Searchbits VII: In Earnest

Searchbits VII: In Earnest Comment Count

Brian December 3rd, 2014 at 3:20 PM


All Harbaugh photos are hilarious

HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH. More NFL people saying no one ever leaves the NFL. Since these guys are all talking to NFL people that's not a surprise; it is a fact that he is telling his Michigan guys that he's seriously thinking about it. A bunch of people telling each other things they want to hear; won't have any clarity on it until there's a signature and a press conference. Steve Lorenz had an interesting quote in a considerably larger piece that sums it up($):

One source we've talked to extensively regarding Harbaugh had the following to say: "Jim can be a flake. That will be the major concern for Michigan. Anything at this juncture saying he's not interested is a smokescreen. His father, and both he and his brother, have a ton of respect for Brady Hoke and would not want to make it appear publicly like Jim is taking his job from him. From their end, they will want this process to appear as quiet as possible."

Whether Harbaugh flaked on Brandon or wisely avoided a guy he knew he couldn't work with is in the eye of the beholder obviously the former. That was posted smack dab in the middle of Hoke's firing, so the quote was addressing a situation that no longer holds. We may see some definitively yes or no action in the near future.

And I know people are inclined to discount Jeff Moss because he's never found a bomb he didn't want to throw, but he did have the Brandon firing presser before anyone, AFAIK, and his Michigan connect tells him that M will go after Harbaugh with many dollars and boxes of khakis:

The DetroitSportsRag has learned that the University of Michigan has offered their former quarterback and current San Francisco 49ers head coach a financial package that would make him the highest paid football coach in the world.

I doubt that, frankly. But there's been enough other chatter about how Michigan understands that this is a situation where spending marginally more money on the new guy will pay off in spades for me to believe that they're not going to come at Harbaugh with an offer that isn't at least top 5 college money.

ON MULLEN. Clint Brewster told the Michigan 24/7 site that he talked to three different college coaches over the weekend and all of them brought Mullen up as the guy who makes the most sense.

If Hackett's serious about demolishing the Michigan Man thing he's got to kick the tires there—ask about the QB grayshirt, MSU's tendency to recruit 30+ guys every year*, find out if he's going to be able transition to a very different style of recruiting. I'd think he'd be able to adjust better than Rodriguez. His previous stops at ND, BGSU, Utah, and Florida give him significantly more diverse experience than RR had. Florida's not Michigan (they take JUCOs) in terms of restrictions but they're certainly a lot closer to M than Mississippi State is, and then Utah and ND are close enough to M that there's not much difference.

*[A lot of those are sign-and-place JUCO deals because of the Bulldogs' status as the low man on the SEC totem pole, so the oversigning concerns are significantly fewer than those numbers imply.]


WHY GUNDY MIGHT BE AVAILABLE. This would still be a longshot, RR-ish secret mission type thing, but it is vaguely possible. Why? The last few days have seen the rumblings about discontent in the Oklahoma State program hit the papers:

If there were a device that could measure stress, Gundy would have buried the needle. I’ve covered more than 220 Gundy news conferences. There were times when he wasn’t very excited to be there, and there was one time – during the 2007 “I’m a man! I’m 40!” news conference – when he was really excited. Monday was different. I’ve never seen him like he was on Monday. …

I believe that 98 percent of the Gundy stress centers on his issues with Boone Pickens. I’m sure some of the stress is related to the current performance of his football team. Since OSU beat Baylor last year – in a performance that was as complete as there’s ever been by any Gundy team – the Cowboys are 5-8. In its last seven meetings with ranked opponents, OSU is winless.

That comes in the aftermath of a press conference in which Gundy spent a lot of time looking at his phone. Also:

Boone Pickens doesn’t run OSU football. Boone’s influence on the program has been greatly overstated. We know that because if it was up to Boone, Mike Gundy wouldn’t be the Cowboy football coach. …

Boone obviously doesn’t care for Gundy, Gundy expresses no concern that Boone doesn’t care for him, and everyone who cares about Cowboy football wonders how long this can go on.

This is followed with some conflicting information about how on the one hand you "couldn't run Gundy off with a shotgun" and on the other Pickens's disdain for Gundy arose when he poked around the Tennessee job.

That's why you call… just in case. Small chance anything happens other than "nope," but if Oklahoma State loses Bedlam it might be time for a jump. Stranger things have happened. Like…

UNDERWHELMING AND WEIRD. Jeremy Foley flew Florida's plane to Fort Collins in full view of the Flight Aware-monitoring public and was rewarded with a crowd consisting of every member of the sports media within 500 miles. He went to Jim McElwain's house; media members knocked on the door and were surprised they didn't get an answer, and then they had serious conversations without even drawing the blinds.

The good news: Jeremy Foley has never done anything remotely criminal in his life. You can tell because he's not in jail. The bad news: he's hiring a decidedly B-list target who's only had three years of head coaching experience and rode an anomalous talent, Dee Hart, to a 10-2 Mountain West season. The MW is not quite the MAC but this feels more like hiring Darrell Hazell than it should for Florida. Darell Hazell with a $7.5 million dollar buyout they "might" be able to bargain down if CSU is feeling generous for some reason. (Florida @ CSU? Might be happening.)

At least it's not Josh McDaniels?

Let us now reflect on what a miracle it is that Dave Brandon got fired what with Jeremy Foley's job not under a whisper of pressure. It takes a truly exceptional man to get axed from an AD job.

SO THEN WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT MICHIGAN? Unless Foley is truly bonkers he called the Pattersons and Shaws and such of the world and was turned down. I would assume that anyone who isn't clearly available is not available; Mullen is an exception because of personal animosity.

OOOH. Matt Hinton's rundown of the open Florida, Nebraska, and Michigan jobs doesn't have any news in it that Michigan diehards aren't aware of, but his suggestion for the open Nebraska job is on point:

Perfect Fit: Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. …Narduzzi has spent 25 years as an assistant, the last 11 of them as Mark Dantonio’s defensive coordinator at Cincinnati and Michigan State. But Narduzzi has been up for multiple head-coaching gigs in that span, turning some down while building one of the most reliably suffocating defenses in the nation. Think of him as the upper Midwest’s answer to Charlie Strong, who spent years bouncing around the SEC as an assistant before finally landing his big break at Louisville at age 48, the same age Narduzzi is now. Unlike Louisville, Nebraska isn’t a stepping-stone to a glitzier gig (Texas, in Strong’s case), but neither does it have proven winners leaping to leave their current posts.

Keep the offensive staff, which has created a nouveau-option system that fits Nebraska and its available talent, and you might be in business in Lincoln.

UM. OOOOKAY. BUT NO. If you're wondering why anyone is chattering about New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, he once went to a Michigan basketball game in a Michigan hat and bought a hot dog. Seriously. This makes him more of a possibility to Rivals($) than Dan Mullen, as he's on their hot board and Mullen is not.

Is it because Mullen is supposedly not a good dude? Well, they've got Bret Bielema—who defended a kid who tried to tear Steve Breaston's ACL and was widely regarded as sketchtastic in Madison even when he was the coach—on it, so no. The grayshirt thing is a problem, but we are talking about hiring Jim Harbaugh, who bombed Michigan in a presser. The grayshirt is something you can get over in a way that a flat-out scholarship yank would be tougher to. And Mullen has Midwest roots. To not even consider him would be insane.

Rivals keeps throwing out an Anonymous High Profile College Coach who is interested in the job; if the thing they heard is the thing I heard that would be Bob Stoops. Stoops is also prominently absent from their This Guy or This Guy and What About This Guy paragraphs.

ALSO NO. EDSBS threw out Steve Addazio's name on a whim, because he associates Michigan with boring offenses and bald guys. Our great and good friend Football Scoop chimed in that he was hearing that too, probably for the same reason he was doubling down on Michigan "struggling" after watching Hackett's presser.

Addazio is 55 and has two years at Temple and two seven-win years at BC to his name; tha andt he was a terrible OC at Florida. I mean, here's Athlon making the case:

Addazio wouldn’t be a splashy, name hire like Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles, but he’s a good coach that would win a lot of games at Michigan. In two years at Boston College, Addazio is 14-11 and has recorded a .500 record in conference play in both seasons. Prior to taking over in Chestnut Hill, Addazio spent two years at Temple and went 13-11 during that span.

Sign me up?

Addazio is Brady Hoke's resume without the Michigan connections. I can no longer say never, but that has a 1% chance of happening, if that. Addazio would be tragic Michigan Manball thinking in everything but actual presence in Ann Arbor. He is a low-upside pick in an environment where MSU and OSU are at peaks.

Etc.: Hiring criteria. Not too sure about the "has to be a head coach already" thing when Fisher, Stoops, Mullen, Gundy, Patterson, and even David Shaw are amongst the most successful guys in college football right now.


Dear Diary Maintains Gap Integrity

Dear Diary Maintains Gap Integrity Comment Count

Seth September 19th, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Immediately place your mouse here, tap your index finger, and be whisked away to my all-time favorite series of preview diaries: EGD’s Four Plays. He draws up two base offensive plays for Michigan and two base offensive plays of the opponent, shows how each team defends those plays, and then breaks down the individual matchups. A sample:


WDE Frank Clark: Gap-exchange with WLB Joe Bolden; backside pursuit of RB Devontae Booker

NT Ryan Glasgow: Defend backside A-gap against LG Junior Salt

DT Willie Henry: Defend playside B-gap against RG Isaac Asiata, constrict playside A-gap

SDE Brennan Beyer: Defend playside D-gap (outside TE) vs. TE Westlee Tonga; backside pursuit if QB keeps, set edge point and force run back inside if QB gives

WLB Joe Bolden:  Gap-exchange with WDE Frank Clark; defend backside C-gap vs. LT Jeremiah Poutasi, set edge point and force back inside if QB keeps, backside pursuit if QB gives

Make this part of your preview regimen. In other O’s, Brhino mini-UFR’d the Shane Morris plays (both rollouts so pocket presence information is unavailable).

Coaching searches are like recruiting: five stars wanted. The other big diary this week is resph1’s look at all the coaching searches among Power Five programs since 2007.

Coaching search lesson 1

By year four most guys in the study had their programs in better shape than the previous three seasons. Also very few of them were still around:

Only half the coachs on our list of 36 are still at their schools. It gets worse as you go farther back in time. Of the 8 coaches hired for the 2007 season, Nick Saban and Mark Dantonio are the only ones still around. A whopping 5 were fired and another (Harbaugh) left for the NFL.

Even among the 14 “winners” covered above, the story is not much better. 5 guys capitalized on their success and moved on to other positions, and 2 were fired (one scandal, on failed to sustain their initial success), only 7 remain (Snyder, Saban, Briles, Hoke, Kelly, Fisher, Cutcliffe).

I did a somewhat similar study of Big Ten and SEC coaching hires since 1999 in this year’s HTTV, breaking them into categories of “Strong” (like stealing another BCS team’s HC for unholy money), “Average” (like upgrading a proven mid-major coach or BCS/NFL coordinator) or “Cheap” (what Purdue does). Of the SEC’s 30 head coaching hires, 18 were in the “Strong” category, while economy class was reserved for only Vandy, Kentucky, and Arkansas needing a one-year stopgap; only three (Rodriguez, John L. Smith, and Urban) of the Big Ten’s 22 hires rated that, and 13 were on the cheap.

Things Brian linked already on the front page but bear reminding: what’s going on in the student section, another non-reflective boxscore, Best & Worst called Gardner a chaotic neutral.

Etc. Gulo Gulo reviewed betting lines, Ron Utah reviews the last few years of Michigan football and wonders if maybe we just should feel sorry for ourselves, LSA on where Michigan stands in basic stats.



Upon Further Review 2013: Offense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2013: Offense vs MSU Comment Count

Brian November 7th, 2013 at 3:32 PM

ACCIDENTALLY APROPOS ERROR NOTES: Since the NCAA decided to replace their stat pages with much worse stat pages I've been using ESPN's items—still worse than the thing the NCAA just replaced but better. Their drive pages have been consistently erroneous all year, but my irritation just evaporated thanks to this magically accurate error in re: Michigan's drive immediately following Taylor's interception:


CORRECT, intern or robot or whoever. Correct. Except that drive started at the MSU 41, but we forgive all transgressions for spiritual correctness. The best kind of correctness.

FORMATION NOTES: So I just called MSU's stuff 4-3 over but I should point out that everyone is within ten yards of the LOS on damn near every snap. This is M's opener.


This was completely typical. For the most part, MSU did not try to match corners, they just ran their D. They would occasionally move guys down and whatnot, but mostly this was like watching magic. MSU has acquired a variety of guys big time programs didn't want and plays them more aggressively than the most athletic defense in the country, whoever that might be, and apparently no one can do anything about it. It is boggling.

MSU did on occasion flip to man press on the corners; this is designated with "press."


While it was the same personnel, when MSU shaded a guy outside the hash I called this a nickel. As always, with opponent formations I'm not trying to describe personnel.


SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Gardner until last three plays, Toussaint almost the whole way save one, maybe two snaps on which Derrick Green didn't seem any better at pass blocking.

Line was Lewan/Bosch/Glasgow/Magnuson/Schofield with some limited exceptions featuing Kalis entering as a sixth OL. Paskorz got some snaps at TE; Butt got most of the inline snaps. When Funchess was inline it is noted below; he was inline for every play on Michigan's final drive but mostly split out. No Dileo; WRs were Gallon, Chesson, and a little bit of Jackson.

[After THE JUMP: otters, so many otters]