Exit Dan Samuelson

Exit Dan Samuelson

Submitted by Brian on August 15th, 2015 at 12:10 PM

Samuelson[1]

According to Dan Samuelson on the facebooks, he is going to transfer.

With great sadness, I have decided that my time at the University of Michigan is done. The past couple years have been wonderful, and something that I will never forget. I am beyond blessed for them. As time has come and gone, I've thought about what is best for myself in regards to football and obtaining the goal of playing time. In reality, that wasn't going to happen at Michigan.

Samuelson was a recruit on the 3/4 star borderline who decommitted from Nebraska in favor of Michigan late in the 2013 recruiting cycle. He redshirted as a freshman and didn't play last year, so he would have been a redshirt sophomore this fall. His departure brings the number of certainly available scholarships to 17 (4 open slots plus 13 seniors). There are a lot of redshirt juniors who may not get a fifth year on the roster, so Michigan is already close to being able to accommodate the full class of 25 they seem to be aiming for.

Exeunt Dennis Norfleet

Exeunt Dennis Norfleet

Submitted by Seth on August 12th, 2015 at 11:45 AM

For a time he danced.

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with bread

But he will not return.

As previously reported, Norfleet is gone-gone. Despite him telling his former teammates he'll miss them on Instagram and every insider-y thing saying it was already a foregone conclusion, some of us held out hope for as long as it took the coaches to say it was official. Michigan posting a fall roster without him on it was more confirmation. Tuskegee publishing a roster with him on it means it's time to give up the ghost.

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Michigan enters fall camp with 2 or 3 open scholarships for this year, depending on whether you count the long snapper. Norfleet would not have affected next year's numbers.

I am sad.

Unverified Voracity Says Something Nice About Steve Patterson

Unverified Voracity Says Something Nice About Steve Patterson

Submitted by Brian on July 29th, 2015 at 11:47 AM

Have a middle-schooler? I mean in a parenting way, not a hostage way. Don't take child hostages. I shouldn't have to tell my readers this but some of you probably tweet recruits, so you have to be told everything.

Anyway, Jordan Morgan's having a camp for seventh and eighth graders:

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Details and registration at Morgan's website. Don't tweet at recruits or take child hostages.

Photo day, 1993. Featuring hirsute Eli Zaret.

Via Dr. Sap, naturally.

How are watchlists going, then? Like this.

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"Spotlights."

Yes, but interesting since it's this guy. Disney CEO on the future of ESPN, which it owns:

“I think eventually ESPN becomes a business that is sold directly to the consumers,” Mr. Iger said.

ESPN, which is majority-owned by Disney, could use information from that direct consumer relationship to customize its product and enable more personalization, which will engage fans in a “much more effective way,” he said.

Mr. Iger cautioned that such an offering is not “right around the corner”; even five years down the line, he believes there won’t have been “significant change” in the pay TV business.

Except in scale, which will continue to contract as more and more people who don't care about sports figure out they couldn't get through their Netflix queue without turning into a TV hermit.

But you're a robot. Nick Saban on romance:

I have no idea what to do with this. So I have given it to you, to boggle and gawk at.

Some confirmation. There was a report on the board a few days ago that Dennis Norfleet would be seeking a transfer to Tuskegee. We couldn't confirm it on any open social media channels, but it was a weird enough location that it seemed true. And it appears he's at least exploring the possibility:

A spokesman at Tuskegee University told MLive on Monday afternoon that the university received official permission to speak with Norfleet about a potential transfer to the school over the weekend.

I'll be here by the seaside waiting for a return that will never come.

Further adventures in Steve Patterson. They include being so cheap that one of your football assistant coaches ends up having a trial during football season, but this is the moment when Michael Scott goes to a customer and kills it:

Patterson says he believes he knew what [Jimmy] Sexton was up to. “I’ve known Jimmy for 30 years,” he says. “I told him if he wanted to come here and drink bourbon and eat barbecue and talk about Saban, that’d be fine. But I told him not to come here if he just wanted to get Saban an extension and a raise at Alabama, which I thought was his intention all along.

“Of course, Jimmy took great affront to that, which is fine. He was just doing his job. But that was the end of the conversation. I never talked to Saban and we never made an offer.”

Correct, Steve Patterson. It's especially impressive since the rest of the article is filled with star-struck Longhorns thinking "THIS IS TEXAS" and believing Jimmy Sexton's crap about how there's too much pressure to win at Alabama. People lost their damn minds when Sexton came around with his old song and dance. 

Well done not screwing around with that and locking down Charlie Strong, Steve Patterson. Not well done: everything else.

This is a reason Hoosiers is good. I agree with Rodger Sherman that Famous Movie Hoosiers hasn't aged well, especially when the integrated team shows up, but I mean come on:

Gene Hackman plays the role of Norman Dale, the down-on-his-luck coach that we're supposed to be sympathetic towards. We find out that he used to coach in college, then was in the Navy. Then later, we find out that the reason he got fired from his college job is because... he hit a kid.

At the beginning of the movie, it's tough to find out why we should like Dale. He's not presented as funny or likable or charismatic or even nice.

Then, we find out that he punched one of his players, and he goes from a mediocre guy I don't care about to somebody I strongly dislike. Dale was an authority figure who used physical force against a person he was supposed to protect and nurture, which in my opinion is the least sympathetic type of person in the world.

I kind of think this should be a one-strike-and-you're-out deal. If you don't have the self-control to avoid hitting kids, you shouldn't be allowed to coach kids anymore, ever. I want this person to fail and think the people of Hickory are bad people for letting this person coach their children.

A lot of times, a character with obvious flaws redeems those flaws over the course of a movie. But Dale never conquers his anger issues, consistently putting his assistant coaches -- one of whom has a heart disease, one of whom is an alcoholic attempting to recover, both of which are types of people who shouldn't be subjected to unnecessary, sudden amounts of stress -- in charge.

Dale is presented as a jerk and remains a jerk all film long. Are we supposed to be proud that all he did was yell at the players and refs and didn't actually hit anybody?

That the head coach and pretty-much main character in the movie is a nearly unredeemed jerko is probably historically accurate. It is also a more accurate representation of life—people don't change much—than any of the Angels In The "Lidz" Store movies that Sherman apparently keeps in a constant rotation at SB Nation headquarters.

This impression only grows stronger because Sherman's next criticism is that there is no montage scene where all the players decide they're going to honor their dead grandmothers and/or General MacArthur. Hoosiers is not The Mighty Ducks. This is not a problem.

That's nice. I wish this wasn't coming from the most infamous basketball reporting twitterer of all time (OF ALL TIME) but I'll take it:

3. Which program will emerge as a potential Top 10 team?

Michigan. … John Beilein's team is a bit of an afterthought heading into next season. It won't stay that way for long. Walton, LeVert, Spike Albrecht, and Zak Irvin (77 made 3-point shots last season) give this team a savvy and experienced perimeter while both Aubrey Dawkins and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman got valuable minutes last season as freshman. Ricky Doyle, D.J. Wilson, and Mark Donnal should stabilize the post and if the Wolverines can get more out of the “stretch four” position they should be loaded for bear.

It should be a fun year for a lot of reasons. Probably not hockey-related ones.

Too soon. Toys R Us appears headed to bankruptcy, or at best a near miss:

Insurance companies are cutting back on their coverage of Toys “R” Us Inc. suppliers, bringing another headache to a retailer that has suffered more than two years of losses, people familiar with the matter said.

Coface SA and Euler Hermes Group, which sell credit insurance to vendors, are canceling some policies and declining to renew others, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process isn’t public. The carriers may still negotiate with some vendors to keep providing some coverage, one of the people said.

Losing coverage could raise concerns for toy suppliers as they weigh the risks of shipping to the retail chain, which scrapped plans for an initial public offering in 2013. Credit insurance protects suppliers in case a retailer fails to pay them for merchandise, as in the event of a bankruptcy.

Unfortunately this is too early to point the finger at Dave Brandon and scream "j'accuse!" It does seem like he was brought into an insoluble situation to take the fall, which is a nice karma thing.

Really. I'm typing this blind since my eyeballs have rolled so far back in my head that you can touch my optical nerve:

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Don't touch my optical nerve, or take child hostages, or tweet recruits, or let Rutgers in the Big Ten.

Etc.: Wolverine Historian updates his A-Train tribute. Piesman Trophy is go. Bowl games don't spring teams to better seasons. Talking with John Wangler. Talking with Tyler Motte. BRING YOUR CHAMPIONS. Michigan-shaped biscuits? I'm listening. IS MY WIFE THOUGH?

Tickets, hotcakes.

Pipkins Transferring To Texas Tech

Pipkins Transferring To Texas Tech

Submitted by Brian on July 17th, 2015 at 1:13 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Ondre Pipkins already announced he was out, but with Harbaugh asserting he was still on scholarship and would be this fall there was some uncertainty about what would happen. No longer:

Michigan now has another slot to give a walk-on this fall, or they could bring in at fifth-year wide receiver. The latter seems a little far fetched this deep into the offseason.

Pipkins To Transfer, Says He Was Pressured To Sign Medical Hardship Papers

Pipkins To Transfer, Says He Was Pressured To Sign Medical Hardship Papers

Submitted by Brian on June 26th, 2015 at 1:55 PM

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Pipkins got on the field late in the opener last year [Bryan Fuller]

Ondre Pipkins will attempt to use his last year(s) of eligibility elsewhere and he is not happy about it:

"I feel I'm healthy and ready to play," said Pipkins, who played last season after he was cleared to return from a torn knee ligament. "I don't want to sign the form. I wanted to play for my seniors and for the team. Coach Harbaugh said, 'I recommend you take the medical.'"

Pipkins said he felt constant pressure to retire. …

Harbaugh told him that he wanted "to make sure you graduate from Michigan" and that the coach did not plan to invite him to fall camp due in part to medical concerns. The lineman added that Harbaugh told him that he did not believe he would be drafted into the NFL for medical reasons.

"I feel bad I wasn't able to complete this journey with my classmates," Pipkins told ESPN. "I feel I am healthy and without pain. I believe Michigan wanted to free up the scholarship. I felt I was practicing well and could compete at a high level at the nose tackle and tackle positions."

First off, good for Pipkins for saying something about it—and apparently painting Harbaugh in a somewhat sympathetic light.

But this is a strange situation for a lot of reasons. I can't really figure out why Harbaugh would want to run Pipkins out of town:

  • He was scheduled to be a senior and Michigan is at 85 scholarships right now, with the three former walk-ons (Kerridge, Glasgow, Glasgow) we think will get scholarships in 2015 accounted for.
  • Pipkins thus doesn't impact the numbers in the 2016 class; the only reason he'd need to go this year is if Michigan was going to bring in yet more transfers.
  • ND DE transfer Jhonathan Williams was just told no by Michigan.
  • I'm sure at least one other player has a very legit medical hardship-inducing injury they haven't announced yet.

There were some rumors Michigan was looking at fifth year wide receivers that haven't come to fruition as of yet, but none of this really makes sense. Michigan seems to have room for him, and the move would appear to be a redshirt (that he should have gotten as a freshman /shakes fist at Hoke) so that he can be a fifth year somewhere else after getting his degree. That is unless he actually shouldn't play football.

Pipkins asserts in the article that Michigan wanted the scholarship… but for what?

Blake Countess To Transfer

Blake Countess To Transfer

Submitted by Brian on May 13th, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Via his instagram:

That is a blow to Michigan's secondary. Countess was the leading candidate to start opposite Jourdan Lewis, give or take a Wayne Lyons, and even in the event he lost the job he figured to see considerable playing time spotting various guys in the secondary.

Countess struggled mightily last year as Michigan transitioned to a man press style, but was an All Big Ten performer as a sophomore in a zone system. It is possible that Michigan apparently rededicating themselves to the aggressive system they had to ditch midseason last year may have precipitated a transfer. Either that or the usual transition stuff compounded by the availability of immediate eligibility elsewhere.

Other than Lyons, the main beneficiaries of Countess's departure figure to be Brandon Watson and Channing Stribling. Watson was impressive in the spring game and has a ton of experience as a press corner; Stribling was promising as a freshman before a relatively anonymous sophomore year.

Countess was set to be a fifth year senior so this doesn't impact recruiting classes going forward; it does end any questions about if any contributing walk-ons would get stiffed. If anyone else leaves Michigan would have a spot to add another fifth year transfer.

Godspeed, Mr. Countess.

Dale Harvel Isn't Helping Dennis Norfleet

Dale Harvel Isn't Helping Dennis Norfleet

Submitted by Brian on May 13th, 2015 at 12:42 PM

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[Adam Glanzman]

Dennis Norfleet's murky situation has blown up into the first real PR crisis of the Harbaugh administration. Unfortunately for Michigan, it's one they're legally prohibited from saying much of anything about. FERPA restricts their ability to say much other than "he is on the team" or "he is off the team." Right now Michigan isn't saying either. They've gone with this:

A Michigan athletic department spokesman told The Detroit News that the situation was "an internal matter."

All right then.

As a result all the talking is coming from Norfleet's high school coaches. One seems like a reasonable gentleman. The other is showing his ass. Here's King head coach Dale Harvel:

Harvel added about Norfleet's situation: "If only one kid out of 120 is missing class, they must be the No. 1 program in the country (for football players' academic achievements)."

Harvel has repeatedly said things like "we're not going to let him be a victim," outed private conversations he had with Fred Jackson, publicly bemoaned his decision to switch away from a Cincinnati program on the verge of hiring Tommy Tuberville, and generally done everything in his power to make academic standards like "go to all your finals" seem nefarious. Usually when high school coaches blow up like this it's because their kid has seen his scholarship yanked for a dubious reason, or none at all. 

It was Harvel who leaked the apparently erroneous information that Norfleet was gone, which turned the story from message board rumor* to something that every local news organization has dedicated big stories to. It was Harvel who went full steam ahead with the information that Norfleet was not doing things expected of him in the classroom. He is the #1 reason this is a thing. Because Norfleet is a "victim."

I mean, you know me. I just about challenged Brady Hoke to a fight about Norfleet's misuse during his tenure as head coach. But if Norfleet is no longer on the team because he missed several classes and did not attend at least one and possibly more finals, that is on one person: Dennis Norfleet.

And Jim Harbaugh cannot be concerned with just Norfleet here. It's his first semester as head coach and he's just going to let that slide? What kind of message does that send to the other 84 kids on scholarship? Is that likely to improve or degrade the overall academic performance of the program?

The answers to those rhetorical questions are obvious to everyone except Harvel. Privately resolving issues with the head coach—and there have been a number so far that have been so resolved—is more likely to create a positive outcome both in the short-term individual player level and for your relationship with a major school of interest to your players. But Harvel has decided that grandstanding without information that is, you know, correct is more important.

I hope Norfleet makes it back. His coach isn't helping.

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*[Albeit one that was more credible than your garden-variety internet rando mutterings since it had the backing of John Borton, an editor at Rivals. It is not hard to trace the path here: Borton names Norfleet, Nick Baumgardner starts checking it out, hits upon the King coaches, and then the tempest takes over the teapot. This is why I don't report on potential transfers anymore. I would rather not spend a week with my head in an alligator's mouth, thanks.]

Exit Dennis Norfleet

Exit Dennis Norfleet

Submitted by Brian on May 12th, 2015 at 1:23 PM

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the last of the famous international playboys

This rumor had been floating around for a couple weeks now, picked up steam on Rivals this morning, and has now been confirmed by Nick Baumgardner:

ANN ARBOR -- Dennis Norfleet is no longer a part of Michigan's football team, according to his former high school coach.

Martin Luther King High School football coach Dale Harvel told MLive on Tuesday that Norfleet has been dismissed from Michigan's program by coach Jim Harbaugh.

"Evidently he was dismissed from the team, Dennis informed us he was no longer on the team," Harvel said Tuesday afternoon. "Something about a disciplinary thing between him and coach Harbaugh. Whether it was academics or something internal, I'm not sure. He just said they had a disagreement and he was let go."

I have heard it was academic. Not sure if that's a slackness that is now verboten under the new regime or a Norfleet morale issue leading to breakdowns elsewhere. [UPDATE: Steve Lorenz says he skipped "more than one final."]

The writing was on the wall as far as Norfleet's career went when he featured as a tiny cornerback in the spring game and was mercilessly picked on for the only offense of the day. With that secondary and that WR corps, the fact he was on defense was a death knell. He may have continued returning kicks and punts; even that job was going to be put under major threat by Jabrill Peppers.

This does get Michigan to 85 scholarships, give or take a walk-on. With a couple of medical hardships likely to be on the way, there should be room to add a fifth-year WR or two, as Mike Spath has suggested might happen.

I will now go sit by myself in a dark room and listen to the Smiths.

Bielfeldt Released, Michigan Still Has A Spot

Bielfeldt Released, Michigan Still Has A Spot

Submitted by Brian on April 21st, 2015 at 2:21 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Max Bielfeldt was re-listed as a senior a couple years back and walked on senior day, so his departure was expected. It's now official, per Jeff Goodman. Bielfeldt himself:

"With (LeVert) taking that scholarship, any little option of something else happening -- me coming back -- got a little bit smaller," Bielfeldt said. "The odds aren't very high that I come back here next year."

As a grad transfer Bielfeldt can be immediately eligible next year; Bradley, near his home, has been mentioned as a possibility. Dan Dakich will still talk about his calves during Michigan games for nostalgia's sake.

Meanwhile, despite Caris's decision to stay Michigan is still under the impression they have room for another player next year.

U-M coaches have made it clear that even with LeVert's return, the roster will have room for at least one addition.

Following Tuesday's announcement by LeVert, Troy Manns, [Kenny] Williams' coach at LC Bird High School coach in Richmond, told MLive that LeVert's return does not impact Williams' interest in Michigan.

"No, not at all," he said.

Asked if Michigan told Williams it still would have space for him if LeVert remaining a Wolverine, Manns answered, simply, "Yes."

With seemingly everyone else content to fight out the playing time crunch next year that would likely be Austin Hatch either going on medical hardship or, if his family is so inclined, becoming a walk-on next year. That would cost money but would keep the door open to Hatch getting on the court some.