MGoPodcast 9.27: Stop Bringing Up 2010

MGoPodcast 9.27: Stop Bringing Up 2010

Submitted by Seth on April 23rd, 2018 at 7:20 AM

1 hour and 47 minutes

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We are at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, our gracious hosts and yours this fall if you act fast enough.

We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other

We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan there would be VERY long hiatuses between podcasts.

Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, Lantana Hummus and Ecotelligent Homes

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1. The Offense wsg Seth Fisher (that’s me!)

starts at 1:00

Peters is running with the ones, Shea is probably the guy, Milton in the future. Black and DPJ, Crawford moving to 41 is probably not a Lytle reference. We’re all for Gentry in the slot. Offensive line: Hudson is our rooting interest, Onwenu was fine last year, Ruiz is probably real, Runyan at RT isn’t ideal. Super max protect Gentry 500 FTW! I like the way Lewerke.

2. The Defense wsg Seth again (yes THAT me!)

starts at 29:53

The happy section, where we bring up the 2014 Rutgers game, the Cleveland Browns,  Brady Hoke Punt Fest 2013, and several times the 2010 defense. Hype for Dwumfour started last year; we disagree somewhat on how ready the redshirt freshmen are. Zordich ornery after his corners were all injured but Ambry. Brian is against safeties. Lots of linebacker weapons. We pronounce Uche correctly.

3. Recruiting Football, Basketball, Hockey

starts at 57:55

Three sports, three football commits, a bazillion hockey commits, and lots of interest in the basketball program. Newburg is a wrastler. Herron is clearly waiting for Stanford admissions to decommit. Stewart committed from Connecticut, his school’s one to watch (2020 ND quarterback commit). Iggy finally jumped to the composite top 50. DeJulius and Castleton late jumps too. Could be better than the Fresh Five class. Girard? Balas thinks so. Hockey crootin.

4. Moritz and Matthews Draft Futures

starts at 1:31:15

This section became a 2018 hoops class segment. Expected Moe to go—unless his arms grew longer he wasn’t going to be a better NBA prospect. Find usage elsewhere, more pick and roll than pop, Teske D on the floor all game. Matthews is going to find out what he needs to work on—has NBA talent but probably won’t get a draft grade.

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MUSIC

  • “No Diggity”—Blackstreet ft. Dr. Dre, Quenn Pen
  • “While You Wait for the Others”—Grizzly Bear
  • “Goggles”—Post Animal
  • “Across 110th Street”

THE USUAL LINKS

Let’s try to make as many of them ineligible as possible.

Spring Football Bits: Huggier Harbaugh Edition

Spring Football Bits: Huggier Harbaugh Edition

Submitted by Seth on March 30th, 2018 at 4:30 PM

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Spring the 4th: a little different than Spring the 1st. [photo: Eric Upchurch]

As fans of Kansas, Villanova, and Loyola-Chicago have informed me, Michigan is the only Final Four team that fields an FBS football program, let alone a hockey program, putting us in the unique position of reading tea leaves and entrails from spring practice at the same time that two real life championships are a pair of actual real life games away.

--------THIS IS YOUR FRIENDLY MGOBLOG REMINDER THAT YOU DO IN FACT NEED TO BREATHE IN ORDER TO SURVIVE AND SHOULD PROBABLY DO SO NOW--------

The general form of this annual exercise is the fans go in hoping to hear certain things, and then pressers, videos and the odd practice insiders confirm, ignore, or dodge them with miniscule data. So I’m trying this in a new, more spring-reflective format.

New Harbaugh:

What we want to hear: Depends if you’re a Patton guy or an Eisenhower guy.

What we’ve heard: Harbaugh’s gone Eisenhower.

The players have noticed a change in their coach in large part because he sought input from them after the bowl game that capped an 8-5 season. He held a team meeting in January after the bowl game, and they shared their feelings.

“We had a sour taste in our mouth,” Higdon said. “I did, he did, everybody in this facility. He was open, (saying) ‘What do we need to do? What can I do?’ How often do you see that from a coach, asking his players? That’s stronger than anything.”

What it means: We’re picking through pabulum here. There was a sense coming from outside Schembechler Hall that Harbaugh was doing more face guy/program ambassador work, but he does all those things in the time that he’s literally not allowed to spend with his players. From the players’ responses though it does seem he’s been less aloof.

What it probably means is the coaching staff is taking last year’s failings seriously, and they’re trying to emphasize to the fans that they’re doing so.

Also Jim’s going to be a grandpa soon.

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[After THE JUMP: Stop me if you’ve heard this before but the defense sounds way more optimistic than the offense]

--------ALSO THIS IS ANOTHER FRIENDLY REMINDER THAT YOUR BLOOD DOES NEED OXYGEN AND YOU SHOULD PUT SOME OF THAT IN YOUR LUNGS RIGHT NOW--------

Spring Practice Primer 2018

Spring Practice Primer 2018

Submitted by Seth on March 26th, 2018 at 12:05 PM

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REMEMBER US?!?!? [Patrick Barron]

Apologies to everyone for interrupting your hoops and hockey tournament coverage but Michigan football’s spring practice got underway on Friday, and a few things have happened or were said to be happening with that other sport some of us still follow. If you’ve been kind of tuned out since the derpy bowl game I’ve tried to compile the most important bits we’ve learned since into this post.

By the way AZBlue wrote an excellent distillation of things Sam’s been putting out on the radio. I’ve bumped that to the diaries. Let’s go by position I guess:

Quarterbacks

Gone: Wilton Speight, John O’Korn, Alex Malzone.
Off redshirt: Dylan McCaffrey
New faces: Shea Patterson, Joe Milton.

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North! North I say! [Bryan Fuller]

Shea Patterson’s eligibility is held up for the moment (scroll down about half-way) because Ole Miss is going to be petty. They have Patterson’s reportedly ironclad case to be freed of sitting out a transfer year, but they don’t have to respond until 10 days after the ??? days it takes the NCAA to send a hard copy to Oxford of the same thing Michigan sent.

Harbaugh said the coaches are still treating it like a three-way race between Patterson, Peters, and McCaffrey, with snaps split equally. Joe Milton is on campus and impressing in his preparation but a redshirt is most likely.

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Running Back

Gone: Ty Isaac
Off redshirt: Kurt Taylor
Arrive in fall: Christian Turner, Michael Barrett, Hassan Haskins

It’s more or less the same depth chart as it’s been since Isaac’s injury last year. That is your co-starters remain Karan Higdon and Chris Evans, with Kareem Walker and O’Maury Samuels in competition for two hundred-odd carries behind them. Sam spoke with RBs coach Jay Harbaugh who mentioned Karan Higdon’s growth at running the counter cutbacks that we wrote about last year. The incoming freshmen were mentioned with the walk-ons, so I’m reading that as a four-man stable for the moment.

[after THE JUMP: the rest]

Unverified Voracity Isn't Surprised But Is Still Disappointed

Unverified Voracity Isn't Surprised But Is Still Disappointed

Submitted by Brian on February 22nd, 2016 at 2:59 PM

Everyone should go back to these logos. Wisconsin never changed theirs, but the lack of Jaunty Iowa Newsie in my life has been acute:

[HT: Hoover Street Rag]

It's not like the results are good when he does open his mouth. Useless person Jim Delany:

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told CBS Sports this week he has “no reaction at this point” regarding Michigan's spring break trip to Florida.

While this is disappointing, keep in mind that whenever Jim Delany talks he sabotages his own side. When called to testify in the Ed O'Bannon trial he accidentally firebombed the NCAA's case. Delany didn't bother to fight for home games in the Cofopoff. He said he "didn't have a lot of regard" for Alabama right before they curbstomped Michigan. The current SEC dominance was preceded by Delany writing a snotty open letter. Having him on your side is like having Mark May pick you to win. It ain't good.

But this is such a slam dunk that even Delany might be able to make a couple good points. Someone ask Greg Sankey what his opinion of this trip is:

The Vanderbilt baseball team will travel to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to start a six-day fall break team trip.

The Commodores will tour the capital and practice three days at the U.S. Naval Academy in nearby Annapolis, Md.

“That’s a huge plus for our kids just to be on the Naval Academy’s campus,” coach Tim Corbin said. “… It’s an opportunity to educate your kids in another way besides baseball. I’ve always wanted to take them to the capital.

Nobody cared about this then, and the only reason Sankey cares about it now is because of recruiting. That is transparent.

Team stuff. Harbaugh signed a bunch of autographs a couple days back and took some media questions while doing so; in addition to the Sankey stuff he revealed a couple of position switches, at least temporary ones:

I imagine that Hill's tenure as a fullback will be similar to Poggi's: he's much more likely to go out for pass than carry the ball, but he's good at that bit and a squat 270, so I can see that working. It's still pretty much the same fit for him as a blocky/catchy guy.

The Gentry move is a lot more interesting. It says either one or both of these things:

  • the quarterback battle is all but decided, likely in John O'Korn's favor, or
  • Gentry's brief moonlighting at TE during bowl practices was too impressive to ignore.

I lean strongly to the former since O'Korn's had the opportunity to play QB in front of Harbaugh for a year; Gentry may have impressed at TE but not enough to remove a touted competitor from the single most critical open position on the team… unless that position is not particularly open.

That's good since it's a tangible piece of evidence supporting the extremely positive practice chatter in re: O'Korn.

Meanwhile, Allen Trieu reports that Rashan Gary will start as a strongside end (or "anchor" in Brown's system) with Taco Charlton moving to WDE. Both of those are moves that we've projected for a bit. That does create a bit of a problem. Matt Godin was pretty good as Chris Wormley's backup early in the year—he actually played about as much as Wormley did—and not very good as a defensive tackle when injury pressed him into duty there. Michigan needs a fourth DT to rotate in with Glasgow, Mone, and Hurst. With Gary at SDE, either Wormley or Godin is likely to get sucked inside.

Finally, Harbaugh said that Mason Cole was going to play a bunch of center in spring.

PRATT. JUST PRATT. The highlight from Harbaugh's presser:

Pratt, my man Pratt’s got to get past a few more things. He’s one of the students. We had about 14 guys who were students who tried out about a month ago and did really good. They’ve been keeping up well, so we’ll be looking forward to seeing them on the field. Guys that were just going to the University of Michigan.

“A lot of them are freshmen. Pratt’s one that’s a junior, but if he walked in here right now, you’d say ‘okay, he belongs.’”

On if there are any fullbacks in the group:

“Yeah, there are. There are two or three fullbacks in the group and some linebackers and a kicker, a snapper. Pratt’s an offensive lineman.”

On what his first name is:

“He’s Pratt right now. He’s just Pratt.”

This will probably be the last we heard of Pratt just Pratt but it was memorable.

A DB coach candidate. Aubrey Pleasant is one possibility; Michigan is also interviewing Chip Viney, a QC coach for Oklahoma. Viney is a former UCLA corner who took a grad transfer to NMSU in 2011; afterwards he was scooped up by Oklahoma as a grad assistant before transitioning to the QC job last year. He is a Harbaugh kind of guy:

Viney also surprised the players by frequently wearing his cleats to workouts and challenging both other defensive backs and receivers to one-on-one battles. He went head-to-head against guys like Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders.

“A lot of those guys think since he sits in an office he doesn’t have it, but he still does have it,” Sanchez said. “Guys would talk, but if he put those cleats on, he will get you."

Viney is widely credited with Oklahoma's success recruiting the Fresno area and California more generally:

Chip is awesome,” first-year defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks said. “From a personality standpoint, he’s as good a recruiter from the G.A. spot I’ve ever been around. It’s easy for him to be relatable to these players. He’s phenomenal with that.

“He’s played the position and played it at a high level. He knows the details. I have complete confidence with Chip. It has been a blessing to have him.”

Viney, who played at UCLA, has become the name synonymous with OU’s recruiting success in the state of California.

Viney's a former corner; Zordich is a former safety. He's young, upwardly mobile, and an excellent recruiter in a part of the country that is a major focus for Michigan's national recruiting. Everything looks like a fit. The Oklahoman just published a glowing profile of him a week ago; would not be surprised if he was the guy. Harbaugh specializes in finding guys like him.

While we're on coaches. I don't think I mentioned that one of the open analyst spots is going to be filled by Jimmie Dougherty, who a lot of people though was going to be Michigan's WR coach before Jedd Fisch fell into Harbaugh's lap. Meanwhile, Matt Doherty returned to Miami.

OSU postgame, 1995. Via Dr. Sap:

Also here's 1981 MSU via Wolverine Historian:

Now that we definitely have a draftee can we have Willie Henry back? Kiper is projecting Graham Glasgow in the second or third round, and Harbaugh's unvarnished opinion is a major aid:

"Jim's highly regarded and highly respected, he's done a phenomenal job wherever he's been," Kiper said. "Jim's a phenomenal coach, whether it be in the NFL (or in) college football. He'll have Michigan right there with Ohio State and the best teams in the country, had a real good recruiting class ... his opinion is huge."

Henry is getting lost in the shuffle of a deep DL class, he says, but the combine could be impressive for Henry if that playing strength translates to bench press reps. Kiper also says Rudock will get drafted. If that happens it'll be a testament to Harbaugh's development skills.

Why you want the money to be on the table instead of under it, Part N. Somehow the Big Ten continues to lead the universe in TV ratings:

Nielsen-6[1]

Amateurism is a handicap for the Big Ten.

Interesting job. Michigan posted an interesting "analytics coordinator" job with a bunch of responsibilities:

1. Perform data analysis for identification of play calling tendencies and strengths and weaknesses of our team and our opponents

2. Creation of and provision over research in regards to specific teams, conferences, styles, and College Football as a whole, that lead to insightful measures and reports

3. Weekly video scouting of top opponent players through an in-house created Player Evaluation System

4. Creation of Michigan post-game summary statistics and advanced measures of success

5. Weekly management of coach-produced player grades and helmet stickers

There are many other things, all of which seem like good things for Michigan to be keeping track of.

This is a good omen. When you have three really good scorers you tend to do well in the tourney:

Over the last 17 years, a handful of college hockey teams have had similar production from a standout trio. Of the eight teams that finished with three top-10 scorers during that stretch, three won national titles and another three finished runner-up.

Miami was the most recent in 2011; they got dumped in the first round. Red called Racine "the difference" in the Ferris State game… I can't agree with that, but he has been critical over the past month.

Half of this is Baxter, the other half Ferrigno. Michigan's increased emphasis on special teams paid off a year ago even if there were some hiccups:

Will be interesting to see how Michigan maintains there without Baxter. I don't think they'll give back all the gains. Harbaugh doesn't carry around guys who don't pull their weight like Hoke did.

Etc.: Illegal man downfield rule to be enforced vigorously. I'll believe it when I see it. Michigan moves up to 14th in Baseball America's poll after a 4-0 start. Omaha.com names them a CWS dark horse(!). Will Carr goes from GA to analyst at Texas. Rashan Gary's decision process; contains lots of fun quotes.

Spring Practice Presser 2-26-15: Tim Drevno

Spring Practice Presser 2-26-15: Tim Drevno

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on February 27th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

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[I bet you’ve never appreciated Upchurch and Fuller more than you do today]

Bullets:

  • Drevno will be responsible for play calling
  • Offensive gameplans will be a joint effort between all of the offensive coaches and Harbaugh
  • Four of the five starters on last year’s OL losing weight is a coincidence; Drevno’s still looking into it and said he’ll get the weights where they need to be
  • The quarterback competition is “wide open,” and their progress is primarily being tracked by Harbaugh and Fisch
  • Drevno said Harbaugh’s the smartest man he’s ever been around and unique in a great way
  • Winning has cured more ills than penicillin
  • “It feels good, this cold, doesn’t it?”

    We’re used to it.

“I like it.”

What are some of the characteristics that are going to help kids see the field early for you? Toughness, mobility- is there one thing above any others?

“I think, number one, it’s just how they take the information from the classroom [and] take it out on the field. Understand their assignments and have a want-to and a physicality and being a teammate, a great teammate.

“Is that it? Okay, great!”

/laughter

On the roster four of the five starting offensive linemen from last year lost weight. Was that something that was kind of a plan as far as you guys were concerned or is it just a coincidence?

“No, I think it’s just a coincidence. I’m still looking at their weights and evaluating them now and we’ll get those weights where they need to be and be able to move in a very good fashion up front.”

You’re starting with a clean slate. How much does experience count for the guys who’ve played?

“You know, it’s- it really is a clean slate. I just turn on the film and see who’s doing it at a high level and doing it at the top of their craft. At USC last year I started three true freshmen, so I’m just trying to find the best players out there and that’s the best thing about it; guys get out there and compete to be the best.”

Can you kind of tell the guys who’ve played already?

“Yeah, at times I can. You can just because they’re a little bit more grooved in their technique and things, but kind of day to day at times. Yeah, you can.”

[After THE JUMP: the quickest way to an offensive lineman’s heart is through a barbeque]

Spring Practice Presser 2-26-15: DJ Durkin

Spring Practice Presser 2-26-15: DJ Durkin

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on February 27th, 2015 at 9:09 AM

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[Shoddy iPhone photo via me]

Bullets:

  • Durkin wants to play multiple fronts and thinks they have the athletes to handle that
  • Greg Jackson is working more with the safeties and Mike Zordich is working more with the corners
  • Everyone has an opportunity to earn snaps based on what they do from spring on; how much a player played last season is irrelevant
  • It’s too early to tell if there’s a player who didn’t play much last season who’s going to get significant playing time this season or who the leaders of the defense will be
  • Durkin’s goal is to know what the defense is good at, what needs to be improved, and what they can handle schematically by the end of spring
  • Jabrill Peppers will be moved to several spots during spring to “find the best fit and the best mix for everyone”

What does a defense look like under you? Everybody wants to know with scheme, etc. What does it look like? What is a DJ Durkin defense?

“I’d say I want it to always be a blue-collar, competitive group. Play hard and compete for everything you get. Scheme-wise and all that, we’re a little different from game to game and a lot of it’s based on our personnel from year to year, too so we’re multiple with what we do schematically, but I just want a group of guys that are going to play hard, be blue-collar, and always compete for everything they do.”

How much can you tell after two days?

“We haven’t had pads on yet and that’s obviously a huge part of the game, so we’ll see. I’m reserving judgment for all that. Our guys have worked hard. I like their approach to the game, to practice- they’re locked in. I like their approach to meetings so I’m encouraged by all that and we’ll see as we get going with the pads on.”
When you watch the film what stood out to you? Were there individuals that stood out in particular?

“The film from practice?”

The past, getting ready for this and I guess the last few days.

“Yeah, but what I want to do is make sure all these guys, and I told them this when we met with them, that they have a clean slate to start from. It was good. I came in and watched some games and tried to see where our needs were for recruiting, but in terms of one by one, individuals, I want guys to know that maybe you’re a guy who hasn’t played much- you have an opportunity to do that. Maybe you’re a guy that’s played a lot, but it’s not just going to be given to you- you have to go earn it. That way I think the whole room understands they have equal opportunity to go earn some snaps on the field.”

Is there anyone in particular that fits that bill of somebody who hasn’t played much that you’ve seen and been like, ‘Oh, I didn’t expect that. Maybe we have something here.’

“Yeah, I mean, it’s too early to tell that. I have been encouraged by a lot of guys. I think, like I said, I like our approach to practice and what we’re doing. I think the guys have a good energy and enthusiasm about it, so when we get the pads on and keep going I’m sure some of those guys will emerge.”

How long does it take you as a coach to figure out what you have?

“I don’t know. I’d like to say by the end of spring we can sit back and have a really good idea, ‘Okay, these are the things we’re good at. These are the things we need to keep working on. This is what we’re going to be talking schematically.’ That’s the goal, by the end of spring to have a lot of things answered. We’re going to go through and install quite a bit and a lot of stuff that I’ve done before and then, like I said, we’ll just sort it out and see what we’re best at.”

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest]

Spring Practice Presser 2-24-15: Jim Harbaugh

Spring Practice Presser 2-24-15: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on February 25th, 2015 at 8:58 AM

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Bullets:

  • Sione Houma had a procedure done and will be recovering over the spring. He’s expected to be back for summer conditioning and fall camp.
  • Khalid Hill and Drake Johnson are also injured and not participating in spring practices.
  • The first practice went well; Harbaugh thought the whole day was great “with a capital G.”
  • The coaching staff is still in the process of asking questions themselves; how to get better, what scheme fits the personnel, what players fit what position, etc.
  • Harbaugh said nothing has been determined as far as players switching positions, so take the initial depth chart with a massive grain of salt.
  • Harbaugh declined to comment on freshman ineligibility

Opening remarks:

“I have no opening statement. I wasn’t expecting a press conference. If anybody has any questions I’d be glad to attempt to answer them.”

How’d it go?

“Good. You know, it’s good to start. Feel like when you start you have- you can lay down a benchmark of where you are and it gives you a place to go forward from. It gives you a place to improve from [and] things to get better at.”

Talk about how you go about building competition in practice with some of the things you implement.

“Uh…some of the things we do to build competition? I mean, it’s football. It’s a very competitive sport.”

Are there things you do to encourage guys to…

“I’m sure there are. I’m sure there are. I don’t really have that list in front of me right now.”

You said you wanted to find out what their intent was in winter conditioning. Were you pleased with some of the results?

“Yes. Team’s in very good shape. Kevin Tolbert and his staff did a very nice job and the fellas did a nice job. You could see that throughout practice that the team’s in good condition and that gives us a fighting chance.”

Do you know how much of an install you want to do this spring versus just evaluating the guys and getting a feel for the team? Do you know how you’re going to balance that at this point?

“We’ll do both.”

How long is the evaluation process going to be?

“Daily. Every day there’ll be an evaluation process on every player in every drill. That’s on-going. That’s always.”

[After THE JUMP: the first day of spring practice, or New ThanksBirthMas]

Spring Practice Checklist

Spring Practice Checklist

Submitted by Brian on March 6th, 2013 at 11:33 AM

rec_u_miller_400[1]512x[1]

just win the job thx / just get touches thx

Michigan kicks off spring practice in ten days, whereupon they will hit each other and do things that are football related and not much of import will go down but we will suck it up with the world's largest straw anyway because that's just how we do. This is a welcome change from Rodriguez-era spring practices, where worlds rose and fell because of the quarterback situation. Michigan has that locked down thanks to Denard's elbow injury and Devin Gardner's play.

Still, there are things to look for in the insider buzz and coach-talkin' that we will start receiving soon. (Other schools are out there covering it in person, grumble.) Here are the things I hope we start hearing soon:

Dennis Norfleet is back on offense. Check($). Norfleet's coach told Mike Spath that Norfleet was moving back to a return/slot/change of pace role a couple weeks ago, which makes me go eeee. Speculation that Norfleet's move was related to JT Floyd's suspension appears to have been accurate:

"In the bowl, it was basically a situation where he wanted the chance to earn more playing time, the numbers were down, and they let him compete there, but it was never supposed to be a permanent move."

Next on the checklist is seeing Norfleet get some touches at a place other than kick return.

Devin Gardner has two years to play. Also check. High five your future self.

There are clear leaders for each of the interior line spots. Last year's late Barnum/Mealer flip presaged trouble, and trouble was received. Ideally Michigan will come out of spring practice with an offensive line two-deep written in ink—chiseled in stone is unfortunately out of the question.

In practice this means:

  • Kyle Kalis locks down a guard spot.
  • There are no whispers about serious competition for Jack Miller since Kugler is not on campus yet.
  • Bars, Bosch, Braden, or Bryant becomes the clear leader at the other guard spot.

If the last one doesn't come to fruition that's okay, as Michigan will probably be able to figure out one guard spot in fall camp without much trouble. If either of the first two is false that's not so good. If it's Kalis, that's a five-star guy falling off a stardom track. Meanwhile Miller's current competition at center is…

uh…

well, a "tight-lipped" Darrell Funk didn't mention any position changes other than the fact that Joey Burzynski and Graham Glasgow will receive looks at center this spring. If Michigan's going to start a walk-on, center is the place that I'm most comfortable having that happen, especially since they've all got a decent amount of experience there…

"That'll be a really interesting battle," Funk said. "I would prefer not to have another center battle for the second consecutive year, but it is what it is and we've got some candidates. They've all repped it for a year and a half, or two years, and we'll see who the best guy is."

…but I'm with Funk. Someone please lock that job down ASAP.

If it's a walk-on that might be okay. Burzynski was actually ahead of Miller as a sixth lineman on the goal line last year; Glasgow has the size (listed at 6'6", 305), has received some hype and is one of the better twitter follows on the team*. If either wins the job the least we can expect is that the line calls are consistently right, right?

*[

]

8172983839_aa273ebde1_z[1]

needs moar this (Upchurch)

There's someone to throw to. I'd better damn well hear that after last year's Devin Funchess fade—little of it his fault since the guy caught everything they threw at him—that Devin Gardner is throwing to him on every play, often twice. I desire a low rumble of Breaston-level hype relating to Devin Funchess. Oh and I would also like him to be a credible blocker.

On the outside, it's time for Amarah Darboh or Jehu Chesson or hopefully both to start getting buzz as a possession magnet or deep ball specialist. Michigan is okay with Jeremy Gallon (suddenly rampant with Gardner at the helm) and Drew Dileo at two spots; they'd dearly like to acquire a large receiver for various purposes.

New-ish defensive lineman X is making The Leap. Prime candidates are Ondre Pipkins and either Frank Clark or Mario Ojemudia. Someone on that line should be getting way better right now, and while Pipkins isn't going to start this year Michigan is going to count on him heavily the next three years. He needs to be a guy who does not get knocked over by running backs one-on-one.

Then you've got a cavalcade of redshirt freshmen. Chris Wormley's ACL injury was 6 or 7 months ago so we probably won't get to hear much about him; it would be nice if Willie Henry, Matt Godin, or Tom Strobel started generating some buzz.

James Ross is beast. I'm not including either rising sophomore linebacker in the above discussion since we have already seen them in action plenty and they are marked for stardom. I still think Desmond Morgan is going to hold a job, leaving one of the two a frequent substitute rather than a starter. The preferred way for this to work out is for James Ross to put on 20 pounds and leave no doubt about who is Michigan's weakside linebacker for the next three years.

It's like nothing ever happened to Blake Countess. Obvious.

The loss of Jordan Kovacs, while inevitably painful, will be mitigated. Also obvious. The battle here is between Dymonte Thomas, who enrolled early, Jarrod Wilson, and little-used veterans Marvin Robinson and Josh Furman. Jeremy Clark may figure in as well.

I'm not sure how I want that to work out just yet but like center, it's for the best if someone grabs the job and sits on it. At least here seem to be a number of reasonable options.

Starting Beard is taken care of. Elliott Mealer is gone. Time to step it up, people. This town needs Vikings.

Unverified Voracity Are Is People Good U

Unverified Voracity Are Is People Good U

Submitted by Brian on March 29th, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Condolences. RIP Jon Hoke, Brady Hoke's father.

All hockey nicknames end in an "-ie" sound so let's just call him Dali. Shwn Hunwick's life story reached clock-melting levels of surrealism yesterday when a flood of current, future, and former Michigan hockey players started tweeting out congratulations on Hunwick's NHL debut. His father understandably thought this was a hoax:

“I thought he was pulling my leg. He’s kind of a prankster,” Rich said. "When I realized he wasn’t joking, it was just an incredible feeling.”

As did the security guy at the Blue Jackets' arena:

A 2003 Ford Ranger pulled into the players’ parking lot on Wednesday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Assorted hockey gear, two small goalie leg pads and a winged helmet sat in the bed of the pickup truck.

The newest member of the Columbus Blue Jackets opened the window to speak to the lot attendant.

Shawn Hunwick told the attendant that he was here to be the back-up goalie.

“I don’t think he really believed me,” Hunwick said. “But then he radioed up to somebody, and they said I was good.”

As did Ira Weintraub of WTKA. The fact that most of the congratulatory tweets were hash-tagged "midget" didn't help.

But lo, it was not a hoax. Wearing #31, a winged helmet, and his block-M-bearing goalie pads, Shawn Hunwick was the backup goalie for the Blue Jackets last night. There's evidence and everything:

shawn-hunwick-blue-jackets

With Blue Jacket goalies dropping like flies Hunwick may get signed for the duration of the season.

Q: is there a Hunwick Effect?

His powerful goalie repellent saw multiple touted prospects flee for the sanctuary of the OHL and Bryan Hogan twice suffered injuries that opened the door for him. It's possible his effect extends to nearby pro teams. Not only are the Blue Jackets ready to sign anyone who's available but Detroit started Ty Conklin last night thanks to injuries to both Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald. If emergency Blue Jackets starter Allen York suffers a lethal hangnail, Hunwick's ability to get on the ice can only be occult.

The Jackets' official site has a long profile to go with the Daily one linked above and this other Daily one.

BONUS CBJ IS A MESS NOTE: Jack Johnson has set franchise records for TOI twice in the last week, breaking his record of 31:25 yesterday by logging 32:26. Those are Torey Krug levels.

He needs your help. Will Hagerup's immortal animated GIF is up against a runaway golf cart in the GIF bracket's final four. He must not be defeated until the final, where even a partisan like myself thinks Rollerblading Raptors Mascot is a worthy challenger. I mean…

2009_medium[1]

…every time. Gets me every time. I really need to stop watching it. Okay one more time. Okay one more time. Okay one more time. I think I need an intervention. 

I ARE PROUD OF U AND TINK U SULD R BE HAPPY. Good lord, the Hollis thing. If you are living under a rock—even more than the tail I think it's the derp derp derp of the mouth that makes it—you should know that yesterday Trey Burke tweeted out something frustrated about making a decision and MSU's athletic director revealed himself to be a lolcat:

My advice believe in YOUR heart & mind, everything else is interference. People seek u out is better than those that seek u.

Yes, MSU's athletic director tweeted unsolicited advice to ignore unsolicited advice and toppped it off by writing "people is". Also I just punched that into twitter and found he had three more characters to spell out at least one of those "u" abominations, both if he dropped the period. The parody twitter account was inevitable, if sadly lacking in laughable grammatical errors.

The fact that MSU's AD appears to be a lolcat probably shouldn't be a surprise:

17398649[1]

That's MSU agreeing to road games against WMU, CMU, and Eastern, though it's not like we have much of a leg to stand on what with The Horror II on the docket and Brandon tweeting out something in response that, while about 10% as foolish, was unnecessary.

Moral of the story: athletic directors should not exist outside of press conferences. Also,

17398908[1]

In other Trey Burke stay or go news. Chad Ford's flat response to a Q on Burke's draft status:

tb (chicago)

Trey Burke's draft stock?

Chad Ford
  (1:43 PM)

Second round. He should go back to school

There is no hedging there. About the only thing he could have said that would have been more encouraging would be "…for six to ten years."

I don't get it. Dabo Swinney, who I want to call Dabo Dabo Doo but will not, wants spring practice to end with a scrimmage against another team:

It’s an idea that has been kicked around before. Here are the basics of Dabo’s proposal: College football teams have the option of a spring game against themselves or another team. If you play another team, it must be both an out-of-conference team but also one within a reasonable driving distance. The coaches will agree upon the rules of the scrimmage in advance.

“Personally, I think it would be a good thing for college football to do,” Swinney said. “College football takes in a lot of money. I think it would be an opportunity to give something back to your school or a charity."

I guess that would be okay, but I like Rich Rodriguez's idea to institute a preseason game against a I-AA foe as an annual event much better. That gives you another game, gets rid of the annoying bowl eligibility stuff, allows you an opportunity to get some preseason kinks out, and can be put in that week in late August when nothing's happening. And since it's a scrimmage no one can beat you.

The best part about all of this is new Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin's response to the idea:

"Dabo wants a jamboree? Why not?"

Hoodaddy Dabo wants a jamobree I tell ya. /boomhauer'd

Etc.: UMHoops kicks off postseason recaps with five low points from the season. That's the Michigan Difference right there. User Rabbit21 previews Air Force, his undergrad alma mater. Option option option. More exit talkin'($). People hate parking tickets.

Murdoch envisions an ESPN competitor, just like NBC envisions an ESPN competitor. I'll believe it when a major college football conference ends up on one of those channels and not before. Fox did grab the World Cup the instant ESPN figured out how to cover it really, really well. I'm still watching the raptor gif.

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-16-12: Brady Hoke

Spring Practice Presser Transcript 3-16-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on March 16th, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Oh herro prease. I'm back for spring practice. There will be two or three pressers every week leading up to the spring game, and I will be transcribing all of them. Huzzah!

News bullets and other important things:

  • Ricky Barnum is practicing at center.
  • Rocko Khoury, Terrence Robinson, Mike Cox, and George Morales are all graduating this spring and will not return for the 2012 season
  • Justice Hayes is staying at running back but will be considered for kickoff return duties.
  • The spring game will be a scrimmage due to lack of bodies on offensive and defensive line.

Brady Hoke

On wearing pants today: “I put them on just for you guys.”

Opening remarks:

“First, this is off-topic a little bit, but we had severe weather yesterday and the damage and all that was out there in Dexter, and I don’t know too many other places -- I think that was the worst hit, but our thoughts and prayers are with those folks who went through that. We had our guys here for training table and when the campus alert went out they were all in the locker room and it was one of those situations. Our thoughts and prayers really go out to those people who were affected by it.

“We also yesterday had our pro day, which is a part of your program that the guys who have given so much, the opportunity, the dream they may have about continuing after they get a great degree from Michigan and continuing to play the game of football. I thought they represented Michigan well, and we’re proud of them for that.

“As far as this team, Team 133, I think we have a lot of questions. I know I do from the perspective of who’s going to emerge as the leaders, who’s going to have the toughness to lead and the sacrifice to lead. I think we’ve had a good winter. You can see some guys developing, you can see some guys really working hard, but I think you put the pads on, spring football, those things, you learn a little bit more about your football team. Starting tomorrow morning we get to do that. It’s going to be fun because you get to wear shorts again, get out on the field … it’s going to be good.

"When you look at where we’re at, there’s some obvious holes that we need to fill from the standpoint of our defensive line with the three seniors graduating at the position who played a lot of snaps for us a year ago. When you look at our offensive line there’s some good competition, but at the same time we’ve got to see improvement from young guys like Chris Bryant. He’s done a good job with the weight room and that part of it, but how he continues and matures. And Ricky Barnum, we’re going to play him at center to start with and see where he ends up there. Elliott Mealer getting an opportunity at the guard position, and Schofield will go out to right tackle, and obviously Taylor will obviously be the left tackle. Really for us we were very fortunate from an injury (standpoint) on both sides nad both fronts when you look at the guys up front defensively who stayed relatively healthy until the bowl practices and the six guys who were really responsible for the front. Those were the obvious places. Obviously Junior, Odoms, and Kelvin Grady. There’s a rotation there, and Junior obviously having most [contribution] statistically and all those things. There’s heavy competition and there will be competition.

"That’s probably the longest I’ve ever spoke.”

On your defensive line, how big of a spring is this for Will Campbell?

“I think it’s big, but I think he’s made great progress [in] what he’s done from a physical standpoint how he looks and all those things. I think his leadership and that part of it, with Quinton Washington, Richard Ash, when you start looking at that nose position, the ability for Will to slide from the 3-technique to the nose position is important.”

What’s the biggest issue with moving a guy like Ricky from guard to center?

“I think number one, snapping the football is always a little different. Now we did quite a bit with Rick when he got back healthy last year, playing both. I think Darrell and Al both had that mindset, if we did get beat up somewhere else where we had to rotate those guys -- at the end of the day the best five guys have to play, however that rotation works out. But I think snapping the ball, the shot gun snaps, you’d like to see centers be able to snap and step at the same time.”

Is the reason you’re moving Ricky to center because you’re not confident in guys like Rocko Khoury or Jack Miller?

“Well …” (ominous pause) “… I think there’s some unknowns there. I think that’s the best way to put it.”

How has Craig Roh embraced the move to strongside and Jibreel Black with the move inside?

“I think they’ve really embraced it. I know when we had the conversation and Greg met with Craig after we discussed it staff-wise. It was like, okay. I get to eat a little more. If someone said that to me I’d be happy. He really has embraced it. They’ve done some senior drill work and all that where all those guys -- him and Jibreel both are really excited about it.”

Do you expect there to be greater competition on the offensive and defensive lines since a lot of positions are up for grabs?

“I think so. I think these guys have learned to compete more and more as far as what our perception of competition is and our expectation of competition. I think they understand what’s at stake and I think they also understand that September 1st is going to be here before we know it.”

Borges said on the radio that he wished he would have spent more time using the spread early on in the season before transitioning to the pro-style. Is there an opportunity to spend more time in the spread now?

“I think the more we get comfortable in this scheme, you may see a little more, but for us, I think Al when he’s talking about that, [he meant] maybe we could have had a little more success, but we were pretty good early. I think you could because of some things that we’ve looked at.”

How have the three early enrollees progressed through the winter?

“I think they’ve had a really great winter. The first thing you always look at is how they adjust from being away from home, mom not cooking, mom not doing your laundry. I think classes, and that responsibility -- I think Joe and Kaleb and Jarrod have all really done a good job. Talking to coach Wellman in the weight room and how their work ethic is, I think all three of them have done a tremendous job.

Have any of the three stood out in any way?

“I think they all have maybe not exceeded but have adjusted well.”

Attrition?

“Yeah, we’ve got some guys … George Morales is going to graduate. Rocko’s going to graduate. Terrence Robinson will graduate, and Mike Cox is graduating. I think that’s it.”

Is that this spring?

“Yeah. A couple of them have like six hours in the summer, because this is the winter quarter.”

So they will not be back in 2012?

“Hmm mm. (No.)”

Ws that their decision?

“I think it’s their decision.”

Could they take advantage of the post graduation transfer rule?

“Mm hmm. (Yes.)”

What do you expect out of Roy this season? Who do you have hope for at the receiver position to step up?

“I think the first guy you look at is always Roy. I think that Jeremy Gallon is a guy who has shown tremendous ability. You look at his year and he was pretty successful. You look at Jeremy Jackson and his development and his growth. Dileo is a really valuable guy to our team. Jerald Robinson is a guy -- he was down most of the year with us. He can be pretty productive. Joe Reynolds is a guy who’s worked awfully hard.”

What’s different going into the second spring here vs. a year ago?

“For us, I don’t know if you look at it a whole lot differently. I mean you’re always trying to meet expectations of competitiveness, toughness, leadership, development, discipline, and all those things. At the same time it’s probably a little -- I never want to say the word easier -- but they do know what certain terms mean now from an offensive schematic or defensive schematic in how we coach or how we call things.”

What’s the next step in leadership that you want to see Denard take?

“He’s done a really good job of leading this winter. He’s done a good job when you look at -- he’s always been an unselfish player, so that’s always something that his teammates have seen. But he’s always taken it and been a little more … you hear him a little more I guess. Holding guys accountable a little more.”

From a passing standpoint, how big is going back to the fundamentals and footwork?

“There’s no question. That’s an everyday thing, and that’s an everyday thing for every position. The fundamentals and techniques. Our guys do a lot of seven-on-seven in the offseason. Continually they work drills at every position, so that’s huge.”

Last year the defensive line set the tone for the defense. Do you set that kind of expectations for this group?

“No question about it. Your expectations don’t go down. They better increase because the bar is always going to be set high here at Michigan and should be. Those expectations are for the position, not the person who plays the position.”

How does their lack of experience change the way you approach that this season?

“It doesn’t. Maybe you are a little more patient when they don’t do it exactly like we want them to, so that might be part of it, but it really doesn’t.”

Do you anticipate growing pains with that group? What’s the kind of thing that will drive you crazy during spring practice?

“A guy not playing with toughness and a guy not running to the football. That will drive me crazy.”

How good do you feel about your back seven? All of them are returning.

“I think as a whole, as a unit, I feel good -- I feel good about the kids themselves. As a unit that’s going to play at the level we need to play, I don’t feel very good because we didn’t play as well as we needed to a year ago. I’m not a huge statistic guy, but you go in and you look at opportunities that we missed either in passes broken up or interceptions on that end or supporting the end, getting off a block and doing that, and you’re looking at your linebackers a little bit -- your inside guys, are they missing tackles or making tackles? I’ve always been from the school that we’re going to be really critical, so I like the guys who we have. I like the guys who are coming in. I think we’ll have great competition by the time September 1st gets here. That part of it’s good, and I like that. I like having guys how have had some experience. Now where can they take the next step with the fundamentals and schematically of what we’re trying to do so that we don’t get beaten by Michigan State or we don’t get beaten by Iowa or we don’t give up this many points against somebody.”

With the attrition, you seem to be pretty low in terms of numbers.

“Well we’ve been low in numbers for a while, especially at the offensive line position from a scholarship standpoint. I think last year we had eight guys. Usuaully that number is 14 to 16. From a defensive line standpoint, if you’re going to have a four-man front, you better have 14 to 16 scholarship guys. We weren’t even close.”

Are you happy about how 2013 recruiting is going?

“Well number one, this is not an exact science and you don’t really know what you get until they get here because this is a hard game to play and hard to be championship teams and play. I think our coaches have worked extremely hard. I think they do a tremendous job evaluating and we’ll see. That’s why there’s a signing date. First Wednesday in February. But we’ll see. We have a long way to go.”

Punting struggles with Will Hagerup?

“The punting situation is one that will be competitive. I think both guys are very capable. I think the consistency we need to have by whoever that guy is is going to be an important part.”

How do you see the running back situation shaping up since Fitz locked down the starting position last season?

“Well he’s going to compete. He’s going to compete there. I think I’ve said this since day one. There’s nothing sacred. There’s no position that’s given an entitlement. He ended the year doing a nice job for us. You have to love the kid -- I do -- because of his competitiveness. I think he grew up a lot during the course of the year with whatthe expectiations are for a Michigan back. But Thomas Rawls and Vince Smith and Hayes, you know, there’s guys there. He can’t have a bad day.”

You mentioned Justice Hayes. Are you keeping him at running back or moving him to another position?

“No, he’s a back. We’ll see how he transpires. The good thing about him, he does have that talent where he can go out and catch the ball and he’s got great explosion. Kickoff returns -- he’d be a guy we want to look at because he’s got a gear to him that’s a little different.”

Spring game format?

“It’ll probably be a lot like last year. We’d love to have a true spring game, there’s no doubt about it. I said some numbers earlier about your most physical two positions on your team, and our numbers aren’t where they need to be.”

Are you taking walk-ons this spring?

“We’ll wait more until the fall.”