Unverified Voracity Is Perfectly Calm

Unverified Voracity Is Perfectly Calm Comment Count

Brian December 6th, 2018 at 1:24 PM

The prayer forced. Michigan's communication and Jon Teske's unexpected switch and quick hands forced Northwestern into a chuck:

Anonymous quotes about basketball's defense. Right this way, via Jeff Borzello:

"They're so much further ahead of everyone right now, it's not even funny," one opposing Big Ten coach said, referencing their experience. "What they were doing at the end of the year has carried over." …

"They have an alpha male at the point in Simpson," a Big Ten assistant said. "He holds those guys to what I would call a gold standard. He doesn't allow them to slip. When they don't do something correctly, he makes sure they know about it."

"Zavier just plays his ass off," another opposing coach said. "He may be smaller, but he's dialed in every possession, and they put a lot of length around him. He's a junkyard dog."

Michigan's 23-1 run stretching back to last year would be the #1 efficiency D in the history of Kenpom if it was a single season. And it seems like the bit from last year is the "bad" part.

Beilein's greatest enemy returns. NBA draftniks have started talking up Ignas Brazdeikis, who slides in at the end of the first round in SI's latest mock draft:

27. IGNAS BRAZDEIKIS, F, MICHIGAN | FRESHMAN

Height: 6’7” | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR

As has been widely noted, Brazdeikis turns 20 in January and is only technically a freshman, after doing a prep year in Canada. The good news is, it doesn’t really matter. Brazdeikis has been Michigan’s most consistent scorer and impressed with his ability to hunt shots off the ball. He can shoot it from outside or face up and attack the basket, and profiles as a useful offensive-minded role guy in the pros. His competitiveness and feel stand out, The big question with him is perimeter defense, as he will probably need to be parked on fours in the NBA. Regardless, if the Wolverines continue to play this well, Brazdeikis won’t have to stick around long.

Matthews (#38) and Poole (#51) also show up in their top 60, though Poole is in the you-should-return range and the author admits even that is "speculative." 

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie is more skeptical of Iggy as a one and done, placing him 50th in his latest top 100 and causing a blizzard of HEY WHAT ABOUT IGGY comments that he responded to at length. A portion:

Here's where I'm worried: Athleticism here is still a pretty real NBA concern on defense. Iggy is smart on that end and has taken to what Yaklich/Beilein want him to do well. But it also says something, IMO, that Michigan has been better on defense with him off the floor as opposed to when he's been on it -- especially in their games against high-major competition (vs. Nova, PC, UNC, Purdue, NW, Michigan had a 74 DRTG with him off the floor, and an 88 DRTG with him on it). That's a bit noisy, and the overall number is still good at 88. But I think Michigan has done more to insulate him rather than him being a true difference maker on that end, too.

On offense, over 75% of his offense has come from spot-ups, transition opportunities, back-cuts, and O-Rebs. The spot-up stuff is useful obviously, as he's a terrific shooter who can put the ball on the deck and attack a closeout.

Brazdeikis has done good work as a college four checking guys like Paschall and Maye but might not have the lateral agility to keep up with NBA wings. The stat about his offense seems… wrong, though? That's probably from Synergy and is therefore meticulously charted but it certainly feels like Iggy's creating a lot of his own shots. He dug Michigan out of some trouble against Northwestern by getting to the rim with frequency.

Vecenie says that if Iggy can maintain his effectiveness once he's 1) scouted and 2) the primary focus of opponent defenses he'll shoot up his board. One thing that hurts his stock—his age, which is a year older than most freshmen—is the kind of thing that makes you leave instead of makes you stay.

Let us resolve to enjoy the rest of this season.

[After the JUMP: potentially better NFL draft news?]

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Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Indiana

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Indiana Comment Count

Brian November 22nd, 2018 at 12:52 PM
*/

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[2]SPONSOR NOTE: Hey folks, this column is made possible in part by Matt Demorest, who's been one of our longest-term sponsors. He's also caused a steady stream of unfailingly high praise to hit my inbox from people who use his services. He is a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home. If you need one, he's the man, man.

FORMATION NOTES: Pretty much the standard by this point in the season: Michigan alternates between 1 and 3 TEs, spends 70% of its time in the gun and/or pistol, uses Ben Mason a little bit less than you'd like, and has largely abandoned Stanford-esque manball formations.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: QB, OL as per usual except Bushell-Beatty came out after the first two drives and Stueber went the rest of the way. Higdon resumed taking the plurality of RB snaps, with Evans, Mason and Wilson spotting him about half the time. Mason got some FB snaps as well; Wangler had a couple out of the pistol.

WR and TE were about usual too. Black got more snaps; Bell and Martin fewer than last week, but it was still Collins and DPJ most of the time with Perry in the slot. Michigan was slightly less TE heavy, with McKeon and Gentry out there about two-thirds of the time; Eubanks got his usual 15-20.

[After THE JUMP: everything but the girl]

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Tuesday Pressers 11-21-18: Players

Tuesday Pressers 11-21-18: Players Comment Count

Ethan Sears November 21st, 2018 at 8:16 AM

[Ed: Thanks to The Daily's Mike Persak for sending audio, as I am home for Thanksgiving]

Things Discussed

  • Shea Patterson and Dwayne Haskins know each other
  • Chase Winovich's injury (no, we didn't get an update)
  • Disappointment over past losses to Ohio State
  • Karan Higdon's sort of guarantee

[After THE JUMP: Three days. I messed up the count yesterday. I am dumb.]

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Armageddon Again

Armageddon Again Comment Count

Brian November 19th, 2018 at 1:02 PM

11/17/2018 – Michigan 31, Indiana 20 – 10-1, 8-0 Big Ten

Indiana was defeated. It was annoying, as per usual. The method was different this time. 

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

It's here, again. Football Armageddon. The last time I called a game Football Armageddon it was 12 years ago, when Michigan and Ohio State were both undefeated. Michigan ripped off a slick touchdown drive to start things off, and in the Ohio State student section I thought to myself "we're a third of the way home."

This was incorrect. Michigan's defense played three inside linebackers the whole game against Troy Smith, gave up 500 yards and 42 points, and blew an opportunity to get the ball back when Shawn Crable hit Smith in the helmet on a scramble. The 2006 defense featured Alan Branch, Lamarr Woodley, Leon Hall, David Harris, four guys with decade-long NFL careers. They whooped up on everyone, but within were the seeds of the past decade of Michigan football. Michigan had one cornerback: Hall. Morgan Trent couldn't change direction with a sail and a headwind, and when the starters got pulled against Ball State two weeks prior the Cardinals mounted a comeback that ended in Michigan's redzone down only 8.

The two corners who came in against Ball State were Chris Richards, the defensive coordinator's godson, and Johnny Sears, a kid from Fresno who'd never played a varsity game when Michigan offered him. They saw him at practice. (Practice! We're talking about practice!) Eight months later Michigan would field Sears as a starter in The Horror, in which a cut-rate Troy Smith exploited the same tactical naivete Smith had to hand Michigan the worst upset of all time.

Football Armageddon really was Armageddon for Michigan, not because of anything Ohio State did to them in that one game but because they'd fallen behind the curve out of their own arrogance. Michigan's recruiting was increasingly lazy, dependent on guys who bothered to come to camp and random, uninformed guesses about players based on not enough scouting. They'd get about half a class of well-regarded and then pluck random dudes out of the ether for the rest. They'd singularly failed to adapt to the prevalence of the spread across college football, kicking off the Ohio State dominance that extends to the modern day.

When Lloyd Carr retired he asked the athletic director to interview the two sturdiest branches on his coaching tree: his coordinators. One, Ron English, had never been a head coach and was the architect of the Horror. The other, Mike DeBord, was 12-34 at Central Michigan before quitting because he wasn't a head coach. These were the options to keep it in the family.

2006 Michigan was Indiana Jones on a rope bridge. Ohio State was the guy with the machete leering from the safety of land, but it didn't create the situation.

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

Incredibly, improbably, amazingly: Ohio State looks like it might be on a bridge of its own devising. Michigan's culture caught up to them in a slow-motion avalanche that took half a decade. OSU's got blown up in a week by Brett McMurphy and Urban Meyer's callous disregard for anything but winning.

Since Zach Smith was exposed, Ohio State's house has morphed from bricks to cards. Every week (except Michigan State) brings a new sordid depth to their defensive issues. With JT Barrett off to pick up YAC in the Estonian league, the offense frequently fails to convert buckets of yards into points. There was a fourth and goal wide receiver screen against Purdue. Not incidentally, a 5-6 Purdue team that's going into the Bucket game looking for a bowl berth boatraced OSU 49-20.

The nature of the series with Michigan has already changed in the post-Durkin landscape. Michigan lost by a literal inch the last time they were in Columbus despite Wilton Speight fumbling on the goal line and throwing two miserable interceptions. Last's game was 21 Michigan players outplaying the opposition and the third-string quarterback tossing up a 14.3 QBR. This isn't Michigan scrapping and clawing because "throw the records out" and we'll go for two at the end of the game because we know what's what. It's Michigan getting hit by a red shell rounding the last corner.

They're there. They're good enough. They're legitimately elite by any metric you want to poke. Now they just have to do the damn thing. The consequences of failure do not bear thinking about. It's armageddon, again. Ohio State is a rope over an abyss. Sharpen your knives.

AWARDS

32061664898_1bc94744b1_k

[Fuller]

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

#1 Devin Bush. Michigan lined him up next to Gary for a blitz and that seemed unfair and also please continue doing that forever. Twelve tackles, one of them to destroy a fake punt, and one critical fourth down PBU. Run issues were mostly things he was trying to mitigate and not things that could be plausibly put on him. Update: still good.

#2 Shea Patterson. Another game of almost ten yards an attempt. There were some hiccups, but the interception was an open guy on an RPO and it sailed because he got clobbered. The Gentry throw in the endzone… not so much. But the one after escaping the pocket, yeah buddy. Also chipped in 68 yards rushing. Which is a lot of yards.

#3 Rashan Gary. Had half that sack mentioned above plus a thunderous speed to power rush; 7 other tackles besides when Michigan really needed DL to step up.

Honorable mention: Zach Gentry had two big receptions and got interfered with twice… but maybe probably should have grabbed that ball in the endzone. Higdon had a workmanlike performance with some key broken tackles on short stuff.

KFaTAotW Standings.

10: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU, #1 NW, T2 MSU, T1 PSU), Shea Patterson (#3 WMU, #1 Maryland, #3 PSU, #1 Rutgers, #2 Indiana).
7: Devin Bush(#3 ND, #1 Nebraska, #1 Indiana).
5: Karan Higdon (#1 WMU, #3 Nebraska, #3 Wisconsin), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU, #3 MSU, #2 Rutgers), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU, #2 Nebraska, #3 Indiana).
4: David Long(#2 Wisconsin, T1 Michigan State), Josh Uche (T2 NW, T2 MSU, T1 PSU), Jon Runyan Jr (T1 Wisconsin, T2 PSU), Zach Gentry(T1 SMU, #2 Maryland, T3 Rutgers).
3:  Juwann Bushell-Beatty(T1 Wisconsin), Jon Runyan Jr(T1 Wisconsin).
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU), Brandon Watson(T1 MSU), Lavert Hill(T1 MSU).
1: Will Hart (#3 NW), Mike Dwumfour (T2 NW), Kwity Paye (T2 NW), Khaleke Hudson(#3 Maryland), Ben Bredeson(T2 PSU), Nico Collins(T3 Rutgers).

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

Nick Eubanks scores his first touchdown at Michigan. An important moment in the game, sure. But his reaction afterward was a prayer to his late mom.

Honorable mention: Post-game news about Edwards and Winovich is positive. Moody hits a field goal X6. Rashan Gary stops Indiana's last drive before it starts.

image​MARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Berkeley Edwards suffers the scariest injury in Michigan Stadium in living memory after a cheap targeting hit on a kickoff return. Edwards is probably going to be fine, per Braylon, and he's tweeting, so… that's a mixed blessing. But mostly good!

Honorable mention: Chase Winovich is knocked out after a different cheap shot and is maybe unavailable for next week. The end of half debacle.

[After THE JUMP: cheap shots, other]

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View from the Sidelines: Chase Winovich, and the power of a presence

View from the Sidelines: Chase Winovich, and the power of a presence Comment Count

Ethan Sears November 18th, 2018 at 12:11 AM

At the moment Chase Winovich went down, you could see the season flashing before Michigan’s eyes.

 

After scoring to take a five-point lead in the third quarter, the Wolverines had recovered a fumble only to have Shea Patterson intercepted — for the first time since October — on the very next play.

 

And then Winovich, who embodies everything about Michigan’s identity, as a defense and as a team, was on the ground, being tended to, walked off, gone.

 

Of course, the Wolverines’ worst-case scenario never came to pass. Seemingly emboldened by the injury — or at least the repeated cheap shots (there’s no other word for it) from the Hoosiers — Michigan clamped down. Devin Bush and Rashan Gary swarmed Peyton Ramsey, pushing Indiana out of Michigan territory, and that was about as close as the Hoosiers got in an eventual 31-20 win for the Wolverines.

 

As for Winovich, it seems he’ll be fine. At minimum, things are a whole lot better than they looked.

 

[After THE JUMP: Winovich and Michigan's identity]

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Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Rutgers

Upon Further Review 2018: Offense vs Rutgers Comment Count

Brian November 15th, 2018 at 7:40 PM

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[2]SPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). There are food trucks, beer, televisions, a giant colorful bus, and it's right next to Revelli so the band will march past. Check it out.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home. If you need one, he's the man, man.

FORMATION NOTES: Pretty much the usual with shotgun and pistol dominating Michigan's formations, usually with at least two TEs on the field. 3 WR snaps were limited; there were another 12 snaps with 3 TEs. These latter were usually from under center and made up a majority of Michigan's under-center snaps.

The fullback is not a frequent participant, still.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: The usual at QB and OL. Michigan did not extend Peters's brief-as-possible cameo past the one snap because the ensuing possession with Joe Milton was with the backup line, and Milton got quick pressure as a result.

RB was an almost even distribution of snaps between Evans, Wilson, and Higdon. This might have been Rutgers-related or it might have been because Higdon made a number of bad cuts. Ben Mason was once again facing limited deployment with maybe a dozen snaps.

WR was a nearly equal rotation between the two established starters, Oliver Marin, and Ronnie Bell, with Grant Perry and Tarik Black getting about a dozen snaps. McKeon and Gentry were near-omnipresent at TE, with Eubanks mostly getting in on 3TE snaps. Luke Schoonmaker saw his first action of the year.

The backup OL was Ulizio/Filiaga/Vastardis/Spanellis/Stueber. Jalen Mayfield continues to head for a redshirt.

[After the JUMP: throwz!]

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Unverified Voracity Wonders What You Checked

Unverified Voracity Wonders What You Checked Comment Count

Brian November 13th, 2018 at 2:10 PM

The Mark Dantonio background check. Michigan State "vetted" Auston Robertson after this incident:

Michigan State officials have said the university was aware of two criminal charges in Robertson's past. One was sexual in nature, and the other was not. He was charged in January 2016 with misdemeanor battery related to an incident during school in which he "rubbed and grabbed" a female classmate's groin area against her will in the fall of his senior year.

Robertson had "several other police reports documenting alleged sexual violence and misconduct" just waiting to be asked after. Two were for attempted rape. The victim in the misdemeanor described above told police of two earlier incidents. There were no fewer than five incidents of sexual assault during Robertson's high school career, described in police reports. MSU didn't bother looking for them.

No one from Michigan State requested information about Robertson's criminal history in Fort Wayne through formal records requests during the school's vetting process, according to the city's records department. …

Allen County (Indiana) Prosecutor Karen Richards said no one from Michigan State contacted her or her office for records or discussion about Robertson during the time that Michigan State was vetting him

What is the first thing you'd do if you were serious about vetting someone? That. Instead, Michigan State went through a sham process that put Robertson on campus. Predictably, he sexually assaulted someone within the first year. He's now facing three years in prison.

Mark Dantonio put the MSU student body at risk because he didn't care one iota whether or not Robertson was a threat. If you don't think the Larry Nassar attitude extends to football and basketball, you are wrong.

In related news, Curtis Blackwell is suing various MSU people after being made the fall guy for the three guys who got expelled for a sexual assault that got pled down to "seduction" and a former employee is suing after MSU was unresponsive to harassment allegations against a union head.

This seems good. The Solid Verbal compiles points per drive stats in conference play:

Michigan near the top of both lists; OSU near the bottom. Maryland vastly improved! Every other weekend.

Press conferences have gotten weird. Mostly talkin' snakes these days:

Junior running back Tru Wilson, who finished with eight carries for a career-high 58 yards on Saturday, faced the media. Wilson didn’t receive any questions about his previous game.

But he got plenty about his pet snake, Mako.

“He’s just getting done shedding, so I haven’t been able to play with him for the last week or so,” Wilson said. “I guess he’s blind when he sheds, so I guess it’s kinda dangerous — not dangerous, he’s not gonna kill me. The ball pythons are a very defensive creature.”

Doesn't Higdon have a snake, too? How many Michigan running backs have snakes?

[After THE JUMP: PFF stats, maybe they make waffles, sketchy Zach Smith stuff]

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