Unverified Voracity Says Throw-God, No

Unverified Voracity Says Throw-God, No

Submitted by Brian on May 1st, 2018 at 12:29 PM

Recruiting rankings matter, and also have a systemic bias. NFL players versus blue chip recruits, mapped:

image

Blue states have more NFL players than blue chip recruits; red states have fewer. That's part of a thorough Football Study Hall article on recruiting rankings and the draft, and is about as conclusive as possible that the recruiting industry is systematically underrating the Midwest and overrating the south. The south does have more players—only an idiot would dispute that—but the gap isn't as big as the rankings suggest.

UPDATE: Related event:

Barkley was not composite top 100.

"I'm in Paris, better justify my existence." Kyle Rowland of the Blade unearths a cool Michigan story:

image


PARIS — Less than 10 miles from the Michigan football team’s palatial hotel in the heart of Paris sits Stade Olympique de Colombes, the host of the 1924 Olympic Games.

The old stadium, now 111 years old, is rickety and considerably smaller than its heyday when it entertained the world’s best athletes. Inside the concrete walls, DeHart Hubbard, one of the University of Michigan’s greatest sportsmen, became the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event, with a leap of 24 feet, 5 inches in the long jump on his sixth and final jump with a bruised heel.

“When I was a student, I came in 1976, and I looked at the school records because I was a long jumper, and that’s when I found out the first notion of who he was,” said James Henry, now the co-head coach of the UM women’s track and field team. “Then I found out he was the first African-American Olympic gold medalist. I was enthralled by him. He was my role model.

“He was at the University of Michigan at a time in which blacks couldn't do very much anywhere. I just felt that if this man can make it, I can make it. Making a name for myself by beating his records meant everything to me. That was my drive as a student-athlete to participate at a high level.”

Much more at the link. Now Rowland can file that expense report with a clear conscience.

Paging Mitch Leidner to the Department of Inexplicably Overrated Big Ten Quarterbacks. One mock draft was a hilarious oversight by an overworked intern. Two was worrisome. But now that it appears the NFL draft people are unanimous in asserting this person is a first round pick

    The Pick: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern

    The New York Giants passed on the chance to draft a quarterback of the future with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft, but is that a decision they'll regret? Or will fourth-rounder Kyle Lauletta be the answer?

    If after a season of watching Lauletta and 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb, the Giants feel like the long-term answer at starter isn't on the roster, the team could be in good shape to draft a quarterback in 2019. Northwestern's Clayton Thorson nearly declared for this year's draft before surveying the deep group of passers and deciding to return to school. He has the arm, accuracy and intangibles to be considered a first-rounder one year from now.

…it's time to lay very still and sweat profusely, hoping this is a crazy dream.

Clayton Thorson! Sir, I have seen an unstoppable throw-god in purple. You, sir, are no Trevor Siemian. Thorson averaged 6.6 YPA with a 15-12 TD-INT ratio last year. But he's 6'4" and superficially looks like an NFL quarterback, so on the list he goes.

Making this take even nuttier: Thorson tore his ACL in the bowl game and is questionable for the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, Michigan prospects for 2019. Only two Wolverines show up on Athlon's top 50: #2 Rashan Gary and #22 Shea Patterson. Zach Shaw rounded up all the Way Too Early Mock Drafts and those two are the only guys on any of them. This is odd to me since Michigan's cornerback duo was probably the best in the country, at least in terms of passer rating allowed. You'd think one of the two would be a consideration for the end of the first round.

A flip. A development in the slightly less important FBI investigation:

The director of an amateur Massachusetts basketball team affiliated with Adidas AG agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors investigating an NCAA bribery scandal, according to a copy of the agreement made public Friday.

Thomas "T.J." Gassnola entered the plea on March 30 to federal charges that he made payments to families of high school student-athletes in exchange for their commitment to play for certain universities, according to the filing.

NC State seems to be the main school linked with Gassnola, but, uh… Notre Dame(!) is an Adidas[correction: they switched to UA] school that just picked up two players from Gassnola's AAU team. I will give the FBI one dollar if they sweep the Irish into this. Think of the ND Nation takes.

Wilde take. Quinn Hughes is #5 on this NHL mock draft. Bode Wilde is #17:

17. New Jersey Devils: Bode Wilde, D, U.S. U18 (NTDP)

There are few prospects in this draft who can provide GMs with a skill set as tantalizing as Wilde’s. The big, mobile defender was a minute muncher for a deep NTDP blue line and his explosive first step is drool inducing. You don’t find many 6-2 defensemen with dynamic speed and a blistering shot, which is why GM Ray Shero should add this thoroughbred to his already-dangerous Devils’ attack

He'll be an acid test for the new staff's ability to mold guys, because he's a boom or bust guy on the NHL level because of his tendency to get out of position and cede odd man rushes.

FWIW, Hughes is the only draft-eligible and only college player on this year's IIHF World Championship team.

Etc.: John Infante on the NCAA resurrecting the transfer waiver, which may have been relevant for Patterson. WCBN profiles Hughes. The era in which Orson launches entirely warranted bombs at a Michigan assistant coach is going to be brutal. Wagner and Matthews invited to the draft combine.

Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 24th, 2018 at 9:14 AM

37121920161_7fc64e4866_z

[Eric Upchurch]

What are your impressions after day one?

“Uh, good. Good day. The team is…it’s a rejuvenated team. And I like the way they’ve really trained over the last two-and-a-half months and getting back on the field was great today.”

Rejuvenated in what way?

“Just attitude, confidence, there was a bounce in their step, and it’s been good. It’s been good over the last weeks, months, and great to get back started on the field.”

I know it’s only been one day, but what did you think of Shea [Patterson]?

“Um, did good. Did a good job. As did a lot of guys, you know. And for a first day, I mean, it was…guys had studied. Guys, you know, it wasn’t the first time they’d thought about the plays or the defensive calls or the punt protections. Guys came out and had a high level of understanding and there was good execution [for a] first day.”

Do you have an update on Shea’s timeline with regard to eligibility or when you might hear something from the NCAA?

“No.”

Are you hopeful or what do you think?

“I don’t have an update.”

When you go through, because you don’t have an update and you don’t know, do you go through just a normal progression with him and say ‘You’re going to get these reps’ and then the other guys the same way? Do you just go with it thinking that okay, yeah, we will have him?

“Uh, the reps are being evenly distributed amongst the quarterbacks.”

Is Grant Newsome able to practice yet?

“No.”

He can do anything with the team right now?

“He’s working out, he’s conditioning, but he’s not at the point to come back and practice with the team.”

I think you said Grant Perry’s also limited on the radio. Is there anybody else besides those two that’s not going to be full go by spring ball?

“Yeah. Luiji [Vilain], Jameson Offerdahl, there’s a few. And then Ty Wheatley, looks like he fractured the metacarpal [Ed. A- metatarsal] in his foot today, so he’ll be out for all of spring ball but back for the season.”

[After THE JUMP: out-of-the-gate leaders, some O-line clarity, and RPOh no]

This Week's Obsession: All-Big Ten Teams

This Week's Obsession: All-Big Ten Teams

Submitted by Ace on November 28th, 2017 at 1:41 PM

THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: If you’re looking for someone who can talk about Michigan football with the type of optimism befitting someone with a smart long-term outlook, talk to Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management.

Our deal is Nick is the guy I go to for financial strategies, and he gets to ask us Michigan questions on your behalf. Anytime it’s a Nick question, we’ll let you know. Anytime you’ve got a financial question, let Nick know. And when you’re ready to figure out how you’re going to plan your retirement and pay for your kids’ college when you just got done paying for your own, don’t wait to do something about that.

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

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.

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

Nick’s Question:

Can you do All-Big Ten teams but, like, not in a Draftageddon format?

Fine.


Surprise! He's on it. [Patrick Barron]

Offense

Unanimous selections in bold.

Pos. Ace Adam Brian Seth
QB JT Barrett, OSU Barrett Alex Hornibrook, UW Barrett
RB Saquon Barkley, PSU Barkley Barkley Barkley
RB Jonathan Taylor, UW JK Dobbins, OSU Austin Ramesh (FB), UW* Taylor
WR DJ Moore, MD Moore Moore Moore
WR Simmie Cobbs, IU Cobbs Cobbs Cobbs
TE Troy Fumagalli, UW Fumagalli Fumagalli Fumagalli
FLEX Stanley Morgan (WR), NE Akrum Wadley (RB), IA Mike Gesicki (TE), PSU Tyler Johnson (WR), MN
OT Nick Gates, NE Gates Gates Gates
OT Jamarco Jones, OSU Jones Jones Mason Cole, UM
OG Beau Benzschawel, UW Benzschawel Benzschawel Benzschawel
OG Sean Welsh, IA Welsh Price Welsh
OC Billy Price, OSU Price Cole Price

*Brian: it is a crime and a disaster to have two starting running backs

Defense

Pos. Ace Adam Brian Seth
DT Maurice Hurst, UM Hurst Hurst Hurst
DT Conor Sheehy, UW Sheehy Sheehy Steven Richardson, MN
DE Chase Winovich, UM Winovich Winovich Gary
DE Nick Bosa, OSU Rashan Gary, UM Bosa Bosa
LB Josey Jewell, IA Jewell Jason Cabinda, PSU Tegray Scales (IU)
LB TJ Edwards, UW Edwards Edwards Edwards
LB Ryan Connelly, UW Devin Bush, UM Connelly Bush
FLEX Rashard Fant (CB), IU Khaleke Hudson (S), UM Denzel Ward (CB), OSU David Long (CB), UM
S Kyle Queiro, NW Godwin Igwebuike, NW Igwebuike Igwebuike
S Marcus Allen, PSU Allen D'Cota Dixon, UW Dixon
CB Josh Jackson, IA Jackson Jackson Jackson
CB Lavert Hill, UM Hill Hill Hill
K Griffin Oakes, IU Oakes Oakes Oakes
P Drue Chrisman, OSU Chrisman Blake Gillikin, PSU Gillikin

[Hit THE JUMP for extensive discussion.]

Gravestone

Gravestone

Submitted by Brian on November 27th, 2017 at 1:31 PM

11/25/2017 – Michigan 20, Ohio State 31 – 8-4, 5-4 Big Ten

24769351748_a1e78e0627_z

[Bryan Fuller]

John O'Korn sat in a press conference on Saturday and broke down. He blamed himself, and himself alone, for Michigan's latest loss to Ohio State. And he was correct. I don't think I've ever seen a Michigan-Ohio State game so clearly decided by one guy's inability to hack it.

Previous terrible individual performances have been given in concert. The 2007 game featured Chad Henne without a throwing arm, but it also featured an offensive line that had to drag Alex Mitchell out of retirement midseason and the infamous picture that resulted. Nick Sheridan averaged 3.6 yards an attempt the year after, but nobody missed the forest for that particular tree as Michigan finished a 3-9 season with a 42-7 loss. And so forth and so on. The sad fact of the last decade of Michigan football is that when Michigan gets in a competitive game against Ohio State it's usually because someone is playing over their head.

This was different. This was Michigan feeling like the better football team except for one glaring black hole at the most important position on the field. The crowd felt the agony of this keenly with every errant pass or unnecessary sack. O'Korn was not booed, per se, but the desperate groans that issued involuntarily from the assembled masses were almost worse. There's a certain tenor of "ohhhawwww" a crowd can issue that is the pure, distilled sound of frustration. I have memorized this after Saturday, and find it replaying in my head whenever there's a spare neuron not playing Baby Signing Time songs. (This is rarely.)

Even after all those moans Michigan had not one but two shots to go ahead very late. Those ended with back-to-back throws that are burned into the retinas of every Michigan fan and will be replayed when "John O'Korn" is mentioned. Possibly even corn. Or Korn. I can't mention my Pandora station ever again on this website. Those throws were a fourth and four pass that went yards over the head of a screamingly wide open Chris Evans and an interception on which two Michigan receivers were open, and not within 20 yards of the ball.

That is O'Korn's football gravestone, chiseled, checked, and done.

O'Korn knows it, and wasn't going to offer up any bullshit platitudes afterwards. Say what you want about his play—although I can't imagine there's any excoriation in any language that hasn't already been delivered—but the guy did not shy away from the enormity of the thing that had just happened to him, a living, breathing human who has to go through the next sixty years introducing himself to people and hoping they've never heard of the most popular sport in America.

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

At about the same time O'Korn was breaking down in public, someone logged on to this website and typed "fuck John O'Korn," into it, posted it, and then got a bunch of upvotes. A guy who started arguing with the various toxic manbabies in this thread that O'Korn was a virtually unpaid person thrust into a position he should never have been in was consistently downvoted.

After taking down several threads and banning a dozen people I yanked commenting for about a day. Naturally, this resulted in these same people fleeing to twitter to tell me it was PATHETIC that I COULDN'T HANDLE NEGATIVITY, because I didn't want them throwing their poop in a place I feel responsible for. And I didn't want to wonder what they were saying while I was doing anything other than commenting on Michigan football. Also, I hate them.

If you're one of these people reading this column I'd like to make it clear that there is something wrong with you. The vast majority of people who come to this site don't post on it, because it is like every other website in the world. Those that do are split between normal people with something to say, and you, the person too dumb to know you shouldn't say anything. You are a tiny minority of this fanbase that gets outsized attention because you're dumb and loud, and most people are willing to throw away the good parts of the comments because of you:

Next football season will not be like this, because you will be gone from this website. If you have any doubt in your mind whether I'm talking about you, yes, I am talking about you. If you're mad at Ace for saying the fanbase is the worst part of his job, I'm talking about you. Because he's not talking about 90% of the fanbase, he's talking about you.

No one needs to yell at John O'Korn, who clearly understands the implications of what just occurred in ways you do not. Nobody needs to say anything to John O'Korn ever again. Dude needs a hug and a Malaysian passport. And even though O'Korn just set a winnable Ohio State game on fire in a way that has probably never happened before or will happen again, I care a lot more about his feelings than some jabroni on the internet who doesn't have to introduce himself under his screen name.

That's it. There's no big sweeping theme here, nothing about the direction of this program or where this fits in the historical firmament. Just an incredibly obvious black hole...

...and a bunch of people who are incapable of seeing it.

AWARDS

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Rashan Gary. Finally got a little sack luck, as Devin Bush flushed Barrett to him on one of his two sacks. He added a third TFL amongst ten tackles, which is a very large number for a DE, especially because he missed a big chunk of OSU's first TD drive with a recurrence of the shoulder stinger (or similar injury) that he's been battling all season.

#2 Mike McCray. Eight solo tackles and two TFLs as McCray was a major factor in Michigan's ability to keep OSU to under 200 yards of offense until a late fade, none of which was on him. He didn't get edged, and managed to survive the return of Oh No Mike McCray On A Flanked Out Running Back without getting targeted.

#3(T) Chris Evans and Karan Higdon. Michigan's tailback duo had 165 yards on 28 touches, 5.9 yards a pop. Evans caught five passes as Michigan finally paid off on that preseason hype; Higdon was able to get the corner a couple times as well. If the offensive line can come together next year one or both are candidates to have All Big Ten season... or at least they would be if they weren't going to cannibalize each others' carries.

Honorable mention: Mo Hurst and Devin Bush turned in excellent performances; Michigan's cornerbacks again almost pitched a shutout, albeit with the aid of a couple drops. DPJ set up Michigan's second touchdown. Mason Cole had an edge two for one that sprung Crawford early in the third to get Michigan's third TD.

KFaTAotW Standings.

9: Rashan Gary(T2 Indiana, #1 Rutgers, T2 Wisconsin, #1 OSU).   
8:
Devin Bush (#1 Florida, T2 Cincinnati, T2 Air Force, #1 Purdue), Mo Hurst (#1 MSU, #2(T), Indiana, #1 Wisconsin),  Karan Higdon (#1 Indiana, #2 PSU, T2 Minnesota, T3 OSU).
6: Mason Cole (#1 Cincinnati, T2 Rutgers, T3 Minnesota), Chase Winovich(#1 Air Force, #2a Purdue, T2 Wisconsin),
5: Khaleke Hudson (T2 Cincinnati, #3 PSU, #1 Minnesota), David Long (T3 Indiana, #1 PSU, #3 Maryland)    
4: Chris Evans(T2 Minnesota, #2 Maryland).   
3: Ty Isaac (#2, Florida, #3 Cincinnati), Lavert Hill(#2 MSU, T3 Indiana)), Josh Metellus (#1 Maryland), Mike McCray(T2 Air Force, #2 OSU).
2: Quinn Nordin (#3 Florida, #3 Air Force), John O'Korn (#2 Purdue), Sean McKeon(T3 Purdue, #3 Rutgers), Mike Onwenu(T2 Rutgers),
1: Tyree Kinnel (T2 Cincinnati),  Zach Gentry (T3 Purdue), Brad Robbins(#3 MSU), Brandon Watson (T3 Indiana), Ben Bredeson(T3 Minnesota), Donovan Peoples-Jones (#3 Wisconsin).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

The entire first quarter? Yes, that.

Honorable mention: Oh man I should not have used up the whole first quarter before the honorable mention section. That was a real good first quarter. Oh: Kekoa Crawford

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Of the two chiseled, checked, and done plays the Evans miss stands out since it was a wide open guy less than ten yards downfield.

Honorable mention: Various other things that happened when Michigan dropped back to pass. I could tell you about them, but you know. Metellus gets lost on two late drag routes. Watson misses a third and thirteen PBU. Nordin misses an XP.

[After THE JUMP: less than usual, i tellya]

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Maryland

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Maryland

Submitted by Brian on November 16th, 2017 at 3:31 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. We're (still!) having a charity tailgate before the OSU game. Details:

MGoBlog and HomeSure Lending are having a tailgate before The Game at The North End Zone tailgate space, 1011 S. Main Street (map) from 9 a.m. to a little before noon, with food from Scratch Barbecue and beer donated from Wolverine State Brewing, and proceeds going to the T. Wall Foundation.

  • Tickets (food & beer included): $12 if you buy them ahead of time on EventBritegets you in, gets you a wrist band for the food.
  • Tickets (just beer at the door): $10 suggested donation just to come hang out on your way to the game.
  • Watch/Afterparty: Your ticket for the tailgate also gets you a round at Wolverine Brewing. If you don’t have a ticket for The Game but want to come, you won’t be alone; there’s a Lyft pickup spot across the street so when people go into the game a handful of us (I’m still in the market) are gonna go back to Wolverine State Brewing to watch it together, and more are planning to come back there (and park there) after.

Scratch provided the BBQ at the season-opening event, if you were there. It's good.

FORMATION NOTES. A confession: virtually all of the one-or-two safety bits of the table below are guesses, because we got BTN Director With Severe Myopia again. This is third and ten.

vlcsnap-2017-11-16-11h23m53s845

I hate this man. If someone ever comes up to me and says "hey, I directed the 2017 Michigan-Maryland game" there is going to be a duel with cannonballs and whatnot.

FWIW, Michigan had 20 3-3-5 snaps that were concentrated on passing downs. They were in a 4-2-5 on 30 snaps. There were also 5 dime snaps and one 4-3 snap.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. 247 again provides details. Back seven was as per usual with the exception of Lavert Hill, who went out midway. this led to a bunch of snaps for Watson and Long—56 and 50 of 70, respectively. Thomas got in for a few plays, as did Woods and JKP very late. The three safeties and two core LBs were nearly omnipresent. Furbush got 16 snaps and Uche 6.

More rotation on the DL; Winovich was again an ironman. Hurst and Gary both played just over 50 snaps; Solomon got 34. Kemp, Mone, and Marshall all got around 15 snaps, with Paye and Dwumfour picking up the scraps late.

[After THE JUMP: this again, except they got more than 300 yards]

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Rutgers

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Rutgers

Submitted by Brian on November 2nd, 2017 at 4:35 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. Boy it's a little depressing to play a team that brings nothing other than disinterested New Yorkers who mostly spend their time watching Guy Fieri instead of football. Rutgers purports to be an athletic program but it's really just a way to reach into someone's pockets. Unlike HomeSure Lending, which does exactly what it purports to: sure, lend for homes. It's in the name and everything. Like if Rutgers's mascot really was the Cable Subscribers.

That's truth in advertising, and quick excellent rates for you, the discerning Michigan fan.

FORMATION NOTES. Michigan almost entirely shelved the 3-3-5 in this game. There were nine snaps with a three-man line, but eight of those were passing downs. The rest of the day Michigan played a 4-2-5. Usually that saw Michigan with two definite ILBs and Hudson following the tight end around, often a couple yards deeper than the LB crew:

image

You will be happy to know that Michigan did not put either ILB outside in coverage. When someone got pulled out of the box it was always Hudson. Here Rutgers puts their tight end out wide and he's the guy in man coverage to the bottom of the shot.

image

Rutgers didn't go empty, which would force one of the LBs out of the box if Michigan was going to play man.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Biggest change was a ton of second DT snaps, the vast majority of which went to Solomon. Michigan had 38 4-2-5 snaps and he got 30 of them, with Dwumfour getting five late and Mone getting just spot duty. The rest of the defense was as before, with the secondary the same five guys rotating through, McCray and Bush omnipresent, and Hurst, Gary, and Winovich the rest of the front.

Kemp, Jones, Dwumfour, and Paye got some snaps late on the line. Uche got in a little bit late, as did Gil.

[After THE JUMP: the usual]

Radish Talk

Radish Talk

Submitted by Brian on October 30th, 2017 at 12:54 PM

10/28/2017 – Michigan 35, Rutgers 14 – 6-2, 3-2 Big Ten

26220290949_60d20fcb25_z

LET RAIN MAN BALL [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate is doing this:

Arizona is ranked for the first time in a minute after four straight Pac-12 wins. Tate watched Arizona's first four games from the sideline. Last year he completed 40% of his 45 passes and rushed for under 5 yards a carry.

A bit further north in that same conference, Stanford barely escaped an awful Oregon State team as QB Keller Chryst averaged 4.3 yards an attempt. Sophomore KJ Costello played the vast majority of previous high-scoring wins over UCLA and Arizona State. Twitter was rife with bitching about Chryst and stupefaction at what it would take for Costello to enter the game as the Cardinal labored towards a win over the 1-7 Beavers. You may remember that Michigan's first choice at QB two years ago was Costello; it was only after he committed to Stanford that Michigan started looking around.

A bit further south in that same conference, Sam Darnold watched USC start 1-2 under Max Browne last year before emerging as a 67%, 3000-yard, 31-9 TD-INT flamethrower and Rose Bowl winner.

A bit closer to home, Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke spent most of the 2016 season watching Tyler O'Connor bork it before getting a chance midway through the year. A few years back MSU also spent a brief, wonderful period as the worst offense on the planet under Andrew Maxwell before pulling the trigger on the Connor Cook era. Wisconsin left Alex Hornibrook, the conference's #2 QB by passer rating, on the bench early last year, and then benched him for their final two games.

Nobody knows! Even coaches. Coaches think things. They have the limited amount of data that practice provides, and then there is game data, and all of this information pales in comparison to a giant, looming Fear Of The Unknown. Some decisions make themselves; others have to wait until there's literally no way a second-year player is worse.

There is a moment when even if the backup sometimes seems like a semi-sentient radish in a human suit, he's the man, man. Welcome to that moment.

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

John O'Korn's struggles after Purdue sent the Michigan internet down a fairly appalling rabbit hole of speculation about Brandon Peters. "Promising young player stuck on bench for bad reasons" is such a trope that everyone knows the name of an otherwise obscure baseball player who Lou Gehrig replaced: Wally Pipp. The hundred-year persistence of this pattern was not good enough.

Nor were a plethora of recent examples at Michigan itself: Mike Hart behind David Underwood. Ben Gedeon behind Joe Bolden. Heck, even this very year Michigan went with Nolan Ulizio despite the fact Juwann Bushell-Beatty is older and apparently better. Sometimes the wrong guy is playing.

None of this mattered. O'Korn was bad so something had to be wrong with his backup.

So the last few weeks you couldn't throw a rock on a Michigan message board without hitting someone either implying or directly stating that Peters was a weird aspie with a fidget spinner and no future, Rain Man in a helmet. It's one thing when this comes from anonymous insider wannabes and entirely another when Rivals's Chris Balas calls a redshirt freshman a "big recruiting mistake" and says he "wouldn't be surprised" if Peters transferred.

Gasoline on the whisper fire, based on nothing. And this the second time Rivals has fueled baseless Peters transfer rumors that had to be debunked. The first time it was by Peters's father. This time Peters did it himself.

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

24144608118_beeca8d6e9_z

easy [Campredon]

It turns out Brandon Peters is at least as plausible a second-year quarterback as anyone else suspected of being a sentient radish. Never in the history of Michigan Stadium has a soft toss in the flat or a fullback checkdown been met with more rapture, because everyone was worried that there was a good reason Peters was behind O'Korn, and that meant doom both now and later. Rutgers guys were annoyed at it, for some reason:

"It seemed like the crowd was kind of obnoxiously cheering," Rutgers redshirt senior Dorian Miller said with a smile. "(Peters) completed a 10-yard ball and the crowd belted out. Football is football, so I'm sure you could apply that to any team and the fans would respond like that. It's not a knock on them."

Just when folks who haven't seen Peters in action started wondering if this guy's arm strength was substandard, Peters stepped up in the pocket and ripped a laser at a receiver just in front of a safety. The ball got in a half second before the safety arrived, and the absurdity of the whisper campaign really settled in.

Brandon Peters is a quarterback in 2017, which means he was scouted to death in high school. And the thing that really leapt out to both Ace and I was that slow build to a ripping throw. Peters has the natural ability to vary his throws so they're catchable when they can be and darts when they have to be. That featured in his recruiting profile:

He varies trajectory and speed based on the situation. My favorite throws in the Brownsburg game above are two high-arc, low speed passes to his tight end that are the exact right throws in those situations. That's the definition of a "catchable ball."

Peters seemed like a savant, especially in the aftermath of Shane Morris's approach to the game. He had no QB guru, like most quarterbacks do these days. He ripped through high school football. This wasn't a guy completing half his passes who might be moldable into a guy down the road. Personality issues didn't prevent Peters from impressing the entire recruiting industry and flying up rankings after a senior year ending at the Army game.

So what are we doing when we search for some personality flaw when a second year player can't get into the game just yet? Why is a mountain of evidence from across college football not enough? And so what if the dude is more engineer than prom king?

Even if Brandon Peters isn't George Clooney—and I'm not saying he is or is not—has anyone actually seen Rain Man? Placed in his element, Rain Man is a baller.

HIGHLIGHTS

AWARDS

24164021978_d6991f366b_z

this guy's mustache got an HM [Barron]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Rashan Gary. Gary was rampant, consistently blowing around the corner to sack and/or terrify the quarterback. The Rutgers LT gets some NFL hype; Gary, and Chase Winovich to a slightly less rampant extent, made that guy look like a walk-on.

#2(t) Mason Cole and Mike Onwenu. Cole and Onwenu tentatively seemed like Michigan's most mauling OL on a rewatch, but probably I could have given this to any member of the blocking crew and not been particularly off.

#3 Sean McKeon. McKeon was able to dig out a throw low and behind him to convert a third and long; he was the only guy to pull in multiple passes. He probably would have scored on that fourth down if Peters put it on him. In addition, McKeon's blocking was excellent for a second consecutive week.

Honorable mention: That guy's mustache. Poggi, Hill, Kugler, JBB, and Bredeson all chipped in on a dominating ground game. Isaac and Higdon made the most out of the blocking. Winovich, Hurst, and Bush were all their usual selves.

KFaTAotW Standings.

8: Devin Bush (#1 Florida, T2 Cincinnati, T2 Air Force, #1 Purdue)
5: Chase Winovich(#1 Air Force, #2a Purdue), Mo Hurst (#1 MSU, #2(T), Indiana), Karan Higdon (#1 Indiana, #2 PSU), Rashan Gary(T2 Indiana, #1 Rutgers), Mason Cole (#1 Cincinnati, T2 Rutgers).
4: David Long (T3 Indiana, #1 PSU)
3: Ty Isaac (#2, Florida, #3 Cincinnati), Lavert Hill(#2 MSU, T3 Indiana))
2: Quinn Nordin (#3 Florida, #3 Air Force), John O'Korn (#2 Purdue), Khaleke Hudson (T2 Cincinnati, #3 PSU), Sean McKeon(T3 Purdue, #3 Rutgers), Mike Onwenu(T2 Rutgers).
1: Tyree Kinnel (T2 Cincinnati), Mike McCray(T2 Air Force), Zach Gentry (T3 Purdue), Brad Robbins(#3 MSU), Brandon Watson (T3 Indiana).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

Brandon Peters completes a short waggle pass to Ty Wheatley for a first down.

Honorable mention: Peters completes another soft toss to Poggi on his next opportunity. Higdon breaks free for a game-sealing long touchdown. Kareem Walker scores. Various annihilations of the Rutgers quarterback. Various annihilations of the Rutgers front seven.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Michigan misses a run fit against a wildcat formation, ceding a long touchdown that tied the score at 7. At the time it felt like that was the start of a very long day indeed. Also long wildcat touchdowns remind me of the Penn State game.

Honorable mention: O'Korn throws a pick in the direction of Gentry when he's covered by a 5'9" guy; O'Korn fumbles the snap and Michigan eats a 14 yard loss; Rutgers uses the same damn screen play MSU scored on to get down to the two.

[After the JUMP: hamblasting the hamblasted]

Michigan 35, Rutgers 14

Michigan 35, Rutgers 14

Submitted by Ace on October 28th, 2017 at 3:57 PM


The first of many touchdowns, one hopes. [Patrick Barron]

Welcome to the future.

After four drives for each team, Michigan found itself deadlocked at seven with lowly Rutgers in front of a listless homecoming crowd. Embattled quarterback John O'Korn had completed 3/6 passes for 13 yards with an interception and two dropped snaps. On what turned out to be his final snap of the afternoon, he passed up multiple open receivers to roll out of a clean pocket and throw in the direction of a very well-covered Donovan Peoples-Jones.

When the defense booted Rutgers off the field with 7:01 to play in the first half, ballyhooed redshirt freshman Brandon Peters entered in O'Korn's stead.

"They just told me to get warmed up," said Peters. "When we got the ball I was just standing there next to Harbaugh and he said let's go, you're in."

The crowd instantly came to life. So did the offense. Two Karan Higdon runs picked up 20 yards to open the drive, then Peters got going, connecting on passes to Ty Wheatley Jr., Henry Poggi, and Nico Collins for first downs before Higdon capped the drive with a ten-yard touchdown.

"I wasn't that nervous," said Peters. "Honestly it was a great opportunity to get out there. I was more excited and confident than nervous."

Peters didn't seem nervous. When Michigan got the ball at midfield with 1:49 to go in the half, he marched the team right into the red zone. He had a freshman moment, nearly throwing an interception on a slant to Grant Perry, but that didn't rattle him one bit. On the very next snap, he tossed a near-perfect* lob to Chris Evans on a wheel route for a 20-yard score. With one change in personnel, Michigan went being in a dogfight at home against Rutgers to blowing them out.

"I saw man coverage, one-on-one with Chris," said Peters. "I wanted to give him a chance to make a play and he made a great play on the ball."


The wheel route remains undefeated. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan had already made needed improvements elsewhere, and the insertion of Peters served to accentuate them. The offensive line had been opening holes in the running game, which featured a diverse array of powers, counters, outside zones, and crack sweeps. With opposition safeties finally forced to respect the pass, the backs found ample room to run. Higdon (158 yards on 18 carries) and Ty Isaac (109 on 14) both cracked the century mark; Michigan averaged 6.5 yards per carry.

The pass protection also looked vastly improved. O'Korn and Peters both consistently operated out of clean pockets; Peters did a better job of standing in and delivering. Michigan didn't take a sack.

Most importantly, Peters continued dealing. He finished 10/14 for 124 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers. He didn't lock on to a favorite target; ten different receivers caught passes for the Wolverines today. While Peters's stat line may not blow anyone away, he made it obvious he's the best option to run this team right now. His coach agreed.

"He really aquitted himself well," said Jim Harbaugh. "Moved the football team. Played very, very well. He did a lot. From the first time he went in there, just feeling the deep zone, feeling the linebackers drop, taking that extra half second to take a breath, take a checkdown. it was good ball. It was good."

Harbaugh probably didn't need to declare Peters the starter for next week's game against Minnesota, but he did so anyway.


Mo Hurst spearheaded another dominant defensive performance. [Campredon]

The defense needed no such fixing. Outside of a long Janarion Grant touchdown out of the wildcat and one drive in which Rutgers QB Giovanni Rescigno uncharacteristically connected on a couple NFL-level throws, they effectively held the Scarlet Knights to nothing. Rescigno dropped back to pass 21 times; he threw for 101 and took five sacks. Rutgers's pair of running backs combined for a mere 45 yards on 18 carries. Rutgers simply couldn't block Maurice Hurst, Rashan Gary, and Chase Winovich, and freshman DT Aubrey Solomon didn't look out of place on that line while getting the most extended playing time of his young career.

Higdon opened the fourth quarter with a 49-yard touchdown jaunt on a perfectly blocked power play to put Michigan up 35-14. A game that had already flown by didn't take long to wrap up from there. Rutgers wanted to get home. Michigan, one would like to think, was champing at the bit to get the Peters Era underway in earnest when he gets his first career start under the lights against Minnesota.

"It was time," said Harbaugh.

*Nitpickers will note it was a little short. Most Michigan fans, however, saw the skies part and heard angels sing.

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs PSU

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs PSU

Submitted by Brian on October 25th, 2017 at 4:56 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. You've had to deal with a lot of disappointment lately. Don't let that bleed over into getting mortgage, which should be a painless process executed with a beer in hand from the comfort of your own home. A fast quote from a guy we've heard nothing but excellent things about for the duration of his sponsorship is in the offing, and once that happens you no longer have to think about anything else other than your extremely pleasant experience with Matt.

Of this I assure you.

FORMATION NOTES. Nothing that unusual from Michigan, which alternated between one and two high, with a focus on one-high, and played most of the game in their 3-3-5. Penn State was a 3-wide shotgun literally the whole game, with occasional forays into empty or four-wide with the same personnel.

And then of course what I called the Sa-Gun, because I am a clever boy.

image

This was a gimmick that didn't really work but sort of did?

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. A lot more rotation on the DL in this game as Michigan either got tired or looked for answers. Kwity Paye got a significant amount of time; Winovich got pulled after a late hit for a bit and then he got some second-half run. Mone had some early struggles and Dwumfour was tried out; that didn't work much better. Solomon got some scattered snaps; Kemp saw a number in Gary's place.

The CB rotation was the same; I don't think Thomas got in on D. Glasgow got at least one snap for reasons unknown; otherwise it was the starting safeties the whole way. Bush, Furbush, and McCray got all available LB snaps. Hudson was the only viper.

[After THE JUMP: a slightly different outcome than we are used to.]

Monday Presser 10-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 23rd, 2017 at 6:00 PM

23988990108_7c9d69bb21_z

[Upchurch]

“Hello. Got any questions?”
Can you talk about Lavert Hill and his first half of the season, how he’s come along in his confidence and getting better?

“Uh, yeah, he’s been very good. We see where he’s addressed his inappropriate gesture and discussed it and feels bad about it. Positive it won’t happen again. On the field, he’s been very good.”

Can you assess John O’Korn’s play Saturday and if I could piggyback, where is Brandon Peters right now with getting backup snaps since Wilton’s injury?

“Yeah, Brandon’s getting backup snaps.”

How has he progressed? Have you seen a lot of improvement out of him since he started getting more snaps?

“Yeah, he’s readying himself to play. He’s one play away right now and every day readying himself to be out there playing.”

And O’Korn Saturday, his play?

“Yeah. Won’t go into everything, but managed the game very well. Got us—everything communicated. Ran the offense very well. There was some duress and some plays that we could have made, et cetera. Go back and look at it, that’s what we’re in the process of doing. He’s—yeah, some good—kind of the theme for our offense—and there’s some things we missed, some opportunities out there, as well.”

You mentioned Brandon’s one play away. Do you want to try and get him some snaps in? He hasn’t gotten snaps really. Are you guys trying to make an effort to get him in or is that not really a priority at this point?

“Just go along the process of readying him to play. Backup quarterback always needs to be ready to play.”

[After THE JUMP: the message from here on and why a cliché is a cliché]