Unverified Voracity Is Almost A Black Hole

Unverified Voracity Is Almost A Black Hole

Submitted by Brian on April 25th, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Denser than a neutron star. SI's draft profile of Jonas Mouton:

 image

That is a very dense 239-pound human, or it's Terrence Robinson. I'm just amazed someone took a picture of Robinson holding the ball—he's got one career catch.

Not so much. According to GBW's Bret Osburn, hockey forward Jacob Fallon won't return to the team next year($). We haven't seen confirmation anywhere else but the addition of Sinelli could be construed like a kind of a "whoah, we need a guy" thing. He'd be Michigan's 14th forward if Fallon does come back, and while you want a couple extra guys around forward #14 can probably come from the club team. (Krikor Arman say what.) More than next year it's the jam adding Sinelli creates in the next two years that make his addition seem kind of like an either/or with Fallon.

The most convincing possible argument against the BCS. Everyone likes Andy Staples. He writes interesting things, thinks advanced stats might have some merit, and is willing to get in twitter fights with SBN bloggers without being condescending to them. But there is no greater reason to like Andy Staples than his admittedly half-cocked BCS implosion scenario. Specifically, this bit:

The Fiesta, after missing out on Big Ten No. 2, takes Pac-10 No. 2 and matches it against Notre Dame. Every year. Because Notre Dame equals ratings and sellouts.

That's right, Notre Dame: "after missing out on Big Ten No. 2". /Degeneration X entrance in your face

The mouths of babes part XXI. In a Sam Webb article on OH LB Joe Bolden, Bolden drops some super secret future plans:

"They are definitely up there on the list," Bolden said of the Wolverines. "The facilities are impressive. Both indoor fields are as long as the outdoor grass and outdoor turf fields. Then you just walk into the Big House and look from side to side — 115,000 people are screaming for you on a Saturday. There is probably no feeling like it. They told me that they were going to add about 6,000 seats. That's definitely an impressive thing."

Those would presumably be more rows in the endzone, but how that works with new scoreboards is undetermined. Do they flank the scoreboards? Would they move their  grand spanking new boards? Do they set one back or something? Someone interview another recruit so we can find out.

The past! Um… was anyone allowed at Wisconsin's spring game? This is a somewhat sincere question. They won the Big Ten, the weather was nice, and most of the shots in this video feature zero (0) spectators:

While you can see some people in the endzones they could be parents or something.

In other news, zero touchdowns were scored, all of Wisconsin's quarterbacks are terrible and they'll spend the next four years going 3-10,000 because they don't play Michigan. Sorry, Wisconsin. We don't make the schedule, we just doom everyone who doesn't play us. We don't like it either.

(HT: EDSBS.)

Tatgate warp. I guess the NCAA has been working on OSU's case since at least December but even so they've pounded out a Notice of Allegations against Tressel & co in record time. When Michigan got their version of that during the Jihad I did an email interview with the Bylaw Blog that tried to get a sense of how final all this was. The answer was "pretty final":

A major violation case, once it gets to this point, rarely is argued back down to a secondary infraction. To get to a Notice of Allegations, especially in this case, the enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions would have worked very closely to decide if there were major violations, ultimately the COI's decision.

Individual major violations are sometimes downgraded to secondary violations during the response and hearing. In the Kelvin Sampson case at IU, one of the original five major violations--that Sampson and assistant coach Jeff Meyer gave Derek Elston a backpack and t-shirt and recruited him during a camp--was found to be only a secondary violation. Of course, the COI can add too, like the failure to monitor charge that came after the committee hearing.

Expect all or almost all of the allegations in the NOA to stick. They are:

  • Seven different players sold or exchanged memorabilia.
  • Tressel "knew or should have known" two of these players were ineligible but played them anyway.
  • Jim Tressel lied about this—the dread almost-certain-firing bylaw 10.1 violation.

…and that's it. So much for delicious rumors of point shaving/something much worse/Ohio nuclear apocalypse, at least for now.

Not that the above doesn't constitute something close to Ohio nuclear apocalypse. The Dispatch's article has some raw numbers that are alarming for OSU fans: 13,385, 500, and 6000. The former is the amount of money the seven players got. The latter are the amounts Troy Smith and a basketball recruit got in the recent past. The first is pretty big; the second two expose OSU to repeat violator status. While Michigan was technically a repeat violator when the Jihad started, their eventual infractions were major in name only and had nothing to do with Ed Martin; here this seems like the continuation of a pattern.

As far as Tressel himself goes, the email trail is even more damning than previously known. The Dispatch:

After Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel was alerted that some of his players had traded memorabilia for free tattoos from a suspected drug dealer, he exchanged numerous emails, phone calls and text messages with the tipster, his star quarterback Terrelle Pryor and Pryor's mentors.

Documents obtained by The Dispatch also show Tressel called an FBI agent within days of getting the first email warning the coach of the potential NCAA rules violation and a federal drug investigation.

But OSU records don't show a single call or email from Tressel to the Ohio State compliance office in which he could have reported his players' apparent violations of NCAA regulations.

(Some OSU spokesman claims the dozen extra emails between Tressel and Sarniak were "inadvertently omitted" from previous document releases.) Michigan fan disclaimers and all that but I can't see how anyone can construe that as anything other than a deliberate decision to not suspend players known to be ineligible. The text of that email to Sarniak:

"This guy, Chris Cicero, is a criminal lawyer in town. He played here when I was an assistant coach in the early 1980s. He has always looked out for us. jt"

If anything justifies a we-have-to-fire-you show cause it's this case*. I mean, right? I'm betting OSU vacates last season, gets a bowl ban for this one, and gets a show-cause on Tressel. Scholarship penalties could be in the offing but I'm guessing they won't be severe unless the NCAA justifies it with that "repeat offender" status.

*[Um… other than trying to frame a murdered player of yours as a drug dealer.]

wilkins-bombed

Spring extrapolations. Magnus picture-pages the Cox touchdown from the spring game and comes away with some conclusions: no Wilkins this year (he was obliterated by two walk-ons), not so much on Herron, Marvin Robinson is highly inconsistent.

Etc.: Rodriguez says going to Michigan wasn't the best decision he's ever made, which… yeah. Depressing headline. Pete Bigelow claims Cullen Christian's exit doesn't "make for another cornerback crisis," and he's right: it continues and deepens a secondary-wide crisis that has been raging at various levels for going on ten years. Soon pirates will start appearing off the coast of the Michigan secondary. UMHoops scouts a bunch of 2013 targets. Christian transfers to—surprise!—Pitt. Someone owes me ten million dollars. Penn State's first coach is Guy Gadowsky, previously of Princeton.

Unverified Voracity Flags Down Shawn Kemp

Unverified Voracity Flags Down Shawn Kemp

Submitted by Brian on April 21st, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Facepalm of the last half-hour. Trey Keenan is a Texas offensive lineman with three stars, a Michigan offer, and a slightly shaky grasp of the recent past($):

Keenan admits he likes the direction that the new staff is taking the program. “I like that they’re going back to being the old Michigan and not the team that got beat by Appalachian State,” he said.

It's a good thing I set up a facepalm hotkey. Ctrl+Alt+FFFFUUU:

facepalm-godzilla

Dude is hardcore. Hey, look, it's the Little Brown Jug:

dude-is-hardcore

Just hanging out… uh… in some guy's basement on what appears to be a pool table. This would be the point at which we round up a posse and hunt down the varmit who stole our danged jug, but that would be pointless violence since some dude made a Brown Jug replica (and apparently that box) because he is hardcore. Auburn fans should try this: get some hardcore guy to make a replica of Toomer's Corner. Problem solved.

Come on, baby. Red apparently doesn't think anyone's jetting in the offseason:

Michigan coach Red Berenson said Monday he finished his postseason individual meetings with players and doesn't expect anyone to leave early for the pro ranks. The Wolverines, who advanced to the national title game, return two outstanding defensemen in junior Brandon Burlon and freshman Jon Merrill.

No quotes and frankly the Detroit News isn't an outlet that spends a lot of time on hockey, but… woo? It wouldn't be too outlandish: Merrill and Burlon are the only serious departure threats and both are Devils draftees. The Devils have a track record of leaving kids in college and have a number of D prospects a bit further along the development path than their guys at Michigan.

While it's kind of a negative that I can't think of a Michigan forward who would even think of an NHL departure at least we won't get blindsided, except of course we will.

Attention Shawn Kemp. You take any random son of an NBA star, have him commit to Michigan, and bam he's awesome:

I did not recognize Glenn “Trey” Robinson when compared to the skinny kid I watched last summer. Robinson was maybe 175 pounds soaking wet then.

Now he has a body that makes you envision a flying combo forward finishing strong on the offensive end with lock down ability defensively. Robinson did just that Friday night against Upstate. He finished at the rim, often violently, through contact.

That's the third or fourth early rave GRIII has picked up in the month or so AAU ball has been going on. In addition NBE lists Robinson at 6'8"(!), 205. Other first-hand reports like those of UMHoops think that's generous, but he's clearly bigger than he was when he committed.

(HT: UMHoops.)

Stats are bad (this time). I hate to disagree with a guy who goes back and checks out actual game film instead of talking about football players playing football, but KC Joyner has an ESPN Insider article that claims Michigan is going to have an "elite passing game"($) this year because of some shiny Denard stats that I think are silly.

Joyner splits Denard's attempts* into buckets by yardage: 11.9 YPA on throws of 11-19 yards, 16.4 YPA on throws from 20-29 yards, and 15.4 YPA on throws of more than 30 yards. These compare favorably to some guy you may have heard of:

A review of 11 of Ryan Mallett's games against SEC and bowl-level competition over the past two seasons found that the possible future first-round draft pick (and one of college football's top passers) posted an 8.2 total YPA, an 11.6 vertical YPA and a 14.6 stretch vertical YPA.

Robinson's 10 games include his three worst contests from last season with regard to passer rating (Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame) and exclude his two of his three best passer rating contests (Massachusetts and Bowling Green), yet he was still able to top Mallett in all three categories.

There are a number of problems with this analysis. One: it does not account for the frequency of throws. Mallett's Hogs passed 53% percent of the time; Michigan threw on 40% of snaps. Two: Denard's throws are heavily slanted towards short stuff. The "stretch vertical" number cited by Joyner consists of just 31 attempts, which is both a sample size problem and another equilibrium issue. Three:

A large number of Denard's long touchdowns were stupidly easy because of the system that ran so much and so effectively, often with Robinson himself. You can't point to 11 completions featuring safeties going "WHAT DO I DO /explodes" and extrapolate anything approximating Mallett's production. The opportunities above simply will not exist in an under-center WCO, leaving Denard to try to do this:

I love Denard like he is a combination of my own son and Olivia Wilde but I don't think he's making throws like that. Maybe "simply will not exist" is a bit much, but the amount of pressure Denard put on opposing safeties last year—and the interceptions he threw even when given reasonable windows—prevents you from divorcing his production from his system.

I'm not saying he won't be a better QB than he was last year. I'm saying the smart bet is on a significant reduction in passer efficiency if he's operating a WCO.

*[Attempts against Michigan's Big Ten schedule, ND, and UConn. Unclear why the bowl was left out. Probably because KC Joyner doesn't like watching snuff films.]

Get this man a cereal commercial. Don't tell that to Denard, though, who says "I really like this offesne and what we're doing" in a brief TSN interview. Also:

Q: Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison says he talks a lot of trash to you. What’s going on there?

Robinson: We have that love/hate relationship. I love competing against him. Every day at practice, he says something to make you want to compete.

Q: What does he say?

Robinson: He says, ‘You can’t throw. Can’t throw.’ I know he’s teasing. I make a throw, and I’ll say something to him. Or I’ll just look over and smile at him.

Thank God for Denard—whenever you're feeling ambivalent about your connection to the program because of the Braylon Edwardses of the world just think about Denard.

Um… thanks? Believe it or not, this is Jack Nicklaus trying to say something nice about Ohio State:

"I don't know what really happened, but I'll promise you that Tressel wasn't the only one that knew what happened," Nicklaus told The Plain Dealer.

If he's right pieces of the Ohio State athletic department will be slowly descending from the troposphere for decades. (Not that he's anything other than a very famous message board poster in this department.)

Etc.: Ace relates the story of his first game at Michigan Stadium. I'd play but I can't remember which game it was because I was small. The Hero Of Tiananmen Square (AKA John Pollack, king of futile Big House preservation attempts) puts out an awful book on puns featuring many awful puns. As per usual, he misses the point entirely. You should have gone to Vermont, but at least you didn't go to Iowa State. TTB outlines the 4-3 under in parts: line, linebackers, and secondary. Forward Thinking surveys the QB landscape in the aftermath of Zeke Pike's Auburn commitment. If you didn't get enough carpet-bombing of former players who have fallen back in love with Michigan football, Mets Maize is over Avignon right now.

Mailbag: Denard As Troy Smith, Hoke Tatgate Hypothetical

Mailbag: Denard As Troy Smith, Hoke Tatgate Hypothetical

Submitted by Brian on April 15th, 2011 at 12:13 PM

troy-smith-heisman-trophy-winner-michael-fieldsdenard-robinson-heisman

It's no Nuge but it's something. Also: Daily.

So it seems a lot of people, including you, I believe, have resisted the "Denard Robinson 2011 = Michael Vick 2010" path to blind hope for the upcoming football season. I'm as hopeful as anyone else because duh, but I'm also aware that Robinson is probably too small and inaccurate at this point in his development for this to be a realistic possibility.

But what about Troy Smith? I believe that kid was around Robinson's size, but probably a little slower and had an arm that was probably a bit more accurate but not quite as strong. Do you agree that Smith (against anyone other than Michigan, against which he was a planet-devouring demigod regardless of the season you want to talk about) is a realistic/optimistic benchmark we can have in mind when projecting Robinson in 2011?

This isn't to say Robinson will be as good as Smith, only that their skill sets are comparable, as are the coaching philosophies under which they operated, and that getting some mixed bag of 2005 and 2006 Troy Smith out of the QB position would be a positive.

-Anon

Troy Smith's career does give some hope that a hopeless n00b of a quarterback can develop into a lethal gunslinger. When Justin Zwick was injured midway through 2004 he was pressed into the lineup as redshirt sophomore and was somewhere between Sheridan and Forcier until he played Michigan. You don't need to be told he was insane against M: 18 rushes for 145 yards, 13 of 23 passing for 241 yards, three total touchdowns, no turnovers.

Without that game his numbers were turrible: 3.0 YPC, 6.6 YPA, 56% completion percentage. With it—and as much as we hate to admit it, that happened—his redshirt sophomore numbers were about on par with Tate Forcier as a freshman except with fewer turnovers. With the exception of TD-INT ratio, Denard was actually well ahead of him as a true sophomore, averaging almost nine yards per attempt and running for a billion yards at 6.6 yards a pop.

So if he can improve as much as Smith we're in business. The next year he blew up, completing 63% of his passes for 9.3 yards an attempt with 16 TDs and 4 INTs. He also rushed for around 600 yards on 12 carries a game.

Problem? Yes:

  • Smith was handing off and throwing to Santonio Holmes (first round pick), Ted Ginn (first round pick), Antonio Pittman (fourth round pick), and Anthony Gonzalez (first round pick). You can see Stonum and Roundtree getting drafted but probably not until late; Smith had a ton more talent at his disposal than Robinson will.
  • Smith had the same coaches for the duration of his career.
  • Smith's improvement was standard deviations above the mean, so while it's an optimistic benchmark for Denard it's not one it's reasonable to expect he'll reach.
  • Smith's running ability may have opened up some passing lanes for him but nowhere near as many as Robinson's did. If you're going to de-emphasize Robinson's legs that should make it tougher to pass and easier to run.

If Smith provides an optimistic benchmark for Robinson he also provides one for Michigan's coaches: as Smith developed Ohio State's offense gradually morphed into a passing spread reminiscent of Purdue at its absolute apex. This is generally out of character for Tressel—he only brings out the spread option for Pryor in times of great need—but as Smith developed he earned enough trust from his coaches for them to play to his strengths.

Have a question for you, Sir. This is all hypothetical but I was wondering what would you think at the end of it all?

April 2011 - Coach Hoke receives email concerning Player X selling comp tickets (nevermind everyone does it, it is still illegal), Coach Hoke emails back, says he'll check into it. Now...what does Coach Hoke do? What do you hope he does? Go to Compliance? Or handle it internally?

So, he decides to handle it internally
April 2011 - Coach Hoke asks player, player denies selling tickets.
April 2011 - Send email to parents of Player X reminding them that selling comp tickets is illegal.
April 2011 - Has meeting with team reminding that comp tickets can't be sold.
June 2011 - Sends email to person who sent first email verifying that Player X did indeed sell tickets (so, he doesn't get tickets for upcoming season)
Dec 2011 - Michigan Compliance Office gets documentation that Player X did indeed sell tickets.
Dec 2011 - Player X confesses to selling tickets...Michigan self-reports and recommends 5 games for the following season (since that is the normal recommended punishment for this type of violation and the fact that the player didn't come forward).
Dec 2011 - Coach Hoke signs document that no other information was available (giving him the benefit of the doubt, since he gets several hundred emails a day and the fact that he's gone through an entire football season)
Jan 2011 - Michigan Compliance office finds emails related to ticket incident while searching for something else.
Feb 2011 - Michigan Compliance Office interviews Coach Hoke and self-reports information. Recommends 2 games hoping that Player X's suspension is reduced.
March 2011 - Player X's suspension is upheld, Coach Hoke changes his suspension to match Player X.

So, what should Michigan do with Coach Hoke? What do you want to happen to Coach Hoke if he got caught up in something he thought that he could handle internally?

I know it is all hypothetical in nature though Player X could be anyone and I imagine this event could easily come to pass, but everyday coaches make decisions, some good and some bad...but I would be interested in hearing what you would want to happen if this particular event were to go down that way.

Really enjoy your site even though I'm an Ohio State fan...as we don't quite have anything like it.

I'm not sure if that exact scenario rises to the level of a firing—which I'm guessing is the aim of the email—but that part at the top where you get a credible email from someone known to you about guys getting illegal benefits and do not immediately notify compliance is a huge deal. Maybe this is just me speaking as a Michigan fan who has lived through the great annoyance arising from a lack of communication with compliance, but I don't think so. Your compliance department is still "internal." It's not the NCAA. It's essentially on your side unless it really shouldn't be, and they need to know exactly these kinds of things. You can handle a bar fight internally. You cannot handle extra benefits internally.

There are also some key differences between the above scenario and what appears to have transpired at OSU. The hypothesized investigation-type substance where Hoke asks the player about selling tickets and gets a "no" is not sufficient in OSU's case—the original email broke lawyerly confidence to reveal a federal investigation had turned this up. The lawyer is a former OSU walk-on who has defended OSU players in court; he followed up his concern with a second credible email. That's a situation in which you can't just say "did you do this?" and be satisfied with the answer. Though we're not 100% sure on the details yet it seems like the information relayed should have been easy to confirm and only wasn't because there was strong motive not to.

I agree the form Tressel signed a few months later is one of those things that runs across your desk and you sign it because it's boilerplate. But once the investigation is underway, not telling the U or NCAA about some funny emails you responded to and even forwarded to Terrelle Pryor's sketchy "mentor" is far less plausibly innocent.

In the end, Ohio State got to and won a BCS bowl because of Tressel's actions that kept five ineligible players on the field; the alternative was likely indefinite suspensions until the investigation was completed. It looks like a breathtakingly cynical act, and it's not just Michigan fans saying this. What's described above can plausibly be described as "mistake"—and that is what separates it from Tressel's deliberate cover-up.

Brian,

I got into a conversation with one of my close friends from Michigan about something you wrote in a blog post two days ago:  "There's no reason any women's basketball coach not at UConn or Tennessee should be making more than 100k. What's going to happen? Are the empty seats going to stop coming?"

My friend had forwarded it to me because he thought your comment was hilarious.  It ended up leading into a much more detailed discussion on coaching salaries.  Have you by chance seen the athletic department salaries?  It is very interesting. 

Three things stand out:

1. dominated by the football staff (though not surprising)

2. the sheer number of women's sport coaches (regardless of gender) who make over $100,000 (softball, soccer, etc.)

*3. how many comparable sports where the women's coach makes significantly more than the men's coach.  for example, consider tennis (women's coach: $115k.   men's coach: $94K),  soccer (women's: $152K.  men's: $72.5K), track (women's: $122K.  men's: $82K), gymnastics (women's: $156K.  men's: $91K), and cross country (women's: $103K.  men's: $75K).    Any thoughts as to the reason for the discrepancies?  As far as I know, TItle 9 does not regulate coaching salaries.  Is it explainable by length of service?  Or perhaps that the men's coaches are making more through other avenues (i.e., camps, sponsorships, etc.)? 

Mike
BBA '01, Lifelong Michigan Fan

A number of the discrepancies are obvious: the women's soccer coach used to run the national team; the men's coach used to run Michigan's club team. Carol Hutchins has established Michigan as a softball superpower. She's the equivalent of women's basketball coaches at UConn and Tennessee. The women's track coach is in his 27th year while the men's coach is in his second; the cross-country coaches are in year 19 and 1, respectively.

While I don't get why there's such a gap in the gymnastics salaries—women's gymnastics is consistently very good but the men won the national title last year—most of those are easily explainable by seniority or other obvious factors. My main thing is that all these salaries grate when the NCAA claims poverty prevents them from doing more for the guys who bring in the money by risking what now seems to be quite a lot. The only environment in which a gymnastics program drawing 1500 people per meet can afford to pay their head coach 100 dollars for every head in the stands is one in which administrators are like "good God, what do we do with all this money?"

Um.

your next UV title most definitely needs to come from this site: http://yes.thatcan.be/my/next/tweet/

I put in mgoblog and got this sample tweet:

MGoPost: TomVH: An Interview with the board can't get any head explodes.

I am very sorry, board, but yes.thatcan.be/my/next/tweet/ does not lie. Not that it's making a huge leap in suggesting that about a sports message board.

Pants For Sale

Pants For Sale

Submitted by Brian on April 5th, 2011 at 12:18 PM

This is all Michigan's fault for flooding the market with the damn things but even so it was inevitable that some gold pants would show up on the TV. Reader Clark Jansen grabbed a camera and forwards along images with details:

pawn-stars-1

pawn-stars-2

Assuming they didn't flip the pants when they… uh… flipped them*, the 2008 edition belongs to either Doug Worthington or Donald Washington, both of whom were redshirt juniors and are no longer around. Sorry to disappoint the suspension-minded. The 2002 pants belonged to LeAndre Boone.

No doubt both of these were stolen, etc etc etc, and are not emblematic of OSU boosters habitually funneling money to players.

*[I don't see an LB on the 2008 roster so this is a safe assumption.]

Unverified Voracity Is Holding Out For Shoulder Pad Lasers

Unverified Voracity Is Holding Out For Shoulder Pad Lasers

Submitted by Brian on April 4th, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Tom-Harmon

Probably not this throwback

Three days later we can say this is probably not an April Fools joke. If you're like me you thought the announcement Michigan and Notre Dame would wear throwback uniforms for their upcoming night game (with lasers!) was a cleverly plausible April Fools joke. It is not so:

"We're going to have throwback uniforms. As they will," Kelly told the Tribune. "I can tell you what theirs look like -- They have a block 'M' on them, and a number, and a number on their helmet. How's that? The adidas [Ed:* (this means footnote)] people at Michigan are going to be (ticked) at me."

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told The Detroit News on Friday that while Michigan is working on a special uniform project for the night game with Adidas and is excited about it, nothing has yet been determined.

If I was the AD I'd tell people Michigan was going to come out in throwbacks, then make a derisive wanking motion in their direction when Michigan hit the field in the same classic uniforms they've been wearing since time began. This is one of infinite reasons why I'm not the AD.

The immediate worry is that Michigan's "throwbacks" will be throwbacks in the Ohio State sense—"this stupid-looking stormtrooper outfit has nothing at all to do with whatever we claim it does"—instead of the Lions sense—"they should wear these all the time." If we were still with Nike this would not even be a question. Our throwbacks would come with futuristic lizard scales—mascot appropriate!—and they'd make the wings on the helmet wings of flame because that's rad. Adidas might actually produce a throwback that looks reasonably like what players wore in the long long ago.

As you might expect, MVictors has a list of changes since Bo's arrival. If there's a number on the helmet we're going back to at least 1968—and who wouldn't want to commemorate 1968? BONUS: Doctor Saturday pointed out on twitter that Michigan and Notre Dame were in one of their periodic snits during the 60s and never played.

*[Back in the day when I was editing everyone's Every Three Weekly stories I bought a few usage/copyediting books. My favorite was Lapsing Into A Comma, the one written by a longtime Washington Post grammar curmudgeon. One of the things that stuck is that you are not obligated to comply with the marketing department's wishes when you are trying to write understandable English sentences. Yahoo does not have an exclamation point because that's punctuation in the middle of a fricking sentence(!). E-Trade is not E*Trade because we are not multiplying trade by 2.71 etc etc etc. Adidas is Adidas, not adidas, because it is a proper noun. Do not let marketers define the acceptable limits of language because obviously.]

Do one thing well. Great article from Smart Football on WVU coach-in-waiting/energy-drink-fiend Dana Holgorsen's philosophy on installing your offense:

Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia’s new offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting, has frequently said that his entire record breaking offense can be installed “in three days.” And, now that his three days of spring practice are up, he said on day four his team will simply “start over,” and will run through this install period three or four times during the spring. Wait, what? Hasn’t Holgorsen been a part of record breaking offenses for more than a decade, including the last three (at Houston and then Oklahoma State) as head orchestrator? Doesn’t saying you can install your entire top tier Division-I men’s college football offense in three lousy days seem a little bit like, I don’t know, bullshit?

Yeah, kind of, but Chris Brown (not that Chris Brown (or that other Chris Brown inexplicably wearing a Jalen jersey)) goes on to explain that if you were going to boil down Holgorsen's philosophy in one word it would be "specialization." No one plays, or even thinks of playing, multiple positions in his offense. Receivers are X or Y or Z from the day they show up until the day they leave.

This may go against "getting the ball to your playmakers," but Holgorsen argues the ball will find them anyway. Brown:

The idea is a simple one: with limited practice time and, to be honest, limited skills, kids need to focus on a few things and to get better at them — the jack of all trades is incredibly overrated. While Urban Meyer’s Florida offense thrived for a time with Tebow and his omnipositional teammate, Percy Harvin, I’d argue that this reliance on a “Percy Position” — a guy that can play most every skill position on offense — eventually does more harm than good. I’m all for getting the ball to playmakers in different ways, but I am not — and neither is Holgorsen — a fan of doing it to the detriment of repetitions and becoming a master at your given position.

Michigan did this pretty well on offense, something best exemplified by Roy Roundtree becoming the second-leading receiver in the league as a slot receiver without a ton of wiggle. Michigan also avoided the widespread position-flopping on the offensive line that was characteristic of the late Carr era when someone went down injured.

They were beyond horrible at this on defense. A quick list of players who switched positions just last year: Cam Gordon, Thomas Gordon, Marvin Robinson, Craig Roh, Renaldo Sagesse, Adam Patterson, Ryan Van Bergen, JB Fitzgerald, Jordan Kovacs, and in one sense or another every damn player. Michigan moved from a fairly straight 4-3 under with an "okie" blitz package to a 3-3-5 to a 4-2-5 nickel back to a fairly straight 4-3 under to a 3-3-5 again, except they ran everything too and went from primarily 4-3/3-4 against MSU and Iowa to a straight 3-3-5 against PSU. It was a complete disaster that eventually undermined even what looked like an offense ready to put the throttle all the way down and probably justified Rodriguez's quick firing.

Random mental exercise: boil down other coaches' philosophy into single word.

  • Lloyd Carr, Jim Tressel, Mark Dantonio: execute
  • Rich Rodriguez: numbers
  • Chip Kelly: pace
  • Gus Mahlzahn: bewilder
  • Bret Bielema: hampeople
  • Danny Hope: whimper
  • Pat Fitzgerald: MacGuyver
  • Jerry Kill: kill (this should be Jerry Kill's philosophy in all things)
  • Mike DeBord: waste

Restate position on trash talk. Good. Draymond Green:

And then to lose twice, it still bothers me. Because it’s Michigan and I hate, just, it makes them feel like they’re better than us. After them not winning at the Breslin for like 13 years, however long it was. And now they feel like this is their state. And this is Michigan State’s state. We own this state, it’s our state. And it gives them the hope and a crazy reason to think this is their state. And I completely disagree with that 100 percent.

A BRIEF LIST OF REASONS MICHIGAN'S BASKETBALL TEAM BELIEVES THEY ARE BETTER THAN MICHIGAN STATE'S BASKETBALL TEAM:

  • Beat Michigan State 61-57 at Breslin
  • Beat Michigan State 70-63 at Crisler
  • Finished with better overall record
  • Finished with better KenPom ranking
  • Advanced to second round of NCAA tournament
  • Came up three points short of Sweet 16 bid
  • Did not start elf who bakes cookies
  • Is better than Michigan State's basketball team

These reasons probably do not qualify as crazy, especially when there are zero seniors departing. (Via UMHoops)

Rankings that may or may not mean anything. Scout is the first off the mark with a top 100—actually, a top 300. Blue In Cleveland compiled players of interest. I'll whittle his whittling down to guys Michigan seems to be in the top three for:

Stefon Diggs is listed as #2 at SAFETY!, 5*,- 16th overall
Zeke Pike #3 QB, 5*, 25th overall
Jordan Diamond #9 OT, 4*, 40th overall
Sheldon Day #9 DT, 4*, 64th overall
James Ross #2 MLB, 4*, 72nd overall
Royce Jenkins-Stone  #7 OLB, 4*, 105th overall
Chris Wormley #13 DE, 4*, 112th overall
Danny O'Brien #14 DT, 4*, 131st overall
Ron Thompson  #5 TE, 4*, 137th overall 
Terry Richardson #8 CB, 4*, 139th overall
Kaleb Ringer #8 MLB, 4*, 206th overall

The two OL commits picked up three-star rankings, which whatever. They're OL. Even final rankings for them are wobbly; these are hardly extant. Matt Godin landed just outside the top 300, FWIW.

As I said when Hoke was hired, he's got a combination of a great in-state class, several out-of-state guys who were Michigan leans from birth (Diamond, Wormley, Day), and a strong Ohio class in a year where OSU is light on scholarships. That was before all this Tressel whatnot went down. Hop out to a good start and hold on to it and he could bring in a much-needed shot in the arm.

It just keeps going until the day it stops. More Ohio State WTF:

Ohio State officials were aware Jim Tressel had forwarded sensitive emails to quarterback Terrelle Pryor's mentor in Jeanette, Pa. during an initial March 8 press conference ….

During that original press conference, Tressel was asked by Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel specifically if the coach had forwarded the emails to anyone else. Tressel seemed to answer yes but he was interrupted by AD Gene Smith who said that information was part of the investigation. It is not clear how far back that Ohio State officials knew about the additional concealment of the Sarniak information.

Smug popcorn consumption image macro goes here.

Etc.: Also in that UMHoops post: Glenn Robinson III picks up a couple positive reviews in early AAU action and Michigan is still getting mentioned for 6'6" German PG(!) Patrick Heckmann. Now we get to speculate about Max Bielfeldt's loaded family paying his way instead of Illinois fans. More realistically, he would be an option if Darius Morris enters the draft. MGoBlue practice videos up the music drama. Zoltan's working at a private equity firm during this whole lockout business. Hockey commits Tyler Motte and Evan Allen score all three goals in a Honeybaked win over Shattuck for a U16 national tourney title. Charlie Sheen's Detroit appearance… not so good.

Unverified Voracity Obeys Senator

Unverified Voracity Obeys Senator

Submitted by Brian on March 31st, 2011 at 3:12 PM

Epic fark. There is a Jim Tressel Signing Things fark thread at TigerDroppings featuring frequent contributions from LSUFreek. There's an excessive quantity of lolbewbs but there are also gems like this:

tresselsigning_theylive

Try to get that out of your head within the next decade.

Refinements. Frequent diarist the_white_tiger has started up his blog, Maize Colored Glasses, and one of his first posts is a refinement of the polynomial graphs purveyed on The Only Colors that show performance trends over the conference season. TWT increased the polynomial count—this allows more "turns" in the graph—and normalized for opponent performance.

Michigan's result won't surprise you but the way they got there might:

michigan polynomial

There might have been a very slight uptick in the offense; the defense got massively better. The really really high yellow spot on the graph was that Indiana blowout. Horrible team given many points == ugly. From there the turnaround was gradual improvement. I linked one of John Gasaway's "Tuesday Truths" column around the middle of the conference season to point out that Michigan was dead last in defense; the year-end numbers TWT is using show them squarely middle of the road (sixth).

My favorite other graph is Minnesota's:

minnesota polynomial

There should be a vertical line at game seven labeled "Al Nolen explodes, season goes with it."

Burlon status. Brandon Burlon is tentatively expected to play at next weekend's Frozen Four:

After not being able to eat solid foods last week, losing close to 20 pounds and as a result having to sit out during the regional round of the playoffs. Brandon Burlon skated at Monday and Tuesday’s practices. He said he’s regaining the weight steadily.

Burlon said he expects to play next weekend, but a final determination has not been made.

Twenty pounds seems a little sensational. In any case, getting Burlon back would be huge as Michigan goes up against a Sioux team featuring the best—or, from Michigan's perspective, worst—aspects of the UNO and CC teams they beat to reach St. Paul. Like CC, they have a lights out top line. Hobey lock Matt Frattin is coring at a nearly goal-per-game pace. Like UNO, they have scoring depth. Six forwards have at least 13 goals, a couple more have eight, and two defensemen are putting up Moffie-like numbers. Getting Burlon back gives Michigan the defensive depth to match UND's forward depth.

Hypothetically, anyway. I've been looking at their stats for the past five minutes and feeling deeply unhappy.

Stunning omission. I have beef with The Wolverine Blog's Faces of Tim Hardaway top ten. It omits the face that launched the meme in the immediate aftermath of DEATH TO BACKBOARDS:

That's clearly #3 behind Douglass throwing Tennessee in a volcano and the f-yeah shot from MSU. This concludes my beef.

The only lawyer in America. Someone on the board linked to an article about a lawyer discussing what's going down at Ohio State and if they can expect more than the wrist slap they've given themselves, and I just knew in my bones we were about to get a quote from…

“If I was representing a coach in that similar situation, I would advise my client to expect not only a show-cause order assessed against him or her, but also significant individual penalties that may cause their employer, which is the university, to either terminate their employment or some other significant employment action,” said Michael L. Buckner, of Pompano Beach, Fla., whose law firm specializes in representing schools and individuals before the NCAA. “I’d tell them they should be prepared for that.“

I like him so much more when he's producing alarmist soundbites about other teams.

Buckner-issued proclamations about Michigan's NCAA foofaraw turned out to be just that but media framing had a lot to do with that—see this article titled "Avoiding show-cause order a must for Michigan, Rodriguez" from Dave Birkett that has Buckner explaining that show-cause is bad, mmmkay, despite the fact that no one thought it was even vaguely plausible once the hype about the initial article was replaced by a general sense that it was crap. In that article Buckner has this to say:

“Michigan would have to make sure that Coach Rodriguez follows the show-cause order,” Buckner said. “If he’s found to have committed the failure to monitor, issued a show-cause order, and then he goes to West Virginia … and if he’s found to have failed to monitor in that case, than a show-cause order can be enhanced significantly."

Buckner said Michigan must “provide as much evidence as (it) can to defend Coach Rodriguez so that (it) can eliminate that failure to monitor allegation.”

“Whether or not you can actually do that” remains to be seen, he said.

There's a big gap between "if, if, if" in the latter article—it did turn out Michigan had enough to eliminate the failure to monitor allegation, for all the good that did for Rodriguez's employment prospects—and "expect not only a show cause but significant individual penalties."

FWIW, that's a Bruce Hooley article. Hooley's the guy who went ape on the radio about this whole thing and is apparently going whole hog in an effort to become a guy who makes money by being hated. He's not exactly unbiased.

BONUS: Eleven Warriors is totally right that Stanley McClover claiming he got cash from OSU and MSU isn't going to amount to anything, but I loved to imagine an Ohio State fan who was one of the legion saying "I remember when he decommitted, not surprised there was some funny business going on there" watching the HBO special and going from smug to outraged in the space of an anecdote.

BONUS BONUS: Tressel situation "totally unacceptable," OSU president says!

Oregon State president Ed Ray was executive vice president and provost at Ohio State in 2001, and had input into the hiring of Tressel. He’s now chairman of the NCAA executive committee, and told Rachel Bachman of The Oregonian that “this whole episode to me is beyond the pale. It’s totally unacceptable. I’m pretty disappointed and startled by it all.”

Goddammit, Sporting News headline writers. I hate you so much.

BONUS BONUS BONUS: Is it possible to see Rich Rodriguez these days and not think he's constantly fighting the urge to kill everyone in the room?

image

Three years ago I was a broken thumb away from a national championship game. I was a hero. I invented the spread offense.

Now everyone in two states hates me and thinks I'm retarded. A month ago I interviewed my replacement—who walked into Denard Robinson and Jim Tressel making my fake NCAA violations look like the Nobel Peace Prize—on television. Right this instant I'm staring at Jason Whitlock, surrounded by men in suits. Jason Whitlock. Suits. Whitlocksuits. whssiiisisfi

FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU /goes Falling Down on universe

"It is not often that you have to stare the death of your basketball program in the face". Matt Painter's flirtation with Missouri was an earth-shaking event for Purdue fans. For confirmation a quick check of the first two pages at Hammer and Rails will suffice. Open letter: check. Open thread soaring well past a thousand comments: check. Bolded quote: check. Wholesale demolition of your entire athletic department:

image

Check. The answer is pretty much "yes"; contained within the link is a more comprehensive explosion of an athletic department than you'll find anywhere. IU fans should bookmark it for future e-peen wars. It incidentally makes you go "whoah" halfway through:

Total Number of Big Ten Championships as of spring 2009:

Michigan             347

Illinois                 228

Ohio State          185

Wisconsin           180

Indiana                 162

Minnesota          154

Iowa                      104

Michigan State 81

Northwestern   69

Purdue                 67

Penn State          50

Nebraska             0 (obviously)

Michigan has a lot of sports and has been around a lot of years but holy crap, man. That doesn't even include hockey.

And now for a completely different tangent on Painter. I've been annoyed at Braves & Birds' theory that the Big Ten has been disappointing in football because it hires losers like Ron Zook and nuts like Tim Brewster over actual football coaches. Lately I'm just annoyed it's right. It's hard to dispute after the latest round of hires from the Richest Conference In The Universe is MAC and Mountain West guys with iffy records. None of these guys are Bobby Petrino.

Painter has been wildly successful. Missouri is locked into an abusive relationship with Texas and would have punched a swan to get into the Big Ten this summer. Their TV contract sucks. They have little cachet outside their home state. They do not have a network that drops by every once in a while to drop off a new diamond boat. If Purdue had been too cheap to keep him that would have been a stunning indictment of Purdue, and I think that would have bled over into the entire mentality of a conference that really expects people to call its conferences "Legends and Leaders."

As it is the fact that it was even close is a mild indictment.

Etc.: Gasaway on his lack of moral outrage at NCAA amateurism. Incoming goalie John Gibson interviewed.

Unverified Voracity Declared War Without Causus Belli

Unverified Voracity Declared War Without Causus Belli

Submitted by Brian on March 25th, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Live streaming goes just far enough. There is a live stream of IL PF Max Bielfeldt's announcement, which is going to happen in about ten minutes here. Michigan and Illinois are the contenders with most signs pointing to Michigan despite Bielfeldt's last name being on more than one building in Champaign. Bielfeldt compares himself to Luke Harangody and put up monster numbers as a senior, but recruiting sites say he's an "average at best" athlete. Think Graham Brown, I guess, except apparently he's got a decent shooting stroke that extends to the three point line.

If Bielfeldt goes blue there will undoubtedly be all the info you could want on UMHoops shortly after. Meanwhile, I've got a hockey game to panic about. [UPDATE: Bielfeldt has committed.]

I hope this is one game. Trey Burke highlight reel ahoy:

Probably one game, right? I bet they cut out a couple misses but probably one game.

Even in the unlikely event this is a season's worth of highlights, that's still pretty encouraging. Burke shows a three-point stroke, crossovers, spin moves, a nice pull-up jumper, and a floater in the lane. The diversity of his offensive game is impressive, and if these stats are right…

Burke is averaging 23.6 points, 6.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 steals. He is shooting 58.7 percent from the field, 46.6 percent from three-point range (54 of 116) and 73.3 percent at the free-throw line (88 of 120).

…dang, we may have just ganked* the next Talor Battle away from Penn State. (I only doubt because a separate article has even more ludicrous shooting percentages, FWIW. I believe the very slightly more pessimistic version but there's some wobble that makes me think they may have overlooked some attempts.)

48% from three plus that highlight video plus winning Mr. Basketball over a bunch of other D-I commits including a guy headed to Michigan State equals one extremely underrated recruit—Burke is a three star on Rivals. ESPN does have him a bit higher as a four star ranked #85, and boy were they right about Tim Hardaway Jr. Let's hope their streak continues.

In other basketball recruiting news, Carlton Brundidge just saw his high school career end in painful fashion. He tied Southfield's state semifinal against Kalamazoo Central with a 17-foot pull up, missed a backdoor layup on the ensuing possession, made both halves of a 1-and-1 to re-tie the game, then saw Central get a putback off an airball for the win. Burke plays his semifinal tonight at 8:30.

*["Ganked" should have made the transition from thing you say in sixth grade to critical part of the language by now.]

black-news

Frank Beckmann thinks this is racist

The tipping point. I've read Ramzy Nasrallah's stuff on and off for a very long time now and while some of his opinions make me roll my eyes I'm sure that's mutual. It's a natural consequence of being on opposite sides of the rivalry. That said, he's always been worth reading even when we disagree, and when he posts something titled The Case For Regicide that signals a huge shift in the portion of the Ohio State fanbase that doesn't have neckbeards. That shift is from "this shall pass" to "this seems too dumb to tolerate; we're screwed, at least insofar as a football program with OSU's natural advantages can be, which isn't that much."

I've been pretty strident in my opinion that Tressel should be fired and now it seems fairly likely he will. He's already been tried, compared to Nixon, and executed in the media. In that event the big questions lie in the eventual results of what seems like it will be a labyrinthine NCAA investigation and whether or not Tressel will axe Gordon Gee on his way out. I'm guessing "disappointing" and "yes."

More pads. More pads:

At the 35 second mark Denard runs a zone read for many yards, and then a power play gets destroyed. I'm just sayin'…

Seriously though, seeing a zone read makes me happy even if they hardly ran it last year. Tough talk and an open-minded offensive coordinator are where it's at.

Fort? No fort. Last year Michigan had an open practice in Michigan Stadium that you could buy your way into by shelling out for the big baller seats or donating to Mott at the Spring Game. Rodriguez hated it and I had to wait until the rest of the internet had responded to round up third-party impressions because I'd been asked not to relate anything I saw myself. So that was a one-off, right? Hoke's back and so is The Fort and that'll never happen again:

Fans attending the game will be asked to make any donation the hospital. Donations at the following levels will come with a correlating gift:

$5: A 5”x7” Fathead Trading Card of either Charles Woodson or Desmond Howard.
$20: A Fathead Teammate Block M (roughly 12”x7”).
$100: A Fathead Junior Big House Mural (17”x30”).
$250: Four passes to a pre-season scrimmage
$500: Two pre-game sideline passes (does not include game tickets) to one of the following four games: Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State or Minnesota.
$750: Two pre-game sideline passes (does not include game tickets) to the Nebraska game.

Except apparently it will. Never underestimate the power of club seating. I went last year with Greg of MVictors and FOB Craig Ross. It was rainy and strange but I thought it was worth it because I'm insane.

Etc.: Holdin' The Rope on the basketball season. Yes, that is now kind of an awkward blog name. Bacon on the Fab Five. He has a different memory of Jalen Rose. AA.com profiles the receivers.

By May Jim Tressel Will Be A Pakistani Shepherd

By May Jim Tressel Will Be A Pakistani Shepherd

Submitted by Brian on March 25th, 2011 at 11:54 AM

pakistan-2004.1098179760.shepherd

hope you like sweatervests made from your own wool, sheeps

I mean, right?

When Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel learned last spring that some of his current players were in trouble, he shared the information with someone he thought could help his star quarterback even though he said he didn't tell his bosses.

Tressel forwarded the information to Ted Sarniak, a mentor to Terrelle Pryor, after the coach received emails warning that Pryor and at least one other player had sold memorabilia to a local tattoo-parlor owner who was under federal investigation for drug trafficking, multiple sources have confirmed to The Dispatch.

Sarniak is the "shady, cop-bribing handler whose glass business suddenly blew up" when Pryor materialized in Columbus according to Slow States. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I stare at "glass business suddenly blew up" a link does not appear under it. He's also the guy who spurred the most wackily conspiratorial post* in the history of MGoBlog since it was his Corvette Pryor infamously borrowed—seriously, how many cars can Terrelle Pryor drive that he does not own?

I'm not sure this particular item tightens the noose in the eyes of the NCAA, but if Sarniak got a forward that doesn't help any case they're going to try to make about the emails not being credible or Tressel not taking them seriously or forgetting about them. It's also hard to imagine an email worth forwarding to your sketchy Pryor advisor that doesn't get sent to, like, compliance. At best Tressel was trying to end-around the system to keep his guys eligible. At worst the stuff at the press conference about how Tressel was the only one who knew was as true as everything else.

*[One that now stands a 50-50 chance of being correct despite being essentially message board drivel.]