Unverified Voracity Likes It

Unverified Voracity Likes It Comment Count

Brian August 3rd, 2016 at 10:48 AM

Mikey likes it. Sound the greatest horn in the deepest valley and bring all the counts, earls, and dukes to the castle. I have no complaints about a uniform thing. Yea, it is true. I was worried about the matte helmets, but in sunlight they look great:

There's matte like Michigan wore in the no-numbers bowl and there's that. Still some sheen, but not shiny. Dark dark blue. Maize. It looks like the most Michigan version of Michigan. It looks precise and focused and traditional.

It's mildly fussed the Uni Watch guy because he doesn't have things to say...

Nike's characteristic hype notwithstanding, there's nothing to get particularly excited about here, because so little has changed, but there's nothing to complain about either. Carry on.

...and it's caused an ESPN headline that's precisely wrong:

The only thing about these jerseys is nuance, and they aced every one. The logos are tastefully small and distributed symmetrically. The colors are right, the road whites are still so crisp, and the one weird thing has deep Michigan roots*. It feels like Michigan told Nike to do stuff and Nike killing it. This is in marked contrast to how these things go much of the time: wear this ridiculous looking thing that various other schools are also wearing.

*[The diversity angle is a major stretch. Having Gerald Ford's 4 is still cool.]

Senioritis prohibited. Michigan's Jordan-littered offer letters were all over the internet yesterday. An example:

Nick Baumgardner highlights a slightly unusual bit that I'm pretty sure is new this year:

The final bullet point reads: "We expect you to continue to strive for excellence as a student and as an athlete: this scholarship should serve as motivation towards continued growth, not an excuse to become complacent."

Pre-Swenson incident offer letters warned kids to keep their grades up and away from the local constabulary, as had offers dating back to the Rodriguez era. Specifically noting that offers are contingent on continued progress is a Harbaugh thing, and means we can expect more decommit kerfuffles going forward.

Both sides are boggling now. Anonymous coach takes on ACC teams have something to say about Don Brown:

“BC’s defense last year was the biggest pain for us to prepare for because they did so many things, especially on third down. The fronts they lined up in, the pressures they came with were unique, and they had some big, physical players. They were legit.”

“[New BC DC Jim] Reid played a base defense when he was at Virginia, and on third down you get maybe one or two different pressures, so it’s like one end of the spectrum to the other. It’ll be interesting to see what they do.”

Michigan is in the opposite situation. DJ Durkin was a Reid type of guy content to run fairly simple defenses. Michigan did have a big stunt package; blitzes were not particularly common and usually just a five man pressure.

Is this Ryan Glasgow's nickname? This is an amazing nickname for an older brother to bestow on his younger sibling:

Always wanted a guy named Biff around. Biff Poggi, father of Henry, has at various times been headed to Ann Arbor or another high school head coaching gig after his odd and unceremonious dismissal from Gilman. He is officially a Wolverine:

"When you've been doing something for 30 years, I just went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and I learned that habits are a hard thing to break," Poggi said. "I love coaching high school kids, but this was such an opportunity."

Poggi's youngest son Henry is a Wolverines fullback with two years of eligibility remaining and his daughter Mellie is also at Michigan.

"I felt like if I was ever going to do it, this is like the sun, the moon and the stars have lined up and I really am very comfortable with Jim and the coaching staff," Poggi said.

Poggi's job will be to advise Harbaugh on strategy and organizational structure. His position does not count as a coaching position and he won't be coaching the players, coaching the team or recruiting, according to the Michigan job description.

It's another analyst role. It sounds like it's a short term thing until Poggi gets the itch to return to high school, where he appears to have a job waiting for him at St. Francis. I wouldn't be surprised if Poggi spent a couple years with his son and then went back.

One interesting side note is that Poggi has some recruiting hoops to jump through because of his generosity and persnickety NCAA rules:

Another issue for Poggi was that he played a large part in funding the St. Frances program from the beginning and that he also paid tuition for a number of young men at Gilman and at other schools. As a coach in the NCAA, he could no longer pay for those things.

"I had to hire a lot of lawyers and go through the complete compliance check to where I have to follow and obey exactly the rules," he said. "For example, I just can't go watch a high school football game which I've done for 30 years. I can't call a kid on the phone. I know all these kids, the Gilman kids and other kids, too. I just can't go, 'Hey, how you doing?' I can't text them. I have to be careful how I reply to a text from them. My life is completely different than how I lived it over the last 30 years."

Good news is that Poggi can slide into their DMs without consequence and retweet them until the sun grows cold and dim, because NCAA communication regulations are all over the place.

PFF previews Michigan. They've kind of done this several times over the offseason already and every time they publish a thing we grab it here and prize it apart for any insight into their database, so there's not a ton that will be new to readers of this space. Their main concern is at QB:

QB is the biggest question on the entire roster, as 2015 starter Jake Rudock is also now with the Lions. John O’Korn (who transferred from Houston after being benched in 2014 by the new regime looking for a more athletic option) and Wilton Speight (64 snaps last season) will compete for the starting position throughout this month and while the winner will be afforded some margin of error with what appears to be a relatively easy schedule early, if the Wolverines expect to win big road games at Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State, they will need quality play from the new signal caller.

There's no disputing that. Harbaugh's track record helps in this regard; it's nice to have one of the biggest questions you can have seem like no big deal because of the head coach.

Elsewhere some confirmation that the linebackers were eh a year ago...

While the LB corps was turned over completely due to graduation, none of last year’s crew graded overwhelmingly positively and this year’s version of course has the benefit of playing behind likely the best defensive line in the country.

...and the usual praise for Peppers, Lewis, Wormley, Hurst, Glasgow, and company. The chaser: "while many schools may have just one true superstar, Michigan has at least six on the defensive side alone."

Meanwhile in the league. Rashan Gary and Taco Charlton are gonna eat:

Can someone in the tackle class pass block?

With Ohio State’s Taylor Decker moving on to the NFL and Michigan’s Mason Cole kicking inside to center this year, no returning offensive tackle in the [Big Ten] had a positive pass blocking grade in 2015. In fact, Nebraska’s Nick Gates is the only tackle to grade positively on run blocks last year. Offensive line is the unit we typically see the most variance and improvement in from year to year, but with the entire conference literally having nothing but subpar or first-year starters, this could be another rough year against the uber-talented EDGE players littered throughout the Big Ten.

Cole had a positive pass pro grade; Magnuson did not; the rest of the league is going to curl up and die when presented with Michigan's DL (and Jabrill Peppers).

Etc.: Butt, Peppers, and Lewis make SI's preseason All-America team.


Jordan Football Uniforms Unveiled

Jordan Football Uniforms Unveiled Comment Count

Ace August 2nd, 2016 at 2:16 PM

via Michigan's new apparel site, which also has many detail shots

Michigan officially unveiled their new Jordan brand football uniforms in a totally understated setting this afternoon, and for the most part little has changed except the logo. This is good, especially if you're a fan of the all-white road uniforms. I count myself among that number, and so does Jim Harbaugh:

Nike did make a few minor alterations. The number font is new, which you can see in both the '4' on the home uniform and the '2' on the road. The road uniforms now feature two sleeve stripes (late 80s/mid 90s style) instead of the three they wore last year [edit: my mistake, it's still three stripes—the bottom one was hard to see] and the sleeve numbers have moved from the side to the top of the shoulder. The rest is the same, and mercifully clean, too—I was worried the Jumpman logo would be too large, and that's not at all the case.

There is one major change, and it's to the most legendary aspect of the uniform:

I'm ambivalent about the paint style of the helmet, but I might be in the minority there.

I'll hold off on diving into color analysis—at first glance, both the maize and blue look a little darker than past years—until we get some photos in normal lighting.


Unverified Voracity Still Doesn't Get It But Whatever

Unverified Voracity Still Doesn't Get It But Whatever Comment Count

Brian August 1st, 2016 at 2:12 PM

Event reminder. We're having a Hail To The Victors kickoff party/thing on Friday at Circus Bar. Hopefully it will be as crazy as last night.

About last night. I don't get WOO NIKE. I have no strong feelings about clothing brands, except insofar as I would like them to put the sports teams I like in uniforms that 1) stay in one piece, 2) are legible from distance, and 3) don't make me envy the dead. I'm in the same realm of bafflement Dan Murphy was last night:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- They lined up for T-shirts.

All day, Michigan fans stood in line for T-shirts. And when the sun went down they chanted and painted their faces and counted down the last few seconds like it was New Year’s Eve for T-shirts, ones with a tiny lopsided parabola in the corner instead of a striped triangle. ...

“I’ve lived 52 years, a lot of them right here in Ann Arbor,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said into a sea of fans recording on their cell phones. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

But I'm happy you're happy, and happy that recruits and players are bonkers for the stuff. There are many many variations of this on Michigan player twitter:

It's probably better that Michigan's back with marketing folks who can inspire the kind of devotion that results in a walk-on basketball player crowdsurfing like he's 1992 Eddie Vedder. The gap between the Only Incompetent Germans and that 190-proof blast of capitalism is obvious. While the headline number* on Michigan's apparel contract has been beaten by a few different schools since it was signed a year ago, Jumpman exclusivity looks like a big deal for players and recruits—you know, the people who help you win on the field.

I have one hope, and that's a football version of Jumpman. Pick one of Desmond or Woodson:


A permanent logo swap ain't happening, but if Nike wants to do a special edition thing that will sell a lot of merch and not piss off traditionalists this would be killer. (I think? I obviously have no idea what I'm talking about in this department. Later today I will advise rappists on the finest iambic pentameters. The very best.)

I have one concern. The hockey jerseys look weird and wrong.


Mismatched blues, a weird sheen on top, really not digging the jersey with one maize stripe across the top and nothing else anywhere. A closeup of the hockey jersey does seem into indicate it's regular jersey material and not, like, shimmery. I'll reserve final judgment until I see them in the wild, but I'm not hopeful.

*[I say "headline number" here because it looks like various other schools have structured their contracts such that theirs is the "biggest ever" to the press but not in reality. For example, OSU's "biggest ever" deal with Nike is actually worth $13 million less in cash than Michigan's over the same timeframe. They just pad it out with more gear at an inflated price. I haven't looked into the details of UCLA and Texas but it's possible—probable in UCLA's case—that the same thing is going on there.]

This is completely rational. I retract my tweet at Nick Baumgardner yesterday:

"I definitely think its symbolic, it's a new age for Michigan," Gozdor said. "A lot of my friends are saying they're going to burn their Adidas gear and forget the whole entire thing ever happened."

He was right.

Jeremy Gallon finally gets to be taller than some people. An alert reader points out that the Nojima Sagamihara Rise, a team in Japan's "X-League," is currently listing Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon on their roster. (Also included is former Illinois safety Earnest Thomas III.) Thorough research* reveals that only two foreign players are allowed to be on the field at any one time; the Rise must be planning on Gardner to Gallon for 50% of their plays. This is a good plan.

[Update: now there is an article on this occurrence:

“Everybody here is so respectful, so nice. It’s almost like a compete 180 from in America,” said Gardner, who made 27 starts at quarterback for the Wolverines, with a smile. “They (the Americans) are nice people but I’ve never been to a place where everybody is so kind and so respectful, and it’s just part of the way everyone is here. It’s pure refreshing to get a chance to experience it.”

No Michigan State or Ohio State fans in Japan, I take it.]

*[googling the league's wikipedia page]

I'd be happy to be wrong here. Erik Magnuson doesn't strike me as a guy who the NFL will consider drafting early unless he takes a big step forward as a senior, but CBS's Dane Brugler disagrees with that take, naming him one of the top ten senior OTs in the country and saying he "played like a legitimate NFL prospect":

...moves with a smooth shuffle and wide base, transferring his weight well in his kickslide to mirror edge rushers. He stays low off the snap and prefers to use his hands to control the point of attack to out-leverage and out-power defenders. Magnuson is able to secure downblocks and anchor at shallow depth, driving his legs to finish in the Wolverines' power offense. He has also been praised by the coaching staff for his leadership and consistency during the week.

Although hustle and effort aren't an issue, Magnuson has sloppy tendencies with a bad habit of lowering his head and losing sight of his target, ending up on the ground. He tends to be a waist bender and lacks ideal length to compensate, which allows savvy rushers to get him off balance and leaning. While powerful when squared to defenders, Magnuson will struggle to recover once defenders attack his shoulder.

I thought Magnuson was okay, and only that, a year ago. I get the vibe that PFF agrees with me since they haven't posted anything about him, or the rest of the Michigan OL not named Mason Cole. They tend to have an "if you can't say anything nice..." policy.

I'd be happy to be right here. Ryan Glasgow makes ESPN's list of the top 25 Big  Ten players... at #25, which I'm sure I'll find is an outrage once they get around to putting a punter at 16 or whatever. Even so, thank you, ESPN, for not consigning Glasgow to a Wally Pipp role just yet. PFF also names Glasgow their #3 breakout player this year, though they do admit that's a bit of an injury-induced slam dunk:

2016 grade: 84.8 | 2015 snaps: 332 | PFF College 101 rank: 72

The argument could be made that Glasgow has already broken out as he boasted the nation’s No. 19 run-stopping grade before going down to injury last season, but since he only played 332 snaps, he still qualifies as a breakout candidate. He’s seen the field for 753 snaps the last two seasons, posting a strong +32.7 grade against the run, and last year he improved his pass rush grade to +9.0 on the strength of a sack, four QB hits, and 12 hurries on 179 rushes.

Taco Charlton shows up at #7 for the same reasons we're hyped about him around here: a lot of production in under 400 snaps. There are scattered Big Ten players to round out the list plus a couple of old names for recrutniks: both Cal RB Vic Enwere and Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage make the tail end of the list.

Spreading the wealth. Michigan probably has four guys on that aforementioned top 25 B10 players list (Lewis, Peppers and Butt are probably locks and Glasgow snuck in) so it's not exactly crazy that these gents missed it...

Michigan DL Chris Wormley and receivers Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson: Wormley is one of the more versatile defensive linemen in the league, with the ability to move between end and tackle, and he had 14.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in 2015. Some of us argued for his inclusion, though we ultimately went with a different player in his position group. As for Darboh and Chesson, they are clearly two of the better wideouts in the league. Yet neither had huge numbers last season, and even Jim Harbaugh will tell you it's a coin flip on who is the better player. They sort of canceled out each other for purposes of this list.

...but since two of those guys are seniors getting first round draft hype it is a little bit crazy. Also:

Meanwhile Feldman named Michigan's receiving corps the #3 unit in the country. Michigan could be all right this fall.

Etc.: Peppers gets votes from current Big Ten football players as the Big Ten's best defensive player... and its best offensive player. PSU fans expect a punter to be their biggest impact freshman... and they're probably right. Y'all probably don't know how bad PSU punting has been the last few years. TV networks not a big fan of the Big 12's naked cash grab. Always weird when some guy you remember as like 15 is now writing for the Daily. I'm old and DEATH DEATH DEATH.  ND contract details.


Unverified Voracity Advises Ponchos

Unverified Voracity Advises Ponchos Comment Count

Brian September 29th, 2015 at 12:08 PM

One year ago. Not quite today. But close:

The beginning of the end and the beginning of the rebirth. The Daily's Jake Lourim takes the opportunity to look at Jim Hackett's tenure:

Schlissel said student backlash went “beyond having a football team that didn’t achieve a record that met people’s expectations.”

“It was part of the issue, why people were anxious, but it wasn’t the main issue,” he told the Daily in September. “I think, what people felt was, football in particular and perhaps the other sports were becoming more distant from the campus. That they were becoming more of an enterprise and less of an activity. I think our non-athlete students … felt estranged — they felt like customers.

“I think we’ve gone a long way in the months since … to reset the way the Athletic Department views its role on the campus,” he added.

Schlissel is in charge of things for a reason.

Save a garbage bag, bring a poncho. The Maryland game is going to be in the vicinity of tropical storm Joaquin. How close is going to mean the difference between a nice night and seeing Jake Rudock hit in the face with a soaked, flying cat. Monday's storm track was looking pretty ominous for the football game; Tuesday's is less so:

The Monday track had the storm right off the coast of DC at 8 PM Saturday. Worth keeping an eye on still. A thunderous downpour would be advantage Maryland in the same way playing checkers instead of chess is advantage Borges:

So they've got that hypothetically going for them.

Whoops. When Vegas put out a Michigan –11.5 line for this game, I thought "that seems low." Maryland fans glumly asked if that was a first-quarter line. And sure enough, that line was pounded until it was pulled off the board and returned at M –14.5. Even now only a couple of books are offering a line at all, and the "consensus" is M –16.

A move that big suggests that Michigan and Maryland combine to break whatever models are used to set lines—possibly because the amount of deviation from preseason expectations for both overwhelmed them.

Mark Messner tribute. From Wolverine Historian:

Keep that anger inside where it can be used to hit people hard. The prospect of getting trash-talked by BYU is appealing. In my experience Mormons have the ability to turn an innocent word into the vilest thing you've ever heard with their intonation. When you don't swear the swears leak into the rest of your language; it's quite a trick. So when I wonder what might have made Jabrill Peppers mad on Saturday

For whatever reason, Michigan's redshirt freshman defensive back found himself on the receiving end of an unusual amount of trash talk Saturday early on against BYU.

He did his best to ignore it, and almost engaged once. But, ultimately, his pads prevailed.

And by the time Peppers wrapped up and, literally, tossed 6-foot-5, 225-pound receiver Terenn Houk out of bounds just before halftime, the talking had officially stopped.

"We play between the whistle, so I'll try to hurt you as much as I can between the whistle," Peppers said Monday. "Especially if you're jawing at me. ... (They were saying) things I can't repeat on camera.

"I just let my pads speak for me, that's how I react to that."

…I hope it's "I welcome this upcoming athletic contest" twisted into a pulsating black sphere of hate.

Also: Harbaugh banning trash talk is 1) amazingly hypocritical and 2) another anger factory. I don't want to hear about how this country "used to make things" when Jim Harbaugh is the world's #1 exporter of harsh feelings.


Side note. Who taunts Happy Fun Peppers? That seems just amazingly unwise.

It is your destiny. So my Hackett statue concept is that he's wearing the outfit he's got on in that shot of Harbaugh exiting the plane at Detroit Metro and he's got a microphone in one hand that he has just let go.

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett agreed with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on Saturday, speaking on Michigan's pregame radio show, saying he'd like to see the Wolverines and Fighting Irish resume their rivalry.

In fact, he believes it's "destined" to happen.

"Nothing has happened in that regard from my desk," Hackett said. "But the way I think about the Notre Dame thing is, that's a rivalry that should be restored and it's destined to have that happen.

"The challenge is making the schedules work. Because of television, because of the Big Ten having 14 teams. We've got to find holes in the schedule."

I think that would be a good statue.

Surprise! Larry Brown got hit by the NCAA with a suspension and SMU was banned from the postseason this year.

It turns out that SMU academic support was doing coursework for the players. Sun round, full of hot bits. Michigan travels to SMU on December 8th.

Five are in a dark black. Eighty are in a slightly darker black. PREPARE THYSELVES


ANN ARBOR -- Maryland will be sporting its "Black Ops" alternate uniforms when it hosts No. 22 Michigan on Saturday, according to InsideMDSports' Ahmed Ghafir.

Maryland is 0-2 while dressing in tactical garments, having lost by a combined score of 78-29. The Maryland football team is on the verge of seriously pissing off America's most dangerous special forces troops.

Spartan injuries. No information forthcoming:

Conklin is an OR on the most recent depth chart.

Hart profiled. Via the Daily:

“All I knew was, kind of, Michigan,” Hart said. “With Coach English, Lloyd — that’s the only way that we did things. And not bad things. But I needed to open my horizons.”

For Fleck, hiring Hart wasn’t a tough choice. Being Michigan’s all-time leading rusher bought him instant credibility with recruits, and Fleck had already been hearing rave reviews about Hart from prospects.

“(They said), ‘Mike Hart, I love Mike Hart.’ That’s what I continued to hear on the recruiting trail,” Fleck said.

Hurst profiled. Via Brendan Quinn:

But this isn't about who wasn't there and what hasn't been in Maurice Hurst Jr.'s life. This is about what's been there all along.

Nicole Page will board a flight tonight to watch her son play football.

"As long as I can see him a couple of times a month, I'm good," she says. "But it's still tough. I miss him all the time."

Uncharacteristically blunt. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has always come off as one of the smartest guys in college football's administrative class and his recent comments on the unionization drive the NRLB essentially punted on are going to prove prophetic, I bet:

“I’m glad the unionization process has cooled for right now,” Bowlsby said. “But the fact is — and it probably will be in the sport of men’s basketball — there will be a day in the future when the popcorn is popped, the TV cameras are there, the fans are in the stands and the team decides they’re not going to play. Mark my words. We will see that in the years ahead. We saw some of it for other reasons in the ’70s, but I really believe that we aren’t finished with the compensation issue or with the employee-vs.-student issue.”

The right combination of ornery dudes and it will happen. If the Fab Five happened today it would be them, for sure.

Bowlsby still comes from a point of view so blinkered that he's startled when a Big 12 athlete tells him that he feels like an employee, but at least he's able to accept that fact and start communicating why that is the case and what that means in the near future. So many NCAA administrators are busy trying to shore up a dike that's about to bust; Bowlsby is trying to whittle a canoe.

Etc.: Is that bad, Bret Bielema? Basketball depth is deep: how will they use it? This is not at all unreasonable. Harbaugh marriage advice is exactly what you'd expect. Texas fans have gone Falling Down on the reffing in the Oklahoma State game. Wheatley to Rose Bowl hall of fame. Top analytics articles. Mud Bowl on the rocks but apparently still a go.

Gameday with the MMB. Butch Jones is under fire.


Road Uniforms Will Have 1974 Flavor

Road Uniforms Will Have 1974 Flavor Comment Count

Brian August 15th, 2015 at 10:17 PM

Rivals had posted some shots of what purported to be Michigan's road uniforms this season. They controversially(!) featured white pants, and they are a real thing:

Michigan had a brief period in the mid-70s in which they wore uniforms very similar to those. You can see what they looked like (and get your RDA recommended dosage of Keith Jackson) in the introductions to the 1974 OSU game. A wider shot of the pants comes at 1:15:

A better look at the uniforms is available to people willing to watch the infamous Mike Lantry "miss" in 1974:

These are legit throwbacks, so they've got that going for them. I'm not sure how I feel about them yet; it'll be hard to tell until I see the modernized version actually on a person. I think I'll like the jerseys but wish we were going with maize pants.

It is interesting that the instant Harbaugh comes in Michigan wears a clean, actual throwback. One of the many revelations in Endzone—sorry, BRANDON'S LASTING LESSONS—is that a large number of the uniformz folly can be traced directly to the AD, down to the goofy numbers against South Carolina.

Adidas remains responsible for delivering jerseys that tore as soon as the opponents looked at 'em, though.


Unverified Voracity Plays Underwater Basketball

Unverified Voracity Plays Underwater Basketball Comment Count

Brian August 7th, 2015 at 3:31 PM

Media Day photos. Via Eric Upchurch:

Michigan Football Media Day 2015 (Upchurch)

Events! Upcoming things:

  • TONIGHT, Ann Arbor: we have an HTTV thing at Literati at 7 PM.
  • August 11th, Washington DC: Season preview. Intimately titled.
  • August 12th, New York: Season preview. Seventh(!) annual. Wow. Do not attend both, they will be the same thing.
  • September 1st, Ann Arbor: John U Bacon discusses BRANDON'S LASTING LESSONS at Rackham.

Events this year with the Chicago and Philly clubs did not come off, but Philly has an event with half a dozen lettermen on the 29th.

Trollin' trollin' trollin' trollin'. Jim Harbaugh took questions from adorable children.

Moments later he said Michigan was about to go in a "submarine" and that you wouldn't hear from them for a while. Media members in attendance snapped their pencils in dismay.

Except this one. Drew Sharp, everybody!

Wear some damn socks.

Simplified, maize-r. Michigan wore last year's jerseys at Media Day but even so there was a clear change to the uniforms this year:

This naturally leads to a discussion about lighting and camera stuff but multiple reports from media day report that the maize is darker. Also: Harbaugh was probably so incensed by uniform clutter he sewed the flaps that cover up the superfluous block M himself.

Fewer seats. Michigan loses 2,300 seats, mostly for ADA compliance reasons:

The most noticeable changes to Stadium seating relate to ADA accessibility, as seats had to be eliminated in order to widen aisles and install hand railings around the entire bowl with the exception of the student seating section.

Michigan still has the largest capacity in the country, and they will actually fill it this year. Also:

J. Ira and Nikki Harris Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh

Did they drop the "Family" from the still-very-unwieldy endowment there?

Sounds un-good. Linebacker Mike McCray told Mike Spath that he's going to miss a chunk of this season with an undisclosed injury. The way he talked about it seemed a bit ominous for his recovery prospects, as well. McCray on Durkin:

"He told me they're not giving up on me, and to keep fighting to get back, so I've been coming out to 7-on-7s and doing everything I can to stay part of the team, and my teammates have been helping me out with that a lot too."

If we don't see him at all this year he would be in Chris Fox territory, wherein everyone is waiting for the news he's transitioned to a student assistant. Hopefully it doesn't come to that and we at least see him on special teams some.

Okay then. Harbaugh had a direct answer to the minor fifth year kerfuffle caused by Keith Heitzman's comments to the Columbus Dispatch:

"The fifth year has to be a mutual decision," he said. "Nothing is guaranteed except the opportunity to take that spot. Do you want to come back for a fifth year and does the football team want you back?"

Apparently some guys were put on the "impress me" block and some were not. FWIW, I've heard that Countess was not one of those guys—they expected him to stay and were expecting to play him a lot.

Somebody didn't read BRANDON'S LASTING LESSONS. Minnesota's AD has resigned because he started drunk-sexting colleagues late at night. Athletic directors: typing anything after 9 PM is like feeding Gizmo after midnight.

Battle bracket. Basketball's tourney has a bracket:


UConn first, then one of Syracuse/Charlotte. Looks like we get to find out what "AXS" is and if anyone in the state gets it, as the opener is on it.

UConn was 20-15 in the American last year and bounced from the first round of the NIT; they lose Ryan Boatright, their highest-usage player, but return everyone else. Syracuse was 18-13 and 9-9 in the ACC; they did not have a postseason because they took the ever-popular midseason NCAA sanctions after Jim Boeheim got nailed for all manner of malfeasance. They lose C Rakeem Christmas but return everyone else. Charlotte was 14-18 last year and looks pretty bad.

Shooting is shooting. Brendan Quinn profiles Duncan Robinson:

The thought of Robinson playing for Beilein -- "He's born to play the system," Maker says -- made too much sense, so a phone call was made and film was sent.

Trusting Maker, Beilein called Robinson before watching the game film. He reached out as a courtesy to tell Robinson that Michigan might be interest in him as a preferred walk-on.

Robinson was flattered, but not interested. Plenty of Division I programs were offering scholarships now.

Then, one week later, a second phone call was made.

"OK, I saw you play," Beilein told Robinson. "Forget the walk-on stuff. We're talking about a scholarship. I want to get you here for an official visit."

Excellent piece; go read it.

One return. Zach Werenski will return to Yost:

Werenski confirmed for NHL.com that he will return to the University of Michigan for his sophomore year.There was speculation that the 6-foot-2, 221-pound left-handed shot would play for London of the Ontario Hockey League in 2015-16. London selected Werenski in the second round (No. 24) of the 2013 OHL draft.

Losing him would have been very, very bad on top of the Copp and Larkin departures.

Etc.: Hiring NFL people to coach college offenses is usually a disaster. Lawnmower men. The Ferry Field gate. BYU loses its starting running back. The Big Ten's new scheduling rules are also about money.


Mailbag: Mostly About Uniforms

Mailbag: Mostly About Uniforms Comment Count

Brian July 15th, 2015 at 10:58 AM

Design elements


Adding to the list of Adidas wrongs. What really irks me is that the only word appearing on the front of the current Michigan football uniform is Adidas. Unlike most schools, U-M jerseys were famously clean of any identifying words- the signature maize & blue color scheme was all that was needed. The simplistic Nike swoosh, though an identifying trademark, is far less noticeable.

Ed McArdle

Saginw, MI

Hoarding disease is a problem with a lot of uniforms these days. In an effort to brand brand brand everything they've cluttered the front of the jerseys with a series of logos: Adidas's clunky stripes, the Big Ten logo, legends patches, bowl patches, a block M or three. There is too much stuff on these uniforms:


They're probably dropping the Legends patches and replacing the Adidas Triangle Of Tiny Text with the swoosh will help; they can ease back on the block Ms.

The Big Ten logo is going to remain a grating presence until the end of time. Because you need to be reminded who is in the Big Ten these days. And that Michigan—surprise!—is in it. But some guy gave a presentation where he muttered something about brand equity, so we're stuck with it. The best they could do is something like they did at Crisler:


Michigan technically complies with the league mandate to have the Big Ten logo on the floor… very technically. If Michigan could get away with a blue-on-blue Big Ten logo that would improve things. I bet some clever person in the league office has already put in a regulation against it, unfortunately. 

Maybe a step too far.


Am I crazy for thinking that this is the best look for the away uniform?? Obviously the jersey will be Nike but I love the simple all white jersey and blue numbers. There is enough maize on the helmet and the pants. Maybe put the Block M or number each shoulder pad. I just think simple is better and this jersey is sharp.


I like simple. That might be a bit too simple even for me. It gives off too much of a generic vibe. Is that a Michigan jersey or a random high school from 1950? I do not know.

The above does avoid the clutter mentioned above. It even avoids the many, many iterations of maize trim that have never really come off:

Fitzgerald Toussaint Michigan v Illinois c7ygQmG73Mql

I am so done with maize piping, and maize outlines on the numbers, and maize maize maize on a white road jersey. But the above suggestion needs something to distinguish it. The correct number of design elements isn't a jiggityzillion but it's not zero unless you're Penn State.

Maybe the stripes from the Sugar Bowl jersey:

Denard Robinson Allstate Sugar Bowl Michigan Cqw4NgM20BTl[1]

That everyone liked those is indicative of how low our expectations are these days. I thought they were fine and they have the chest clutter—this partially self-inflicted with a superfluous block M—and weird thin numbers that kind of make it look like everyone is wearing a kids' size. But they weren't a collaboration between a six year old with a glitter gun and the first guy cut on every season of Project Runway so we liked 'em.

[After the JUMP: Bo Xs and Os, and moar Nike.]


This Week's Obsession: Best of the Swoosh

This Week's Obsession: Best of the Swoosh Comment Count

Seth July 13th, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Legg is drawing a swoosh, see?

The Question:

Seth: What piece of Nike gear are you hoping to see return?


The Responses:

The maize wars settled on a hue more like the official color, but washed out so that it keeps the yellow (not gold) look from the '97 uniforms.

Adam: The thing I most want to see again is Nike's version of Michigan's home uniform, specifically the jersey. Their 2006 version is my all-time favorite. (I know they wore it from 2005-'07 but 2006, man.) The numbers are a tolerable, maize-ish maize and stitched onto solid material, while mesh covers the lower abdomen and extends up the back to the collar. The swoosh is small and unobtrusively placed, and the solid material prevents the shoulder pads from showing. I loved those design elements, and I hope something similar (and, in other areas, generally less stripey) returns. I know this is hair-splitting of the highest order, and I blame my crazy attachment to this jersey on nostalgia for what Michigan wore while I was in undergrad. At least it frees up the script-front hockey jersey for someone else to choose.

Is the return of a past jersey design realistic? Eh, maybe. Nike seems to be in love with what they've termed the flywire collar, which means there's a good chance the swoosh will be moved to the front shoulder and the collar will look like lacquered phoenix wings. (A fun game: read sentences from Nike's press release to friends and ask whether they're about luxury cars or clothes.) Then again, there's a precedent for opting out of certain "innovations;" the Packers and Raiders are a couple of the teams that decided not to use the new collar when the NFL switched to Nike. Realistically the design will change and I'll be fine with it as long as someone on the design team at Nike reads what Seth wrote.

[After the jump: don't get cute, aerodynamic fezzes]


The Best of the Only Incompetent Germans

The Best of the Only Incompetent Germans Comment Count

Seth July 7th, 2015 at 2:32 PM

It started off so well.


Mantras sewn into the fabric, apparently less intrusive piping, nods to the helmet stripes. The only ominous sign was marketing people who insisted on brand-specific copy errors.Untitled

Then they tried to lick our moisture:

…and things began to fall apart.

[After the jump: crimes against fashion, crimes against yellow, crimes against offense, crimes against eyes, crimes against humans]


Unverified Voracity Opens Wide For Some Soccer

Unverified Voracity Opens Wide For Some Soccer Comment Count

Brian March 27th, 2015 at 4:12 PM

AFCAA_FinalWebHello: AFC Ann Arbor. We are getting a minor league soccer team that I am inordinately excited about, and tickets have just gone on sale. I already hate Oakland United FC for having both "United" and "FC" in their name. I bet their crest doesn't even have a tree. Or stripes. I do not know how these tossers deign to call themselves any sort of organization. Down with United Sporting Real FC Oakland Dinamo.


AFCAA has an eight game home schedule over the summer; in year one they're playing at Pioneer. Plenty of current and former Wolverines are on the team, and it sounds like they're importing some food carts (Mark's carts?) for games. I'll be at the home opener May 1st, stop by and say hi.

Jim Harbaugh has the best twitter feed. Tips for identifying good coaching twitter feeds:

GOOD: odd capitalization and grammar, random shoutouts to Cracker Barrel and Judge Judy
BAD: hashtags, motivational sayings, motivational sayings embedded in hashtags

Harbaugh is on the good side of the equation:

Amongst many people saying "don't forget X" I declare Derek Moore the winner for reminding Harbaugh that he should not forget the legend of Tony Pape, AKA "Fat Elvis."

Spring Creaning time. A couple days after Stanford Robinson said "I'm not going anywhere" to media in the IU locker room, the university announced his transfer. Today he was followed by freshman wing Max Hoetzel.

This annual exodus has the same impetus all of Tom Crean's other annual exoduses have: someone must leave (or not show up) because Crean drastically oversigned. This year Indiana has zero seniors, a full roster, and two recruits. And they are still recruiting various players for the late period. To their credit, a lot of Indiana fans hate this.

Every coach is going to have some attrition from guys who don't work out. Few sign multiple guys in November knowing that this means someone on the current team is going to be forcibly ejected from the program as a result. And for what? For a ten seed because your incompetent self can't count or recruit a post player.

We poke at Tom Izzo around here because he's easy to poke at, but he is a legitimate coach and seemingly good dude; Crean is another level of detestable. For everybody's sake let's hope that buyout comes down enough to get rid of him soon. The Big Ten is ill-served by his presence at a basketball mecca.

I'm very disappointed in 61 of you. You guys are jerks.

Upon further review, there is not enough football in episodes of "Coach" to do this.

I guess this is official now? Or at least official-ish:

247 and Rivals are confirming and I'm not sure this is a thing that gets a press release, so… done? Let's call it done.

I'd rather have the inverse but I'm not too bent out of shape about it. I like the clean look the decal-less helmets have and thought the legends jerseys were a good way to remind people that the Wisterts were great and Gerald Ford was an All-American. Hopefully they can do something for the retired numbers other than just put them back in mothballs.

Also semi-official? I can't remember if Wayne Lyons's transfer was already semi-official or has just become slightly more so, but the big news from Mike Zordich's press conference was Zordich accidentally letting the cat out of the bag about Lyons's imminent arrival. Except that Lyons himself said it in February and we already have a Hello post for him.

Nevermind then?

Spike was hurting. Spike Albrecht was not fully right last year:

Albrecht is wrestling with the decision whether to undergo off-season surgery on both of his ailing hips, procedures that would leave him rehabilitating for "probably four to five months, at least."

"That's a tough situation," Albrecht said. "I don't want to sit out, but I also don't want to go through another season like I went through this year, but if that's the only option and that's the best option, then I'll do it."

Apparently those surgeries have to be scheduled consecutively and involve—bleah—"shaving down an area of hip bone." A 4-5 month recovery period is likely, which would make him whole in August or September. Tough decision to weigh a lack of pain against whatever rustiness getting laid up like that would induce.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Zuniga evaluated Albrecht.

Gordon Bell, 1975. Via Dr. Sap:

Also Ufer calling a pretty spectacular Bell touchdown run against Purdue.

Etc.: Sauce Castillo. Sauce Castillo. Neeeerd baseball hits the Daily. On John Calipari. Tattoos ranked by how bad of an idea they are. Jack Miller's decision to quit football was about concussions a bit, unless it wasn't.

In defense of Tim Beckman?