Unverified Voracity Searches For Snakehole

Unverified Voracity Searches For Snakehole

Submitted by Brian on September 26th, 2017 at 3:29 PM

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Mark Emmert (left) and FBI investigator Burt Macklin

CHEESE IT! THE FEDS! The FBI probably has better things to do than this, but they're doing this anyway:

The worst-kept secret in college basketball is how coaches, sneaker executives, sports agents, travel-team coaches and financial advisers, often through under-the-table payments, steer top high school talent first to NCAA programs and later to apparel brands and professional representation once they enter the NBA.

Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York blew this shadowy world open in ways that have never before been seen, indicting 10 men, including active assistant basketball coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC, plus an executive for adidas, in a widespread case that is sure to rock college basketball to its core.

While only four schools are currently involved, the complaints will provide a treasure map for NCAA investigators as it tells stories of endless payouts and kickbacks in the recruitment of numerous top prospects over the past three years.

Apparently this is illegal because of... bribery and stuff? Because NCAA coaches get federal funding and therefore... unlicensed amphibious rodent... city limits? I don't know.

What I suspect is that everyone named in this investigation is going to flip immediately, because their careers are done either way and ain't nobody going to jail for Rick Pitino. This will spread, and the allegations are seismic for at least one school:

The NCAA has said it will never use the death penalty again, Pat Forde says do it anyway. We're about to find out how far they're willing to go in 2017. This brazenness will not stand:

Unless it does. But probably not!

Don't expect anything immediate, as the FBI has not interacted with the NCAA yet. The wheels of (sort of) justice grind slowly.

Is this actually good if you want players paid? In the short term, no. But the more naked the system is, the more clear it is that shoe companies run five-star basketball recruiting, the less tenable the NCAA's position is. Maybe this won't force the schools to offer their own money, but surely at some point the fact that a large majority of the top players are bought has to open the doors to above-the-table third party payments.

"But then boosters and shoe companies will own college basketball," hypothetical argument guy says before realizing that is the status quo.

It was not a dream. PFF All Big Ten teams from last week feature one John O'Korn:

So it wasn't just you. People not desperately invested in the hope John O'Korn provided during the last three quarters of that game also thought he was pretty dang good. Though not as good as Saquon Barkley, which got dang son.

Bush, Hurst, Winovich, and Hill all made the defensive team, FWIW.

Poor Damn DJ Durkin. Maryland QB Kasim Hill is out for the season, following on the heels of Piggy Pigrome getting knocked out in the Texas game. Caleb Henderson is still out with some sort of foot thing, so fourth-stringer Max Bortenschlager played most of the game against UCF, which was a terrible defeat. Incredibly, this is not the first time Durkin has had to turn to a fourth-stringer who sounds like a shot you'd order at Rick's*. Bortenschlager started the Nebraska game last year, a 28-7 loss.

Things were even worse in 2012—when Maryland lost five QBs, one to transfer and four to injury, eventually moving a freshmnan LB to the spot—and 2015, when four different guys played, one of whom subsequently became a linebacker.

This one sucks more than those because Durkin had just racked up a statement win at Texas and the Terrapins looked like they were on their way to... 8-4? Now they're going to be scratching out bowl eligibility. But at least they've got this going for them:

I say that in all sincerity.

*[I imagine? I never went, and when I tell people this 50% of them say I am very smart and 50% say I am very dumb. Anyway, a MAX BORTENSCHLAGER is 1/3rd Everclear, 1/3 Goldschlager, and 1/3 BORT, which is... Swedish port? Yeah.

I think I just invented the world's worst drink.]

Taking those bullets for us. Michigan had three head-to-head recruiting battles with Texas for 2016 kids that they lost: Jordan Elliott, Jean Delance, and Chris Daniels. With Daniels's just-announced departure, all three of those guys have left Austin in just over a year. Michigan filled in the DT slot with Mike Dwumfour, who's emerging into a rotation piece on a top-five defense in year two.

They filled the OT slot with... nobody. This was the class that saw Swenson forcibly decommitted and Devery Hamilton flip; Michigan added Stephen Spanellis, a guard, late.

Harbaugh joins the cause. Harbaugh on punting:

Speaking Tuesday on "Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh's Podcast," the Michigan football coach suggested the NCAA implement a rule similar to the NFL when it comes to punt returns.

"There's only two eligible players that are allowed to leave in the pro game before the ball is punted," Harbaugh said."In college, anybody can leave before the ball is punted. It's a player-safety (issue), to have 10 players converging on a punt returner. A defenseless player is not what we want in our game."

That change has long been advocated here, not for player safety issues but boring thing issues. NFL rules would create more returns and fewer fair catches.

Graham Glasgow, still Graham Glasgow. Ain't no party like a Glasgow party because everyone's standing next to the wall nursing a drink and making ham-fisted attempts at a flicker of human interaction before retreating into a shell of fear and self-loathing WOOOO:

The receivers have sworn to get him involved next time, but Glasgow knows deep in his heart that is a lie and no one will ask him to prom ever.

Baumgardner on Bush. He does many things:

When watching defenders, it's important not to get completely caught up in box score stats. A great example of this came three years ago, when Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa finished his final college season with modest sack totals, but constantly graded out as one of the most impact-making defenders in the country due to his presence on the field and what he was able to force.

Impact plays. For a player like Bush, this can mean many things. A sack, a pass break-up, a forced fumble, an interception, a quarterback pressure, an effort play that results in a zero rush or tackle for loss. Against Purdue on Saturday, I counted 13 impact plays for Michigan's inside linebacker.

Thirteen.

I'd like to see a few more stats get standardized, like QB hits and hurries, to better quantify those results.

Etc.: Many UF felonies. Bright side: nobody will say "oh, Michigan beat Florida without all those players." OSU depth DT Malik Barrow tears ACL. Iowa wavin' at stuff. Five stages of Purdue loss. Grant Newsome got some unspecified good news from his doctor; hopefully he remains on path for a recovery. Trashin' on the NFL, sure I'll link that. Twice, even. Jim and Don, a love story. Wisconsin fans stunned at how nice BYU fans are.

Unverified Voracity Has To Invent Colors

Unverified Voracity Has To Invent Colors

Submitted by Brian on July 22nd, 2016 at 12:39 PM

What are you doing? As part of their deal with the devil, once a year Notre Dame has to abandon their classic blue and gold for colors that don't even exist:

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Nothing is any of those colors except the helmet: urine when you're dehydrated. The helmet comes nowhere near anything else on the uniform. They've got as many design elements as you put on your rad-ass logo the first time you ever opened up your pirated copy of photoshop in seventh grade. Also:

2. "Authentic Irish Pub" in suburban upstate New York lookin' ass font. Guy who has never left his hometown but never shuts up about how Irish he is ass font. This font is so dumb, if you let your eyes lose focus, the letters automatically rearrange into "You know, the Guinness they have in Ireland is different and much better than here in the US."

These are the worst things Under Armour does annually.

I hesitate to suggest that Michigan won't do similar things under Harbaugh because not even he can stand against the tide by himself, but so far so good. Last year's all-white road uniforms were sharp and we haven't had uniformz announced or even rumored. It is possible. Texas, Alabama, and USC have largely or even entirely avoided uniforms that look like a wrestler's entrance video.

Harbaugh uptick. MLive covers how Michigan and MSU spend their money, albeit with poorly-axis'd graphs. The most interesting bit is a clear Harbaugh surge in spending on support staff:

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This is spending on guys like Erik Campbell, TJ Weist, Bam Richards, Devin Bush Sr, etc. Michigan almost doubled its spending on support staff in Harbaugh's first year, hitting 2.7 million. The number they landed on doesn't seem like a coincidence:

In its 2013-14 NCAA financial report, Alabama reported spending $2.7 million on football support staff. … Clemson reported spending $2.5 million on football support staff in 2013-14, up from $480,000 about a decade ago.

Harbaugh asked and got the same budget as the two teams who played for the national title this year.

Michigan's recruiting expenses also saw an uptick, but I don't know if these numbers account for Satellite Camp World Tour 1.0 or not; either way the financial impact of those tours is going to be a slight increase in a number best described as "piddling."

Michigan was good at kickoffs. Michigan was 17th nationally in opponent drives following a kickoff that started at the 25 or worse and 16th when they tried to return kickoffs past the 25 themselves. That success rate was only 57% despite ranking in the top 20—so much of the value in a kick return is the 50 yards at the end that almost never happen but sometimes do.

I think they'll be good in both departments this year. Kenny Allen got good hang time and a lot of touchbacks, and whoever Michigan opts for as a returner is going to be fast and mean.

More expansion, hooray. If the Big 12 is going to expand they should just take BYU and Houston and be done with it. Houston doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the same reason Pitt was never seriously considered by the Big Ten—footprint rules everything around me—but when the other options are Cincinnati, Memphis, UConn, and directional Floridas, Houston starts to look mighty appealing anyway. So of course a former president of CBS sports recommends UConn:

For that reason, Pilson advised the Big 12 to take a page from the Big Ten’s playbook. Much as the Big Ten, a traditionally Midwestern league, recently added Rutgers and Maryland to plant its flag near several East Coast population centers, the Big 12, whose members reside in Great Plains states and Texas (and West Virginia), ought to invite Connecticut to join, Pilson said.

“Having Texas and Oklahoma and the other major Big 12 schools playing in the Northeast would create additional revenue opportunities and make it a more attractive conference in terms of new sponsors and a better linear television deal,” Pilson said.

That seems nuts to me. The Big 12 does not have a network and won't have one unless Texas gives the LHN up, which no. If Texas really wants exposure in a different part of the country they'll blow the Big 12 up.

Unless we can interest the Big 12 in some of our finest athletic departments?

Invite Purdue and Rutgers to join the Big 12 conference.

Yep, you heard me. Purdue University and Rutgers University would be great fits for your fledgling conference, since they really round out and diversify what the conference needs most. And to help you out, I even made a pro/con list for each school and why they'd work in the Big 12. …

Cons:

  • There are no drawbacks to this move whatsoever

A compelling case from the Crimson Quarry.

There is a Big Ten angle here. 247's Bobby Burton notes that the Big 12 has a grant of rights agreement through 2025 and Texas is seriously considering an exit at that point:

The only assurance Texas, or any school for that matter, could truly give to any newcomer is the "grant of rights" to the league that is currently in place. That grant for Texas and all of teams of the Big 12 extends to 2025.

Yet I don't see an extension of the grant of rights occurring based on my discussion with a high-ranking Texas official this morning.

"I do not like any of the choices," the official said. "(I) want to watch to see if there is a move to extend the grant of TV rights. I will fight that tooth and nail."

Per Burton, Texas's president and chancellor both prefer the Big Ten to the Pac-12 or SEC. Oddly, he says "expect Texas to ask for an annual trip to Chicago and to either of the East Coast markets," which almost certainly can't happen without making the division structure insane. Chicago they can manage since the West division in that event is going to be Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Texas, Northwestern, Illinois, and whichever other Big 12 refugee hypothetically comes along.

By the way, at that point you're back down to playing the other division 25% of the time even with nine conference games. Hooray expansion.

Persons profiled. Angelique profiles Mo Hurst

Hurst has been on the Uber clock this summer, logging miles and earning money, in addition to interning at Blue Lion Fitness in Ann Arbor.

“I’ve just done it for extra cash, pretty much that’s it,” the affable 6-foot-2, 282-pound lineman said. “I definitely like the flexibility. I can work whenever, which helps with my schedule with (football) workouts and working at Blue Lion Fitness.”

Once camp begins Aug. 8, however, Hurst’s Uber days will be over. But he’s enjoyed the experience, especially longer trips to the airport which net $22.

…and Dymonte Thomas:

“Jake [Butt] is a character. We talk trash every day. He likes to get better. He knows in the NFL there are going to be DBs who are quick and fast and strong, kind of like me, who are going to cover him, and he’s going to have to get open. That’s why he likes the competition. He’ll go against the linebacker, but he knows if he can get open on a DB, he can get open on a linebacker, so Jake and I go at it every day.”

Thomas offered a Butt scouting report as well:

“Jake’s going to be probably a first-round pick,” Thomas said. “Jake has got strides. It’s not like he’s super fast, but he has long strides that make him fast. He’s really good with his double moves and he’s really good at sticking, stopping and going. If you don’t slow him down, he will leave you. He’s sneaky fast.”

Etc.: This Harbaugh conspiracy theory is just crazy enough to consider. My take on the new apparel: it's definitely a shirt. Jordan Poole playing well in AAU. Fixing the schedule needs 7 B10 ADs to approve. Hugh Freeze has a future in politics. Moritz Wagner profiled.

Unverified Voracity Is Not Tony Orlando

Unverified Voracity Is Not Tony Orlando

Submitted by Brian on December 18th, 2015 at 3:57 PM

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Mattison has been around the block [Eric Upchurch]

Defensive coordinator bits. Michigan isn't in any rush to fill the spot since they know what they're doing for the bowl game (it'll be Mattison) and they don't have any urgent recruiting to do (Chris Partridge is on the road temporarily and it's a dead period through the New Year).

For a while it seemed like the main guy was Stanford DC Lance Anderson, who admitted contact with both BYU and Michigan early last week. BYU is currently looking for a Mormon to coach their team after the departure of Bronco Mendenhall, and Anderson fits the bill. So does Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo (a name I will force Ace to pronounce if it ever comes up on the podcast), but that flirtation apparently came to an end yesterday. Anderson would be a guy on the ensuing shortlist. And even if he's not:

Anderson's track record is short and Michigan's flirtation with Harbaugh's former Stanford personnel mostly serves to get them raises. Moving on, then… to… people? I guess?

I haven't gotten any intel on the search, sadly, and so much of what others have said has mutated so quickly or proven to be false that I don't think anyone has a good read. Sam Webb brought up Wisconsin DC Dave Aranda as a possibility. Aranda has a very good track record save for a certain game against Ohio State last year, so that's a mixed blessing right there.

Colorado DC Jim Leavitt is working his way back into college coaching after an Incident that got him fired from his post as the USF head coach. An Oklahoma fan laid out the case for Leavitt in January, when the Sooners were looking for coaches on D:

Everywhere coach Leavitt has been, he’s been successful. He was the co-defensive coordinator with Bob Stoops at Kansas State, where they managed to take a pitiful defense and turn it into, statistically, one of the nation’s best. He then went on to the University of South Florida and built the program from it’s infancy as an FCS program to a Big East conference FBS program. The success he had at South Florida, including at one point being ranked number two nationally, has not been anywhere close to repeated since his departure.

Leavitt was offered the Alabama job multiple times before Nick Saban eventually landed in Tuscaloosa. He was offered head coaching positions at multiple major FBS programs and turned them all down to stay at South Florida.

Leavitt landed with Harbaugh in San Francisco after the Incident, and is a quality coach.

huge_avatar[1]And I'll continue to advocate for Houston DC Todd Orlando*, a former Wisconsin linebacker who has been very successful in stints at Utah State and Houston. That he was Tom Herman's top choice to be DC is also very appealing—this is a gentleman selected by a top spread guy.

Todd Orlando is not pictured at right. But if he was, oh man.

*[Oddly, Orlando and  Aranda were at Utah State consecutively. Someone hire that guy to be a head coach. Oh right Wisconsin tried that and he ran away.]

Thanking ushers with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Jim Harbaugh doing Harbaugh things:

They got the people who stand on the seats in the IMG section to not do so for the OSU game this year, so I would also like to thank the kind lady who did that.

Filling in a LTT-shaped hole. Michigan has offered Texas grad transfer Jake Raulerson. Raulerson got his degree in three years and has two to play, so he would help fill in one of the gaps left by the six-man 2012 OL recruiting class dwindling to two. Raulerson has seen a fair bit of time:

He started five games on the offensive line for Texas as a redshirt freshman and played twelve total games in 2014 for the Longhorns. He was a four-star prospect out of high school and was the 116th ranked overall player in the 2013 class coming out of high school. Alabama and UCLA are among the other programs he is believed to be considering.

At 6-4, 295 he is most likely a center but could play either guard spot as well. He is (obviously) a high-academic kid, and would immediately compete to fill the spot Glasgow is vacating. He would also be around in 2017, when Michigan loses Magnuson, Kalis, and Braden.

Raulerson would not count against the cap of 28 players the Big Ten imposes on recruiting classes, so if Michigan thinks they'll have a spot there's no downside.

RichRodding in progress. Meanwhile, poor damn Charlie Strong. Strong is two-thirds of the way to the full RichRod. Strong:

  • is probably a good coach, possibly a very good one
  • got a primo college job despite no previous connections to it
  • inherited a brutally bad roster thanks to the previous coach staying on a couple years too long
  • attempted to install a culture radically different from the existing one
  • lost a lot of games his first two years
  • lost whatever questionable support there was for him in the first place thanks to the previous bullet
  • made a bunch of panicked coaching moves after some bad decisions on the side of the ball opposite his specialty
  • died a thousand recruiting deaths as a result.

In related news, Texas offered TX DT Chris Daniels yesterday. Daniels commits… tonight. Probably not to Texas. As of right now the Longhorns have zero (ZERO) of the top 20 recruits in the state committed, and two of the top 50*. That is a long way away from the Mack Brown days when Texas would lock up 15 of the top 20 before the previous year's signing day.

*[They are crystal ball favorites for four of the remaining six uncommitted players but much of that feels like the same kind of momentum that saw Jordan Elliott a Texas CB favorite weeks after he publicly announced Michigan was his leader. Michigan is in on two of those players, OL Jean Delance and LB Dontavious Jackson.]

Etc.: Congresspersons acquire free tickets to college sporting events. Jabrill Peppers is Naughty By Nature's nephew? Did we know this? Ann Arbor best college town, put it on the mantle next to all the other ones. Illinois promotes Ryan Cubit, son of Bill Cubit, to OC. Michigan pays its assistants a lot. Smart Football back and popping. Citrus advanced stats tale of the tape.

Unverified Voracity Finds Yee Baby Yee

Unverified Voracity Finds Yee Baby Yee

Submitted by Brian on March 3rd, 2015 at 1:02 PM

Yee baby yee. Jordan Morgan is playing overseas, and has found out that Hardaway and father are chicken spokespersons in Turkey.

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So things are going to go okay for THJ if he ever has to seek asylum in Turkey. People will recognize him and give him succor in the form of chicken for reasons they no longer remember. And then he doesn't have to be on the Knicks anymore!

Speaking of Euro basketball. Hello post incoming?

Depending on who you talk to and when, Wagner's either 6'9" or 6'10" and displays the advanced ball skills typical of euro bigs. He could be a 4 or 5, maybe even a 3 if Michigan rolls a natural 20. Meanwhile check this court out:

That court hosts seventy different sports. Several of them haven't even been invented yet. Also, they emphatically do not call technicals for hanging on the rim in whatever league he's playing.

Beilein visited Wagner in November and Michigan could use a flexible player who could fill in at either of the frontcourt spots. 

And let's check in with the German perspective:

In the first days of pre-season, the heads of coaches full of question marks. Which fragrance brands are the new ones such as the elderly respond? How fit all?

Google translate is getting really good these days.

Flippin. Dang son.

Countess for alumni cheerleader?

It lives. We've addressed Texas's Brandon problem occasionally in this space, usually when referring to the Longhorns' spectacularly tone-deaf, loathsome women's AD Christine Plonsky or branding-means-you-brand true believer Steve Patterson, the AD proper. Patterson has pissed off a lot of people in a manner similar to Michigan's dear departed, though I don't think he's firing off the emails just yet. Chip Brown has talked with the big ballers in Austin and comes back with quotes ominous for Patterson's future:

“It’s clear Steve Patterson is a numbers guy. Well, you can reach all your numbers and have it be a complete failure if you alienate important people along the way,” said one key UT donor who has been left cold by Patterson.

“It’s also how it’s done. This place is too important to too many people for athletics to be run like some cold, bottom-line pro franchise front office. I see a lot of John Mackovic in Patterson. Mackovic tried to tell us how to think and how it was going to be, alienated people, and at the first sight of trouble, he was gone.”

If Charlie Strong doesn't make it, Patterson will be quickly disposed of. Patterson's made the mistake of pissing off the men with money instead of the hoi polloi, who are less easily roused to rebellion.

I wonder why you're failing. I haven't talked much about the local media landscape in a while because we're clearly in the "…and then you win" segment of the process. Teams have their in-house organs, it's difficult to tell some of them from purportedly neutral guys at papers—Vincent Goodwill went from embarrassingly carrying water for Joe Dumars to literally working for the Bulls—and the bleeding has gone from layoffs everywhere to weird infosec campaigns to get guys to resign.

As a result of Goodwill's departure, barely-literate Terry Foster has been thrown back on the Pistons beat. He's taking the idea he should actually work for the paper that's been inexplicably paying him for decades hard:

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He is complaining about an NBA beat that several thousand people in this state would get a tattoo on their forehead for. Jeff Moss has broken a lot of media stories over the past few years and reports that Foster's getting six digits from the News. That's incredible: Foster's contribution there has been the occasional slapdash column his editors have to turn into English. For years.

And they can't just get rid of the guy for some reason. Even if Mitch Albom's contributions to the Free Press consist of Borscht belt jokes so lame his colleagues are calling him out on his terrible columns, at least you can argue that Captain Fun Death Times has a certain cachet with the demographic that still subscribes to a newspaper. Terry Foster? Who does Terry Foster appeal to? Maybe his family, if they haven't read his output in a decade.

A sane organization would have fired Terry Foster years ago.

Gibbons compare and contrast. Rasheed Sulaimon's dismissal from Duke stems from rape allegations that were never followed up on by the alleged victims or the university itself. A  basic timeline:

  • October 2013: student says in a "large group setting" at a diversity retreat that Sulaimon sexually assaulted her.
  • February 2014: at subsequent diversity retreat, a second student asserted the same thing.
  • March 2014: unnamed person affiliated with basketball program (manager? teammate?) brings this information to the team psychologist; from there it goes to the rest of the program.
  • January 2015: intern quits based on finding this out, gets lectured by the designated fireman Duke has, six days later Sulaimon is dismissed for vague failure to live up to program standards.

A couple people have emailed wondering about parallels here. There aren't many. Gibbons was the subject of a complaint that the university evaluated, deciding to expel him. Nobody even went so far as to pursue that remedy at Duke despite the anonymity offered by that process; Duke either put restrictions on Sulaimon that he failed to live up to or panicked and booted him after intern incident made them afraid they were about to have this hit the media. One doesn't reflect on the other.

I can't say much more without running afoul of no polo, but I don't know what the hell a coach is supposed to do in that situation. The only group of people less qualified to adjudicate a sexual assault accusation than university bureaucrats is the coaching fraternity, and with no one pursuing any kind of sanction it seems impossible to boot a guy because some people said some things that no one evaluated.

Michigan's case was much more clear cut, with significant physical evidence addressed by a neutral (or at least an attempt at a neutral) evaluation, and then the subsequent PR incompetence.

It was always such. Analytics has won and is in its hot moment, which means a lot of people who don't know their ass from a properly-deployed regression are prominent. This is more prominent now but nothing new: witness David Berri, PRINCETON(!) economist and crazy person.

Except PRINCETON economist David Berri is not actually that, and apparently never was?

Berri graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a B.A. in economics in 1991, and earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. from Colorado State University. He taught economics at Coe College and California State University-Bakersfield before accepting a position at Southern Utah University in 2008.

No offense to any of those fine institutions, but if this was clear from the start maybe we don't have to deal with the scourge of this guy in the first place. All have the salutary property that anyone hailing from one of their institutions has to actually explain themselves instead of just saying "I'm from PRINCETON."

Etc.: Lawyers talk freshmen ineligibility. Lawyers talk NCAA cartel. FSU fans are not fans of people talkin' 'bout the Noles.

Mailbag: Purge Incoming(?), Search Coverage Aftermath

Mailbag: Purge Incoming(?), Search Coverage Aftermath

Submitted by Brian on January 12th, 2015 at 4:25 PM

Paging Dr. Stalin

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getting our glares on

Will there be a roster purge a la Charlie Strong or can we expect Harbaugh to try and retain almost everyone?

I'm not a fan of purges; part of a leader's job is to gain buy-in, but they do happen. Some attrition will certainly happen, but I'd like to not dig a huge roster hole we're digging out of for 3+ seasons.

Thanks,
Todd

Strong's purge is not likely to repeat if only because that kind of massive roster depletion is just about unprecedented. Strong walked into a combination of bad timing (two guys suspended for sexual assault) and no discipline after the Mack Brown decline had truly festered. Strong read guys the riot act

Sources said all of the players in question were told that Strong was watching them closely dating back to February, when they were part of a group pulled aside and told that their attitude and/or behavior had to change.

As part of that conversation, players were told they’d be subject to more random drug tests, sources said.

…and they did not respond. That led to a lot of guys out the door.

Michigan has already experienced one of these, as Kyle Bosch was brought into a meeting with Harbaugh and told there would be some conditions on his continued membership:

“I was at school all day, getting ready,” Bosch told Sporting News on Tuesday morning. “Then I met with Coach Harbaugh and I didn’t expect the transfer. That was not my original intent when I went up there yesterday. … This was very untimely. If it was my intention to transfer, I would have done that a long time ago.”

Bosch said his meeting with Harbaugh produced two options: stay with the program with stipulations (he did not say what they were) or transfer.

The kind of things Bosch dealt with over the past year are best left unspecified, but if he didn't want to meet the law laid down by Harbaugh it's best that he find somewhere else to be.

Bosch is an exception. Hoke was very good at getting guys who work hard and go after their schoolwork, thus the APR and extremely low transfer rate. That rate is about to pick up for a lot of reasons (remember that even before the season ended Hoke mentioned two OL were headed out), but the departures won't rise to the level of a purge or leave Michigan alarmingly short-handed this September.

You can tell this is the case just by the recruiting numbers. Michigan has room for a class of 12 right now. Without epic departures that isn't going to get past 20, and a roster that only has to add 15 or 16 players is not in dire straights.

This staff versus previous staff.

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Hi, I'm your DL coach. [Eric Upchurch]

Brian -

Since the site has been 90% devoted to the assistant coaching rumors or hires for the past several days I wanted to throw a question at you. 

The natural reaction in the wake of hiring Harbaugh and turning the page on the previous regime is to look at everything through rose colored glasses.  At least until the first game we lose, people will mostly think he can do no wrong and every person he hires or recruits is a great fit. 

If we take a step back, how do you feel the staff construction we will have next year compares to our reaction to the staffs that Rodriguez or Hoke hired in their first seasons?  Do you see any areas that make you scratch your head or long for someone else? 

Adam
Chicago, IL
AC1997

There's no comparison. Hoke and Rodriguez both imported the large majority of their existing coaches and held on to Fred Jackson. Those coaches had experienced success—sort of in Hoke's case—in a specific context at a lower level of competition. Rodriguez fatally did not bring Jeff Casteel along; Hoke imported Greg Mattison and brought Al Borges with him.

Harbaugh:

  • Is an in-demand OC/QB coach.
  • Hired an in-demand DC.
  • Kept Greg Mattison as a position coach.
  • Hired the guy who built the Stanford ass-kicking machine.
  • Hired Ty Wheatley in the recruiting-heavy RB slot.
  • Hired an ex-NFL OC and successful college OC as a WR coach.
  • Hired a special teams coordinator who has 15 years of crazy success.

Nobody on this staff is going to wander over to San Jose State after they're done at Michigan, and most of them have experienced impressive amounts of success outside of the Harbaugh context. With limited exceptions that latter was not true of anybody on either of the previous two staffs other than Greg Mattison.

If there's anything with this staff that makes me pause it's the still-hypothetical Dougherty hire. He's only had one year of TEs, and with the importance of those guys in the Harbauffense it seems like you'd want a guy with a long track record there, possibly with some OL coaching mixed in to help out Drevno. OC/OL is a lot on one plate.

But we don't know if that's actually going to come to fruition—given the timing here it's possible that Fisch swooped in on his spot. The last thing we heard about Dougherty was a Football Scoop report from three days ago—unreliable to start and increasingly so as we get further out without any confirmation. I'm beginning to think that's not happening.

[After the JUMP: search postmortem, these are my readers.]

Michigan Announces Home-And-Home With Texas

Michigan Announces Home-And-Home With Texas

Submitted by Ace on September 17th, 2014 at 1:20 PM


photo via

As rumored last week, Michigan will play a home-and-home series with Texas. The athletic department officially announced the dates a few minutes ago; here are the pertinent details from the release:

The athletic departments at the University of Michigan and the University of Texas have reached an agreement in principle to play the first-ever home-and-home football series between two of college football's most recognizable programs. The two schools rank first (Michigan, 912) and third (Texas, 876) in all-time victories.

The Wolverines will host the Longhorns at Michigan Stadium on Aug. 31, 2024. The return trip by Michigan to Austin will take place on Sept. 4, 2027.

"A match-up of this magnitude doesn't come along all that often, and when it does it's special for both programs and the great fans that support each institution," said Brady Hoke, U-M's J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. "This also is a special series for all fans of college football, and I anticipate great games just like the first contest played between the two programs."

The only prior matchup between the two programs came in the 2005 Rose Bowl, which you may remember as a remarkably fun game with a far less fun ending. Let us all hope Texas hasn't figured out a way to clone Vince Young by the time 2024 comes around.

Anyway, the upshot: excellent work, Dave Brandon. This is the type of home-and-home series that everyone loves to see, even if both programs are currently mired in a historically anomalous funk. Going to a game in Austin will be checking a box off the sports bucket list, and it's tough to ask for much more when scheduling games a decade in advance.

Unverified Voracity Exclaims About Thick Air

Unverified Voracity Exclaims About Thick Air

Submitted by Brian on September 17th, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Extremely important fainting goat update. The conversation did not quite go as asserted yesterday, but it's pretty great anyway:

“He told me the play of the week, the special teams funky deal, was a fake punt – the Fainting Goat,” Mays said. “In my mind, I was like, ‘What’s that?’”

Said Paschall: “Book, you’re going to be the goat.”

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ What is he saying?” Mays said.

Also:

“I was talking to the guy across from me, saying, ‘Wow, there is some thick air down here in Miami,” Mays said.

God bless Arkansas State.

BEAT THE DRUM EVERYBODY. Ineligible man downfield complainin' is welcome wherever I find it. Pete Roussel notes an egregious event in the Alabama-USM game:

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yes the penalty is called when the ball is thrown but not caught; still geez

Remember last year when Taylor Lewan engaged a guy about three yards behind the line and drove him so far downfield he got a penalty and everyone clucked at him about how he had to know better? Why would he have to know better? I think he would not have to.

Offenses are brutally effective already without adding blocking linebackers ten yards downfield on pass plays to their docket.

BEAT THE DRUM PART 2. Yes, we are going to beat this dead horse until it sends seven guys downfield on the snap. "Shield" punting, which we've called "spread" around here because I'm sure you can figure it out*, has taken over college football. Michigan is an exception, and apparently so is Texas. They ate a 45-yard punt return before UCLA's winning drive after lining up like so:

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This is actually a little more spread-ish than Michigan, but eight Longhorns are behind the LOS when the ball is kicked.

Like Michigan, the bad way stats are kept somewhat conceals the issue here. Not only does Texas give up a lot of yards per return, they give up a lot of returns, period:

UT’s 10.3-yard-per-punt-return average allowed isn’t miserable — although it ranks 88th out of 128 FBS teams — but the Longhorns are allowing a greater number of punt return chances under Vaughn, and as the UCLA punt shows, a reason could be because his players are late getting downfield. The nine punt returns against UT this year is tied for fourth-most nationally while the Longhorns’ 93 total punt return yards allowed puts them tied for 115th.

Strong used a spread punt at Louisville to good effect; no idea why he's not doing the same thing at Texas.

*[Bizarrely, coaches keep telling me that it is Michigan's NFL-style punt game that they know as "spread." I reject that lingo and all its works. You don't get to call it that. That makes no sense. Unlike coaches who don't want to use seven  gunners, I insist on making sense.]

Also in Texas but better? Four minutes left is a weird amount of time to have in a game. If you're leading and on offense, you need a first down at all costs. If you're leading and on defense you want to prevent the other team from scoring, but if they're going to score you want them to do it quickly, not after 3:58 has left the clock. The paramount thing is to get (or keep) the ball.

So a lot of offenses will grunt their way to a third and seven and then take their shot. Strong elected for a different path:

When Texas got the ball at 4:17 with a four point lead and chose to go "tempo", the ensuing three and out and minimal clock burn was widely panned on the web and in the traditional media.  Of course, it didn't matter.  UCLA scored in about nine seconds on a punt return followed by a good play call against tendency.

Texas had just scored to go ahead with the aid of a hurry-up no huddle; a UCLA player misaligned on a 30-yard run. They continued that with the lead and 4:17 left, and that's… odd. But if you think that's the best way to get a first down, that's at least defensible. Of course, when you lose five yards on a run up the gut you're not going to be bleeding much of anything.

Upshot: coaches don't place enough emphasis on having the ball last when they're in a one-possession game. They're willing to bleed down the field for an opposition four-minute drill instead of being aggressive, and they place minimally useful timeout-sapping over a greater chance of getting a first down.

A stupid reason but okay. We're now talking about revoking the NFL's non-profit status because of "Redskins"?

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced Tuesday that she will introduce legislation to eliminate the NFL’s tax-exempt status because of its refusal to address the name of the Washington Redskins.

While I also find the name distasteful, why don't we revoke the NFL's non-profit status because it in no way fits the definition of a nonprofit enterprise? The idea that the NFL can skate on millions of dollars in taxes because [no reason given] is equally offensive. Possibly more so, because one situation is a private enterprise being offensive and the other is the government being idiotic.

I mean, if there's one class of industries you can tax the living hell out of without seeing them move their labor force, it's pro sports.

(No polo.)

It's profile o-clock. Jeremy Clark:

"Of course everyone wants to play, but (last year) I was still learning the process and there were guys in front of me who knew the calls and everything, so you can't get mad if you don't know what you're supposed to be doing out there," Clark said. "This year, I feel like I'm learning it well."

Dueling Bryan Mone Piece #1:

“The thing you realize quickly about Bryan is the genuine concern he shows for everyone he comes in contact with,” said Benson, Mone's prep coach at Highland High School in Salt Lake City. "And it's genuine. He truly cares about everyone around him. I don't know if I've met a kid with a bigger heart.

"He's one of a kind. Truly one of a kind."

Dueling Bryan Mone Piece #2:

"My brother has always been my motivation, because growing up he couldn’t really feed himself or do all types of stuff, so I had to grow up soon enough to help out my mom and my sister,” said Mone, who had another older brother who died from leukemia.

Mone began caring for his brother in earnest in sixth grade, but didn’t feel comfortable with all his responsibilities until a few years later.

“I started getting used to it in junior high,” he said. “I knew what I had to do to take care of him.”

Designated official site softball-tosser on Jack Miller:

Jack Miller is many things.

He's best known as the starting center and anchor of the offensive line for the University of Michigan football team. But he's also a political science major, and thinks he might someday become a lawyer or run for public office.

He's a music lover -- especially Dave Matthews and jam bands -- and takes aim during deer and duck hunting seasons.

Miller also is the great-nephew of former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who texts him after every game and remains a huge inspiration.

Spence suspended further. Noah Spence's ecstasy suspension was three games, and now it's at least four after he failed a test before Kent State. If Ohio State follows the usual policy here he would be out for the year, as most teams go 1) nothing, 2) one game, 3) quarter of a season, 4) whole season for failed drug tests. Spence has apparently entered rehab.

But you have a legitimate reason! I don't understand why Brady Hoke keeps saying things like "I don't feel like it" and this latest…

…when asked about injuries. He has a legit reason. He can just say "I don't want to help Utah prepare for our game by telling them which personnel we'll have available." This is 1) the truth and 2) not insulting to the intelligence of anyone coming across his answer.

It is not good when your contempt for the media gets in the way of obviously better and more honest answers. See: Gibbons, Brendan.

Etc.: Tip times set times set for a number of basketball games. Article on how Michigan sticking by Devin Gardner despite "fans' pleas" for Shane Morris cites no fans pleading for Shane Morris. In fact cites reporter's question about Shane Morris indirectly by including Nussmeier answer to it.