Mailbag: Wardrobe Malfunction, Offer Clarity, I Am Not Craig From Being John Malkovich

Mailbag: Wardrobe Malfunction, Offer Clarity, I Am Not Craig From Being John Malkovich

Submitted by Brian on August 22nd, 2016 at 1:39 PM

It is possible that there have been MSU players with these names.

I can't believe this is real but a great friend who is an MSU grad is sure bent out of shape over it:


Love the site and Go Blue,


The worst thing about shirts like this is the five seconds where you think you should get it to troll someone and then remember that the #1 person being trolled in that situation is yourself.

Lessons from decommit central last year

While reading the latest Recruiting Overview I saw you mention forced decommitts. It seemed like a lot of those from last year, except for the most prominent one, were summer camp offers/commits. I am wondering if the coaching staff will lay off those sorts of camp offers this year due to the backlash from last year? Perhaps they will adjust how the offer is made, such as "We like you Mr Under The Radar Recruit and think you could have a potential bright future with our team. Here is an uncommittable offer than could become committable later this year if you keep your grades up/keep getting better on the field/the math at the end of the recruiting cycle works in your favor." Could we see something like this or will offers go flying out every which way again (that's how it appeared from a layman's POV) this summer?


It does appear that Michigan has altered their approach after The Swenson Incident. A number of different recruits have been on commit watch without a payoff: AL S AJ Harris and AL OL Toryque Bateman come to mind. Harris had a huge crystal ball surge for Michigan and a bunch of insiders predicting a commit. He was apparently held off and ended up committing to Ole Miss recently. Bateman came up saying it was 50/50 he would pull the trigger—which is more like 90/10 in recruit-speak—and left without doing so; it now seems like he'll be headed elsewhere. Last year both of those guys might have committed and then been let go late in the cycle.

Michigan does have a few guys they've been less than cautious with and I do expect they'll suffer/encourage decommits over the next six months. The number should be greatly reduced from last year's double-digits.

It's impossible to know exactly what conversations are going on between coaches and "offered" players but I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of Michigan's offers are conditional in some way, whether it's grades or guys higher on Michigan's board going elsewhere. I'd assume Michigan is being a lot more explicit about this, so guys aren't jumping on the future decommit train. Michigan offered MO DE Anthony Payne and FL DE Donovan Winter, sort of. They did so after Corey Malone-Hatcher and Luiji Vilain committed, so I doubt those were actual committable offers; both guys went off the board to other schools in short order. 

Michigan is continuing the offer cannon approach. They're being much more clear about which offers are "offers." Probably.

[After the JUMP: a jerk i tell you what]

Jerky tempo response

Dear Diary is Banged Up, Could Have Used a Shirt

Dear Diary is Banged Up, Could Have Used a Shirt

Submitted by Seth on December 13th, 2013 at 10:56 AM


This is how Brady Hoke sees an 'M'. [Upchurch]

Recruits: if you are reading this, do not believe the man in the red/crimson track suit telling you that criticism of Brady Hoke or his staff means Michigan is going to lose him anytime soon. Those are very bad men who are likely to have you downsized to Southern Alabama or regularly featured in photographs and articles that highlight how bad you are at tackling. You also should pay no attention to bloggers who suggest you should ride pine until 2016 and that your future coach needs to win X amount of games until then to even be his coach. Also I shouldn't be talking to you.

Fifth-year seniors >>>>>>> freshmen on special teams. That's why I strongly disagree with the conclusions of AC1997's assessment of this year's redshirting, while appreciating the hell out of the diary (quick read, too). The only one he's mad about is Da'Mario Jones, while Bosch and York are "questionable." I know we did this recently in a roundtable but my take is different:

  • Obviously play him: Smith, Butt, Gedeon. All were effective and needed.
  • Not mad but needed a shirt: Shane—we've discussed this. Green but you kind of have to play five-stars. Bosch but chances are good there's still two decent 2017 starting guards out of Samuelson, Dawson, and Mason Cole and other 2014/15 recruits.
    Me in 2017 is (probably) very upset about this. [Fuller]
  • Mad: The safeties and receivers and here's our big disagreement. Dymonte Thomas and Delano Hill are perfect examples of the reason we have a tag about burning redshirts on special teams. Jones & York—Mathlete keeps telling us that returning experience at receiver is a strong indicator of a good offense and vice versa, and unless a receiver has a massive talent lead on the DBs trying to cover him WR effectiveness is about route running and blocking and reps reps reps.
  • Pick ONE cursed freshman corner: Both Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling played, both were pretty good for freshmen, one was needed. Theory: Uber recruits tend to cast a shadow on recruiting their positions, so it's important to have good stocks ahead of them (see: Russell Bellomy/Shane Morris situation). Peppers doesn't fill a depth chart by himself, and if he really is Woodson reincarnate* he'll be gone to the NFL after winning the 2016 Heisman and then we're left with Whitley and Howard.**

At the risk of sounding like every NFL columnist who thinks every franchise needs to adopt the strategy of whichever team just won the Superbowl, the reason Michigan State and Wisconsin have been to Indianapolis twice apiece, despite recruiting classes that top out like our (mediocre-for-Michigan) 2011 haul, is because they redshirt almost everybody and keep them around.

It's a luxury of stable programs, and Michigan is still paying for not being one of those for the latter half of the 2000s. Denard would have been nice to have this year, obviously. How badly did you wish for Vincent Smith when the RBs were getting Gardner killed? How's Michigan's pass rush if you add fifth years from Roh and Campbell to it? Brandin Hawthorne could have let you put a shirt on Gedeon. Developed talent is good. Fifth year seniors are good. Leastways they're better than a marginal improvement in kickoff coverage for a team that rarely scores touchdowns.


*[Nobody is Woodson reincarnate. The thing about the greatest players in the history of the game is they don't grow on trees.]

** [I mean who wants 1998 Todd Howard starting? He's a true freshman. He's short. He doesn't know how to press yet. He's…he's right behind me isn't he?


Nope, he's over there by Brian.]

That's not what I expected. Okay, reader. Zoom out, cock your head sideways, and tell me with just a glance what you think this diary was about:


Turnover analysis? A deep look inside offensive stats? An estimated timetable for improvement? Nope: try a "when do we fire this guy" post.

Deep, statistical analysis to answer rhetorical fan questions that have simple answers not requiring statistics (Michigan isn't firing Brady Hoke anytime soon): these are my readers tag activated. Really it's a case of bad title—what he's doing is comparing Hoke's coaching stops to those of the most successful coaches in recent history, concluding that Michigan needs to win 20 games in the next two seasons (and probably a national championship) to have his name placed among that pantheon. Expectations are probably around 17, with the fanbase getting mighty grumpy if that number dips below 16.

Your regular etc. LSA tackles (ha!) the defense, which straddled the B+/A- line all year until it faced Miller-Hyde without its middle linebackers.

[After the jump: a very meta board]

Dear Diary Dives, Rolls, and Eats Ruffage

Dear Diary Dives, Rolls, and Eats Ruffage

Submitted by Seth on April 19th, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Brian mentioned this in his spring recap but here again is the play Michael Scarn picture-paged:


He points out several things that happened here. One is James Ross moving so fast toward the hole he actually cuts off Desmond Morgan. Another is the wholesale disaster that was the interior blocking, as Miller got nobody, Braden didn't peel off to intercept the Will, and Kalis ran right by James Ross. Here's your money shot:


sorry for low quality—if you can find the play on here I'll make new.

Morgan was the playside LB but Ross is already past him and gunning toward the hole. Miller is looking the wrong way. Kalis is pulling and looking outside Lewan's and Braden's block. If you ever wondered what coaches mean by "head on a swivel" this is the opposite: his head is facing where his body is, and because of that he doesn't see the MLBs racing in. Braden too needs to recognize that his combo block on the playside DT has done its job; the Hutchinson thing to do here would be to find Ross and Morgan charging into the same hole, and using a block on the first to wall off the second.

These are things learned by experience, and are reasons you usually don't expect linemen to be very good until they're upperclassmen.

As for Ross, that millisecond diagnosis was so incredible people are arguing if it was actually a blitz (that stunts the MLBs? Coach-types, thoughts?). Michael Scarn, obvious Diarist of the Week, submitted a supplement on this diary covering Ross and how he compares to onetime-Cane, now-Steeler Sean Spence. I stand by my comparison to another safety-sized Steeler who made a career out of avoiding blocks by simply getting to the ball-carrier first, Larry Foote. Either way, here's betting when Brian sends us the roundtable questions for HTTV the annual 'breakout player?' wording starts with "Other than…"

Etc. For a second I thought Jake Ryan was Brock Mealer. Snowflake-y thing on next year's basketball team now that the personnel seems settled.

Best of the Board


Spring Practice is over and it's a long few months of coach-less physical training before fall stuff. To give you an idea of the things our players will be working on from now until then, here's a letter from Fritz Crisler circa 1941 dug up by Messenger Puppet.


Apparently the Michigan Method includes:

  • Sleeping from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., 10:30 to 6:30 if you absolutely have to.
  • Rolling on the ground
  • Cut out stimulants such as alcohol and nicotine in order to do better justice to yourself in a football way.
  • "Crabbing"
  • 10 to 15 minutes of "setting up exercises," followed by a cold bath.
  • Eating plenty of ruffage to keep your digestive system normal at all times.


This is the video shown at the basketball banquet. It starts with Novak and Stu after winning the B1G last year then goes to the freshman class and then…


For the tiny subsection of the fanbase for whom heuristics on the interior DL three-deep is news, little shreds of such news have trickled out that could be read as Godin and Heitzman are awesome but probably mean Strobel is still far from playing time (and is a redshirt freshman GAWD U GUYz!)

This sparked a thread led off by Blazefire on Tom Strobel's (below: Fuller) move to 3-tech, apparently because of an injury to somebody in that group. Which injury? Could be Ryan Glasgow, or it could have to do with Wormley being unavailable for most contact this spring. Don't know, guessing Glasgow.

Fuller - StrobelTom's coming in for a little bit "oh no not LaLota" fear since of that ridiculous interior d-line class he's the highest rated to not yet push for serious playing time: Wormley was mentioned as a potential competition for Roh's job last year before his injury, Pipkins played, and Godin and Henry were 3-stars and your 2nd string 5-tech and 3-tech respectively in the Spring Game.

From Mattison's quote it sounds like it's mostly a convenience thing. They need depth at three, and at the five—which is pretty interchangeable—there's a pecking order emerging of Heitzman the starter, Godin the backup, and Wormley the nominal third string with a lot of upward mobility. Speculation centers on why Strobel was moved and not Godin, who's 10 pounds heavier.

On one hand GAWD U GUYz he's a redshirt freshman who always needed to put on weight and for whom "on track" would mean pushing to play by 2014. On the other Godin is now almost certainly ahead of him and the Godin hype hasn't hit anything like Jake Ryan levels where you figure we just found a diamond. Waaaaaaaaay too early for this: absolutely. Irrational fan voice squeaking this anyway: yeah. Impact if true: small. They can't ALL become next-RVBs (4-star DE are about 25% to become NFL draft picks).


The NCAA has put in the time these last few years to establish itself as the most incompetent group of people since they invented Comcast customer service, and as a consequence opened themselves to ALL THE zing.

When Oregon found major violations, the thread is all 'nothing will happen' until ZING!:

"You're wrong there. The NCAA is sick and tired of being looked at as an impotent and largely powerless organization incapable of meting out justice to offenders.

"This time they are mad. This time they mean business. I predict that the NCAA is SO upset at what Oregon's been doing that South Florida's going to get their scholly's cut again." –mGrowOld

When reports surfaced that Ohio State's bow-tied president was trotted out to recruit Drake Harris, the thread began wondering if that's, you know, crossing some sort of line and ZING!

"When presidents are involved in recruiting, it's usually dead ones like Grant, Jackson, et al. See Auburn, University of." –Victor Hale II

People in the thread have a bunch of stories of how beloved Gee is on campus because he goes to bars (!) and sometimes remembers people had crutches (!). He's also the former lawyer who instigated Ohio State's lawyerly defense of itself for Tressel's tenure, thereby undermining the NCAA's self-regulatory compliance system and exposing the organization's true impotence. I don't really have a problem with a school president meeting a recruit; I do have a problem with this president who sees his job as head of Buckeye Phi, until such time as Jim Tressel decides to fire him.

People who agree: Brown University calls its spring game port-a-potties the "E. Gordon Gee Lavatory Complex" in honor of his short and generally disastrous tenure there. There's a reason this guy and Emmert are best buddies.


Ohio State made rings for their Year of Shame.


Hey, surprise, the school that couldn't find honor if you put it around a Clemson player's neck doesn't do contrition very well. On the last ring they posted the Game's score from last year, calling us "TUN" beneath a horseshoe so detailed you can see them carrying Tressel off on their shoulders. Mr. Yost suggested they should just wear asterisks. ZING!


CaliUMfan pulled some tweets from people who spoke to Beilein after the "they're back" presser that suggest Michigan plans to move Glenn Robinson to small forward and play McGary at the four, creating a crunch at the two/three of GRIII, Stauskas, LeVert and Irvin. This can be taken in many ways, most of which come back to "yeah you tell Morgan he's the expected starter again."


The guy who played the cynic on the Imperial Mottiboard of directors in the original Star Wars has passed away; for this site, this absolutely constitutes a board thread. If you can't appreciate Richard LeParmentier's acting ability, I suggest you imagine how you'd do if George Lucas handed you a script that read:

"Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebels' hidden fort—[NOW PRETEND LIKE HE'S CHOKING YOU!]"

And yes I claim the Star Wars geeks as mine. When Brian can go three references in a row without flubbing a quote or acknowledging the prequels exist he can have you back. Also when he learns to moderate the board like this:


ETC. If recruiting his son means Dakich can't do Michigan games anymore, or even if it makes him stop trolling us, it is SO worth a scholarship. Jonvalk suggests a new MGobanner. Novak profiled in local paper, mentions MGoShirt. Will basketball or football end up ranked higher next year?

Your Moment of Zen:

Forty-two not 16 'cause it was Other-Robinson Day.


Mailbag: ACC Openings, Arkansas(?), Mustache Tricks, Tempo, Flan

Mailbag: ACC Openings, Arkansas(?), Mustache Tricks, Tempo, Flan

Submitted by Brian on October 5th, 2012 at 3:47 PM



ND replacements open up.

Hi Brian, I don't know if you've caught up with this yet but the ACC is going to an 8 game conference schedule in football from the present 9 games.  This will create immediate schedule openings for ACC teams.  The article below from the Atlanta paper discusses the impact on GA Tech and of ND coming into the ACC. Tech and Notre Dame will be permanent partners for home and home series in basketball.  I wouldn't want UM to play GA Tech in football, with their Air Force/Navy type offense but there are a ton of other possibilities for us now within the ACC.

This puts Florida State and Clemson more on the table—and I should mention that FSU did have an Oklahoma series in addition to their annual Florida series recently, so they are not entirely averse to a second quality opponent. FSU will have to make sure they don't get Notre Dame in one of those years before anything firms up, but there are five years Michigan is looking for a sexy opponent. At least two of those years FSU will have an opening.

I'd bank on at least one ACC entering the picture in the 2016-2020 window, since two-thirds of a game every year has just opened up.

BONUS INSIDERY THING: This is not on the same level as the Alabama game prediction, which I was certain of, but I've heard from a decent source that Arkansas may be a team that pops up on the schedule in the near future. Jeff Long is a Michigan guy—thus the basketball series we've just completed—and only has TCU in 2016 as a quality opponent in the time frame Michigan will be looking for partners.

Arkansas is not on the level of a Notre Dame but as part of a schedule in which Michigan has two real opponents they're a good choice.




Do you think that Danny Hope is being vague on the status of Marve and Bolden just to keep Michigan off-balanced in game preparation? I doubt that we will see either player, but having to game plan for both a predominately pocket passer and a more mobile quarterback eats up a lot of practice time and film time. If Bolden and Marve were to be in the game, that back field if both healthy would be an athletic one which could give our defense issues.



Did I answer this question just because it came with a subject of "Mustache tricks (UNCLASSIFIED)"? That's classified.

I wouldn't put anything past coaches in their never-ending quests to gamesmanship themselves an extra yard or two, but I'm not sure about your policework there. TerBush is the athletic QB, Marve the more effective passer. Bolden is either available or not. Purdue's offense isn't going to shift that drastically based on the QB—routes will be the same, they're still going to be operating from the shotgun, etc.

In general, football coaches' manic attempts to get every edge possible are ridiculous. That stuff going down in Los Angeles is doing more damage to either LA program than the miniscule advantage provided by pretty much but not quite knowing the injury situation going into the game. It's especially grating when the same guys are like "scheme is overrated." You know what's overrated? Insane North Korea secrecy.

Can we go fast?


I'm a huge spread guy and I noticed that not once under Hoke has Michigan pushed tempo on offense unless late in halves or games. Can you explain this?

Ali Maki

There's a cost to that. Tempoing a defense requires everyone to be on the same page, restricts the package of plays you can use, and requires you to move to a different system of play-signaling.

I think it's a cost worth paying. One of the big takeaways from the Mott open practices is how often guys are not doing anything. That would drive me crazy as a coach, and does drive Chip Kelly crazy, so he set about cramming as much stuff in as possible during practice and then thinking about it after. The results have been pretty good.

Michigan doesn't, at least not right now. I get it. They've got a lot of stuff they're trying to cram into Denard and the OL without putting that extra weight on his shoulders. They haven't taken Tempo 301's prereqs.

Pretty much, buddy.


Do you or do you not support sending Denard on a safety blitz when Ohio State has a 3rd and 9 on the Michigan 40 with 3 minutes to play in a tie game-seems like a near guarantee that he would missile himself into Braxton Miller's spine, forcing a fumble which could then be returned by laquon treadwell who is visiting and has run on to the field in uncontrollable excitement.  

If this happens I will donate my entire income for the 2013 fiscal year to Vincent Smith's estate.

I'd rather have Denard throw a poisoned flan at the guy, but I guess your plan could work too.

Dear Diary Forges a More Perfect Union

Dear Diary Forges a More Perfect Union

Submitted by Seth on June 29th, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Reminder: MGoEvent is Tomorrow, 3pm, at Underground (1114 South University, Ann Arbor) to launch HTTV. RSVP here. Also this goes right to book order------------------->


Sadly the most recent 2013 commitment did not come with a pair, so the diarists decided they'd do the doubling for him. Not even counting two weeks of Blockhams, four other diarists penned not one but two articles each.

Michigan's Defense Again. Let's start with hart20 since I've been jonesin' recently for a little Mattison appreciation. This is a comparison of Mattison coordinator stops past to find out whether there's a clear Mattison effect. This sort of thing can never be conclusive but there's a pattern emerging of immediate and dramatic improvement against the run in the first year, and holding serve the second (though in early stops the pass defense was more variable).

Hart's second diary is a follow-up to the ND preview he was penning before, this time with more OSU and Bama, wrangling up what the interwebs have been saying on things like the ND QB situation, and whether they're headed for their own Never Forget backfield poster. Ohioan recruiting and Eddie Lacy's injuries also feature. I wonder how the ND fans reacted to Brian Kelly saying the goal for Year Three is 8 wins. Purple faces? Diarist of the week.

Defining the Debate. If you think that game at the end of the 2012 season is a culture-clash, wait'll you see the one at the beginning. The blue-blooded TSS tossed out the opening salvo with Michigan's signature weapons: variability charts, and contingency tables.


That's taken from Part I, the roster comparison. He followed up this week with Part II, which accounts for a lot of the headaches caused by Alabama roster analysis* then gives us a comparison of early enrollees and redshirts. The statistics are a bit dense for the non-statistical, but there's a lot to learn there. A few Bama fans arrived in the comments to debate the existence over-signing because Les Miles is a Michigan man, see? A Part III comes, and more subjective analysis is promised. Also promised—as regular readers of This Week in Schadenfreude can attest—rising tensions as our pretentious selves prepare to meet a particularly notorious (notable exceptions noted) internet fanbase that's guaranteed to push every single one of our buttons.


* As I learned with Decimated Defense, Alabama's roster is a bitch to analyze. Oversigning and the corresponding attrition rates mean there's so many guys to track down, recruits appear in multiple classes since so many are shuttled off to friendly prep schools and JUCOs. And then there's the names, which as TSS discovered have so many hyphens, variant spellings and repeats it's harder on a VLOOKUP function than a list of Roman generals. #lateantiquityexcelreferencesFTW



Quarterbacks and Rivalries. Okay, Son of Lloyd Brady, I love your diaries but the tables—can't we do something about the tables? Copy into Tableizer, paste into Notebook, remove the first paragraph, paste into html, voila: pretty, perfectly width-ed tables.

Complaint registered, Wow! The first he penned is a comparison of dual-threat QBs Denard, RGIII, Collin Klein, Taylor Martinez, and Braxton Miller. SoLB on Robert Griffin:

If it seemed like RGIII was putting up video game numbers to open last season, well he wasn’t because you can’t put up numbers like that in video games. He started with amazing proficiency and I got all too well known #DIV/O! error message for his OOC ATT/INT & TD/INT because he didn’t throw any picks until conference play. Although his stats weren’t as gaudy in conference, I’m sure any QB in the nation would have accepted that level of play as he was still extremely effective.

It's a lot of information but difficult to compare with the big charts. I suggest you dive in anyway for the splits: conference/OOC, 1st 6 games/last 7, home/away&neutral. Lol away at Taylor Martinez once D.C.s realized they just have to make him throw.

His next diary is shorter and easier, and covers great rivalries by series record, average score, differential, etc. I'm not as big a fan of this one because not all rivalry games are created equal (find me someone not from Alabama who never misses an Iron Bowl). The Red River Shootout may be an historical pick 'em, but Michigan-Ohio State is the kind of rivalry where a 36-point spread can still manage to immortalize the number 50. Point spreads don't matter that much (side-note: I'm pretty sure this page on Bentley didn't call them Ohio in the end notes before).

CRex and the Korean Hallows. The CRex saga continues this summer. In his latest OT blockbuster, (now-) Mrs. CRex and the Pentagon team up to defeat the INS, Little Sister throws a stag after discovering vodka is not a wine cooler, and on the opposite side of the world from Columbus a Buckeye can still get trolled by four hookers. Between you and me, Brian is going to throw a fit once he learns a perfect opportunity to re-enact the K-Pop Girls' Generation video with a Michigan helmet was missed in favor of Lollipop. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, through the powers of M-Wolverine's copy/paste function and superb foresight, the collected works of CRex are now available in their own diary. Congratulations to the young couple. May your marriage be as entertaining as your courtship.


Etc. User wallaby created several classy options for Legends patches like the one above. Compared with the real one at right, well there's no comparison. rman247 made his own recruiting rankings by watching highlight videos of each prospect. I mean to do something comparing his ratings versus the major sites' unless he does it first. And someone who I'm surprised would remember Diallo Johnson that well given his stated age (mid-college in 2006) is nevertheless handled DialloJohnson and wrote about Bo's death being that reality-slap that comes when your adulthood synapse decides it's time to activate.

Best of the Board


This new board meme bores me: You are all Roll Damn Tide's new account. If that went whew we had one of those notable exception Bama fans around who posted well-written and considered recruiting info from time to time until he got one wrong and took offense to people who took being wrong the wrong way. Now asking if the OP is RDT has become the new "First!," and almost as annoying. Less annoying: user I Only Reply in Gifs is tautologically up to 115 posts now.


Milkstake's brother's highlight video of Michigan-Notre Dame 2011. Keep trying Kapron; I'm sure you'll get Denard down before Milkstake's brother puts 2010 Illinois to Sigur Ros. Or anything to JDK & Rey, i.e. Michigan quarterback Jack Kennedy and receiver Joe Reynolds. This is them:


Wot it sez on the tin. Space Coyote added question 8: toilet paper wrapped over or under, and that's how I discovered this site. Consensus is over unless you've got a cat or young children. The rest of my answers: 1.) Tank, 2.) Always lose unless called upon to perform a service (like knocking off a potential B1G tie). 3.) Which Navarre argument are we having, the one from 2000 when he slaughtered MAC schools then was overmatched vs. UCLA, or the one from 2003 on whether someone in the NFL can teach him touch? Guy was a good quarterback and a great person. He also read this year's HTTV before you did so nah! 4.) Trick question: Ditka doesn't exist. 5.) I'll take a mascot if students come up with it on their own; if the marketing department is involved no thanks. 7.) Ale [full stop]. 6.) Tomorrow, all identities will be revealed. Also it will be revealed that the MGoStaff are really the cast from SilverHawks (dibs Bluegrass). Tally ho!

Your moment of zen:


HT redwhiteandMGOBLUE

Mailbag: TEs, Scheduling Surcharges, OL Weight, Brandon's Master Plan

Mailbag: TEs, Scheduling Surcharges, OL Weight, Brandon's Master Plan

Submitted by Brian on September 7th, 2011 at 10:46 AM


A potential future TE and one of many, many places it would be cool to go

Let's have a TE rummage sale.

Hi Brian,

Just listened to the podcast of your WTKA Thursday gig and you echoed my own concerns about TE depth.  Yesterday I started a thread on the board about converting Heitzman to TE but it was partially highjacked by the Snarkosphere. 

Keith was a TE in high school and played a bit of fullback in the Big 33 game (scored the last TD).  At 6'3"  250 he is already big enough to contribute and would be ready to step into the looming void of 2012.  WolvinLA had one of the few constructive comments to my post saying that he thought Heitzman had the frame to become a 285 lb. SDE..... but I would rather have a 260 lb. TE next year, and taking a third TE in this class does not really address the immediate depth problem.


I think you're onto something. Michigan is going to bring in a couple SDEs next year that are probably going to pass Heitzman on the depth chart as soon as they hit campus. On the other hand, they have zero(!) scholarship SDEs on the current depth chart. Unless Brink is a diamond in the rough, they'll need the competition there.

There's another guy on the roster who seems even riper for a move: Jordan Paskorz. Paskorz played TE in high school—he actually made the local newspaper's All-Region team at the spot. He's listed as a 6'3" 246 linebacker but didn't make the depth chart; I actually thought he was competing at WDE. Either way, SLB and WDE are both three-deep for the next couple years.

He's got a much clearer path to playing time at TE. By next year he could be 260 or 270 pounds. I'm a little surprised they haven't moved him already.


Brian -

One of the consistent comments since Brady Hoke was hired has been the weight of our offensive linemen.  I feel like this is something you bring up quite regularly, either talking about how the starters haven't put on as much weight as you expected or about how some of the incoming recruits fit more in line with the "man ball" theme based on their size.  Here's my question - what weight do you think Hoke wants for the OL? 

I did a little research on this and what I found was that Michigan isn't as light as I would expect as compared to everyone else.  Most teams, both NCAA and NFL, seem to average about 305-315 across their line while Michigan is just under 300.  More interesting is that our current OL out-weighs the National Champion 1997 line that produced a bunch of quality NFL players.  (Caveat about old school rosters matching reality goes here.)  

The only team I found that has any significant size difference with respect to Michigan is Wisconsin.  So do you really think Hoke wants that type of OL or is a modest increase into the 310 area that most NFL Teams seem to favor? 


Yeah, in 1997 Michigan was still in the mode where any lineman over 300 pounds was listed at "299." Whether this was an homage to the old Schembechler story about the scales in the football building only going that high (and having to weigh some kid on a freight elevator as a result) or a hint to anyone over that number to get under it is unknown. Those guys were probably just as big as these guys.

I have no idea what to make of Hoke's intentions since he seems to say one thing and then let Borges do what he wants. I wouldn't read much into the lack of weight added to Michigan's current line in that regard since it's possible they're just not guys who can be much bigger than they already are. Molk and Huyge are probably topped out and putting more weight on Omameh would be easy if you just wanted it to be fat. Maybe not so much the muscle. Barnum and Lewan are exceptions; not sure what to make of that.

Down the road we will see bigger linemen. No one in this class is ever going to be described as "undersized," as Molk and possibly Omameh are. I'm guessing they won't be as huge as Wisconsin, but who knows?

Reasons not to schedule anyone that kind of assume I am not aware of the structure of college fooball.


I hear what you're saying on the scheduling but it's never going to change with the current incentive structure. As long as a school from a BCS conference can destroy three cupcakes, run the table in their conference and go to the national title game (or lose 1 conference game and still get a huge BCS payout) what is the incentive for Michigan to ever schedule anyone but 2 directional schools and Baby Seal U of its choice?

At the end of the day, the fans care about wins and in January there will be much less bitching if Michigan is 10-2 with losses to Wisco and Iowa (and having clubbed 3 terrible teams) and playing on New Years Day than if they went 9-3 with an additional loss to Oklahoma.


Since up to five Big Ten teams now play on New Year's Day, your hypothetical 9-3 team would easily cross that threshold. Hurray for grade inflation. That's beside the point.

I see what the emailer is saying, and sort of agree, and think that's another aspect of modern college football that sucks out loud. HOWEVA, I don't think that the only thing CFB fans care about is wins at The End Of The Day. This whole topic of conversation arose because I went to the UM Club of Detroit's kickoff luncheon and some guy launched into a rant about Michigan's scheduling that got applause from the entire room. At the end of the day I think fans want to see Michigan win more than its fair share against quality competition and feel like they're getting value for money.

I believe that even if the fans sigh and pay for Michigan scheduling real opponents by yourself, value for money is on the side of real opponents. And $2.59 per ticket means you don't have to schedule Georgia or Oklahoma to make the home and home worthwhile. YMMV, but here's a list of teams Michigan could play. You can yes or no the hypothetical surcharge in your brain for each:

  • Georgia Tech
  • Clemson
  • Missouri
  • Oregon State
  • Oklahoma State
  • Cal
  • UCLA
  • Arkansas
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Ole Miss

Those are all "yes" to me and none are signing up to play Oklahoma. It's true that signing up for a second real game reduces your chances of running the table and getting into the worst playoff ever. That's another crappy effect of the current system that would be far less powerful if we had a properly-sized playoff (six teams, IME). That's a downside… but I don't really care. I just want to play some real teams.

This guy's mileage varies from the previous guy

I know and understand your post is all about the financial ramifications and feasibility of a home and home with a real opponent, but you failed to mention one common sense tidbit that Dave Brandon doesn't seem to get: PEOPLE LIKE TRAVELING TO NEW PLACES, which is why Michigan is almost always a lock to bring a big crowd to a bowl game.

People want to explore the country. I've always wanted to visit the south and all I need is a game scheduled between Michigan and any SEC team below the Mason Dixon line to get me to finally take that trip. Road games are FUN, especially when they are in a city/region you don't get to visit much.


Amen. I'm still undecided about whether I'll shell out to go see Michigan play Alabama in Jerryworld. It's just a bowl game in a meh city. I can do that every year. (Right, Brady?) If the game was in Tuscaloosa I'd be hitting refresh on Kayak every twelve seconds until I'd gotten solid plans. That is a once in a lifetime opportunity to check out a college football mecca. Hell, I went to a game at Auburn Michigan wasn't even involved in and came back raving about how awesome college football was.

Jerryworld is not college football, but it pays the bills. If paying those is what it takes for Michigan to schedule nonconference games not against Notre Dame, I'm willing to do that. Give us the option. Put a millage on the season ticket applications that will add a surcharge for two years for a specific matchup and only do it if you get 60% of the vote. The worst thing that happens is nothing.

A Third and long Denard followup from the Mathlete.

I have Denard at 1140th out of 1235 players in my database on 3rd and 8+

Tate Forcier from 2009 was literally one spot ahead at 1139

Pat White in his three years under RR:

2005: 315th
2006: 281st
2007: 395th

West Virginia wasn't great under RR but they were always in the top quarter and nowhere near as low as Michigan was the last two year.


Yeesh. That will be a stat to track this year, more to see how Denard develops than any particular differences between RR and Borges. That assertion about Michigan 2011 being an offense that had to stay ahead of the chains as much as generic triple options teams turns out to be no exaggeration.

Yet another reason to shoot yourself (DON'T SHOOT YOURSELF)

Hi Brian-

I have an alternative theory on Michigan football, we are all in a dream.
Hear me out.

You know how most dreams will contain basic familiar elements (Denard, uniforms, etc), but often will have people in places you don't expect but might hope for (Tressel resigning in disgrace, getting great recruits), some simply weird stuff (Brady Hoke as coach, huge scoreboard out of nowhere), and then all of a sudden the narrative gets really weird with some natural phenomenon (like onrushing water) that signals the dream state and the fact we might be ready to get up?

Is Dave Brandon trying to perform Inception on us?

Niels Rosenquist


accurate representation of how Michigan fans feel after last four years

Hmmm… If I shoot myself in the head, the possibilities:

  • die
  • wake up on December 1st, 2007 thinking "Dave Brandon should coach Michigan football"

I think I'll pass.

Mailbag! Wedges Banned! Yukon Cornelius!

Mailbag! Wedges Banned! Yukon Cornelius!

Submitted by Brian on October 26th, 2010 at 5:16 PM


One topic that was brought up during your WTKA segment today regarding special teams was, "what happened to the kickoff return game?'  You never addressed it during the segment, so I thought I would throw this at you.

I haven't done my Mgoresearch, but wasn't there a rule change regarding kickoff return team blocking?  IIRC, the NCAA has limited the number of return team players allowed in a blocking wedge or wall.

I would have to look up video from previous seasons, but I believe U of M utilized a 3 man wall in front of the returners with Kevin Grady and others.

David Woods

David is correct: the NCAA banned wedge blocking this offseason, which at least partially explains how an effective kick return game has disintegrated. If Michigan was really good at the wedge and now it's gone they're starting over. That doesn't explain why they're really bad, but does get you to average.

That lack of effectiveness and Darryl Stonum's increased importance to the offense make his removal from kick returns less annoying than it was earlier in the year. With Odoms out there's not much depth on the outside and Stonum wasn't getting any returns; it's possible that one-cut-and-go type stuff is less effective and kick returners should be shiftier guys closer to punt returners.

What do you think of Devin Gardner's expected plea for a medical redshirt?  It's suspicious he's only played 1/3rd of the season and is eligible for the redshirt.  If this is RichRod bending redshirt rules for an extra year of eligibility from Devin, isn't this a bad thing, like Saban's redshirts?  We're not gaming the system for more scholarships, but we are gaming it for a competitive advantage, right?


The difference is that I'm sure Devin Gardner is 100% on board with getting a fifth year of eligibility. The Alabama players "encouraged" to take a medical scholarship would like to keep playing football and are being presented with an involuntary choice: transfer or medical, take your pick. I'm not too concerned about skating the edges of NCAA rules when it doesn't have a negative impact on the student-athlete the entire enterprise is supposed to support.

The timing is convenient but unless Michigan has an inordinate number of medical redshirts per year I'm not sure the NCAA would even bat an eye at a documented injury. Like, say, this:


That looks like exploitation. Michigan's pattern probably isn't that blatant, so what can you do when they say he was hurt?

Finally, concerns about looking bad to the NCAA are overblown. The worst thing that can possibly happen is the NCAA says no.

The future of defense. Many questions answered piecemeal:

One of the potential "benefits" of having so much youth on defense is that they could potentially lock down their positions for years.  If that happens in any cases, can you explain whether there is any positional flexibility with this 3-3-5 alignment we're using?

Could Carvin move to FS?

Doubtful. His strengths and weaknesses make him an excellent fit for the spot he's at right now and not so much of an excellent fit at FS, where speed and raw athleticism are more important. Not that our current FS has those in buckets, but moving Johnson doesn't really solve that issue.

How is Marvin going to see the field if he's behind Kovacs?  (who expected us to say something like that?)

Possibly by trying out free safety? This is the weird thing called "depth."

Could Furman or Hawthorne see the field anywhere?

Hawthorne is the third team spur behind two guys younger than him. The most likely career outcome there is special teams only. Furman is likely to move to OLB, where he'll need another year or two of seasoning before breaking through. Remember he was super raw out of HS.

Would Roh move to a true DE in this scheme or stay in this hybrid LB situation? 

He's already a DE (mostly) against conventional teams. Michigan is a 4-3 or 3-4 base against conventional pro-style sets and Roh puts his hand down more often than not. So the question is really "will Roh play DE against spread teams next year?" That depends on how Jibreel Black, JB Fitzgerald, Brandon Herron, and other OLB/DEs (Wilkins, Paskorz, Furman) develop. I think the ideal situation sees Roh add another 10-15 pounds over the offseason to hit 265—he's listed at 6'5"—and becoming a full-time DE. Before Herron went down Michigan was using him as a 3-3-5 DE to good effect against Notre Dame, and we've all seen him struggle in space against Indiana.

Roh will probably remain a hybrid against pro-style teams, playing clunky LB when Michigan drops into the 3-3-5.

Could Cam Gordon move down to another spot?

If you can find a suitable replacement at free safety, but who's that? Kovacs? No. Floyd? Really bad tackler. Vinopal's made a lot of hay out of one play against Bowling Green but remains a true freshman as well. Ideally he'd move down to spur or bandit (or even OLB) but unless Michigan snags someone ready to start at FS from day one it's hard to see him relocate.

That's why the recruit I'd most like to get in February is JUCO safety Byron Moore, who qualified out of high school and transferred away from USC after a redshirt season to get playing time and scout out a new destination not being cratered by NCAA sanctions. As a big time recruit two years removed from high school with a year of PT under his belt, Moore is the closest thing to a quick fix at FS Michigan will ever have.

But wait, there's Woolfolk, right? Well a bit more on him later.

How do you see the open positions being filled in 2011 on defense to see if there's hope? I assume Jones and Demens will be the LB (backed up by Ryan, Bell, and any freshmen)

Yes, though Jones might field a challenge from parts unknown. It's hard to see anyone displacing Demens if only because there almost literally isn't anyone behind him on the depth chart at the moment.

I assume Black will be the DE (backed up by Heninger and the RS-Freshmen)

Yes, unless they go with Roh there—Black will find plenty of PT platooning—and Herron/Fitzgerald at the other OLB spot. With the lack of depth at DT that might be a way to spot Martin with RVB from time to time, as well.

Does Woolfolk automatically go back to corner or deep safety?  I assume corner, but with the time Avery and Talbott are getting could he be better served protecting the deep ball?

Up in the air, something that will be decided based on the potential acquisition of Moore, Gordon's play the rest of the season, and how things work out in spring. Right now I'd say corner since Michigan plays a ton of cover three and none of the freshmen looks like they should be starting next year. Even if one of them develops quickly you'd like to have some depth at corner for nickel and dime packages.

And then there's this:

I liken the "Angry M hating God" to Yukon Cornelius and Hermey Scrivello from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

For instance, the M defense is the Bumble, ready to devour talking reindeer and #1 wide receivers accross the land. Then Yukon and Hermey show up unexpectedly and ruin everything. They rip out your teeth (Woolfolk) and force you to do stupid shit like hang Christmas ornaments or run only zone because you have lost the only thing that instilled fear in your opponent.

Our defense is the Bumble without teeth. Right now our pass defense is being shoved off a cliff every week until we grow new teeth or we realize we have claws to gouge the eyes of our opponent. I'm just sayin'.



I have nothing to add.

Unverified Voracity Isn't Afraid Of A Zeig Rush

Unverified Voracity Isn't Afraid Of A Zeig Rush

Submitted by Brian on April 13th, 2010 at 5:23 PM

See what I did there?

The Zeiglering. According to Trey Zeigler, Trey Zeigler will announce his college destination on ESPNU tomorrow. A guy named Drew Ellis said he was delaying his decision, but on matters related to Trey Zeigler my number one source is Trey Zeigler. His destination is unknown but Michigan and Central Michigan, where his dad just picked up a four-year extension, are usually the teams mentioned as having the best shot. UCLA doesn't think it's part of the festival and Arizona State didn't get a visit and is almost definitely out of the picture. Michigan State is the other team in Ziegler's top five. They have a logjam at the three with Keith Appling and others, though.

ESPNU's signing day special kicks off at 4 PM, which means we'll be waiting anxiously for an hour before Zeigler shows up. No one has anything approaching solid information. I think it's Central but I am biased to believe nothing good will happen with Michigan basketball recruiting.

Fun. I don't know if this means anything other than the NCAA doing its due diligence:

"The NCAA has met with individuals involved with the West Virginia football program to identify any potential rules violations," school officials said in a statement, released on Tuesday. "The university has fully cooperated with the NCAA during this process. West Virginia University and its department of intercollegiate athletics is committed to operating its athletics department in conformance with the legislation and policies of the NCAA and the Big East Conference."

We'll see if anything comes of it. Right now it's just a phone call and another opportunity for people to restate their opinions about how Rodriguez should or should not be fired.

Epic Red. The Daily continues its series of articles that have no-foolies established it as probably the best newspaper of any variety covering Michigan sports. Seriously. the sort of long-form profile/investigative pieces that are the main thing people point to when they lament the coming end of newspapers have been almost exclusively the province of the Daily this year. There was the Pahokee article, the Antonio Bass profile, and now a look at Red Berenson 26 years into his career as Michigan's head coach. Here's Red recruiting Chris Fox:

“If you want to be a Michigan Man, you should know in the next week,” the coach said to the recruit, who looked and felt much more like a kid than he did when he walked into the office just minutes before. “It will just become clear.”

It became clear.

(HT: MGoJen.)

Quarterback. Rapper. Auteur. David Cone has a short film in the Statesboro Film Festival. Seriously.

/in before lame freep joke based on ending.

A "these are my readers" moment. So a junior clarinet major at Michigan sends me this Microsoft paint reimagining of Tom Harmon:

tom harmon 2.0

It's a revamp of a Terran Marine:


By his account, this took Andrew Kobalka seven hours. He asked I not retouch it before posting.

Yeah… these are my readers. I am a privileged man.

Vada update. It kind of sucks that I'm tracking the progress of three separate former Michigan players battling cancer, but at least the news on all three has been encouraging of late. Vada Murray's wife has just updated their caringbridge site and the news in it seems positive:

We needed more tissue in order for the tissue to be tested to get Vada into a very promising clinical trial.  In order to get into this trial, Vada's cancer needed to carry a particular mutation.  After lots of waiting for the trial to be approved, a screw up at the lab, and many sleepless nights, we learned recently that Vada's cancer does carry this mutation.  The presence of the mutation is significant.  Only 7% of non-smoking adenocarcinoma patients carry this mutation.  We haven't felt recently like the odds have been in our favor, but now they are. We plan to head to Karmanos shortly for some tests & his official "start" of the trial. 

Vada has felt great physically but emotionally has been out of gas, especially for the last two months.

So there's that. Phil Brabbs just underwent a bone marrow transpant and seems in good spirits.

We cheer and cheer again. Touch The Banner brings a reveal and a story. The reveal: epic MGoCommenter Magnus was in the glee club. The story comes from the GC's 150th anniversary celebration, which featured one Lloyd Carr:

Coach Carr told a story about former UMMGC director Willis Patterson, who directed the group from 1969 to 1975. When Carr was head coach, he invited Patterson to teach his players how to sing "The Victors," Michigan's fight song. After ten years of teaching the team the song, Patterson once said to Carr, "You know, those players just aren't very good at singing that song."

Carr responded, "Well, who's teaching them?"

Etc.: BHGP's latest linkdump post notes that Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God has stricken all three of Iowa's potential starters for their upcoming spring game, documents the annual refugee camp forming outside Carver-Hawkeye, and embeds a truly epic redneck video. WLA propaganda posters ho.