Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-28-11: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-28-11: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 28th, 2011 at 1:52 PM

News bullets and other important things:

  • Troy Woolfolk is, once again, fine.
  • Ricky Barnum didn't practice yesterday. He's questionable.
  • Cam Gordon is practicing a lot better but still trying to work himself in. 
  • Brandon Herron is also fine.
  • Team hasn't started tapering physicality of practices yet.
  • No decision on Justice Hayes' redshirt yet.
  • Hoke is being all weird about the punting situation, but Will Hagerup looks better in practice according to all observers named Angelique Chengelis.

Onwards.

Brady Hoke

“We got a new table. It’s rusty --” Rustic. “It’s rustic.”

Opening remarks: “We had a very good practice yesterday. I thought both sides of the ball we had a lot of energy. I thought it was physical -- how we want to be physical during the course of competing against each other. I thought that was good. I thought game-plan wise I think they responded well to those different things that you do, so it was good.”

Are you going to be less physical now than you were in camp to keep players healthy? “Not really. Not too much. Not right yet. As you get into the marathon that a season is, you may lighten up a little bit later, but this isn’t the time for us to do that.”

Was Troy Woolfolk able to do everything? “Yeah. I think I was asked Saturday, and Sunday he did everything. And he did eveything yesterday.”

Ricky Barnum? “I’m not saying he’s out, but he’s trying to take care of that ankle.” Is he practicing? “Not today. Er, not yesterday, let’s put it that way.”

How much is Cam Gordon practicing? “A lot. He’s just working himself back into it. He did some good things yesterday. I think he feels better.”

How difficult is it to stay intense and also pick up new schemes mid-season? “Well the schemes -- they’re new to a standpoint of how you want to tweak your base things to take advantage of an offense. From a defensive standpoint, most of the offenses are different, but I think when you look at a guy like Cam. He had a pretty good spring. What he did during the summer was pretty good from what I can tell. Fall camp, until he got hurt, he was fine. He’s a smart kid, so he’s in tune with everything that’s going on. Learns well. So for him it’s maybe not as difficult as it is for someone else.”

Brandon Herron? “He did everything. He’s fine. He’s 100%.”

Thomas Gordon said Will Campbell needs to get lower. What does he have to do to take that next step? “I’m glad Thomas is coaching him up. I really am. Thomas is right. Will just has to -- and this happens with a lot of guys who are big guys, and they’re big in high school where technique and fundamnetals are taught and they’re important, but it’s just one of those things where he’s got to play lower. He’s got to be more consistent with that part of it. His get-off the football is something he’s got to be conscious about and make good habits with.”

You say Mike Martin plays with great leverage. Is that what you want Will to do? “Well yeah. But Mike, when he has a bad play in there, it’s usually because his knees start to lock out and they don’t bring their feet with them. This is a good conversation because it’s D-line play and that’s what I like to talk about, so I can do this all day. But that part of it with Mike, I thought, last week he did his best job with it. Will did some real good things in there. And he’s improving.”

Craig Roh’s good performance two weeks in a roh (do you see what I did there?), is that a better sign than just seeing it for only one week/flash in the pan? “Well I think you always have to be guarded, and you always have to make sure the consistency you want from your players is there. Craig takes it very seriously when he works and he prepares from the mental side of it to the physical stuff that we do.”

Is it harder to build consistency with front four than with an individual when you’re trying to get max effort? “Well it starts with that individual pride and ownership of who that guy is. We talk about that quite often. And then there’s always a unit pride that you want to have. I always think, and we always think that kind of permeates through that unit.”

Is this team better suited to play against a mobile quarterback because of Denard? “It probably helps. I think our team, facing Denard and Devin both, and Russell Bellomy -- I mean, he’s a little slippery. So when you look at it that way, there’s some familiarity with what we do, which is kind of a great thing because of what we do with the spread part of it and out of the gun to what we do with the I-back stuff. I think it really helps us as a team.”

What do you tell your defensive linemen when you play against a running quarterback? “I think gap integrity is always important in part. The critical thing to me is you have to chase the rabbit. You have to stay after it through the whistle because you see a lot of those guys make plays on cutbacks and those kinds of things, and you have to be a part of the 11.”

Are you going to look at other Big Ten games any differently now that divisions are in place? “You know, I was asked that once before. I don’t think so. Maybe I need to go back and look at it. But within the framework of the divisional play and crossover play, I don’t see much difference.”

Depth is a concern, particularly in the trenches. How does that affect you during the year? “It affects you in practice. It does. Guys you have to bring up on both sides of the ball. Guys who might be fighting for two and three in there who are down. They have to go over, so you take a good look from your look teams. That’s one reason we do so much against each other. I started doing that when I went to Ball State because of the competitive nature of going ones on ones, twos on twos, and the speed and all those things.”

What’s the situation at nickel? Two weeks ago you had Raymon Taylor but then last game it was mostly Thomas Gordon. “We’ll use both. Raymon’s a young guy who’s learning. Thomas is more of a veteran, obviously. We’ll use both guys, though. I think they both are doing okay. Not quite what we need.”

Are there any other freshmen that haven’t played at all that still could? “Good question. I hate to count anybody out because you never know. You get guys twisted up and those kinds of things and you never know when that’s going to happen.”

Is it safe to say that Justice Hayes will redshirt? “I wouldn’t say that yet.”

What’s punting situation? “What do you guys think?” Angelique only saw a couple yesterday. “I think they were both punting well yesterday.” Would you say one has a leg up on the other? “Not yet. That’s pretty good, I like that. You’re giving him good material, Angelique.”

Are you a stats guy? Mattison said yesterday he’s not much of a stats guy. “Huh uh. Why?” Well Idunno … “No no no. I’m not asking you why. My point is … no. I mean, the only statistic that's important is the outcome and winning. So no.”

Mattison also said he wasn’t pleased with Jake Ryan down the stretch. Is that because there were some one-on-one situations he didn’t win? “Oh, I think that’s part of it. I think we have a high opinion of Jake, and at the same time we have to remember he’s a redshirt freshman. He can do some good things. He can make plays, and part of that is he runs around the field and plays with good effort. He’s always not doing exactly what Jake should do in the framework of the defense, but he has an opportunity, because he plays hard, to make up for those things. That’s contagious, a little bit, and he’s got to keep growing with everything that we do.”

Have there not been enough carries for Thomas Rawls for you to properly evaluate him? “I think we gave him a pretty good look during the course of camp. And then he got banged up a little bit. Fred does a nice job of rotating those guys through, number one, to keep them healthy. Because we do compete against each other. I think the second part of it is trying to see where guys are at.”

Are you resigned to the fact that Denard’s your lead back? “You could say that probably. But he carries the ball. I know that. But I don’t know if I’d consider him a back, personally.”

Borges said if he has two backs running for over a hundred yards combined, he can live with that. Do you agree? “Sure. Sure. I’m fine with that. And again I go back to the statistic that counts: Winning.”

Monday Presser Transcript 9-26-11: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 9-26-11: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 26th, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Brady Hoke

News bullets and other important things:

  • Weekly tailback musical chairs update: Fitz and Smith. No mention of anyone else.
  • Cam Gordon still not 100%.
  • Barnum is questionable for Minnesota at the moment.
  • Woolfolk was up and running last night.
  • Two of Denard's bad throws were the result of bad routes.
  • Justice Hayes didn't dress because he had a "bump."
  • Hagerup has to compete to get his position back. (I have a feeling this is nominal, but we'll see.)

Press Conference (filmed)

Opening remarks: “Again, as always, thank you for coming out. This is really loud.

“Ahem. It’s good to win football games. It’s bad to lose games, so it was good to win. I thought from a perspective as a team, I thought we played as well as we have to this point for the first quarter and maybe three quarters. Then I think we struggled a little bit for one reason or another from an offensive standpoint. You can’t turn the ball over four times. That does nothing for you as a team, and I thought defensively they hung in there and they played hard. I thought our front played probably their best football to this point of the year.

“It’s got to get much better as we get into Big Ten play offensively. Three-and-outs and turnovers in the third quarter -- time of possession affects your football team in a lot of ways … momentum and all those things. So we have to do a much better job executing and being more consistent blocking at the line of scrimmage. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.

“In the kicking game, I thought Matt Wile did a nice job punting the football, and I thought his kickoffs -- he really placed the ball well. He had one kickoff that was in the middle of the field, but everything else I thought he did a tremendous job. And that was a good sign of a guy that’s maturing as a freshman.”

Is Will Hagerup’s suspension over, and does he have to compete to get his position back? “They’ll compete. We’re going to compete in everything we do. I think that’s an important part of your development as a program. I think that’s how you improve as a program. They’ll compete during the week.”

Cam Gordon dressed but did not play -- at this point is it his conditioning or is the injury still affecting him? “I think he’s just not 100% yet. I think he’s just not where he needs to be yet.”

13 for 13 in the Red Zone. What makes you so successful there? “I don’t know if there’s a magical answer. I mean, I think part of it is always you have some pretty good luck. Things are going well. I think we’re blocking it decently. I think the different options that Al presents to some degree within the offense makes [us] a little bit tougher to defend.”

Denard’s incompletions. You said it wasn’t all Denard. When you look at the film did you see problems with other things, too? “It’s definitely not all him. I mean, route running -- we blew two routes. We didn’t convert on another route. That’s part of it. He’s got a lot of pride, and he’s going to also help himself with some of the technical and technique -- fundamental parts of being a little more patient with his feet and doing a good job with that.”

What led to strong start against SDSU, and how do you replicate that? “It’d be great to replicate it every week. I think we had a great week of practice. I think our preparation was good. From a defensive standpoint, they really did a nice job of preparation. I thought Greg did a nice job with the plan, and Al did too.”

(more after the jump)

Stonum to Redshirt, Hagerup Suspended Four Games

Stonum to Redshirt, Hagerup Suspended Four Games

Submitted by Brian on August 7th, 2011 at 6:53 PM

091209_SPT_UM v Norte Dame_MRMWill Hagerup punts the ball during the Michigan Spring Football Game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. on April 16, 2011. Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com

nyet, 1/3 nyet

Press release:

U-M Football Head Coach Brady Hoke Announces Wide Receiver Stonum will Redshirt 2011 Season

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – University of Michigan football head coach Brady Hoke announced Sunday (Aug. 7) that senior wide receiver Darryl Stonum (Stafford, Texas/Dulles HS) will redshirt the 2011 season.

“While it would be great to have Darryl on the field this season, we feel it is in his best interest and the best interest of our program for him to redshirt,” said Hoke.  “Darryl will continue to be an important part of our team and family.  He has done everything we have asked him to do, but our number one priority is to help Darryl grow as a person.” 

Hoke also announced the suspension of sophomore punter Will Hagerup (Milwaukee, Wis./Whitefish Bay HS) for the first four games of the season and junior wide receiver Terrence Robinson (Klein, Texas/Oak HS) for the season opener for violating team rules.

Stonum's redshirt is obviously an effect of his second DUI in two years; Hagerup and Robinson's naughtiness is unknown.

Stonum's absence will be felt, as no one on the roster has his combination of size and speed. Michigan still has seniors Martavious Odoms and Junior Hemingway, though, and those two were about as productive as Stonum was. Folks like to rotate their wide receivers, though, and without Stonum the backups are untested Je'Ron Stokes, Jeremy Jackson, and Jerald Robinson. Michigan might think about getting Roundtree some reps on the outside now.

This is Hagerup's second strike after he missed the Ohio State game last year for the proverbial undisclosed violation of team rules. In his stead Seth Broekhuizen took over, averaging 29 yards a kick. Michigan will probably turn to freshman Matt Wile; Wile averaged 42 yards per attempt as a high school senior.

Robinson probably wasn't going to play anyway.

SILVER LINING: If Stonum can get someone to drive him around this year, his return in 2012 should soften the blow of losing Odoms and Hemingway. Michigan still needs receivers stat.

SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE W/ MICHAEL FLOYD: Floyd had two MIPs, which are nothing, and the one DUI. Stonum had two DUIs and went to jail for not doing the probation on the first one. Please refrain from outing yourself as a derp by derping about Notre Derp.

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Purdue

Upon Further Review 2010: Defense vs Purdue

Submitted by Brian on November 17th, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Formation notes: Against a bad spread rushing attack Michigan went with the stack most of the game, with occasional changeups to a slanting four-man front and extremely rare eight man fronts as Michigan spent the entire day in a two deep for the first time in a while. They got away with this despite not having Martin or Mouton, but I don't think that will hold up against non-Purdue offenses.

This got pulled out occasionally. It's more of a 3-4 look with the stack linebackers pulled to the strong side and Gordon coming down from his position over the slot:

3-3-5 something

When Michigan moved that DE inside to be a three-tech I called this "4-3 light".

Substitution notes: Mostly Patterson with some Sagesse at NT. Black and Banks got spot duty replacing Roh and RVB at DE. Demens went the whole way at MLB with Ezeh, Moundros, and Fitzgerald rotating through the OLB spots. Cam Gordon got almost all the time at spur with a few plays from Johnson; the secondary was Rogers/Avery/Vinopal/Kovacs the whole way.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 PA scramble Van Bergen 3
Siller at QB with Henry the I-back. Woo Purdue 2010. Not sure what to call the formation as it's a 3-3-5 that slides the linebackers to the strong side and has Fitz on the line as a standup DE next to Roh. I'm just going with stack. Van Bergen(+1, pressure +1) reads the rollout and gets upfield of the pulling guard, forcing Siller back inside. He then threatens to sack and Siller has to scramble. It looks like he might get five before Roh and Kovacs converge; he pulls up lame and falls about three yards downfield.
O28 2 7 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Midline keeper Gordon 6
I can't tell if this is midline or if they just set Roh free. Probably midline. Roh attacks the tailback and that seems to be the right play because M has more players to the QB run and does not want this going backside. Patterson successfully fights inside of his blocker, the playside guard, and I think that's right too because this forces Henry outside where Gordon and Vinopal are with just one blocker. Gordon(-1) needs to attack this hard one way or the other but hesitates, throwing a lame shoulder into the blocker two yards downfield and allowing Henry a lane inside. Demens and Vinopal converge to tackle just short of the sticks.
O34 3 1 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 stack Run   Jet sweep reverse Kovacs? 0
Jet sweep to a reverse that catches Michigan because RVB(-1) did not read the play and flowed down the line too close to the LOS. Moundros is also gone to the frontside but I think he has to be. This could get some major yards but as Henry comes back to block RVB he hits the runner, robbing him of his momentum and allowing Kovacs to come up. Kovacs(-0.5, tackling -1) misses the tackle but the cavalry has arrived.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. Lucky break there.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Patterson 2
Michigan clearly not afraid of Henry throwing as they run a corner blitz, something I don't think they've done all year. Avery has backside contain so Roh can slide down the line hard, getting inside of the backside blocker, a FB, and erasing cutback lanes. Patterson(+1) gets doubled and manages to hold up okay. He chucks the guy going playside, hurling him off balance. This allows Demens(+0.5) to fill unmolested for an easy tackle. RPS+1.
O38 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass   PA rollout out Rogers Inc
Kovacs rolls up and the LBs are shifted over so this is more of a 3-4 look. Purdue runs a rollout pass that Ezeh(+0.5) cuts off the outside on, forcing a throw. This is a receiver well-covered by Rogers, and while the throw is upfield it kind of has to be because Rogers(+2, cover +2) appears to break this up despite the upfieldness of the throw. Huh.
O38 3 8 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   QB draw Avery 8
Patterson(-0.5) gets shoved way out of the hole, opening up a difficult amount of space. Moundros(+1) actually gets outside a block quickly and forces a bounce outside, where Avery(-1) got too far inside to string the play out appropriately and Kovacs(-0.5) can't arrive at the right angle to tackle Henry straight on, possibly halting him before he picks up the two yards he needs here.
O46 1 10 Shotgun 2-back TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Inverted power veer Banks 2 + 15 pen
Line blocks down except for the playside DE, who kicks out Fitzgerald, and the backside G, who pulls around to block Banks. Banks(+1) reads the pull and does not shoot down the line as expected, instead changing course to block the lead blocker. Ezeh flows up on the RB fake, Henry keeps, and his hole is constricted because of Banks and Demens(+0.5); Banks comes off to tackle after a short gain but grabs a facemask, drawing a call. Good play otherwise.
M36 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 Light Run   Inside zone Banks 1
Michigan shifts its line down as Ezeh rolls up into a standup DE position; Banks slides in to be a three tech and this is a 4-3 under line with two LBs behind it and Gordon flexed over a slot receiver. This catches Purdue, allowing Banks(+1) to slant under the RG instantly. He's drawing two guys and not even getting blocked. A cutback must happen; Ezeh(+0.5) has flowed down the line to tackle with an assist from Purdue's LT. RPS+1.
M35 2 9 I-form big 4-3 Light Pass N/A PA rollout hitch Demens 7
Blitz up the middle from Moundros; pocket rolls and Michigan rolls with it. Ezeh(+0.5) hits the edge and cuts off the rollout, forcing a pullup and an uncomfortable throw for Robinson. Demens(-0.5) was in good position but actually got ahead of the TE a bit so a throw behind the guy is makeable and made; Demens does tackle immediately.
M27 3 2 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Inverted power veer Roh -5
This must be a missed assignment or a missed read or maybe just a terrible playcall they needed to get out of but didn’t, because Roh(+1) is totally unblocked and can tear upfield at the exchange point, nailing the RB as he gets the ball and forcing a fumble. If Robinson kept he was going to get destroyed by a blitzing Ezeh(+1), who flew past a tackle too quickly to react, and a blitzing Gordon. Ball hits the turf and Gordon(+1) has the presence of mind to scoop and score. RPS+3--very hard for a D to get a +3, but this play was a guaranteed five yard loss in the best case scenario for Purdue with a serious danger of worse.
Drive Notes: Defensive TD, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q. Announcer exclaims "he's got a chance!" as Gordon crosses the 15 with no Purdue guy within 10 yards. Ya think?
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   QB power off tackle Banks 4
Johnson in at spur—I thought he was a deep safety now? Purdue has the TE block down on Banks and pulls the two guys inside around. RB means three lead blockers. Banks(+1) gets outside the downblock, which is good because Demens(-1) sucked way up on an end-around fake and is gone. If this breaks through the line it's a big gain. Fitz(+0.5) gets outside a tackle, forcing Henry to bounce it all the way out; Johnson takes a double and ends up falling, allowing a cutback lane; Rogers and Kovacs converge for a tackle.
O24 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 nickel Run   Down G stretch Demens 14
Or something? I don’t know if a good run offense can do this because you never rep any individual play enough to make it a base but lord Purdue does a lot of stuff on the ground. It's fun to watch even if it never does anything. Here the Purdue line blocks down as Michigan runs the same slant they did to get a one-yard gain on the previous play. Slant usually means linebackers flowing the other way to pickup cutbacks; here Demens(-2) pulls an Ezeh and sits. Purdue pulls a guard around, another tip for Demens to GTFO, but the C can just roll downfield and get a block on him--there's no way this should happen, Demens should be playside of the C easily. He gets crushed and there's a huge gap that's taken for a first down.
O38 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Demens? 4 (Pen -15)
What is Demens doing? Here it's a simple stretch that he's seen a million times before and instead of flowing hard he hops upfield of the guy attempting to block him. He's gone. Black(-0.5) is effectively sealed by the downblock. Moundros(+0.5) comes up to whack the pulling G and forces it inside, catching Kovacs(-0.5) coming too far outside and Demens in nowhereville, except... Demens ran down the line like a mother and actually helps tackle? Gah. I had a minus for him but am forced to erase it. I don't understand what happens here at all. Sagesse is chopped, anyway.
O23 1 25 I-form 4-3 Light Pass 5 Screen Inc
Blitz; Moundros was in the area of the screen but it looks like if the QB just calms down and throws an open pass this is a good chunk. No RPS- because it's first and twenty five.
O23 2 25 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Draw Patterson -1
A draw play to Rob Henry. Sure. Patterson(+1) takes a momentary double, then fights inside his blocker instead of getting way out of the middle of the field. This forces a bounce. Demens(+1) fills the next hole, leaving Henry on the edge with Johnson(+1), who makes a solid tackle(+1) on the edge.
O22 3 26 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 nickel Pass 3 TE out 6
Give up and punt. Two tacklers in the area (cover +1).
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 6 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Roh 3
Man, Purdue seems to chop block again, this time on Patterson. Roh(+1) does a good job of refusing the down block and holding his guy at the LOS. Kovacs cuts off the corner and Moundros(+1) hits the pulling G in the hole. Moundros and Roh close the hole off with their bodies as the RB enters, creating a pile. OL shoving pushes it forward.
O33 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Roh 5
Roh(-1) slants under the tackle like whoah but takes an angle too far upfield and instead of murdering the play he lets it playside; LBs are shifted backside and waiting for a cutback so Purdue has room. Demens takes on a block that he's got no chance of defeating; Vinopal(-0.5) fills w/ help from Ezeh pursuit, but not that well.
O38 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Light Run   Zone read keeper Van Bergen? 26
This is a bust on someone's part as RVB flows down the line and Ezeh hits it up inside, no scrape. I find this incredibly frustrating since this keeps happening in every game and it is never clear whose error it is. Henry is clean into the secondary for a big gainer. RPS -2, RVB -2 because my default is that the DE is the guy.
M36 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 Light Run   Inside zone Demens 27
Henry again except this time as a tailback. Michigan moves the LBs before the snap, sending Moundros into the line as a blitzer and having Roh tear after the QB to force a handoff. Demens(-2) has help to the outside in the form of Roh and is totally unblocked but wanders to the backside of the play and is in no position to tackle. It looks like they're using Moundros as a blitzer because they don't trust him in space and would like to get all their guys single blocked, allowing Demens to read and tackle. Here Moundros stands his guy up at the line and funnels it back at Demens and he's just not there. Vinopal(-2) whiffs a tackle, turning 15 into 27. (tackling -2)
M9 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Light Run   Zone stretch Roh 4
Michigan stunting Roh and Sagesse; Roh(-0.5) bumps Sagesse as he slants inside, delaying him and opening up a crease. The stunt does pick off a pulling guard and get Demens a free run at the hole, which he takes, tackling; Moundros(-0.5) got kicked out too far and gave the RB room to build up momentum before the contact.
M5 2 G Shotgun 2-back 4-3 Light Run   QB lead draw Roh -1
Michigan stunts and gets both Fitzgerald(+1) and Roh(+1) in the hole. One blocker, two guys, no screwup, good play. (RPS +1)
M6 3 G Shotgun trips TE bunch 4-3 Light Pass 4 TE cross Johnson 3
Robinson has time but does not let his routes develop, chucking a quick TE cross that Johnson(+1, cover +1) is in position to tackle on immediately.
Drive Notes: FG, 14-3, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Delay Sagesse 6
Delay sees a backside tackle pull around as Sagesse is doubled. Moundros and Demens get outside of blockers, funneling it back to help that never comes because Ezeh got cut off by a center peeling off Sagesse(-1). Excellent example of why you need your nose to demand a double in this D.
O32 2 4 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Power dive Van Bergen -1
Van Bergen(+1) slants inside the tackle and picks off a pulling guard. Sagesse swam through a double and managed to hold his ground okay, though he's still getting blocked a yard downfield. Demens and Ezeh are in the area and convince the RB to bounce. Gordon(+0.5) has set up in the right spot so there's no hole and Ezeh(+1) is unblocked but read the play quickly to make a tackle at the LOS.
O31 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide tight 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Hitch Ezeh Inc
Robinson drops back and throws a quick hitch into an eight man coverage that Ezeh(+1) bats down. This is a super easy breakup as Robinson stares down his WR and Ezeh barely has to move to get the PBU, so no +2 this time. (cover +1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-3, 13 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M45 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 6 Bubble screen? Inc
Michigan sends the house as Dierking motions from the slot into the backfield, and Purdue throws a… something. I think it was supposed to be a bubble screen but the two receivers went downfield and seemed to be blocking. That's fine for the outside guy, but not so much the slot.
M45 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Moundros 15
Just six in the box but M blitzes Avery to provide a seventh. TE blocks down on Roh and two OL pull around. Avery(+0.5) does a good job to come up quickly and get outside of one a yard in the backfield, constricting a hole. Moundros(-2) can fill it by himself if he takes on a block in the right spot but runs way too far outside and actually bashes into the Avery block, giving Dierking a big lane just past the outstretched arm of a spinning Roh. Demens didn't flow down the line because he saw a big cutback lane caused by Patterson(-1) getting cut and hit that. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Kovacs has to get outside a WR to force it back to Vinopal; Vinopal(+0.5) closes and tackles(+1).
M30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Roh 0
Roh(+2) can't quite slant under the Purdue tackle trying to block him but does get him pushing really hard to get his helmet across. He responds by chucking the lineman past him, coming under, and pounding Dierking at the LOS. Patterson(+0.5) and RVB(+0.5) had cut off the frontside, forcing the cutback.
M30 2 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Patterson 1
Michigan comes out in a 4-4 cover zero and checks into the stack after Purdue checks. Patterson(+1) takes a double and holds up; Demens(+0.5) hits the hole quickly and meets the peeling C at the LOS; Moundros(+0.5) is unblocked and tackles at the LOS. Multiple Purdue linemen were wandering around wondering who to block after the check. RPS +1
M29 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Improv Avery Inc
Robinson has forever and a day in the pocket but can't find anyone (cover +2) and eventually has to roll out as Roh comes free. Pressure only -1 because RVB got a holding call… eventually. Robinson rolls out and throws a bad idea to the sideline that Avery(+1, cover +1) is all over. He should really intercept but it's a little low and it falls to the turf. Hooray freshman QB.
Drive Notes: FG(46), 14-13, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 I-form 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Screen Inc
Overthrown. Outcome unknown if on target.
O31 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Tunnel screen Van Bergen 4
Van Bergen(+1) reads the screen when the offensive lineman Olé! blocks him and comes from behind to tackle with some help from Demens.
O35 3 6 I-form twins 4-3 Light Run   Delay Avery 0
Late move to a four man line. Roh(+1) gets under his blocker and refuses to be down-blocked as Avery tears off the corner on a blitz. Patterson(+1) gets playside of his blocker, forcing a cutback into Roh; Avery(+1) tackles from behind.
Drive Notes: EOH, 14-13. Hail Mary not charted.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Inside zone Fitzgerald 5
I'm not sure what the Purdue OL are attempting to do but I think it's scoop the two playside DL. They get neither, so +0.5 Patterson and RVB. RB has to bounce; he can because a hesitant Fitzgerald(-1) got hit by a TE a yard downfield instead of at the LOS or in the backfield and the RB has a lane outside. Gordon closes it down and Demens scrapes from the inside to help.
O39 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A Bubble screen Vinopal 2
This is less a bubble than just a slot screen since the WR is standing instead of orbiting outside. Michigan blitzes from the playside so it's Vinopal(+2, tackling +1) one-on-one with the WR. He attacks, gets in the right spot, forms up, forces the WR inside, and sees his tackle attempt almost run through but not quite; WR goes down for two and even if he stayed up Kovacs was going to light him up.
O41 3 3 Shotgun 2-back 4-3 Light Run   QB draw Van Bergen -2
Yakety sax from Purdue as McBurse does not get the play call and goes for a mesh point with Henry. They bump and there's no lead blocker. I don't think it would have mattered because RVB(+2) slanted under the OG in a flash and was either going to destroy McBurse and force Henry into an unblocked Gordon or just destroy Henry. RPS+1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-13, 11 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M24 1 10 I-form 4-3 Light Run   Iso Roh 6 (Pen -8)
I can't tell who this is on. Michigan stunts its DTs, which isn't relevant. The relevant bit: Roh slants hard under the strongside tackle, which leaves a TE and FB with great angles to block Demens and Gordon. If Roh was supposed to do this the linebackers need to flow hard behind him to pick up the slack on the strongside. They don't. There's two of them and one of Roh so I think it's on him(-1). Demens should still get outside the TE and has an opportunity to do so but doesn't, so the RB can zip off tackle quickly. This is dangerous but Vinopal(+1, tackling +1) fills quickly and makes a solid tackle to hold the gain down. He's pretty good when he's taking on guys his size. Problem: he is tiny. Play comes back on a holding call on the guy blocking Demens, so he avoids a minus.
M32 1 18 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Throwback TE screen Moundros 9
Moundros(+1) reads it and shoots out into the play. He can't make the tackle but he does suck up a blocker and force the play inside. With a TE four yards behind the LOS and no blockers that should be a win. He's got some room; Avery forms up to force him into Ezeh(-1, tackling -1), who does tackle but lets the TE inside off him and turns five yards into nine.
M23 2 9 I-form 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Wheel of doom Moundros Inc
There are people vaguely in the area code this week but Moundros(-2, cover -2) is at least five yards away from the tailback and probably can't prevent a TD if ball is accurate. Ball is not, it's short and outside. Ezeh(+1, pressure +1) came up hard and made life difficult. Still RPS -1.
M23 3 9 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Rollout throwaway Ezeh Inc
Purdue rolls away from the pocket; no one immediately open (cover +1). Ezeh(+2) avoids a cut block, keeps his feet, gets outside the pulling guard, and shoots up to sack Robinson, except Robinson chucks the ball out of bounds at the last second. (Pressure +2.)
Drive Notes: FG(40), 20-16, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Zone read keeper Kovacs 12
Kovacs(-2) is rolling up to the LOS and must be the contain guy with the LBs sticking inside; Black is blocked on the backside. He sucks inside, lets Henry outside, and gives up a big gain.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Light Pass N/A Long handoff Inc
Dropped.
O48 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   TGDCD 8
That Goddamned Counter Draw. Avery(-1) is blitzing to the eventual playside and Purdue's WR lined up over him actually drives down to block him, and does so effectively. Have not seen that before. Moundros(+0.5) finds himself in space and can cut past OL to force a bounce but with Avery both inside and blocked the corner's open; RB takes it until Kovacs comes up to make an okay tackle. RPS -1, but I'm not mad, just impressed with the little adjustment from Purdue.
M44 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Fade Avery Inc
Check from 4-3 to stack after a Purdue check. Avery(-1, cover -1) beaten on a fade route that must have had a double move because he gets shook like whoah; ball is way overthrown.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-16, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O46 1 10 I-form twins 3-3-5 stack Run   Iso Demens 2
Deception on this play as it looks like Purdue is down-blocking and sending players to the frontside but the path of the RB is straight upfield. Given the blocking if Demens(+1) doesn't fall for it the play is dead; he doesn't and attacks unblocked to tackle at the LOS. Ezeh(+0.5) took on the FB and came off to help, as well. BTW: possible this is a Purdue bust.
O48 2 8 Shotgun 2TE twins 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Sack Johnson -2
First read covered(+1) and then Ezeh(+0.5) is out on the corner, forcing more scrambling outside. Robinson decides to take off; Johnson(+1) fills nicely to bang him out of bounds for a sack(!) short of the sticks. Pressure +1.
O46 3 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 4 Yakety sax Rogers Int
Rollout to the trips. Van Bergen(+1) is immediately upfield and gets outside the RB's attempted chop. He's also outside the pulling G. Robinson slows up and then heads to the sideline as RVB gets smashed to the ground by the G. Roh(+1) has spun past the other tackle and is now charging from behind. As he's about to sack Robinson runs up; Ezeh(+0.5) fills and Robinson chucks it directly at James Rogers(+1, cover +1), who intercepts. Not so good. Pressure +2.
Drive Notes: Interception, 20-16, 1 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O26 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Run   Pin and pull zone Moundros 3
Playside TE blocks down on Roh and the entire left side of the line pulls. Moundros(+1) shoots up into the play and takes a double from the pullers; Kovacs fills and gets help from Patterson(+0.5), who bounced off a cut attempt and flowed down the line to prevent YAC.
O29 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 5 Hitch Gordon 9
Gordon's actually blitzing here and his issue is getting cut to the ground(-1, pressure -1) as the part of the five man rush that gets a free run at the tailback. He's out, and this opens up a guy on the sidelines between Vinopal and Rogers (cover -1).
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Down G Patterson 2
They block down on Black and get him(-0.5), pulling two guys around and shooting a lineman off Patterson and at Demens immediately. This is tough for M because Moundros has to run out to get the outside shoulder of one lead blocker and Demens is getting shoved past the play by the immediate release of the C. Purdue's banking on getting Patterson out of the play, then. Reasonable, and wrong. Patterson(+1) again bounces off the cut and flows down the line to tackle thanks to the good Moundros(+1) fill and forced inside cutback.
O40 2 8 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 TE Hitch Inc
Five yard route zinged five yards wide.
O40 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Screen Moundros 5
Moundros(+1) is on top of it, shooting past one of the releasing blockers and getting tackled. He draws a flag. Avery(+0.5) is also there to attack at the LOS. His tackle(-1) is run through but does delay Dierking quite a bit, allowing three Wolverines to rally and tackle.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-16, 12 min 4th Q. Hagerup's 72-yard bomb precedes the next drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O3 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Pass N/A Long handoff Avery 39
Avery(-3, tackling -3) completely whiffs on a simple WR screen, turning five or six yards into many many yards.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 stack Run   Yakety sax -6
Aaaand Purdue fumbles it right back without a single Michigan player breathing on anyone. Thanks, dude.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 20-16, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 3-3-5 stack Run   Triple option pitch Moundros 0
Henry pitches way too fast and does not eliminate Moundros(+1), so Moundros runs out to the edge and forces the pitch guy back inside of him, where five Wolverines gang-tackle. More bad play from Purdue than anything awesome M did.
O20 2 10 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Flare Avery 1
Nowhere to go on a three man rush(cover +2) so Henry checks down to a covered Dierking, who is again gang tackled after bouncing off Avery.
O21 3 9 Shotgun trips bunch 3-3-5 stack Pass 3 Scramble Patterson 1
Michigan gets a stunt to work as Roh drives into the middle of the line and Patterson(+1) loops around to pressure(+1) Henry. He starts scrambling around; Patterson peels back and engages behind the LOS; pile falls forward, robbing him of a sack. Que sera.
Drive Notes: Punt, 20-16, 6 min 4th Q. Purdue's funny/sad final drive is not charted.

So did that mean anything?

No. Let's just get that out of the way. No, it did not mean anything. Purdue's offense has now scored 19 meaningful points over the last four weeks and while OSU, Illinois, and Wisconsin all have much better defenses than Michigan so many of the stops Michigan got were Purdue shooting itself in the face that it's impossible to tell if anything got better in a real sense.

If you look at the—

Chart.

Chart, you'll see this in numbers:

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Van Bergen 7 3 4 May have been unfairly blamed for the big Henry keeper.
Martin - - - DNP
Banks 3 - 3 Did well in limited time.
Sagesse - 1 -1 Ceded most of his time to Patterson for a reason.
Patterson 7.5 1.5 6 !!! Happy to see him get a start and he did legitimately well with it.
Black - 1 -1 No pass rush necessary so ate bench.
Roh 7 2.5 4.5 Good day.
TOTAL 24.5 9 15.5 Fine day given a limited number of plays and only three guys.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 8.5 1.5 7 Very effective containing rollouts.
Mouton - - - DNP
C. Gordon 1.5 2 -0.5 Has absorbed the tao of spur.
T. Gordon - - - DNP
Johnson 3 - 3 Played spur. Please stop moving these people back and forth it annoys my charts.
Leach - - - DNP
Moundros 8.5 4.5 4 Got lost on a wheel of doom, effective against the run.
Demens 4 5 -1 Lost on a couple of big Purdue runs.
Herron - - - DNP
Fitzgerald 1.5 1 0.5 Limited playing time.
TOTAL 27 14 13 Holy OLB play when they never have to defend the pass, Batman.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Floyd - - - DNP
Rogers 3 - 3 One legit breakup, one INT thrown into his chest.
Kovacs - 3.5 -3.5 Removed from the run game and when he showed up had some iffy tackles.
Talbott - - - DNP.
Christian - - - DNP.
Avery 3 6 -3 Gave up the big screen.
Ray Vinopal 3.5 2.5 1 OMG FS +1
TOTAL 12.5 12 0.5 Hardly involved.
Metrics
Pressure 8 2 6 Small numbers.
Coverage 13 4 9 Tiny numbers.
Tackling 4 8 -4 Not so good.
RPS 8 4 4 Amazing what playing a true freshman in a monsoon can do for you.

[RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]

The pressure and coverage numbers are incredibly low, as are the overall secondary numbers, which points to the thing you already knew: Michigan's weak point had virtually no pressure on it all day. How much is this going to matter when Michigan plays Tolzien and Pryor in (probably) dry conditions on turf? Probably not at all.

I see Demens didn't grade out well.

No, not so much, as two of Purdue's long runs seemed to be directly on him. The first:

This is similar to the Purdue run that was picture paged this afternoon with the line slanting one way but whereas on the Purdue play the MLB tears outside to fill the hole here Demens doesn't and gets clunked by a blocker, opening up a big gain. You can argue that Fitzgerald and Roh didn't do Demens any favors but they are slanting and that means Demens has to get behind them.

The second is just bad:

Moundros blitzes up the middle and when the handoff comes he fights to funnel the guy back to Demens, but Demens has wandered out of the middle when it's clear Roh is tearing at the QB and Kovacs has that space.

And then I'm not sure how I feel about this. Watch Demens hop outside the tackle on a stretch:

He does tear down the line and gets in on the tackle, so maybe that's okay. It gives me the heebie-jeebies, though.

Ezeh did, though, and you are an avowed Ezeh hater who really really hates Ezeh and would like to see him dipped in acid, right?

Er. I just think he hasn't been a very good linebacker.

You are also an avowed GERG hater who wants GERG dipped in acid and he's got a +4 RPS, right?

I would appreciate it if you stopped claiming I have a bias for or against certain players and coaches by using UFR numbers that contradict previous UFR numbers. This makes me want to stab you. Performances vary, and collecting those performances gives you a picture of a player. I try very hard to be systematic about the numbers handed out and as a result sometimes disagree with those numbers in the very UFR they are published in. They exist as a sanity check and a guide.

You're defensive, so it must be true.

ARGH STAB

Anyway, as to GERG. In this game the 3-3-5 seemed to make sense. This is because the linebackers were all at linebacker depth and Michigan did occasionally stem to different fronts that gave Purdue trouble. Here's an RPS +1 that sees Michigan move Banks down to a three tech, slant him under an unprepared guard, and force the play back into unblocked contain:

That's a concrete example of a "multiple" look being an asset. But it's against Purdue and their ramshackle lean-to of an offense. It's too little too late unless the team really surprises in the last three games.

You clipped a punt?

Damn right.

What was the best part of the game, and perhaps any game ever?

Sarcastic Hurray Guy after the Cam Gordon touchdown:

Win.

Heroes?

Obi Ezeh and Adam Patterson for filling in admirably for downed starters.

Goats, or as much of a goat you can be when the opposing offense scores six points?

Demens got lost a few times and opened up most of Purdue's successful runs; Avery made a big mistake that turned into Purdue's best play of the day.

What does it mean for Wisconsin and beyond?

Nothing. Seriously.

If you really want to stretch you can slightly downgrade your Demens enthusiasm, upgrade your Roh enthusiasm, and maybe vaguely hope Patterson is functional when he fills in for a (please God be) healthy Mike Martin. Ezeh may be okay as an OLB the last couple games, and will almost certainly be better than Roh was. But this was a terrible team playing in terrible conditions and Michigan's performance rested largely on their lack of competence. Wisconsin will probably bring Michigan back to earth with a thump.

The Music Of The Slightly Damned

The Music Of The Slightly Damned

Submitted by Brian on November 15th, 2010 at 12:26 PM

11/13/2010 – Michigan 27, Purdue 16 – 7-3, 3-3 Big Ten

cam-gordon-fumble-td

Detnews/mgoblue.com

I lasted a quarter and a half before giving in to my inner old man and muting the television. Chris Martin had not just said that the receiver Roy Roundtree reminded him of was Braylon Edwards, but that's all I remember from the first hour. I love the Big Ten Network's picture quality and was pleasantly surprised when Saturday's director consistently cut away from highlight packages to show the game. Not so much the people paid to talk.

I was home alone since the last time I tried to watch a game in the company of people it was the Penn State game. I went home at halftime after demonstrating my severe case of sports Tourrette's. I didn't trust the team enough to expose the world to me for those three hours on Saturday, and that turned out to be a good call. Slop happened, swears were deployed, and sometime in the third quarter Sean Robinson threw a ball directly at James Rogers for the ninth turnover of the day.

It was a this point that Yakety Sax spontaneously started playing in my otherwise silent apartment.

Possibilities washed over me. One: I have been driven insane by last four years of Michigan football. Two: I am now dangerously, thrillingly super-sane and will walk-around hearing situationally appropriate music everywhere I go. I will hear "Yes We Have No Bananas" and know I don't need to bother with the produce section. People will have to tell me what Mark Dantonio says as "Breakin' The Law" thunders in my skill. I will stop complaining about Special K because instead of "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor," I will hear the marching band.

I ONLY EAT BANANAS AND HEAR YAKETY SAX SPONTANTEOUSLY WOOOOOOO—damn. It turns out that I still had a liveblog window open and when you post a video it auto-plays because it loves breaking the cardinal rule of the internet. Elaborate sigh, dreams deferred.

I'd forgotten because I don't participate in the liveblogs mostly because I'm at the games. Even when I'm not I avoid them—I don't like my own furious overreactions, let alone the furious overreactions of hundreds of other people.

-------------------------------------------------------------

What have we learned in week ten? Eh… I'm not sure you can take much out of this game except a growing concern for Denard Robinson's turnover issues and healthy fear of Ryan Kerrigan. Football played between good teams gets ugly when the rain is constant and the field starts coming up in big sliding chunks; football between bad teams causes spontaneous yakety sax. I don't think we're under the illusion that Michigan is a good team.

The footing issues were most apparent with the tailbacks but applied to everyone, so I'm not sure how much the offensive line getting owned was the conditions and how much was Kerrigan being Brandon Graham 2010 and how much was just the offensive line getting owned. The rest of the problems extended from that—Denard got the first serious, consistent pressure of his career and responded like most quarterbacks dealing with their first case of happy feet do. The running game was a slog. This week's epidemic of dropped passes has a good reason.

Unfortunately, the same logic applies to the other side of the ball, where Michigan took on Gritty Eckstein at tailback and went to work against a team that got the ball down 11 with no timeouts and a minute and a half left and decided this was the best course of action:

  1. Throw in the flat from one freshman quarterback to the other freshman quarterback, who had lined up at wide receiver.
  2. Tunnel screen.
  3. Five yard hitch.

The scariest thing Purdue's offense did all day was start Justin Siller. We have finally found the team whose offensive incompetency outstrips Michigan's defensive incompetency.

There is no data here not obviously affected by the opponent and the weather. Next week when the footing is solid and the opponent has a quarterback whose default option is not a dumpoff to the other quarterback everything will be completely different. Since it was a win—one that was in retrospect not in much danger after Michigan scored to go up 20-13—this game will be relegated to the scrap heap of mud-ugly games past and forgotten.

Now if I can just figure out where "Livin' on a Prayer" is coming from, we are in business.

Non-Bullets Der Wet Catten

This did not happen. Remember that these things can be much, much worse. The saddest picture in the history of Michigan football came from the 2008 Fandom Endurance III game:

darryl-stonum-nw-sad

Lon Horwedel/AnnArbor.com

The Orin Incandenza Award. The play of the game is Will Hagerup's 72-yard bomb early in the fourth quarter that put Purdue on their own three. Courtney Avery would biff a long handoff on the next play but give the ball back on a fumble. Michigan punt, Purdue punt, Michigan excellent field position for clinching touchdown. Watching this game was a blast from the past; feeling my decision matrix switch from GO FOR IT GO FOR IT GO FOR IT to "it's third and seven, we should run it and then punt" was like being possessed by the ghost of Lloyd Carr*.

That thing flipped the field position in a game where field position is a tug of war instead of a minor inconvenience en route to the endzone. It soared. The returner is a lithe whippet of a man somewhere around 20 years old and he didn't bother to run since it was too long. Ain't running that far. That's going to China, yo.

*(The author is aware that Carr does not actually have a ghost.)

Growing concern for turnover issues. The interceptions were bad but maybe that just happens because of the weather and the pressure which may have been caused by the weather, etc., but the fumble was the continuation of a bad habit we've seen all year: when Denard gets outside he does not switch the ball to the outside arm. On Saturday that allowed some guy to come from the inside and strip the ball as he spun Denard to the ground. That's a basic coaching point and I'm not sure why a guy who runs as much as Denard hasn't had it hammered into his skull.

Quarterback rotation. I thought putting in Forcier here and there was the right move even if it didn't result in any of those yard things (Forcier was one for four and his one completion was blown up by a Molk hold, leading to another pooch punt) since the offense wasn't going anywhere and the two quarterbacks are different enough that it's plausible Forcier could do something Denard couldn't, especially after the two INTs.

I also liked Rodriguez's response to some question about "benching Denard." To paraphrase: benching is a strong word. If he's a tailback or wide receiver he's getting a rest. We put him back in. You are making 1000 times less than me for a reason.

Last part probably another hallucination.

Might as well try it.

ryan-van-bergen-xp

AnnArbor.com

Right, I mean? Right? I think the headphones are key.

Grim weather past. All games played in driving rain on shoddy turf kind of melt into each other, a never-ending parade of fumbles, third and eight runs, five yard throws that hit spectators in the face, and either shots of people looking wet and cranky in ponchos or looking grim and cranky in a poncho yourself.

But in one specific way, this game reminded me of a previous slopfest around 2002 or so when a to-that-point disappointing Justin Fargas had the first and only 100 yard game of his Michigan career in a mud pit against Northwestern. Fargas was much better than Michigan's other backs because he was small* and could change direction without engaging pratfall warp drive. I thought of him as Vincent Smith changed direction relatively quickly and came up a yard short of the first 100 yard game of his career not played against baby seals.

I also was like "aaargh why aren't you a step faster" several times. Smith's had a good couple games but unless he's not really 100% after the knee injury it seems like it's cost him some of his giddyup.

*(He would get Brian Cushing roid huge at USC—at Michigan he was diminutive.)

A moment of pure terror. Was anyone else about to have a conniption fit after Avery let that WR zip by him with nothing but Ray Vinopal between that guy and the endzone? Rogers was pursuing to the backside so if Vinopal missed he just had to slow the guy or make him cut back, but watching a true freshman two star scurry down his angle as the last thing between Purdue and a 97-yard wide receiver screen touchdown is a whiskey-inducing experience.

Vinopal made a fine tackle and Purdue had the decency to fumble on the next play, so the moment passed successful. But jeez.

I-form: die. Die die die. Die die die die die.

Die.

Oddities. One: Gallon was clearly not making a fair catch signal and shouldn't have been flagged. Two: Purdue kicked off from the 35 once. WTF?

Elsewhere

No Video of All Varieties yesterday because the pickings were understandably slim, but here's a bird talking about the game. Stay tuned for the twist ending:

I wish this would happen to certain WTKA callers. There is also a Wolverine Historian clipreel:

The official site has a briefer version and the defense every snap video is already up. Also SD torrent.

Purdue bloggers say their defensive back who scored "displayed shades of Deion Sanders" by having a ball thrown directly at him whilst  being five yards from the nearest receiver. They do post video of girls fighting. The guy who guaranteed a win declares the game the "ugliest football game" he's ever attended, which yeah pretty much. The comments are weirdly negative. If mean, if anyone deserves a pass it's Purdue and their new mascot:

 perrycolor

On to Michigan blogs: the Hoover Street Rag drops a Warren G. Harding reference that I misread as a "Warren G" reference when they tweeted it out. Alas, these guys are still bandos and history teachers (I'm guessing, anyway) and we don't get to find out what bandos/teachers would say in re: Warren G and Michigan football. The Harding bit:

Harding was widely reviled for his incompetence, his willingness to let his friends do as they pleased, the general sense of fail that emanated White House followed him until his death in 1923. Except, when historians look back, they see that things were not as bad as they once thought. Harding was blamed when things went wrong, but got little to no credit for the things that went right. People saw what they wanted to see and argued their points as they chose a new path to their future. Then again, Harding never got America bowl eligible, so we'll see.

Chances Sarah Palin adopts "get America bowl eligible" as a campaign slogan: 50-50. The Big House Blog has a very silly picture of a dog in a poncho and The Wolverine Blog grabs a shot of Lewan rumbling with the ball.

Unverified Voracity Reminisces About Defenses Past

Unverified Voracity Reminisces About Defenses Past

Submitted by Brian on October 28th, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Podcasting. No podcast this week due to a fiasco involving a flight to Ireland out of Chicago and the MGoFiancee's unwise decision to leave her passport in Ann Arbor, but I do appear on the latest edition of the Solid Verbal. My bit is at around the 23 minute mark.

Blood Battle. Michigan's annual contest against Ohio State to see which school can donate more pints of blood* is awwwwn. Hit up their website for details. Michigan won 2449-2350 last year—I should put up a ticker that says 1343 DAYS SINCE OHIO STATE BEAT MICHIGAN AT BLEEDING. Ain't got no other tickers to put up.

BONUS: There's an organ donor challenge going on too, and Michigan is winning that too.

*(Attention OSU fans: cutting yourself with a broken bottle in a bar fight and oozing all over your Busch Light totally counts this year.)

Penn State past. MGoVideo's put together every snap videos from the '97 Judgment Day demolition:

There's also the 2006 defense. WARNING: watching these videos may make you powerfully nostalgic for defenses that have people on them who play football.

Lack of Cox explained. If you've been wondering why Michael Cox can't get a snap this helps explain it:

Rodriguez disclosed Wednesday that running back Michael Cox has had “a knee issue” for the past few weeks, and that his growth and practice has been limited.

He probably won't play much the rest of the year since he was a guy who really needed the practice reps for mental sharpness—Rodriguez said something about him needing to know the whole playbook before he sees the field. Also there are three guys in front of him. With Mike Shaw healthy and Stephen Hopkins easing into more playing time snaps are going to be fought for tooth and nail.

Also, Devin Gardner's back injury is still hampering him but they will bring him to Penn State in case there is an emergency.

Bolden yes no question? Robert Bolden was go, then he was no go, and now he's go?

Penn State freshman starting quarterback Rob Bolden has passed his Wednesday test intended to determine whether he is over effects from an apparent concussion suffered on Saturday at Minnesota.

Probably not. Penn State insider types (and Bolden's dad) are saying that Bolden has not practiced since the Minnesota game. There's little chance a guy who can't practice Wednesday will be ready to go Saturday, or prepared even if he is. Bolden's mom:

"He really wants to play against Michigan -- his heart is just going to be really broken since he can't," Williams said from her home in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Mich. "He failed that concussion test Sunday, which is not good.

"I think it's best for him if they sit him down this week. Hopefully, he can play next week [Nov. 6 against Northwestern]."

Beating Penn State without Bolden would cheapen the victory but right now the program needs a win of any variety, cheap or not. Also, did I mention that DE Jack Crawford is still out? That leaves Penn State starting either that freshman DT or a really bad veteran or stuffing lightweight pass rusher and doghouse resident Sean Stanley into the starting lineup. If Penn State goes with the DT Michigan should tell Robinson to keep it every time he tries to keep contain.

At least one thing has not gone horribly disastrously wrong. FO's Brian Fremeau has finally done the thing that I always thought should be done with punting stats: measured the average result of punts from every yard line on the field and ranked teams by how much above or below they are that break-even line. Michigan's standing in that advanced measure:

Punt Efficiency Top-10 Punt Return Efficiency Top-10
Rank Team PE Punts Rank Team PE Punts
1 Oregon -.192 19 1 Utah .528 41
2 Middle Tennessee -.136 37 2 Maryland .340 27
3 Missouri -.135 28 3 Oregon .336 29
4 Michigan -.132 22 4 UNLV .335 22
5 Florida State -.129 22 5 Michigan State .270 37
6 Nebraska -.116 20 6 Northern Illinois .260 27
7 LSU -.109 30 7 Texas Tech .248 35
8 UTEP -.098 23 8 Boise State .243 28
9 Alabama -.097 18 9 Kent State .237 35
10 South Carolina -.095 19 10 Fresno State .233 33

Fremeau doesn't provide a link to a list of all I-A teams so we can't find out exactly how terrible the punt returns have been but… dang. Fourth nationally is a huge difference from the conventional net yardage measure, in which M has dragged itself up to 44th after starting the year in triple digits thanks to Will Hagerup's nervy start. 

I wish Fremeau would provide an alternate measure that assumed an average number of punts per game and approximated how many points per game being 13% better than average is worth—my slightly educated guess is it's around a field goal. Net punting average is about 37 yards. 13% of 37 yards is about five yards, and this Advanced NFL Stats post estimates that a season-long four yard advantage in field position is worth 2.8 points per game. Michigan's yardage difference is bigger but punts are less frequent, so… yeah. Will Hagerup is worth two or three points a game.

Meanwhile, Michigan is a shiny 120th in field goal efficiency, which is bad.

Ufer. A couple days ago was the anniversary of Bob Ufer's death in 1981.

Etc.: If you need a photo of the band, or six billion of them, there is an official site dedicated to doing so. Hey, Michigan Hockey Scheduler guy: don't put a home hockey game smack dab in the middle of a football game, thanks. This MZone post about college fooball coaches's Halloween costumes is horrifying. MNB compares Michigan players to characters in the Wire. Demerit: somehow gives Snoop to someone other than Jeremy Gallon. Merit: members of the secondary are Namond, Randy, Michael, and Dookie.

Preview 2010: Special Teams

Preview 2010: Special Teams

Submitted by Brian on August 31st, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Previously: The story, the secondary, the linebackers, and the defensive line.

Overall rating: 3.

Depth Chart
Punter Yr. Kicker Yr. Punt Return Yr. Kick Return Yr.
Will Hagerup Fr. Brendan Gibbons Fr.* Martavious Odoms Jr. Darryl Stonum Jr.
Seth Broekhuizen Fr.* Justin Meram Jr.* Drew Dileo Fr. Martavious Odoms Jr.
-- -- Seth Broekhuizen Fr.* Terrance Robinson So.* Mike Shaw Jr.

Just don't fumble and we're good. Unless kicker is a black hole, but what's the worst that could happen?

Punter

will-hagerup 

Rating: 4

After a spring in which the motley collection of walk-ons assembled to punt managed to keep just one of their attempts on the field of play, it was a relief to see Will Hagerup launch Zoltan-like bombs in the fall scrimmage. While he's likely to go through some growing pains as he adjusts to college, mgouser Wonk put together a diary demonstrating that punter is a spot at which you can throw in a true freshman without much worry. A three-year study of freshman punters sees them land around 73rd nationally—just a smidgen below average—with a 39.3 net.

So your average freshman punter checks in just below average, and Hagerup is not your average freshman punter. He got the rare third star from Rivals and is their #1 true punter after a senior year in which he actually bettered Zoltan's numbers:

As a senior, Hagerup punted 22 times, landing seven within the opponent's 20-yard line, and averaging 42.9 yards per attempt. By comparison, Mesko had a career average of 42.5. In a statistic suggesting Hagerup applies adequate hang time to be a factor at the college level, opponents averaged just three yards per return against him.

No word on awesome high-stepping fakes, or disastrous mind-meltdown ones. Rodriguez called Hagerup "a real talent" this fall, then repeated it for emphasis. I'm not saying he's the Space Emperor of Space or anything, but while no one can replace Zoltan in our hearts Hagerup probably won't be far off on the field.

Kicker

Rating: ?

As per tradition when this site attempts to project a kicker it's never seen play, we punt. (HA!) Projecting kickers remains a rube's game. For example, last year this preview expressed "disquiet" because projected starter Jason Olesnavage couldn't beat out mediocre competition in '08, sucked in the spring game, and wasn't the touted freshman Brendan Gibbons. Olesnavage proceeded to go 11 of 15, a 73% strike rate. So we won't really have a grasp on what's going on here until midseason.

Right now the tea leaves are grim things scattered everywhere except the center of the cup, however. Rodriguez has been openly fretting about the situation since spring. An example from Big Ten media days—here Rodriguez is asked what's his biggest concern:

"Probably the kicking game, particularly field goals."

Troy Woolfolk's ankle had not yet been smitten, but even at that point being more concerned with anything other than the secondary (which thankfully finished second) sets off alarm klaxons. More go off when AnnArbor.com quotes Rodriguez saying "guh," which is my line.

But I was pretty guh last year, too, and that worked out okay. Hopefully Gibbons can find the accuracy to live up to his scholarship status; if he can't the silver lining is that Michigan might be forced into correct fourth-down strategy. That's the ticket!

Return Game

Rating: 4

Michigan found its best kickoff returner since Steve Breaston in the form of blazing fast Darryl Stonum last year. Stonum ripped off this critical touchdown against Notre Dame…

…and took enough other kicks out to midfield to see Michigan into the top 25 nationally at #23. Stonum himself was actually better than that; his 25.7 yard average would have been good for 4th if he took back all of Michigan's returns.

Touchdowns are outliers and we should expect Stonum's production to fall back to earth a little bit this year; hopefully Michigan has a better second option and can maintain their above-average production here.

When it comes to punts,

HOLD ON TO THE GODDAMN BALL

was the directive last year. It was not followed very well. This was actually an improvement on 2008, when kickoffs were also 50-50 to be horrible turnovers, but it wasn't very fun. A rotating array of jelly-fingered receivers toured the position last year, with Junior Hemingway's 10 returns for 86 yards and Martavious Odoms's  6 for 54 leading the returning players. (Brandon Graham's punt blocks actually made him Michigan's best punt returner: two for 36 yards and a TD.)

This year it looks like Hemingway has been relieved of duties. The four guys in contention this fall are Odoms, Terrence Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, and Drew Dileo. Gallon reputedly did not seize his opportunity to perform over the summer* and then suffered an ankle injury in fall, Robinson's hands have plagued him since his arrival in Ann Arbor (he was the only player to fumble a punt in the fall scrimmage), and Dileo is a true freshman. Your punt returner by default is Odoms until such time as one of the guys who isn't a fumble-prone starting receiver steps up and takes it from him.

Will that happen? It's 50-50. If it does I wouldn't put it past Dileo to step forth and claim the job. The man himself said he was recruited primarily to return punts, and reports from the fall scrimmage said that he looked extremely smooth doing that. If Odoms makes some bad decisions it won't take Michigan long to yank him.

I suppose here's where we should make mention of Michigan's coverage units. A combination of Zoltan and the spread punt formation made the punt cover guys highly effective, with opponents managing just 5.6 yards a return. I put together a little stat that measures how many yards a team gives back on average (so a punt without a return is zero) and Michigan finished 28th last year despite Zoltan finishing 9th in gross average. That's pretty good; Michigan can probably expect similar.

On kick returns, opponents averaged 22.3 per, which was slightly below average. Stonum's Beanie Bowl-opening KOR TD and some disturbing half-speed practice returns in the fall scrimmage have people worried, but that's scant evidence to suggest last year's kickoff team, which returns largely intact, is going to fall off a cliff.

*(Mmmm David Brandon euphemism.)

Fall Scrimmage Roundup: Yes, Denard

Fall Scrimmage Roundup: Yes, Denard

Submitted by Brian on August 23rd, 2010 at 4:05 PM

So I find myself in an extremely bizarre position: Michigan had a semi-public scrimmage on Saturday that I and a few hundred others attended after donating to Motts or buying the big baller seats. If you've been on the internet since Saturday you've noticed probably dozens of reports on message boards, the diaries here, other blogs, and one local radio host's (pretty inaccurate) tweets. Also there's a highlight video from the official site:

But they specifically told myself, MVictors, Scout, Rivals, and Craig Ross that "nothing was to be reported" from the scrimmage. This worked as well as you might imagine, leaving us on the sidelines as everyone with a username throws vague information around. So here's a bizarre roundup of things other people said on the internets and in my inbox that doesn't involve personal reporting. This lion is caged.

Quarterbacks

DenardRobinsonWMU

Popular sentiment holds that Denard is the man:

looks comfortable, made some nice throws, seems in charge of the O.  Wouldn't want to have to tackle him.

The man:

Unless something crazy happens between now and September 4, Denard Robinson is your clear starter at quarterback. The quarterbacks weren’t live today, but Robinson still managed to carve up the second-team defense (running the first-team offense, of course) with his legs and his arm. His made good decisions with the ball and his passes were on the money, and he took a QB draw 40+ yards to the house — only Denard makes that play, and he made it look easy.

The man:

He will absolutely start as he is clearly the leader on the team. He had the most energy during warm-ups, was the first one and the fastest one doing stretch drills, and was clearly the first-team QB of the day during the 'scrimmage'. He hit a nice 23-ish yard pass on a WICKED play fake to Grady. And then ran it in for another 25 or so on a QB draw, juking a DB as he went. Enough to even get the sidelines "ooh-ing".

The man:

Prior to seeing this scrimmage I was a fan of Tate and would tell anyone who asked, that Tate would be the starter. After watching the scrimmage, D-Rob will be the starter. He was much better in the pocket, made good decisions when faced with getting rid of the ball or being sacked with loss of yards, and his exchanges were very good. Think about some of the ball fakes that Juice Williams had. D-Rob isn't there yet, but he will be.

That longish pass was the a half-roll at about 2:00 in the highlights on which Robinson pulled up and nailed Terrance Robinson between the numbers and between levels in the zone. An emailer suggested that he wouldn't have believed it possible without the spring game. Also, at the end of practice they had the team run a lap around the field four times. It's "a little tough to tell" because each position group starts from a different place on the field, but 3 of the 4 times Denard was the first player on the team to finish. (Ray Vinopal seemed to win the last one.) That's "more a measure of endurance than speed."

Robinson actually got a lot less run than the other two quarterbacks, finding himself on the bench as Forcier and Gardner (and Jack Kennedy) alternated series late; when he did get on the offense would score quickly, further depressing his reps. To me that reads like the decision is already made and they are being somewhat cautious.

Conflicting reports on Gardner and Forcier. Ace's take:

Devin Gardner, running mostly with the twos, looked at times like a seasoned veteran, but he had a couple throws — including an ugly interception to Marvin Robinson — that reminded everyone he is just a freshman. His natural ability could lead to him seeing the field this year, but I think it’s safe to say he’s probably a year away from really pushing for the starting job. Really like his poise in the pocked and running ability, however, and it would have been interesting to see what he could have done if the quarterbacks were live. Tate Forcier started with the threes but saw snaps with the ones and twos as well — he looked solid throwing the ball, but made a couple poor reads on zone running plays.

Gardner came in for a lot of praise but a trusted observer in the inbox says "Gardner made a number of bad decisions under pressure." There that Marvin Robinson interception reminiscent of the slo-mo-nooooo plays last year; observer also cited a strong tendency for Gardner to panic and chuck off his back foot when blitzers got through. He suggested that in a scrimmage with more blitzing—it was exceedingly rare—Forcier would have probably looked clearly better than Gardner. While a few folk are saying there is "NO WAY" Gardner redshirts, TO thought he was at best even with Forcier and given that should watch from the sidelines. He made more big errors than anyone else.

In drills, Tate looked best, FWIW.

Running Backs

Hopkins was the name on everyone's tongue after a day spent running through arm tackles and showing surprising shiftiness. He "hit the holes and was a load to take down." Trusted Observer said he had a hard time picking out Hopkins before the scrimmage, as he looked like PJ Hill in the spring but after losing ten pounds and reshaping maybe a dozen others into muscle "now looks like a tailback" instead of a moonlighting fullback.

One negative note:

I didn't think Hopkins looked as great as everyone else did.  Not a diss on his play - he ran very hard - but I didn't see the world beater others did.  Much like the other scrimmages, all the RBs looked good, but none really stood out.  We have options in Cox and Shaw.  Though V. Smith, as reported, looks great - no noticeable effects from the injury.

Vincent Smith Ace and others also noted that Vincent Smith seems 100% healthy; you can see him dance his way down to the two in the highlights above on one of his better runs on the day. TO said it looked like he was tentatively first team with Mike Shaw second but "both those guys fumbled and I wouldn't put much stock in that."

Mike Cox continued to show that he might be the best athlete amongst the running backs, but on two separate instances he caused Rodriguez to "lose it" by cutting way back against the grain, turning a modest gain into nothing by dancing at the line of scrimmage. On one "there was a gap on the frontside but he cut all the way behind the backside tackle," losing yardage and causing RR to chew him out; on the second "RR just dropped his headset in disgust."

Toussaint did not play due to an injury.

Wide Receiver

If you're looking at playing time in this scrimmage as a signal as to which freshmen wideouts will play, your "leaders in order" are Jerald Robinson, Drew Dileo, Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller, and finally DJ Williamson. Yeah, Dileo, who looked "natural fielding punts and catching the ball in drills" despite being "fricking tiny." Robinson got a lot of playing time but "dropped everything."

As for the veterans, the nominal first team was the same it was in spring with Martavious Odoms spending a lot of time outside with Darryl Stonum; Roy Roundtree was in the slot but "did not play much" probably because "they know he's the guy." In his stead Robinson and Grady got most of the playing time, with Gallon around but "not doing much." Hemingway was on the second team with Stokes.

At TE, Koger, Webb, and Moore "seemed even," with Koger suffering a frustrating drop. Robinson added one, but otherwise the starting WRs caught everything that came their way. It was mostly underneath stuff, probably because of the open nature of the scrimmage.

Offensive Line

Not much here. Molk was in a green shirt and played only sparingly (this was "precautionary"); Khoury was his backup and there were several poor snaps, two or three of which led to drive-killing fumbles. Huyge (left) and Dorrestein (right) were tackles on the first team OL. Lewan was on the second team and played beyond the whistle to the point where he got a personal foul. TO noticed Quinton Washington struggling badly in the post-practice runs, finishing last. Someone, possibly Elliot Mealer, spent practice on the bike with a red jersey. Barnum was a second-team guard and the third-team center.

Coaches kept yelling at Schofield to keep his pad level down.

Defensive Line

TO says he spent most of the scrimmage watching the offense and didn't have much on the D. He did note that Mike Martin finished first easily in the DL group on the runs with Will Campbell lagging behind. Ace highlighted Jibreel Black, who looks like a quick contributor. Another emailer said "Martin is a beast" and didn't get much playing time for precautionary reasons:

“Defensively, Mike Martin has had a tremendous camp. We limited him yesterday because we know what he can do, but he’s been really good and probably our most consistent defensive player since camp started.”

Campbell seemed to be on the third team. Sagesse sat out with an injury, though he was in green, not red.

It does not seem like Martin is moving, so everyone figure out who Greg Banks's backup is.

Linebackers

That stuff about Moundros possibly starting looks accurate:

Moundros starts in the middle, looks like he's been playing there for a while.  A run stuffer certainly.  Middle zone coverage?  Not enough data.  Ezeh also stuffed the run and took on blocks at Mouton's spot.  Roh will be a beast, but given almost all of the throws were short, his pass rush didn't have time to get home.

Not much else here. Ezeh played WLB with Mouton in green. Davion Rogers is "a twig."

Secondary

Ack. Cam Gordon, from reports ranging from some guy…

Vlad will hit you, but we all knew that.  Cam Gordon is going to be very good, I think.  Big boy.  He was in position to make two great tackles, but unfortunately didn't wrapup and was pulled off the field.  Later returned with the 1's.  Going to take some time

…to the coach

“Yesterday probably wasn’t his best day practice-wise, but other than that he’s had a really good camp,” Rodriguez noted.

…to Cam Gordon's royal we

“We were in position to make plays - I was in position - but we didn’t wrap up,” Gordon said. “I think we were all a little excited, especially us young guys to show what we could do and we had a breakdown in fundamentals. But those are easily correctable mistakes.

“Something Coach [Tony] Gibson said to me after our scrimmage was, ‘Cam, every hit doesn’t have to be a big hit.’ That’s a key for me and for all the guys. Any tackle is a good tackle. I don’t have to level somebody because in the stat book they all count the same way. I’ll get better and we’ll get better.”

…did not have a good day. Corners… not much detail. There's this:

JT Floyd looks good, Rogers looks big.  Teric Jones and Christian are your 2's.  Talbott and Avery don't look undersized, and don't look overwhelmed.  Again, hard to judge corner play given the nature of the throws.  But Christian has a way of moving that reminds one of Woodson.

If only. Floyd was pulled early, again likely as a precaution. Robinson looks good, a "big hitter and good tackler."  Mike Williams spent a lot of time playing spur, not doing much of note. A push for a job or a sure starter (Thomas Gordon) getting held out of a high-contact scrimmage?

Special Teams

No worries at punter, where Hagerup's warmups were "just like Zoltan." The section of the practice dedicated to the punt team saw the punts "go straight" and were actually returnable. All were fielded cleanly except one fumble from Terrence Robinson. Here, too, Dileo "looked like a natural," executing a fair catch with aplomb and fielding an array of kickoffs and punts cleanly.

Field goal kicking was limited, with just two attempts. Meram missed from around 40, Gibbons hit from around 35. Kickoffs landed from the 2 to 10, which is about average these days. Kickoff coverage must be run at half speed because every one was returned to about midfield and then blown dead.

2010 Recruiting Class: 1,000 Foot Overview, Defense

2010 Recruiting Class: 1,000 Foot Overview, Defense

Submitted by Brian on February 17th, 2010 at 12:20 PM

I'll be embarking on a project similar to last year's recruit profiles in the near future, but that effort will last into the summer—the final profile last year (Tate Forcier) didn't go up until June 25th—and some words about how Michigan did will be far less timely then.

The other side of the ball was examined last week.

Defensive End

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

jibreel black We'll throw quick end in here, too, and why not? Seemingly half the defensive recruits in the class said they were recruited to play the spot. Michigan has plenty of needs elsewhere so this intrepid reporter is going to put Jordan Paskorz, and only Jordan Paskorz, here. Antonio Kinard and Davion Rogers will be filed as linebackers; Ken Wilkins is already pushing 250 and will be filed as a strongside defensive end.

On Paskorz: he is a generic three star to the world, a guy who gets 5.6 on the Rivals scale—5.7 is a high three star, 5.6 a middling one—and had offers that reflected that. Michigan's main competitors were Pitt and Virginia. He won't have to play much until he's a redshirt sophomore—that's when when Craig Roh backup Brandon Herron graduates—and we're unlikely to see him until then.

The strongside guys have a bit more to recommend them. Jibreel Black (right)and Ken Wilkins are 4/3 star tweeners (e.g., one of Scout or Rivals has them at four, the other at three). Wilkins hails from the same high school that Ohio State recruit Andrew Sweat and Penn State recruit Mike Yancich attended, and his coach believes he's more athletic than either:

"He is an unbelievable physical talent," Dalton said. "And he is only going to get better. I have had some great players here, but nothing like Ken physically. I am not saying he is going to be better than Yancich and Sweat, but he is the most physically talented player I've had."

Black, meanwhile, was a guy Michigan was hot after all year but could never get on campus until late January. By then he'd already committed to Indiana (where his brother had an excellent season) and Cincinnati (which is approximately three minutes from home). He's got the same body type as Brandon Graham, albeit without most of his hype. The insider-type folk say, and Michigan's dogged pursuit implies, that whatever the guru folk thought Michigan wanted Black badly.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

B+. They got about the right number of bodies to fill out two thin spots on defense and I like the long term potential of both strongside guys. A blue-chip would have been nice.

Impact This Year?

Hopefully little, but given the depth chart at SDE it seems like either Black or Wilkins will have to burn a redshirt as a backup unless Anthony LaLota got a lot bigger during his redshirt year.

Defensive Tackle

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

Michigan missed out on a true nose when Jonathan Hankins picked Ohio State. They did grab two promising three-tech recruits in Terry Talbott and Pahokee's Richard Ash. Both have size issues: Talbott is currently around 240 and is a guy some observers thought would end up at defensive end. According to Rod Smith, Ash is now over 300 pounds; given his recruitment that seems more like a problem to be fixed than a solution to Michigan's nose tackle issue. Teams backed away from Ash when he showed up to Florida's camp overweight.

On the other hand, both have talent. Talbott almost defected to North Carolina late; when Tim went down to catch a Wayne game this fall he was a wrecking ball in the backfield. He's an excellent, disruptive fit for the penetrating defensive tackle spot he's slated for. The teams backing away from Ash after his weight issues, meanwhile, were USC and Florida. Ash has upside for Barwis to extract, and he's got a host of Pahokee folk up here to help him adjust. If he puts in the work, Michigan will have a guy who could play for Florida's defensive line.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

B-. No nose tackle is a downer. Michigan will have one guy there next year if Mike Martin moves unless Ash can actually handle that weight. Outside of that, though, both recruits seem like they might be underrated.

Impact This Year?

Assuming the RVB move, Michigan will have a veteran two-deep at defensive tackle but Talbott and Ash will be next in line after that. If there's an injury, one or both might be pressed to play. I imagine Michigan will try to redshirt both; they might not be able to.

Linebacker

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

davion-rogersDavion Rogers needs to eat a sandwich 

A late flurry of offers and a little snake oil turned this position group from a gaping sore into… well, a considerably less gaping sore. Late additions Davion Rogers and Jake Ryan are just three star sorts, but given Michigan's situation before they hopped aboard they're welcome. Rogers is a 6'6" birdman of a linebacker/DE prospect who everyone, including me, will compare to Shawn Crable. Michigan pirated him away from WVU once Doc Holliday left. Early in his career he'll probably play the weakside linebacker spot occupied by Jonas Mouton currently; if he puts on enough weight we'll see him at quick.

Ryan popped up late after an Omameh-like senior year where he grew two inches and twenty pounds and outplayed Ohio State commit, teammate, and fellow linebacker Scott McVey en route to a state championship. McVey was playing with a busted shoulder, FWIW, but Ryan is a heady kid who actually played linebacker in high school—a rarity for Michigan of late—and is at least a reasonable prospect to start in a year or two.

A couple players may end up at spinner, the strongside linebacker/safety position last occupied by Stevie Brown, but for right now the only guy in the class this blog places at the spot is uber-athlete Josh Furman, AKA Dhani Jones 2.0. Furman was a ridiculously productive safety and tailback in high school who hit camps and dropped electronically timed 4.3 40s. Scout thinks he's awesome; Rivals again goes "meh." He's clearly got a ton of upside.

Antonio Kinard got a super-early offer and committed to it, but did little during his senior season to assuage concerns he was an iffy bet. He, too, might end up at quick but will be filed a linebacker for the moment.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

C-. The late pickups salvaged this grade but the emphasis is on "salvage." The only inside linebacker Michigan picked up in the last class was Isaiah Bell and the guys in the class before that are gone (Witherspoon and Hill), seemingly locked into special teams forever (Demens), and JB Fitzgerald. Michigan needed numbers here, and they ended up with numbers, but they also needed a blue chip or two and they did not get one. Furman is a recruit you can get excited about, but that's 1/4.

Impact This Year?

Redshirts for everyone, in all likelihood, except possibly Furman. Even Furman will have to beat out two guys with almost two years of experience in fall camp if he's going to win a job.

Cornerback

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

Michigan will bolster its roster with four cornerbacks this fall. They come in two flavors. Flavor one consists of short three-stars from Ohio. They are Courtney Avery and Terrance Talbott. Avery was a prolific, tiny high school quarterback who only moonlighted on defense. He made first team All-Ohio and chose Michigan over a Stanford decommit not because of grades but because he wanted to stay closer to home. Talbott is the other Talbott's brother and struggled through injuries most of his senior year but has received positive reviews from local observers. There's some reason for optimism on both.

cullen-christian

Cullen Christian needs no ball security

Flavor two consists of blue-chips anyone and everyone wanted who held preposterously long press conferences. Cullen Christian is the #3 corner to Scout and in the Rivals 100; he picked Michigan over Ohio State and many others after a long period of favoring Michigan. 6'1" and physical, Christian's YMRMFSPA is a holy lock to be Marlin Jackson. Demar Dorsey you may have heard about. He picked Michigan over Florida State and USC after being a Florida commit for over a year. He's the #12 player overall to ESPN and a four-star to the other sites.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

A. Four players, two of them blue-chips, at a position of crying need.

Impact This Year?

One of these kids is guaranteed to play unless JT Floyd takes a huge leap forward. A second is likely to find his way into a nickel package. If one of them is really good right away, you could see him start immediately and Troy Woolfolk move to safety. Michigan will probably redshirt one; the other three will have to play.

Safety

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

marvin-robinson-seeexy We'll put Marvin Robinson (OMG HALFSHIRT) here because he's likely to play the box safety* we've been discussing extensively. Robinson is the defense's Ricardo Miller, a hyped-to-the-moon Florida prospect who seemed likely to be a five-star (or thereabouts) only to experience a precipitous drop in ranking. Robinson's drop came after a few camps he participated in. In the aftermath, Rivals gurus trashed his coverage ability and said he was a linebacker and nothing else. He still held on to a fourth star, though, and fielded offers from Ohio State and several other power programs before going with the Michigan program that had led for him seemingly forever.

The class rounds out with two sleeper-type prospects. I'm considerably more bullish on Carvin Johnson, who apparently avoided the combine circuit entirely this summer, was the best player on his team, and prompted an unsolicited email of praise from local coach (not his) when this site's initial take on him was "meh." He also won the MVP award in a state championship game his team lost by a billion points. Late LSU interest was not reciprocated.

Ray Vinopal is the kind of recruit that everyone on the internet hates on, prompting articles in which he declares a desire to prove everyone wrong and press conferences where Rich Rodriguez justifies signing the guy. The internet is not necessarily wrong, though. At the time of his commitment Vinopal was a who-dat with no recruiting profile despite his presence in Ohio power Cardinal Mooney's secondary. He apparently picked up a couple of good offers late (Wisconsin was the biggest) but the heuristics indicate a marginal contributor.

*(MGoBlog is officially adopting "box" and "deep" as its chosen lingo for Michigan safeties in what appears to be a permanent 4-4 front similar to that Virginia Tech runs. The way Michigan aligns apparently does make the deep guy the "strong" safety but since that goes against the popular conception of free and strong, it's confusing.)

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

B-. One blue chip is nice and Carvin Johnson seems like the good kind of sleeper. Would have liked a true deep safety with more than two stars, but one of the cornerbacks could move back once the

Impact This Year?

If Robinson had managed to enroll early, as planned, we'd be anxiously observing him in the hopes he could lock down that box safety spot in spring. Things did not go to plan and we'll be anxiously waiting on his arrival instead. Even so, Robinson's main competition at the position he's slated for consists of a walk-on and a converted wide receiver. I don't think he'll start right away but Michigan isn't going to be able to redshirt him and he may find his way into the lineup by midseason.

Johnson and Vinopal are likely redshirts.

Punter

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

With Zoltan the Inconceivable exiting to a long and lucrative NFL career, Michigan needed a replacement. They took a pass on in-state punter and reputed Michigan fan Mike Sadler, who ended up at State, to chase WI P Will Hagerup, who had offers from all over the country and was the highest-rated punter at Rivals. (He's the #4 K but the specialists in front of him are all placekickers.) After a few visits, Hagerup picked Michigan and its wide open job over Wisconsin, Ohio State, and others.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

A. Hagerup is either the country's top punter or in the top three to all ranking services.

Impact This Year?

Unless Michigan's offense is so awesome it never punts, Hagerup will be deployed this fall.

All Things Collected And Told

Numbers. That's the most important thing this class brings. Even if there are twice as many sleeper types as you'd like to see in an average Michigan class, getting two guys for every spot on the defense minus a few here and there puts Michigan in a position where the first guy off the bench when a starter gets dinged isn't a walk-on. He'll be a freshman, probably. But you can't recruit juniors.

And it's not all sleeper sorts. Michigan picked up two touted corners with blue chip offers, grabbed a linebacker from Virginia Tech, locked down Marvin Robinson's abs, and grabbed a collection of defensive linemen with considerable upside. It's a below average class, but it's not that far off. And given the context, it's fairly good.

A preposterously early letter grade: B+. For the class as a whole: B.

Wednesday Recruitin'

Wednesday Recruitin'

Submitted by Tim on January 6th, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Boards of note:

Trench Warfare

hankins.jpgLots of changes on the defensive tackle recruiting front in the past couple days.

First things first, MI DT Johnathon Hankins picked Ohio State yesterday over the Wolverines. Allow me to editorialize for a moment here: This blog has a tag called "basketball recruiting is dirty like dirt in a dirt sandwich," but if half of the rumors about the Southeastern coaching staff's handling of Hankins's recruitment are true, we may need to expand that tag to football as well. Genuinely Sarcastic provides some angry detail.

FL DT Todd Chandler seems to be looking primarily at Louisville as an option outside of USF (where he is committed). Michigan might become a stronger option if his teammate, FL OL Torrian Wilson, visits Ann Arbor, but this one appears to be on the back-burner for now. Chandler's top schools have gone from the likes of Miami, Michigan, and Florida to Memphis, Louisville, and FIU, so he may have some issues—grades?—that are causing bigger schools to back off.

Wilson, by the way, is down to USF, Michigan, and Tennessee. Michigan could really use another offensive lineman in the class.

Cincinnati high school sports reporter Mike Dyer reports that Michigan visited OH DT/DE Jibreel Black both in-home and in-school on Monday. Black, who has been committed to Cincinnati, but is reconsidering after the Brian Kelly departure, will also visit Michigan sometime this month, probably the weekend of the 22nd. According to Dyer's full article, the Wolverines have replaced Louisville on his list.

Michigan has a couple defensive ends and a couple three-tech defensive tackles so all they need is a nose; if they pick up Black it's because they really like him.

All-Star Updates

More on his actual game performance in a delayed Friday Night Lights post next week, but MI QB Devin Gardner participated in the Under Armour All-American Bowl on Saturday. He impressed in practice:

"(Devin Gardner) really impressed me a lot," [Scout Florida expert Geoff] Vogt added. "He was bigger than I expected him to be. His arm was everything that people made it out to be. He was accurate... He clearly, in my opinion, is the top quarterback on that team... He'd be the No. 1 quarterback in Florida straight out this year and that's really saying something. I think he has a really bright future at Michigan."

Of course, being the clear #1 QB on the team got him by far the fewest snaps out of the 3 QBs, with Nick Montana and Phillip Sims getting more (the order was determined randomly, FWIW). That Webb article also says that Michigan is pursuing Tennessee commit LB Michael Taylor. I've added him to the board. Taylor remains a soft commit to the Vols.

FL CB Tony Grimes participated in last weekend's Offense-Defense Bowl, and MGoReader J. Lichty reports that opposing offenses mostly stayed away from him. He played both corner and safety. MGoBlog's own TomVH talked to Grimes last week, and he reiterated what we've been hearing for some time on both Grimes and his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy:

TOM: Are you and Clarence still planning on going to the same school?

TONY: As far as this point, yes that's the plan.

TOM: Is Michigan still on top for you?

TONY: Yes.

The two still both favor Michigan, and plan to announce on Signing Day. Tony also said that he didn't know there was a dead period between college coaches and recruits, and was wondering why Michigan wasn't contacting him as much. Sounds like other schools haven't quite been following the rules. THE NCAA WILL BE ALL OVER THIS!

This upcoming weekend is a little more notable for Michigan fans: Commits WI P Will Hagerup and PA CB Cullen Christian will play in the US Army All-American Bowl, and CA S Sean Parker who is down to Michigan, Cal, and USC, will also participate.

Early Enrollment

The semester started today, so we should finally have a good idea of which 2010 Michigan commits were able to get in for the winter semester and spring practice.

MI QB Devin Gardner is still trying to enroll early, but Inkster's semester ends really late and there are some issues with getting him accelerated. Michigan should know by the end of the week whether he will or not. Stephen Hopkins, Jerald Robinson, Ricardo Miller, Christian Pace, Jeremy Jackson, and Austin White are all enrolling, though as of Wednesday morning Robinson and Miller did not have UMich directory entries. Marvin Robinson is also making an effort to enroll early:

Robinson, who took 3 classes over the summer in an attempt to graduate in December, said the holdup stems with 2 classes he took last semester.

"Most likely things are going to work out where I can go up there tomorrow," Robinson said.

Even if things don't, Robinson said he's firm in his commitment and will sign with Michigan in February.

I don't recall if the Athletic Department announced early-enrolling prospects last year until after Signing Day, but hopefully we'll have the final data by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, FL CB Adrian Witty was also supposed to be a midseason enroller after not qualifying for fall but is not in the Michigan directory. It's looking grimmer for Witty by the day; from the sounds of it he is qualified in the eyes of the NCAA; Michigan's admissions are the holdup. The most likely issue is a radically improved test score that got flagged.

Persistent rumors that TX RB/WR Tony Drake is so far from qualifying that he shouldn't even be considered part of the class any more get stronger by the day.

2011

Maxpreps published its Junior All-American teams, with few prospect of interest for Michigan fans, outside of a couple pipe dreams. SoFlaFootball has also published its first 2011 top 75.

FL RB Demetrius Hart may not be the Michigan lock that we thought:

The 5-foot-8, 175-pounder has had the Wolverines out in front for some time and continues to do so, though he jokingly said that cold temperatures in the Orlando area recently may have him thinking a little.

So, yeah: That's not as negative as the headline "Florida Prospect Considers Local Programs" would make it seem. It would still be an upset for him to not land in Ann Arbor.

Michigan has offered a trio of prospects from Gardena Serra High School in California. WR George Farmer appears to be the headliner, holding offers from a who's-who of bigtime schools, including Florida and Oklahoma. DE Jason Gibson and S Marquise Lee have also received Michigan offers, along with scholarships from the likes of Miami (Yes That Miami), Oregon, and Washington.

Etc.

Michigan commits Tony Drake and Austin White come in at #8 and #10, respectively on Sports Illustrated's top running backs of 2010.