Unverified Voracity Has No Cones

Unverified Voracity Has No Cones

Submitted by Brian on June 29th, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Cone deficiency. The news that Conelius Jones will not be with the program this fall is not exactly news today, but permit me a day to recover from my World Cup hangover. This is the reason:

According to Brown, Jones went through a rough stretch with personal issues over the winter. Although he graduated with the rest of his class and maintained a 2.5 grade-point average, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Jones struggled with the SAT, which kept him from qualifying.

That must have been a rough stretch with grades almost at rock bottom, since Jones claimed he had a 3.7 GPA and offers from Wake Forest, Duke, and Stanford when he committed to Michigan. A decline that steep probably means the initial GPA report was a bit inflated.

Unlike Dorsey and his immediate enrollment at Louisville, Jones will head to Fork Union in an effort to get qualified, at which point he'd come in as a mid-year enrollee. This means he's honestly just a hair away from qualifying—the NCAA severely restricted how much grade magic prep schools could work a couple of years ago—and has a decent chance of getting in in January. Michigan has taken kids from prep schools, although not particularly successfully: Marques Slocum spent a semester at Milford and Arizona CB Quinton McCoy spent a prep year before ending up on campus. Neither lasted two years.

As far as the 2010 team goes, Jones's absence creates a distressing lack of Cone in the hairy depths of the quarterback depth chart, and that's about all.

I don't think Dorsey's situation is at all related to Jones and Kinard. Dorsey was qualified; the other two guys are headed to prep school. That doesn't have anything to do with hypothetical anti-Rodriguez forces executing their dastardly master plan. And even if the academic side of things is cracking down, they have a very good reason to do so: Michigan's latest transfer-saddled APR score is ugly, and Michigan is going to have to put up a major improvement lest they fall below the 925 line of doom.

Meanwhile, the other blame meme floating around is that Rodriguez is bringing in a lot more kids at academic risk. That may or may not be true but unless Jones's transcripts and offers were just totally fictional this doesn't seem like an example. It's one thing to take a guy who has a lot of work to do, and another to take a guy well above the minimums only to watch him collapse.

What happened with Cissoko? In other happy news about never-were kids, Boubacar Cissoko pled guilty to four separate counts of robbery and faces sentencing that won't be 45 years but hypothetically could. The News takes an in-depth look at what happened to a high school kid no one thought would have problems until he got out of this protected environment:

He was intentionally protected, growing up on Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit, a neighborhood that was rough-and-tough 40 years before Cissoko got there.

"He came from a sheltered background," Willis said. "By 10:30 he was in, home. He was driven to school, driven home. We are a close-knit family, we were tight on him."

Even the history of the riots which began along what was then known as 12th Street was kept from Cissoko, by the family.

"He's a good kid," Willis said. "When he left, he was praying five times a day."

Isn't there a show about Amish kids who head out into the world for a year or two and go totally nuts? In this case it seems that protecting Cissoko from negative influences left him unprepared to deal with them. He was unvaccinated. Bonus points to the News for deploying one of those beautifully dry newspaper sentences that radiate detached authority:

Less than worldly, he was suddenly thrust into a scene in Ann Arbor in which young adults believe they have achieved a level of sophistication that they may well never attain in life.


Oh, snap.

Another oddity: court documents show Cissoko's age is actually two years older than Michigan (and Cass Tech) listed him, which might explain why he didn't live up to the recruiting hype.

Burn the regionals down. It takes some doing to make me livid about something that won't happen until 2012 and involves a committee making a decision, but holy aarrgh I want to punch a wall:

First, the announcing of four more regionals means we won't be seeing the slightly less moronic proposed tournament format, which at least included one playoff round that made some sense.

The second problem is the hosts themselves.  The hosts will be Minnesota, Michigan Tech, Holy Cross, and Fairfield/Yale. If it feels like a repeat, it's because it pretty much is. The two eastern ones aren't that big of a deal. They're sure to be boring, empty arenas for critically important games, but there aren't really any better options. Plus, with now-defunct Fairfield helping host in Bridgeport, you get the joy of the 17 people in attendance saying, "What the hell is that deer doing in here?"

Tech is hosting in Green Bay, which is WCHA territory. This will be the fourth consecutive year that Minnesota hosts something. They were awarded regionals in 2009 and 2010, get the Frozen Four in 2011, and now have another regional in 2012. WCH points out that over that time span the entire CCHA gets to host three events.

It is ludicrous that the next two years will see zero regionals in CCHA territory. I hope the St. Louis regional is attended by five people. Are any CCHA teams even bidding for these things? Why hasn't Michigan put in a bid using the new rink in Toledo? I'm not sure where the breakdown is, but something's got to change.

Solar domination. The American Solar Challenge is Michigan's. If you don't think this is a big deal, look at the size of the trophy:


It's a big deal. From the looks of it, it's about three times as big a deal as the World Cup. This is Michigan's third straight national title. Seriously: Directors Cup this event, yo.

An actual loss on the tubes. EDSBS found 40 minutes of youtubery not posted by WolverineHistorian. It's the 1988 Michigan-Miami game that Michigan ended up losing 31-30. Though it is depressing, the pants are very tight and Al Trautwig's doing his very best Data impression:

Draft disappointment. We knew that Michigan's 2010 hockey class had collectively slipped in the eyes of NHL evaluators, but the extent to which they did still surprises:

  • Jon Merrill fell into the early second round, going #38 to New Jersey.
  • Alex Guptill went in the third round to Dallas.
  • Luke Moffatt and Lee Moffie were both seventh-rounders.
  • Clare, Fallon, and Deblois did not go.

That's disappointing from a talent standpoint. At least Merrill and Guptill went to generally patient, NCAA-friendly organizations. Michigan might get an extra year out of Merrill and stands a good chance of hanging on to Guptill.

Etc.: Nebraska fans are preparing for Big Ten hate. Michigan is not featured. Woo 8-16!

Unverified Voracity, Spaghetti Western Style

Unverified Voracity, Spaghetti Western Style

Submitted by Brian on June 1st, 2010 at 3:00 PM

O let's not, I guess. Sam Webb was on the WTKA this morning, as per usual, and dropped some major news: everyone in the class save two players is good to go academically. The two players in question are no surprise, as they've been rumored to be in danger for months. They are Antonio Kinard and Demar Dorsey.

Webb specifically avoids saying anything definitive, but also makes it clear that his lack of clarity is a necessary evil when talking about something as sensitive as a kid's academic status (for one, if the player is displeased lawsuit noises result) but the money quote:

If I was a Michigan fan I would not be optimistic about that at this point, about Demar Dorsey. … Would not be optimistic about Kinard.

Kinard was a kid Michigan took really early and never got any recruiting traction after that; I haven't taken a hard look at him yet but there's not a whole lot in his dossier to indicate his loss is going to be a heavy blow, especially since Michigan has some time to replace him. Dorsey, obviously, was a major recruit at a position of critical need and his probable loss is bad news for a secondary that needs options this fall. I'm super glad we all spent a week talking about how Dorsey was a menace to society in February. That was time well-spent.

Barwis/Mealer, again. The Toledo Blade spotlights Brock Mealer and his progress towards walking once more. The progress Brock has made in six months has been considerable:

Determining just how close Mr. Mealer is to walking is not precise, but Whiteman believes the squat rack is a good indicator.

When Mr. Mealer began training at UM six months ago, he needed 200 pounds of squat assistance from an accompanying machine - as well as the guidance of his arms - to complete a repetition.

He has since reduced the assistance to 80 pounds, and his arms never leave his side.

The hope is that once Mr. Mealer needs zero pounds of help, he'll remove his harness and be able to walk again.

If he can maintain that rate he'll be 20 pounds short by the time the UConn game rolls around, at which point the only thing holding him back from walking will be his enormous upper body. He's already able to get across the field with crutches.

Youtube victory. No one will ever take Michigan's crown as the college football kings of youtube. Wolverine Historian alone is good enough for the gold, and then here's this random thing that popped up in the feed reader:

I think a few months ago someone around here was talking about "Ecstasy of Gold" as a terribly underrated intro/clip reel song. They were correct.

Dun-dun duh duh. So the Dispatch wanders around and notices this quote from OSU's Brian Rolle:

"It's time for us to get better," he said. "Have guys like Marcus Freeman, who's not our position coach, help us do small things and go over things with him."

Marcus Freeman is a… wait for it… quality control assistant. Though the article later states that support staff "can't help players with football skills in any way," this could be on the up-and-up. If Freeman is certified as an S&C instructor and available to any athlete in the department, he can conduct workouts:

Strength and conditioning coaches who are not countable coaches and who perform such duties on a department-wide basis may design and conduct specific workout programs for student-athletes, provided such workouts are:

  • Voluntary.
  • Conducted at the request of the student-athlete.

Since I'm guessing the folks in the OSU football administration actually respond to requests from compliance the Buckeyes have probably figured out a way to make this kosher. Also likely kosher: the activities of the 22 employees added by Tressel over the course of his tenure at OSU.

I've gotten some emails suggesting that if the wool would just be lifted from my eyes I would see the dark conspiracy behind the persistent unresponsiveness of Draper and Labadie, but examples like OSU—where reporting secondary violations is a way of life—further illustrate how complete the fail was on their part. If OSU did something wrong here they'll find it, impose some light tickling on themselves, and avoid a year-long media firestorm. The torrent of secondary violations OSU reports is a healthy relationship between an athletic department attempting to push the edges and a compliance office that is informed about their doings. I'm guessing Freeman has done whatever kabuki he needs to do to be considered a viable instructor-type person. Michigan's main sin with the QC guys was not doing that kabuki because Scott Draper didn't submit three-page job description for months.

The thing about "everyone is doing it" is that this is a literal truth: other teams are literally doing the same things with various support staff. But because they did not have a completely dysfunctional setup in the athletic department they will not get hammered by the law.

Meanwhile, the NCAA is considering major changes to support staff, including the imposition of limits on the numbers available and clarifications on what they can do. That lends credence to the idea that Michigan's mistakes were good faith misinterpretatios.

Further Graham. Brandon Graham is not having any of it. What? Anything:

"People didn't give Coach Rod a chance once he first got there," Graham said after practice Wednesday. "He made us all better players. And I'm happy for what he's done for me the last two years. it's just that a lot people who really just wanted Coach Carr never gave Coach Rod a chance. All of those people making those allegations are wrong because Coach Rod tried to do everything by the book. And he made sure he let us know it's all about family and being together. The people that left (the program) wasn't our family, really. That's why they left."

That's all.

The 3-3-5 shift… eh… potentially overrated. Rodriguez on the shift to the 3-3-5, this time with some specifics that I think many of us thought might be the case after the spring game:

“The reality is Coach Robinson has run a lot of 3-4 and 3-3-5 stuff in his past and did some last year, even though people didn’t recognize it as much. And all we did in the spring was actually simplify things so there’s not a lot of big differences between what we did at times last year and what we did this spring. … It’s not what we ran at West Virginia, which when we left it was pure 3-3-5 and that was the deal and that’s what they grew up in. This was combining some things we did last year and simplifying some things so our young guys would be ready.”

I'm guessing the defense this year is a substantially more diverse version of the defense last year, and not particularly close to the pure stack Jeff Casteel runs.

Etc.: A man named La'el has committed to LSU. This, of course, is Spanish for "The The." Six Zero profiles the Mathlete who, like me, perceives a football game as an ever-shifting exercise in torturing probabilities. Oversigning.com continues to put the issue on more and more radars, largely by tweaking Alabama. God's work.

Unverified Voracity Addresses The Rest Of The Universe

Unverified Voracity Addresses The Rest Of The Universe

Submitted by Brian on August 31st, 2009 at 9:41 AM


Witty: not dead yet. Freshman cornerback Adrian Witty, the last incoming recruit held up by the Clearinghouse, retook the SAT in search of a point. In the process he may have revealed why he needs another point on the SAT:

"I think I did good on it," Witty said.

Witty's missed the entirety of fall camp; if he gets in he's all but guaranteed to redshirt. If he doesn't, I believe he can prep for a semester and come in January since he's so close. The NCAA cracked down on the prep school route a couple years ago but left the window open for guys who need one or two grades, IIRC.

Paki-bomb loaded and ready to run for two yards. Did I tell you about Angry Iowa Running Back-Hating God or did I tell you?

The big injury is Jewel Hampton's right knee, which has kept him off the practice field for most of camp. Ferentz told me it's unrealistic to expect Hampton to play Sept. 5 in the season opener against Northern Iowa. The coach also didn't rule out Hampton's injury affecting his availability this season.

Hampton is "80 percent likely" to take a redshirt year according to Iowa Scout.com guy Jon Miller. Redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson, the nominal #2, missed most of camp with an ankle issue, leaving walk-on and broad comic stereotype mashup Paki O'Meara atop the depth chart.

Black Heart Gold Pants, naturally, is all over this.

Historian. This time it's a recap of Michigan's first 38-0 win over Notre Dame in two parts:

Part II is lightboxed for your perusal.

This is a different thing now. All right, Michigan's strength and conditioning program this offseason has been sweet!

"I think so," Rodriguez tells Bret Bakita and Michael Grey, of The Starting Lineup, on WBBL-FM, "just judging on the way they look and how strong they feel.

"I think that's natural, particularly when you've got younger players; they're going to make a big gain in strength and conditioning from their first year to their second year. But even overall, the whole team has really bought in to what Mike and his staff are teaching down there in the weight room.

"Hopefully it'll show up on the field. Certainly, they look like they're moving around quicker, and I think their strength is certainly up from what it was a year ago."

Did I say something?

Hang the DJ. I am so down with using Morrissey as a half-serious, half-mocking approach to Michigan fandom, and sports fandom in general. There's a tag on this blog that I've used way more than I ever wanted to named "i know it's over and oh it never really began but in my heart it was so real." And next week one of your very special season preview posts is Morrissey based. (50 MGoPoints to the first person to guess which song is referenced.)

So, yeah:

I’ve seen it happen/in other people’s lives/ now it’s happening in mine. Morrissey and contemporary Michigan continue to be made for each other, and not in the good kind of way. The joke won’t be funny once you get to the Notre Dame game, especially if Nick Sheridan as starter has to face a TAH-NOO-TAH defense unafraid to send blitzers from the corner, safety, and occasionally just running in crowds off the bench.

Son of a bitch I should have thought of that lyric last year. You haven't heard the last of this, Swindle! (You probably have.)

Schwing? Michigan's deadly 2010 hockey recruiting class looks set to get even deadlier with the news that Ontario forward Lucas Lessio has left Niagara's camp, presumably because he intends to commit to Michigan. Lessio was the #7 pick in the OHL draft and a source told the Wolverine's Michael Spath that Lessio would be the "best player to come to Michigan out of Ontario in the last decade," which would make him a more highly touted prospect than Mike Cammalleri, Brandon Burlon, Louie Caporusso, and Andrew Cogliano. Two of those guys are scoring-line NHL players and two are current or upcoming stars at Michigan. That is high praise.

As always, do not count your chickens before they show up on campus… but, yeah, Lessio has signed with St. Mikes and Yost Built diagnoses the positivity coming from Niagara's GM as Iraqi Minister of Information stuff. He actually played on Friday, picking up two goals and an assist in a 5-4 loss. It sounds like he's made his decision for justice.

Here's a Hockey News scouting report on Lessio. Summary: he good.

Etc.: Whoah. FO's ESPN insider content($) on the Big Ten predicts Michigan at 8-4… and Illinois at 4-8! Stanford decommit picks Northwestern over ND because he thinks "Northwestern has a better football program than Notre Dame." Two-part Rittenberg interview with Rodriguez: part one and part two. Dylan takes on expectations for the basketball team; personally I'll be happy with a season that ends in the second round of the NCAA tournament as long as the bid isn't in question on the last day of the regular season.

Unverified Voracity Shows You The Future

Unverified Voracity Shows You The Future

Submitted by Brian on August 27th, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Programming note. I've accepted the daunting task of getting up at 7AM to sit in for Sam Webb on WTKA's morning show tomorrow. I'll be on from 7-10. Wooo Mountain Dew!

Charity note. If anyone's got some spare roller hockey equipment lying around, L'Hockey Folie would like to put it to good use.

Luxury box followup! Artist's rendition of the 2025 Big House:


The Shredder explains his masterpiece:

With all the HD Jumbo screen talk(and with my boring 3rd shift) I figured I would draw it using my awesome skills. Now every one can see it. The future of the Big House. Around 2025 I am guessing. I did remove the one press box so you could see the field, so just pretend it's there. I also added seats above the HD screens and on top of the press box. Bringing the total seating to 125,000. In the year 2025 we will have be playing night games and using Maize jersey's. Welcome to the future! Great Scott!

These were not the top secret plans I referenced this morning. But they should be.

Obvious quarterback questioning. Tim's getting frustrated with the nonstop quarterback questioning at the press conferences, but none of you are going so here you go:

The art of saying nothing in 1:14. I don't think there's much chance all three QBs play equally well for anything length of time, and neither does Rodriguez, but he refuses to rule out anything. All things are possible.

Mealer okay? Elliot Mealer's shoulder was severely injured in that Christmas Eve car crash and there were some rumors that the effects of it still lingered and may be a permanent hindrance to his ability to play. Apparently that's not true:

"I've come a long ways," Mealer said.  "You know, My arm is actually stronger, I think.  My bad arm, so to speak, is stronger than my good arm and it's been a long ways.  I still rehab it to this day, and then do a little prehab, as they call it, just to keep it loose and it helps.  So it's come a long ways."

Mealer's not likely to play this year but should work himself into the playing mix in 2010.

BONUS Kevin Koger hype (the article is about Toledo-area players for M):

"Kevin Koger's had a great great offseason," said Calvin Magee, Koger's offensive coordinator and position mentor.  "He's done well.  He's gotten a lot stronger and a lot faster, and it's a natural progression from freshman to sophomore year.

"He's changed his body.  You know, his weight's around the same.  He's more lean now.  So naturally, he's got more muscle on him.  That allows him to be faster and he's one of those kids that committed himself to the offseason conditioning and it's going to help him a great deal."

The Revsine return. The Big Ten Network has returned from its tour of Big Ten practices and Dave Revsine has superlatives:

Best Drill: The "M" Drill at Michigan. It's the Oklahoma Drill, but with a twist. There are three layers of blocking going on – linemen going 1 on 1, then a FB or TE engaged with a LB, followed by a WR and a DB. The back with the ball then tries to run through all three levels. Very intense and really well done. …

Impact Freshman: Tate Forcier, Michigan. I think Forcier is perfect for Rodriguez's system.  Throws well, particularly on the run, and he runs well. He has everything they need. Seems Rodriguez isn't quite as convinced, given his plans to play three QBs in the opener against Western Michigan, but I still think that, ultimately, Forcier will be the guy. …

Honorable Mention: Vincent Smith, Michigan. Another tiny Smith who packs some serious punch, Smith absolutely bowled over a defender in a tackling drill, then, the next time he had the ball, juked another guy out of his uniform with a great move.

All that's cool, but Michigan didn't show up on any of Revsine's top position groups, or honorable mentions. Not that you expected them to anywhere except tailback, where Revsine bizarrely goes with Michigan State as his third-place team.

You said what? Gary Barnett talked crap about Gary Moeller's substitutions. This did not end well for him.

Isn't it strange that Barnett left Northwestern for Colorado and since that event Northwestern has probably been the better program? What happened to the Buffs?

Required. Hey here's a quote by new offensive line grad assistant Cory Zirbel that contradicts those of the discontent departures and by law I must post it:

"I've had people come up to me and say, 'How can you be a part of that coaching staff?' Those people aren't true Michigan fans. ... People don't understand how I accept my role, but those people don't know.

"It's an honor. It's Michigan, always going to be Michigan. Coach Rodriguez is a great guy, presented me an opportunity, and I took it."

So there you go, family values and so forth and so on.

Coner! It took four years but someone finally mentioned David Cone in a practice recap:

Speaking of Forcier, I'm really started to warm to the way he throws the ball. It looks much better than any of the other quarterbacks. Also, David Cone has an odd throwing motion.

I think I buried the lead there.

Etc.: Herbstreit says the M-ND game is make or break for Weis, which yeah probably. GBMW has a transcript of Rodriguez's appearance on the Dan Patrick show. Michigan's replacing its media guides with online equivalents. Volleyball and women's soccer are test cases.