Mailbag!

Submitted by Brian on August 4th, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Dear Brian,
I am a long time reader of your blog, this summer I went to Normandy to visit the D Day beaches. Imagine my surprise when in Carentan (where the 101 airborne landed) I saw this car dealer.

Go Blue
JoseMaria

michigan-dealership

We've just gotten some copyright lawyers a free trip to Normandy. Say thank you, copyright lawyers.

Brian,

One of my biggest fear with the new coaching staff is that they're going to end up marginalizing Devin Gardner because he's not a player they recruited. I think I'm justified in my worry because that sort of thing happens all the time. He certainly has the measurables to play in a pro-style system. And after seeing what Vince Young did at Texas and what Troy Smith did at OSU, I think his skill set could work in a non-spread 'n shred offense.

Here's what the QB depth chart looks like for the next four years -

2011: Robinson, Gardner, Bellomy
2012: Robinson(maybe), Gardner, Bellomy
2013: Gardner, Bellomy, Morris
2014: Gardner(maybe), Bellomy, Morris

So in 2013, Gardner will have to beat out Bellomy, a player the current staff recruited, and Morris, probably the most hyped QB recruit we've gotten since that dude from Brighton. Then in 2014, if he gets his redshirt, he'll have to compete with a sophomore Morris, and I'd say all bets are off at that point.

I just wanna see the guy get a fair shake, because he's so damn likable.

Thanks,
Osman

I think you are paranoid.

Gardner's an interesting guy. He's not Denard or Troy Smith or John Navarre. Vince Young really is his closest comparable. (Insert copious disclaimers about how good Young was and how unlikely Gardner performs at that level.)

What does a MANBALL team do with Vince Young? Do they look at the legs as a nice bonus when the play breaks down? Is Michigan even a MANBALL team? I mean… there's Hoke's words and then there's what Al Borges actually did at SDSU. I'm working on a post about this: the limited evidence we have suggests Hoke means what he says when he says he doesn't futz with Borges at all. It's tough to reconcile that with Hoke's very Lloydball statements.

So… like much about the next few years, how well Gardner fits is unknown. But even if we assume the Lloyd-iest, MANBALL-iest version of Michigan under Hoke he has a major asset: experience. Shane Morris is going to have to be a prodigious talent to wrest the starting job from Gardner when he's a freshman and Gardner is a redshirt junior with two years under Borges. As for Bellomy, his recruiting profile reads like a poor man's Gardner—if Gardner doesn't get a fair shot Bellomy will be in the same boat.

Now that Beilein is going all gangbusters on 2013, Dylan keeps downplaying the situation. I definitely see where he is coming from, as none of them have even signed their LOI's yet. I also understand that it is common practice to pull a kid's fifth year (in McCliman's case). But I still struggle with the idea of hoping Colton Christian transfers, or hoping THJr decides to go pro, or hoping that if we (by some miracle) land McGary that he's a one and done.

What's your take on it? Too early to get all worked up about this? If by this time next year, the roster is exactly the same except without Stu and Zack, is that time to get all worked up about this?
thanks
greg simms

p.s. is it "wrong" or whatever to accept a kid's verbal commitment, but then not allow him to sign the LOI when the day comes?  The verbal is not at all binding on the kid's part, obviously. For example, if Stu and Zack are the only ones to leave, could we decide to only take one of the 2012 small forwards? The other would still have a year to find a team, and it would definitely be less morally dubious then, say, a greyshirt or something.

Michigan is currently oversigned by two for the fall of 2013. One of those scholarships can be freed up by not offering a fifth year to McLimans, which is a standard, fair practice. He should have a degree by then.

To not have another one would mean not losing a single player over the next two years. That is exceedingly unlikely. You have to go back to 2005-06 to find a two year period in which no one left without exhausting their eligibility*. In 2005 Tommy Amaker had eight scholarship players—not a recipe for a playing time crunch.

So, yes, it is too early to get worked up. If there's zero attrition over the course of the next year or Michigan lands McGary, then you might cock an eyebrow. Even then you have the Hatch situation** and the possibility of an NBA departure. The chances Michigan sees Tim Hardaway's senior season seem pretty low right now.

There's a balancing act between what's good for the program and what's good for the kids that always leaves some chance you miscalculate. In the case of Nick Saban, that chance is 100% once he signs 24 kids with maybe half that many spots. It's all program there. In Beilein's case the chance no one leaves the team in two full years is small enough that I don't have a problem with handing out one more spot than seems available.

If it does come down to the wire with no room and Beilein has to part ways with someone in the 2013 class, they'll be right to be pissed off. They won't be locked into a LOI with no other options, though. It would be better for the kid.

The most likely outcome of the scholarship crunch in 2013 is a firm handshake for McLimans, an NBA draft party for Hardaway, and Austin Hatch either reclassifying or becoming everyone's favorite student manager. That would actually leave Michigan room for McGary or someone else.

*[Early departures since follow. 2007: Reed Baker, Jerret Smith. (Baker may not count since he had an explicitly one-year offer.) 2008: Ekpe Udoh, Ron Coleman. 2009: Kelvin Grady. 2010: Anthony Wright (fifth year), Laval Lucas-Perry, Manny Harris. 2010: Darius Morris.]

**[It's clear Michigan was planning on four guys in 2013, as they continued to pursue Irvin and Walton heavily after Hatch's commitment. If Hatch does need to be replaced Michigan might have already suffered the attrition to make the fourth guy totally un-sketch.]

And, finally:

hi brian,
just saw this bit on Scientology (no i'm not wearing a tie and white shirt) and made this connection. That teddy bear thingy on the sidelines was beyond bizarre, yet no explanation that i have seen has been put out there. could GERG have been a Hubbardite? Would this explain better our total failure on D?

check it out:

image

if not, do you know of any story behind this rubbing the face of players with a stuffed animal?

aloha
cazzie

Cazzie has nailed it. When this went down…

…GERG was screaming "YOU DID IT FOR XENU." Explains everything.

Comments

Raoul

August 4th, 2011 at 3:35 PM ^

I know this will seem like a technicality, but Michigan is not oversigned in basketball. They may be "overcommitted" at this time, but they can't be considered oversigned until the 2013 commits are able to sign their LOIs, which can't happen until November 2012 at the earliest.

Also, the NCAA Big Ten allows you to oversign by one in basketball as long as you get back down to thirteen by the summer, which in this case would be the summer of 2013. There's plenty of time for this to work itself out. You have to trust that Beilein knows what he's doing.

gpsimms not to…

August 4th, 2011 at 4:59 PM ^

yeah i was trying to say that (about being overcommited, not oversigned) in the PS part.  it seems like in november, they could tell one student the spot is not going to materialize.  a weird thing about that, though, is that THJr would kind of have to decide if he is going to go pro after his junior year before the season even starts.

otherwise, we might have a scholarship opening by the summer, which is not good enough.

Raoul

August 4th, 2011 at 7:34 PM ^

I think you're overthinking this, and there's so much that could happen in the next 12-18 months to prevent this from ever becoming an actual issue. Think back to just 12 months ago—was anyone thinking Morris would be around for only one more year, or that Hardaway might leave early to go pro?

By the way, I've never heard of a basketball player deciding to go pro before the season ever starts, so that scenario isn't really plausible.

Blue In NC

August 4th, 2011 at 3:32 PM ^

Brian,

Although I am not familiar with French law, this would actually be a trademark violation rather than a copyright issue.  Copyright lawyers need not apply.

Sincerely,

lawyer-nerd

michfan4borw

August 4th, 2011 at 5:46 PM ^

If people think that the commercial products/services of that store are associated with or sourced from the University of Michigan, than we're in "trademark world."  If the University of Michigan created an artistic expression that the store in Normandy copied, than we're in "copyright world."  It seems to me that this is a trademark issue, not copyright.

Raoul

August 4th, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

Ben Cronin should be added to the 2010 departures.

Also, also: Two more departures—Kendric Price in 2007 and K'Len Morris in 2008.

To be fair, the coaching transition should be taken into account when looking at a number of these departures, especially the ones in 2007 and 2008.

Raoul

August 4th, 2011 at 4:56 PM ^

Price left before the 2007-08 season, but Morris left during that season. His departure was announced in December 2007, but I'm not sure when he actually transferred. So I suppose he could be listed as a 2007 departure as well.

Yostbound and Down

August 4th, 2011 at 4:20 PM ^

Agreed on the Gardner-Borges outlook, Brian. I think part of what Hoke has been trying to get at with the MANBALL is basically saying "Look, we're not going to commit to one offensive scheme" a la RR. I think Borges is going to use the talent in whatever scheme best suits the recruits, rather than trying to recruit guys for his scheme, which is what Rodriguez did. I don't think there's really a right way to do it, either strategy can work, but I think Hoke is being clear that he's

1. letting Borges handle the offense

2. not trying to recruit based on the system.

Every QB is different and Borges is going to design the system around the talent, not vice versa. That was part of what made the first Rodriguez year so tough, it's pretty hard to run a spread with Threet or Sheridan when the mobility is a must. Basically the MANBALL rhetoric is trying to distance Michigan from a commitment to the spread, rather than instituting three yards and a cloud of dust, or a "pro-style offense" (whatever that means, as you've got some different styles in the NFL), or what have you.

jmblue

August 4th, 2011 at 4:47 PM ^

is it "wrong" or whatever to accept a kid's verbal commitment, but then not allow him to sign the LOI when the day comes?

This happens quite often in football (not sure about basketball). A coach is expected to keep on contacting his committed players throughout their senior seasons. If the coach decides that one committed player isn't a good fit, he'll "slow-play" the kid, basically never contacting him anymore, and the kid will get the hint.

joegeo

August 4th, 2011 at 5:53 PM ^

Somehow it doesn't feel right to read that the most likely outcome is that Hatch can't play college basketball anymore.  I know that his injuries are severe, but I haven't read anything saying that he can't recover 100%. I haven't even read anything saying that such a recovery isn't likely!

Blue in Yarmouth

August 5th, 2011 at 7:46 AM ^

not a Neurologist but have talked about this with some of the guys in Neurology so what I am saying is coming directly from them: The chances of a kids his age sustaining such an injury that has resulted in an extended period of induced coma returning 100% to what they were prior to the accident is very slim. 

Obviously they don't know all the ins and outs of the young mans injuries (neither do we), but given the information available they don't think it is very likely he will return to what he was before the accident.

The hopeful part is that a young man his age who is a well conditioned athlete has a much better chance at making this recovery than say...someone like me (37 years old). I guess what I am saying is they say there is a chance, just not a very good one. 

So this isn't anything written in a news paper, but it is information from several Neurologists. You can take it or leave it. 

Blue in Yarmouth

August 5th, 2011 at 8:03 PM ^

There is a much better chance of that happening as well. It might take time given what he has gone through and some extensive therapy, but from I can understand from the reports thus far, there isn't much that would suggest he won't recover to the point where he could lead a normal healthy life. 

I do find the details quite sketchy and the family seems to be keeping everything close to the vest (which is what I would do in a situation such as this as well) so what I am saying is only based on the information the family has made public. If things aren't more serious than they are letting on I am pretty confident the young man will be able to lead a healthy and normal life following the recovery. 

 

Blue in Yarmouth

August 5th, 2011 at 7:53 AM ^

This may be true in some part of France that I have never visited, but I have been to France several times for Medical conferences and several other times to visit my brother who lived there for a few years and the areas of France that I have been to do not practice such a work week. 

Again, perhaps where you were is different (I have been to the Aquitaine region, Midi Pyrenees and the Loire Valley) but none of these regions practice the 5 hour work week you speak of. 

egcofma1982

August 4th, 2011 at 8:03 PM ^

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Rasmus

August 5th, 2011 at 8:41 AM ^

It looks like a spam bot that somehow got through the registration process. I'm not brave enough to go to the web addresses those links would point to if the whole HTML code had been posted properly, but probably it is some sort of online game site. Or a malware distributor.

I'll send Brian an email about it.

NateVolk

August 4th, 2011 at 10:23 PM ^

Having watched our defense last year, it was lacking physicality.   Viewing it on TV as a fan, that term means deficiencies in a lot of areas adding up to the Michigan State, Penn State or Wisconsin debacles. Since I am not a coach, a lot of those deficiencies are hard for me to spot, but are glaring to a coach. Hoke has said on many occasions that the defense is the one that will benefit most from a man rather than a spread zone blocking philosophy.  He believes that the repetition against the spread in practice contributes to a lack of physicality.

Obviously advocating that we not question  the coaches as a bright line rule would render most of the chatter on here dead. However in this case, given how truly awful the defense was in three seasons under Rich, we should blindly trust the coaches as it pertains to any changes they feel will help the defense.  

Being more physical and Big Ten competitive defensively is really what Hoke's Manball plan is about.

 

 

 

uminks

August 5th, 2011 at 1:40 AM ^

I hope there will be a lot of playing time for DG in blowout games this season. He has the skill set to be a good pro set QB who will be able to scramble at times. I think Morris will give him a good run in 2014.  But the QB who plays the best will win the starting spot. It will be fun to see all three competing for the starting job after DROB graduates.

Mr. Hubbard wrote one of my all time favorite scifi books "Battle Field Earth"  I read it the first time nearly 30 years ago and read it second time 10 years ago when it was re-released before the horrible movie was made!