Wednesday presser 8-29-18: Greg Mattison

Wednesday presser 8-29-18: Greg Mattison Comment Count

Ethan Sears August 30th, 2018 at 9:12 PM

So as someone who’s had ties to both schools, why do you think this should be an annual game again, and do you still have a lake house by Brian Kelly?

“It is a — it’s a great game because it’s two really, really outstanding universities. You know, both schools have great academics, both schools do it the right way, and I think in the history of football, those are two of the very, very top schools and they should always play each other.

“And do I have a lake house? No, he’s got a really, really big one I think. No, mine isn’t like that, it’s not by him.”

Defensive line’s obviously been an elite unit the past 3-4 years, how much kinda internal discussion, in terms of how much control they have to take Saturday, do you feel like the D-line is gonna set the tone?

“I think anytime — anytime you expect to have a very, very good defense, you gotta have a very good defensive line. I mean, for the history of Michigan football, I mean, you think of the Glen Steele’s and go back. I mean, the Will Carr’s. You go on and on and on, back then, and now the last few years here with the Taco (Charlton’s) and the (Chris Wormley’s) and the (Ryan) Glasgow’s and all those guys. You have to have a very, very good defensive line in today’s football to have a good defense. And this group understands that, they’ve played a lot of football. And whenever you’ve played a lot of football, the bar gets higher and higher every year.

"They all have very, very high goals. And, this is the first game entertaining those goals. That’s all it is. That’s what happens. When you play the first game, when you work as hard as this group has worked in the summer, when you had the experience that they had last year, this is the next step. Well, now it is. It’s here. Let’s see what you have.”

How have you seen (Mike) Dwumfour kinda take to being in that sort of starter position? He hasn’t started yet, but that leadership role, I guess, as far as being the front guy there.

“Well, the thing that I think we have on our defensive line is like two years ago. I talked about that all the time. We may have eight starters. We may have eight starters, and we may have the ability with our defensive line this year, to be able to tag themselves out. In other words, some places you have to say to a person, that guy looks tired now, we better put this guy in. Well, when you have a group of young men that have earned the right to play, I like to be able to say to them, ‘You rotate yourselves. You look and watch that guy and if it’s gonna be four plays or three plays or how many we decide, you’re rotating on your own throughout the game.’

"And so I look at this defensive line as having the possibility of having seven starters possibly. And then you go from there. And that’s how important it is. And when you have that, then when you're out on that field, there is no time to take a play off. There is no time to not go at 100 percent. Because if you’re gonna be out there playing and your buddy wants to be playing, and he’s earned the right to play, then don’t you dare go out there and not go hard. Now, when you can’t go anymore, because you’re tired, come on out and your buddy will come in for you, and he’ll play the way he’s supposed to play. And that’s what we had two years ago and I think we’re working towards that again this year.”

So are we wrong to think that’s Dwumfour’s job or is — is Lawrence Marshall possibly in that?

“All the guys. You’ve got a whole group of guys in there now. You’ve got a whole group of people in that group. I look at, there’s five guys possibly that are starters for those first inside two positions. And the other thing we’ve done with the inside two positions, they’re equal. Like, when you talk about a three-technique and you talk about a nose, they’re really equal positions. One just plays on one side and one plays on the other. So, you can have the possibility of five guys that are being able to play those two positions.”

Who are those five guys?

“Well the five guys would be, as you mentioned before, you’ve got Bryan Mone, and you’ve got Lawrence Marshall, and you’ve got Dwumfour. You’ve got Aubrey Solomon and you’ve got Carlo Kemp. You’ve got five guys that I believe, starting in the spring last year and right now through this camp have really earned the right, when you say, ‘Ok, we trust you. We think when you go in there, you will play the type of defense that we expect you to play.’ ”

[Hit THE JUMP for details on depth, impressions of the O-line, a look at ND, and more.]

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Draftageddon Except Not: Defensive Line

Draftageddon Except Not: Defensive Line Comment Count

Seth August 17th, 2018 at 12:48 PM

I know it's a major disappointment to everyone but rather than bringing on extra staff to cover our labor shortages this summer we've decided to curtail our annual draft format All-B1G preseason series into a position-by-position chat. Fear not, we promise to do a doubly-long Draftageddon next year.

Previously:

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DEFENSIVE ENDS

Seth: /ducks

Ace: Obviously the place to start here is with the conference’s returning sack leader: Northwestern junior Joe Gaziano.

Seth: Don't sleep on Gaziano, that dragon's real, though he did most of his burninating against bad competition.

Brian: Holy crap you're right. And he was just a sophomore.

Ace: He had a pretty fun highlight in there, too:

Brian: Gonna have to be dealing with the Gaz for two more years.

Ace: Jumpin’ Joe Gaziano.

Seth: He was remarkably consistent. No more than 2 TFLs in any one game, and finished with 12.5.

Brian: he's 280? Like he's a legit SDE?

Seth: Correct.

BiSB: He's a real player. And in many conferences, he would actually be noticed.

Brian: I did not expect to spend the front bit of this post talking about Joe Gaziano, but here we are.

Ace: The spirit of Draftageddon cannot be diminished. Anyway: Rashan Gary or Nick Bosa?

…are we too afraid of both to answer?

[After THE JUMP: Well, are we?]

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Spring Practice Presser 4-3-18: Greg Mattison

Spring Practice Presser 4-3-18: Greg Mattison Comment Count

Adam Schnepp April 4th, 2018 at 8:03 AM

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

[Ed. A—Pick your poison if you’re wondering why there aren’t any MGoQuestions: is it the GI bug that has kept me up and…uh, occupied since 4 AM, or is it that my wife could go into labor at any time? I’ll be back at Schembechler Hall as soon as I can. Thanks to MGoFriend Isaiah Hole for the video.]

Do you have the deepest position?

“Well, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know, we haven’t looked at it. I think the linebackers got some good depth, some good talent. I think there’s some good young kids all over that defense that are working to make the depth that we need.

“But up front, you know we want to always have enough depth to be able to rotate, and really, that’s what the spring is for us. We want our first group to get better and come out every practice to get better, and guys behind them gotta earn the right so that you say, ‘Okay, when we get in games, this guy can go in right now. I think you’re getting that. I think you’re seeing that.”

Who’s starting to earn that right?

“Well, Kwity Paye is having a really, really good spring. Michael Dwumfour, I think, is having one of the best springs that I can remember. I mean, he’s really playing hard, and Aubrey’s [Solomon] playing hard, and Carlo, Carlo Kemp every day comes out an gets a little better, and he’s playing a couple positions. I think we’ve got a number of kids that are doing good to try and get that first group [to] feel like they’re there.”

What distinguishes Dwumfour?

“Dwumfour, it’s been he’s so quick off the football. He has a lot of Mo Hurst in him. There’s times when you see him come off the ball and you just go, ‘Whoa, that’s really good,’ and he’s a little bit thicker and a little bit bigger.

“The other thing, it’s probably Rashan [Gary] and Chase [Winovich] and Bryan Mone’s leadership that have really gotten him to step up. He’s always shown flashes, but now all of a sudden he’s getting more mature. Times when he’d play really good, really good, really good, and then all of a sudden try to take a play off or he wasn’t ready to take that next play. He’s not doing that now. He’s pushing himself way past where he usually would, and that’s a real good sign for us.”

[After THE JUMP, a 275-pound man is referred to as “little Phillip.” Football!]

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Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

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

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[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]

Comments

Radish Talk

Radish Talk Comment Count

Brian October 30th, 2017 at 12:54 PM

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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]

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