contest wherein blog users would pick six teams, five from the AP poll and one unranked, that users thought would do well. Because they know what verbs are and can count, they called this Pick Six. (Ohio State fans would have called it "Ramming Speed.")

One user around here has been missing it since BGS called it a day a few years ago and finally stopped waiting for me to do something about it. Presenting Pick Six: The Return.

Contest king Jeff does not have a prize, but I do: the top five all get a free MGoShirt from the MGoStore and the winner gets three.


click for store

All these could be yours. Or other items, like maize versions. Hit up the google doc to get registered, and don't pick Michigan if you want to win.

U MAD, media? Brady Hoke is trolling the media. They hit up practice and get to see a bunch of stretching and Brady Hoke punting, and then:

The media saw only one snap from organized drills, and it was a carry by running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is among the seven players vying to become Michigan’s first lead tailback since 2007.

That's worse than not opening practice at all. Someone photoshop Trollface onto Hoke pointing at something.

Tangent: I wonder if the Fort is back in earnest after watching a significantly lamer edition of the BTN's tour show. We got hardly any insight and they were so hard up for video they showed the same plays a half-dozen times. Will Michigan still issue an injury report this year?

No need to hit play. This is Hoke talking about his team from yesterday:

But I'm just putting it here so I can compare him to Towlie.


He's even pointing.

Q: How is will Campbell doing? A: I have no idea what's going on.

Send this to Borges a thousand times. Smart Football's latest post is on the speed option, something we've never seen the good side of Michigan. We've been annihilated by it time and again; never have we used its powers for good.

Apparently it's just what we already run with added oopmh:

What further makes the play so good is that these concepts are universal; they are not tethered to a single offense or system. The play works from under center or shotgun, and has been effectively used by teams with great running quarterbacks and it has been used by teams with more pedestrian quarterbacks as just a cheap way to get the ball to the outside.

In modern form, the play is simple. The line outside zone blocks, which means they step playside seeking to cut off the defense and to even reach them as they can. The linemen work together to double-team the defensive linemen before sliding off to block the linebackers, and the idea is to create a vertical crease somewhere between a spot outside the tight-end and the sideline. The offense leaves an outside guy unblocked, typically either the defensive end or the strongside linebacker. The quarterback takes the snap and runs right at the unblocked defender’s outside shoulder. If the defender stays wide, the quarterback cuts up the inside crease (and typically looks to cut back against the grain). If the defender attacks the quarterback or simply stays inside, the QB pitches it.

To everyone except the runners that's a read option or outside zone. Meanwhile, the quarterback is attacking the same side of the defense the line is and is moving towards the LOS when he makes his decision. The lack of true option plays last year was likely an artifact of Denard's rawness; adding them is a good way to suck defenders to that threat without getting him killed. (You can get killed running the option, of course, but speed options from the gun seem less likely for that to happen because the QB has more time to make a decision.)

Additionally, the speed option seems like a good way to combat scrape exchanges. If that DE is hammering down the line he's blocked himself when the play heads the other way, and then another defender gets optioned off.

Chris praises the speed option as a simple, economical wrinkle you can put in even when your quarterback is not particularly fleet of foot. Even if Borges is not an expert on running quarterbacks, adding a true option to Michigan's repertoire seems doable. As a bonus, the speed option gives Michigan a run play that uses Denard from under center. An example:

Michigan's existing zone system paired with under-center running that uses Denard. Sex? Sex.

You can take things back. If only the Big Ten had the humility of Iowa Corn:

"The overwhelming feedback has been negative," he said. "Because we've listened ... people want something different than what was proposed last week. And we as Iowa corn growers and the farmers we represent, we want people to be happy."

A temporary trophy will be designed for this year's game on Sept. 10. Fans will be able to suggest a design for the more permanent replacement.

"The new Cy-Hawk trophy, we trust, will truly be something fans will embrace," Floss said.

The vetoed trophy is en route to the third world, where it will become the African Cup of Nations. The temporary trophy will be briefly labeled "interim" until that hurts recruiting; then it will be not interim, but not hired, either.

If Jim Delany was in charge of this, the new trophy they debut for the 2012 game would be exactly the same instead of what it should be: a hawk in an F16 shooting a missile at a tornado.

Evanston: so hood. I saw this on twitter but dismissed it as a joke. It is not a joke:

Does Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa have a limp or not?

‘‘Your limp could be somebody else’s pimp walk,’’ Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

You'll have to forgive me a moment of regret that Michigan didn't score Fitzgerald during its coaching search.

(HT: Rittenberg.)

Even more Hart. Man, Mike Hart takes a coaching job and everyone's all up in his business. This time it's the Syracuse press reliving his high school days and publishing an extensive interview with him. Hart's career goals:

“As I look forward, I want to be a head football coach of a college program that wins a national championship. My next goal is to go down as one of the best-known coaches. I’d like to be on the level of Lloyd Carr. I plan on being a great coach one day.”

He also says his exit was because he couldn't stay healthy—"If it was my business, I wouldn’t risk my money on somebody who got hurt every fourth game, either"— and flatly refuses to ever work for OSU or MSU. Recommended.

Etc.: The Dayton Daily News has just discovered that Terry Talbott got a medical scholarship a month ago. Do not panic about Terrance's status—at least don't do so because of that. Bill Connolly throws up his hands when trying to project OSU's season. Corn Nation previews Michigan—hey, that's us! Their poll about the game is split nearly 50-50 as to who wins. Weird. Just Cover looks at MSU and their Vegas-set over under of 7.5 wins.

A World Held Hostage: Day Three

A World Held Hostage: Day Three

Submitted by Brian on January 7th, 2011 at 12:04 PM



Fitzgerald: "No." Yesterday it seemed we'd established that Michigan was interested in Pat Fitzgerald but the inverse was still in question. It's no longer, according to everyone. Picking one at random:

A person familiar with the situation says Michigan expressed interest in him, but he will remain with the Wildcats. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of its sensitivity.

At least the first semi-official name in Great Coaching Search Debacle II makes more sense than offering Kirk Ferentz a paycut, but that means we have to move on to…

Not Bo Pelini. The Blade published a story indicating a "source" said Bo Pelini would be interested in the Michigan job if it was interested in him, please check y/n. From the outset this screamed "agent" and a man on the twitters from the AP says Pelini is vehemently denying everything:

Bo Pelini tells me in no uncertain terms that he has no interest in Michigan job.

If Twitter allowed longer posts that would have finished "and then he ate my head." After what went down with a nice but naive and sweary guy like Rich Rodriguez I have no idea what would happen if and when a guy whose veins must have the tensile strength of spider silk and had to formally apologize for his sideline behavior got the head job.

Bo Pelini's agent is Neal Cornrich, who is based in Cleveland, which is the only reason someone in Toledo would have something on Pelini. File under "agent wrangling" and move on.

OH MY GOD THERE'S A CHANCE. So Jim Harbaugh did not get adopted by Stephen Ross and made the dauphin of Versailles, nor do the people on the twitter who talk about Jim Harbaugh think the 49ers are a viable option anymore.  The Dolphins are keeping Tony Sparano—who must  be overjoyed at the vote of confidence—and here's Adam Schefter, with the Schefter bit* in bold:

RT @jcashen87: I think it is between Stanford and SF. ... I don't see 49ers as viable alternative at this time.

The other thing is something the other guy tweeted at Schefter, drawing that response. The Denver Broncos, meanwhile, have just dropped plans to interview him, which would essentially take the NFL off the table.

That leaves Stanford as a major obstacle. Stanford has some major attractions people thought they wouldn't a month ago: Andrew Luck and a kajillion dollars. From the Broncos story:

Including all bonuses and clauses, Harbaugh could earn more at Stanford than with the 49ers, who met with the coach Wednesday and have offered around $4.5 million to $5 million. Also, Harbaugh's quarterback, Andrew Luck, announced Thursday that he will not apply for entry into the 2011 NFL Draft.

Wait what? Stanford is going to pay Harbaugh more than an NFL team? I'll believe that when I see it and we won't see it since Stanford is private but they do have an epic ton of money. No one to fill their tiny stadium, but an epic ton of money.

But people, before we get excited we need completely off-the-wall speculation from someone not particularly close to the situation badly transcribed from radio and jammed into too-few characters. Let's not start su—

John Elway says he thinks Jim Harbaugh wants to stay at Stanford&Michigan may be back in the picture.Aprntly will NOT be Broncos next coach.

We may be back in the picture! Everyone start! Start right now! Like that episode of South Park with the pile!

Elway did say he thought Stanford would keep him, according to everyone else's bastardized twitter recaps, FWIW, none of which mention anything about Michigan being back in the picture. The NFL stuff evaporating lends a lot more credence to the Harbaugh chatter from yesterday, though, and I'd rather compete against just Stanford in a quien es mas macho contest than Stanford and half of the NFL.

More in a bit.

*[As always, the nature of Twitter—the most unusable nightmare software ever foisted upon the world—lends itself to mass confusion.]

A World Held Hostage: Day Two

A World Held Hostage: Day Two

Submitted by Brian on January 6th, 2011 at 12:04 PM


This is what I currently believe is going on, tenuously. Extreme caveat: this is nuts.

Seriously, people, the Jim Harbaugh boat has sailed. The latest awesome conspiracy theory is that Miami is going to bid Harbaugh up into the stratosphere so the 49ers hire someone else. Then Stephen Ross is going to say "whoops I apparently still have this Sparano guy around" and cackle his way to Ann Arbor with a contrite Harbaugh in tow. This is truly an awesome conspiracy theory. It's not happening:

Ross had dialogue with University of Michigan officials to ensure that he would not be competing for Harbaugh's services with his alma mater, sources said. Ross, who is one of Michigan's largest benefactors, was assured by a Michigan official that Harbaugh was not reciprocating interest in the college's now-vacant head coaching position.

"But that's what they want you to think!" Yes. Yes, that. Apparently we don't have to rename the school of business The Jerk Store, so we've got that going for us. That and nothing else.

…Unless it hasn't (but it probably has). I do have some stuff in the inbox second-hand from Harbaugh friends that says he's "likely to be coach by the end of the week" and that in mid-December he was asking people close to him in Ann Arbor about schools and whatnot. Given everything public—most prominently Dave Brandon all but screaming "JIM HARBAUGH WILL NOT BE COACHING MICHIGAN NEXT YEAR" during the press conference—I think the former is inaccurate but it does cite something I've heard from a reliable source: that the big issue was always going to be the amount of Harbaugh's buyout for the NFL in case he wanted to pull a Spurrier at some point. So there's at least some credence there.

The latter would indicate that Harbaugh did indeed change course recently, thus spurring the somewhat bitter/smarmy "NFL challenge" routine from Brandon yesterday and potentially explaining why we're at sea three weeks from Signing Day. An established source says "something terrible happened in the last two days"—those being Monday and Tuesday—that caused Rodriguez to go from 100% gone to possibly back if he can assure Brandon things are going in the right direction back to gone. Terrible thing seems likely to be Harbaugh backing out, no?

FWIW, that last source is still holding out hope that Brandon and Harbaugh can work something out. Dim hope, but hope.

Les Miles? Do I need to say this about a grass-eating nutcase pushing 60 who can't count to 85? In case I do: Les Miles should not be happening.

Yes, I have a crazy fourth-hand rumor that one of the assistant's wives says "Hoke and Miles" are the current the focus, but even the emailer says he's not sure why on earth a just-fired-assistant's wife would know that. Welcome to a coaching search. I also have a second-hand source saying someone you've heard of lists him as one of three main candidates along with Hoke and…

One mid-major P may be in play. An emailer from outside the Michigan fanbase who I've known a while is connected to one of those firms that conducts coaching searches and relates that Boise State's Chris Petersen "doesn't even return exploratory phone calls"—which is probably why he's never rumored to be a candidate anywhere outside of blogger lists. You can write him off if you haven't already.

On the other hand, there is a "sense that the TCU boys were finally ready to move on," though this was before they got the Big East bid. There is obviously a vast chasm between this and Michigan actually talking to Patterson and company, but the aforementioned person you've heard of says Patterson is the third name on the list.

Fitzgerald buzz continues to seem real. If you were listening to WTKA this morning you heard Craig Ross cite a couple of sources within the department saying Michigan was going to look at Fitzgerald, which makes something like a half-dozen independent corroborations that Michigan is interested. This is not on par with the Hoke stuff but it's obvious people would be pushing Hoke because of their personal relationship with him even if San Diego State had gone 0-12 this year. Fitzgerald does not have any in-house friends.

As to the question hanging over any discussion of Fitzgerald—will he leave Northwestern?—a second-hand source says Northwestern has a wealthy alum willing to fork over serious cash to keep him. However, while in the past personal conversations with Fitzgerald led the source to believe he would "never" leave Northwestern, recently that stance has softened and "he can't say that anymore." Still… that's going to be a tough guy to pull. Money won't be the reason Fitz leaves if he does.

There's a decent chance Scot Loeffler returns. Loeffler may or may not be out of a job in the aftermath of Florida's coaching search. Even if he's still the QB coach in Gainesville if the new coach wants him he will come back to Ann Arbor. This would make the recruitment of FL QB Jeff Driskel (who is kind of good) interesting. Since Loeffler is one of two Carr assistants to actually land comparable jobs at other schools (Eric Campbell is the WR coach at Iowa) and he's still carrying around that ability to recruit awesome quarterbacks anyone with pro-style inclinations should definitely hire him.

Mike Barwis may be staying long-term. Unlike everyone else who got the broom, Mike Barwis was kept on as S&C coach, "really likes Michigan," and may retain that job if someone amenable to keeping him is hired. Hoke might keep him; Miles—who seems incredibly implausible—would not.

Keeping Barwis would go a long way towards minimizing transfers, FWIW.

Dave Brandon did a good job with the players yesterday. Reports from the meeting with the players are reassuring after what was a very wobbly press conference. One anonymous player: "It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders." It sounded like there were plans bigger than "one of the usual suspects," but if it was a usual suspect it would be because he's earned the job.