Dear Diary Predicts the Past Comment Count

Seth June 14th, 2011 at 9:00 AM

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Mallett/Wienke/Beaver/Newsome/Threet/Sheridan/Forcier/Denard/Gardner. Not pictured justcuz: Notorious C.O.N.E., Feagin, Conelius, Bellomy, President Kennedy & various other walk-ons, and Nachoshorts, brother to Tacopants, who is 4 inches tall and made of puppy dreams and snowflakes and was the guy Moosman was always snapping to in 2009.

Dear Diary,

It's about expectations. Among the very few diaries this week was Gordon's highly debatable retcon of recent Michigan history if the sweatervest had remained folded in a Youngstown drawer. That's about what might have happened. My diary's about what we thought would happen.

You've probably done this same exercise a million times after commitments (and 16 times since March): look at the current depth chart for that guy's position, toss in the current commits, and predict a monster future for Michigan, or wonder how in the world we will find playing time for all of these guys. Well things don't always work out how you expect, in fact they never do.

Over the next few weeks I will attempt to review our past expectations for Michigan's position groups at this time in Year X. Hopefully the knife of attrition will be much more lenient in the coming years than it was over the last few. Maybe there's something to be learned here about adjusting expectations. Maybe this is just a colossal thought loop. Either way it's not about OSU's scandal, and will hopefully make for an entertaining walk down memory lane. If it sucks, feel free to eat me alive in the comments. I'm told I taste like chicken.

This week: 2007 Offense.

What was going on:

It was a lazy offseason in pre-Apocalyptic Ann Arbor. I mean really lazy: we had like 3-6 commits at this point (Cissoko, Wermers, Moore, Witherspoon and Mike Martin) but led with plenty more, and thought '08 recruiting was just dandy. Baseball made its run on the national stage (the peak was a 2-game sweep in the regionals over No. 1 Vandy) to get us all excited-like. Mostly we sat around watching Sam McGuffie YouTube highlights and hoping Comcast wouldn't kill our ability to watch Michigan play football. Will Campbell committed for 2009, and early speculation had Larry Capers coming eventually. Cobrani Mixon became our first Facebook transfer. Comcast and the Big Ten were having their great phallis-off. On a way smaller scale John Pollack and Jim Carty were having theirs with the university over plans to install (gasp) luxury boxes at Michigan Stadium. Brian got really excited over the possibility of games on Torrents (MGoVideo debuted June 18), and spent much of the summer trying to figure out why Jonas Gray (and to a lesser extent his teammate and "package deal" Kenny Demens) didn't have a Michigan offer. Autumn Thunder made epic comparisons of people to Lord of the Rings villains, with Jim Tressel cast as Saruman. Crystal ball? Try internet connection.

We were not Harbaugh fans.

Quarterbacks

QBs in 2007

Depth Chart: Chad Henne (Sr/Sr), Ryan Mallett (Fr/Fr), David Cone (So/Jr)

Incoming: Steven Threet (4-star, 2007 Transfer/Fr from Georgia Tech), John Wienke (3-star)

Expected: Going into what everyone knew was Lloyd's last year, Michigan was the NFL's quarterback factory, having produced an unbroken line of pro passers dating back to the stone age. That such a legacy would continue was a certainty with 4-year starter and robot Chad Henne mentoring 2007 uber-recruit Ryan Mallett (who survived transfer rumors to Arkansas in late April). In the event of near disaster, Navarre-like object Cone was on the roster. Homecoming transfer Threet and the statuesque southpaw Wienke – who received his camp offer a year ago today – would be on hand if (God forbid) anything happened to Mallett from 2008-'10, or else to mop up the blood from the star's latest aerial assaults.

How'd that turn out? Ha. Henne was iffy and frustrated in the HORROR then had his shoulder blown up in the Oregonian Disaster—the rest of his heroics would be gutting it out with that shoulder to Little Brother little brother, and the legendary dismantling of Florida in the Cap One Bowl. The bubble burst on this dream with the hiring of Spread 'n Shredder Rich Rodriguez. The writing was on the wall for a 3-star pocket passer, and Wienke wisely bolted (for Iowa). Mallett transferred to Arkansas and went on to a productive career with lots of character questions. Cone stuck around to give us a fantastic YouTube video and a few garbage time cheap thrills. Threet emerged from his transfer purgatory to find himself fighting a duck-tossing walk-on for the right to get beaten up in the worst Michigan offense in ever ever. He spent the season in and out of the lineup with assorted injuries, and later transferred to Arizona State so the Richrodigan freshmen could play.

5 Point Scale of Expectation vs. Outcome: Does this scale have a zero? Way Zero.

More after the jump.

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Running Backs

Depth Chart: Tailbacks: Mike Hart (Sr/Sr), Brandon Minor (So/So), Carlos Brown (So/So), Kevin Grady (Jr/Jr), Avery Horn (Fr/Fr). Fullbacks: Mark Moundros (Fr/So), guys.

Incoming: Sam McGuffie (YouTube!), like almost assuredly. Maybe that Mike Shaw guy from Moore's school, but why does he have an offer and Jonas Gray doesn't?

Expected: In June '07 I was really worried about running back. The immediate future was Minor's if his "vision" cleared up but teams usually carry like five backs because dudes like Hart are really rare. I did expect Michigan to pick up a bunch of running backs, and worried they were too scat-like because (Fargas, Baraka) those guys never seemed to make it. Until Denard, Hart was the most likeable guy Michigan fans had ever met. His effortless shifts and effort-laden YACs would assuredly lead Michigan to great things as he conquered every rushing record. Minor had the Chris Perry-ian breakout freshman campaign that had him pegged as Michigan's next great back, though his tendency to hit guys he could have gone around made folks wonder about his vision. Carlos Brown was expected to transfer—his commitment had been a surprise from the beginning and everyone knew he wouldn't go to defensive back where he could be really useful. Grady was already a lost cause with a forwarding address to Carr's Doghouse. Horn I remember thinking of as a point guard. Moundros was just a guy at fullback, and a big dropoff from Dudley.

How'd that turn out? Well Gray never got his offer and that was a good thing. Hart's ankle was damaged again, probably by an unblocked linebacker from running into an overshifted 8-man front. Minor's "vision problem" turned out to be an insatiable hunger for linebacker pancakes. Brown stuck around and tantalized with his speed but never had the balance to withstand a pinky-tackle. McGuffie came and was something to behold before he was decapitated against Ohio State—Rodriguez mercifully shipped the remains back to Rice. Fullbacks became unnecessary in the spread 'n shred. Shaw did commit but on Signing Day after decommitting from Penn State—at times he's been No. 1 on the depth chart, but injured often. All told it's pretty close: we figured M would recruit two speedsters in '08 and a few more in '09. Injuries have played their role; all of the guys mentioned above (and Toussaint and '09 commit Smith) missed serious time or collected an assortment of ailments that added up to severely reduced effectiveness.

5 Point Scale of Expectation vs. Outcome: 3. Because McGuffie never hurdled any fools and Carr or Rod, nobody expected to hit 2010 with a stable of guys recovering from things.

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Receivers

Depth Chart: Wideouts: Mario Manningham (Jr/Jr), Adrian Arrington (Jr/Sr), Greg Mathews (So/So), Junior Hemingway (Fr/Fr), Toney Clemons (Fr/Fr), LaTerryal Savoy (So/Jr)

Tight Ends: Carson Butler (Jr/Jr) Mike Massey (Jr/Sr), Martell Webb (Fr/Fr), Steve Watson (Fr/Fr)

Incoming: Darryl Stonum (by this point he was down to Michigan and hats that look cool in a hat dance) and Fred Smith, before we learned his HS coaches were like the creepiest MSU boosters ever (Note: Not all MSU boosters are bad-touch creepy dudes, just most). TEs Brandon Moore and Kevin Koger.

Expected: This was a few months after the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre and we figured Butler at least (along with Chris Richards) would be off the team for good. Butler and Arrington (plus Eugene Germany) had already been held out of Spring practice for an apparent rules breach. A.A. of AA was the first to clean up, going from dude who kept appearing on Facebook pics of Packard parties to that gangly guy on a futon playing PS3 with the door open whom you would pass when cutting through West Quad to the Union. Mario was Super but also tended to get in sorts of doghouse rumor trouble, and we already expected '07 to be his last. NFL flight risk was at the time higher than I expected from Arrington. Receivers were suddenly a priority, even if as expected James Rogers and Zion Babb finally stopped pretending to be cornerbacks. Mathews was established as a No. 2 or 3 guy, and Hemingway and Clemons had high expectations (Hemingway had a role in '07 only on running plays—if the shifted fullback to the left wasn't clue enough already it's a zone left, the presence of Jr. should confirm that). Tight end too was a dire need—presently and down the road—as Michigan was going to more Two-TE formations with Mike Massey atop the non-Butlerian depth chart. By June M had already locked up Moore and was battling Ohio State for Koger. At the time we couldn't figure out why OSU had ignored the much more (by services and offers) touted in-state Moore for the lower Koger. Apparently their scouting doesn't suck. M was in on some major national receivers, and expected to add one of them to Stonum and Fred Smith.

How'd that turn out? Not too far off. Manningham and Arrington went to the NFL—decisions that were only made easier by the wholesale change in offense. Babb and Rogers came to receiver, but the former transferred and the latter had to switch back to defense to be a warm body—he ended up starting at CB as a senior because the secondary was that mangled. Manbearfreak (Butler) strangely survived his violation of double secret probation to rejoin the team in August, later becoming Rodriguez's headache, an emergency defensive end, and finally dismissed. Clemons was a casualty of the coaching change who was Colorado's 2nd leading (but 3rd in yds and TDs) receiver last year. Mathews ended up miscast as a possession No. 1 (because there was nobody else) in 2008-09. Hemingway got hit with everything from injury to mono but has been tantalizing when healthy. Stonum was expected to be the next Manningham, but it took several years and a pair of glasses before he was putting it together. His legal troubles may mean he never gets to finish that. Meanwhile Rodriguez went on a receiver recruiting binge (making us wonder at one point what he planned to do with all of these guys), adding Odoms and Tree to the class.

Scale of Expectation: 4.5. I mean pretty much we figured cave in 2008 and rebuild. Even ignoring the slots, the receiver depth chart has churned along these past years like few other position groups. I was like wow we didn't get Smith but he became, progressively, a personality liability, a fullback and a transfer under Dantonio. That guy really needs to meet an adult who isn't creepy, right?

O-Linemen

Depth Chart: (gonna need a table for this)

LT LG C RG RT
Long (Sr/5th) Kraus (Sr/5th) Boren (So/So) Mitchell (Jr/Sr) Schilling (Fr/So)
Ortmann (Fr/So) Ciulla (Jr/Sr) McAvoy (So/Jr) Moosman (So/Jr) Zirbel (So/Jr)
Huyge (Fr/Fr) Lawn Chair Molk (Fr/Fr) Recycling Bin Dorrestein (Fr/So)

Incoming: Rocko Khoury, Kurt Wermers, Dann O'Neill, Elliott Mealer, Kevin Zeitler

Expected: Only the most Internet M fan realized that the beef machine was wearing down in the late Carr years. Attrition (mostly weird injury/disease kinds of things) had worn down earlier classes a bit, and practice observation would note the 2005 and '06 classes meant to be the "next generation" were not built for the zone blocking offense being installed. Only the true freshmen were. Brian's take was basically "oh god we have no tackles" but the feeling was the 2006 class of Boren, Schilling, Ortmann and Dorrestein would be sufficient to keep the next generation of Michigan's line at or around decent. Boren was on track for superstardom (starting as a freshman) but belonged at guard. Schilling looked "for real" but belonged at guard—that he won the starting tackle job in spring could have meant he's that good or "oh god we have no tackles." We had reservations about Alex Mitchell as he got larger. Ortmann, Moosman and Zirbel were supposedly playable backups who would eventually be okay starters, but McAvoy, Ciulla and Dorrestein were known just guys. A big 2008 class of offensive linemen was expected to shore that up somewhat, but hope for a good line in '08 entirely rested on Zirbel and Ortmann emerging as playable tackles, and no injuries.

How'd that turn out? You can take one look at that depth chart today and know precisely why like 75% of Michigan's 1st down playcalls were run <--- thataway. Also you can see just how devastating it was to lose Long, Kraus, and Boren for 2008. Alex Mitchell was in no way capable of handling a Barwis workout, let alone a Rodriguez line. Neither was Ciulla for that matter. Then Zirbel was lost to injury. This means the 2008 team debuted with 3/5s guys who never should have been playing, and a two-deep filled with defensive ends, true freshmen, or stuff from the garage. It was a complete disaster area that actually managed to put together one of the better rushing seasons in recent history because Rich Rod was that much of an offensive genius (nothing could be done to salvage the passing game). RR also picked off Ricky Barnum and Patrick Omameh (we didn't get Zeitler), who ended up the best linemen of that huge class. Molk was as perfect for the new staff as Wermers and O'Neill and McAvoy and Moosman and Ortmann and Mitchell and Dorrestein and Ciulla weren't. Ultimately the o-line was a blank slate in need of radical fixture, and Rodriguez rebuilt the whole damn edifice in his own image in time to be awesome as soon as 2010. Now in 2011 we're back to a very familiar scenario: a great offensive line for the wrong system badly in need of depth at tackles, and a huge class with different skill sets on its way in. Of course utter disaster would mean Lewan transferring to Ohio State, none of the current commits working out, and some major injury. Lightning can hit the same guy twice, but that is rare and usually suggests the involvement of a sour deity.

Scale of Expectation: um…3? 2? Let's go with 2. It totally depends on whether you saw doom coming (Brian) or didn't (the rest of us). The transfer of Mr. Plow was big in the short term; in the long term it simply made the transition that much more radical.

Comments

rfkmichman

June 14th, 2011 at 9:46 AM ^

My favorite part:  "It totally depends on whether you saw doom coming (Brian) or didn't (the rest of us)"

Brian is rather doomy.  Do the rest of you check up on him and make sure his head isn't between his knees and rocking back and forth?  

In all seriousness, the contrast between all of the writers is what makes this a great site.

Six Zero

June 14th, 2011 at 9:54 AM ^

McGuffie came and was something to behold before he was decapitated against Ohio State—Rodriguez mercifully shipped the remains back to Rice.  

Actually, dude had a pretty okay C-USA year in 2010.  He's not gonna win a Doak Walker anytime soon, but he's playing and hopefully happy.

Also, the #2 McGuffie in blue is presumably a big seller in Houston.

Njia

June 14th, 2011 at 10:17 AM ^

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bdsisme

June 14th, 2011 at 10:57 AM ^

You want some feedback? Okay.

  • Don't lift Tim's pictures from the Night Game Uniformz presser and fail to mention their source.
  • Don't lift TomVH tweets and quotes.
  • Don't lift quotes from AnnArbor.com and make it seem like you got them on your own (e.g. your Tim Hardaway Jr article).
  • Don't do the whole black-background-with-white-lettering thing.  I know you think it looks cool, but nobody will read it.
  • If you want to write a blog, you damn better be in the top tenth percentile of writers in America. You aren't.

scottlarock727

June 14th, 2011 at 11:26 AM ^

Thank You for your Input bdsisme Like I said we are just getting started and Your feedback is welcomed. I have had permission to use alot of the stuff we have posted. Scout is one of our main sources and we do have permission to source. I will get with Tom and make sure its ok If I can reference him. But This blog References him all the time by different authors. For me I would love anyone to Use our Original stuff. We are not in to top 10 percent of writers at all we are just fans that want to stay on top of all the Michigan News. I guess the black is Something different for us And I want people to know this is an Original blog not affiliated with anyone except fans. Thanks Again

BrickTop

June 14th, 2011 at 12:47 PM ^

there is a right way and a wrong way of doing everything. If you want to make a blog that's in some way affiliated with this one then you should contact the administrators about a partnership and see how they feel about it not spam their blog without their permission. 

maizenbluedevil

June 14th, 2011 at 1:14 PM ^

Feedback:  

- I clicked through and perused your blog for roughly 15 secons.

- If you wanna be taken seriously as a blogger, go buy a top level domain and install Wordpress.  They're like 8 bucks.  everythingmichiganandmore.com is available, although, I'm tempted to buy it right now then sell it to you for a profit.  (insert evil laugh here.)

Building relevant backlinks from high PR sites (such as this, which I'm assuming you're trying to do) to a Blogger blog is pointless.  It's really not worth doing SEO unless you own the site, which, with a Blogger, you don't.  So, go get a top level domain.  Then, if you wanna build backlinks, go for it...  but stop spamming this board, all it does is alienate people.  A better way would be to put a link to your blog in your signature, then make normal posts here, not spammy ones.

- I don't mind the black-on-white background.  Looks fine, that's just me though.

- You don't need to be a top 10 percent writer to be a decent blogger.  Brian has a particular niche in the UM sports blogging space....  he's very high brow, intellectual, etc.  You don't need to be another Brian, nor should you try to be.  Make your writing readable, but it doesn't have to be like Brian's.

- Your blog appears to be more of an aggregator of other content.  There's definitely value in this, as you're offering your readers the convenience of finding lots of information in one place.

- HOWEVER - If you're going to do this....  give credit where credit is due!!  It's douchy not to.

 

Now you owe me a $300 consulting fee, I'll be sending you an invoice.

jg2112

June 14th, 2011 at 10:35 AM ^

You wrote:

Fullbacks became unnecessary in the spread 'n shred.

I respond:

Really? Did you watch 1st and goal at the 1 versus Illinois in 2009? You really think they were unnecessary? That four-play sequence led to the biggest melt-down I'd ever seen a Michigan team endure in a 15 minute passage of play (sadly, we all saw it happen again at least 3 times in 2010 - Iowa, Penn State and the bowl game). You can' t tell me a fullback (instead of Kevin freaking Grady) wasn' t necessary when they were running I-formation at the 1.

imafreak1

June 14th, 2011 at 11:47 AM ^

This entire conversation is very strange and not particularly based in fact.

RichRod had a FB he used very well at WVa. He wanted a FB at Michigan. I believe he felt the position should be a walk-on, for whatever reason.

Michigan and WVa lined up in I-form somewhat frequently under RichRod.

Is there some reason for your militancy?

Seth

June 14th, 2011 at 12:00 PM ^

Touché sir.

RR did have fullbacks but didn't recruit them I mean. An offense predicated on spreading the field is probably less capable of scoring in smaller field situations than one built on the concept of overpowering the defense at the point of attack. I see it more as a tradeoff than a fail clause: you are giving up some ability to move the ball one yard every time in order to succeed more often in getting 6 yards instead of 3 in more space. In the 2009 Illinois scenario the offensive scheme got Roundtree to the 1 yard line where another might have stalled way earlier, but now that last yard is harder to come by. Most spreads counter that weakness by having the QB act as the primary rusher in short situations, thus creating another blocker out of your RB. Note how the last plays of Denard's late TD drives vs Iowa in 09 and ND in '10 ended with unstoppable QB rushes. Perhaps then the answer to what should have been done in 09 Champaign was not to play Minor earlier, add a better FB, and beef up the line (Omameh kept getting shoved back there) but simply insert Denard in the gun. and QB ISO, expecting that his speed can get him to the hole before Liuget's penetration means anything.

Also not suck at defense.

Wolverine0056

June 14th, 2011 at 10:43 AM ^

Great diary post. It obviously still stinks to read / think about some of this, but we are starting to get back to tradition. The last few years we have been down, but the future is bright.

SirJack

June 14th, 2011 at 12:05 PM ^

Seriously, how many times can a guy read about how terrible, unsalvageable, and doom-ridden 2007 supposedly was?

At first I wondered why the year 2007 was chosen, but then I remembered that's the year that comes before 2008.

Seth

June 15th, 2011 at 10:22 AM ^

The idea is if we examine our expectations versus results enough we might be able to notice patterns in what evolves from those expectations. We know what our projections are right now for the future of Michigan, we know what our projections were for the future of Michigan in 2007-2010, and we know how those projections turned out, up to a certain point, therefore we can maybe predict hour our current projections will turn out, based on the factors (or absence of those same factors) that caused the laste ones to go so awry.

OverTheTop

June 14th, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

entry, it is that you should never peg too much hope on one or two recruits, that QB situation is the reason why the marching band was reduced to playing "The Victors" whenver we got positive yards.

Richard_Leach

June 14th, 2011 at 12:14 PM ^

Four years ranging from mediocre to down right sad. The future is starting to look brighter, but this season has me worried. Here's hoping Hoke can right this ship NOW...I know I'm impatient but "This is Michigan".

scottlarock727

June 14th, 2011 at 1:32 PM ^

Was not aware at all how this was posting :) oops My Bad !!!! Thanks for the input again. Made me laugh. Thanks for all the views I know its not the best work now but we are trying our best to make improvements! We started up on the 28th of last month and on pace to break 10,000 views our first month.I guess some negitive press is good press our view count for the last hour was a Record!  Thanks for all the support of everyone that understands we are just getting started!! And yes I would love to have new authors submit articles I will post them. Anything to spread the Michigan Love. That was the whole point of the blog  Thank you

Charlie Chunk

June 14th, 2011 at 1:37 PM ^

I love when College football Saturday rolls around.   I love everything about it.  There’s nothing better than a home game on a crisp fall Saturday afternoon!  I especially love Michigan football!  I love the history, the characters, the winning tradition, the rivalries and the pageantry of it all.  This sport and this school have been a wonderful part of my life for years.  I get a reward for simply being a Michigan fan. 

That said, I have learned something about my devotion to this team.  I think I understand more about why this game is so appealing to me.  The last couple of years have made me realize that I need a good defense in order to be happy with my team.  It’s no fun watching average opponents march into your stadium and kick your team’s collective ass!  I’ve learned that it’s more satisfying to watch your defense control the game than it is your offense play catch up with the other team.

I’m optimistic about this team’s future once again.  I’m pretty sure it’s in capable hands.  I think Coach Hoke gets it and I pray he and his staff will turn this thing around. 

kgh10

June 14th, 2011 at 4:33 PM ^

Great piece. Just a minor error: Chad Henne didn't blow up his shoulder in the Oregon game (I'm pretty sure that was the Illinois game). He hurt his knee, IIRC.