Gentry vs Malzone: FIGHT
Quarterback recruiting policies.
I know that Harbaugh has every right to recruit his own personnel, but considering that Malzone is already on campus, did he just get royally screwed? If he never suits up, can he transfer without having to sit out?
The idea that a quarterback would be screwed over by the addition of another guy at his position in the same class is Hoke-era thinking that should be quickly discarded. Wilton Speight doesn't seem to mind:
Boom!! Loading the stable! #goblue
— Wilton Speight (@WiltonSpeight) January 25, 2015
sent in the immediate aftermath of Gentry's commit
Every other position sees fierce battles; QB should be no different. And even if Malzone is put off by the idea of sharing a spot in the class with Gentry, I think that's more than offset by the idea of getting coached by Harbaugh and Jedd Fisch.
FWIW, Malzone could transfer after his first semester at Michigan. He would have to redshirt and then would be a redshirt freshman wherever he ended up, as Steven Threet was when he fled Paul Johnson's triple option system at Georgia Tech.
The more likely exit scenario for the quarterbacks who find themselves down the depth chart in the midst of cutthroat competition is to get a degree in three years and then transfer with two years to play two. An increasing number of elite QB recruits are throwing themselves in grinders like Michigan's with that idea in their back pocket. If Michigan is going to take two QBs a year that should be part of the pitch: the least you leave here with is a Michigan degree and three years of kickass coaching. Malzone has a head start on that with his early enrollment.
By the way, with reports that elite CA QB KJ Costello is heavily interested in Michigan, this could be the respective first two QB recruiting years of Hoke and Harbaugh:
- Hoke: Russell Bellomy.
- Harbaugh: Malzone, Gentry, DeWeaver, Costello.
That's one three star previously committed to Purdue versus what is probably four four-star recruits. (Hoke did recruit Malzone but Malzone is a block-M true believer who stuck with his plan to enroll early despite Michigan not having a coach at that juncture.) One of the major reasons the Hoke list is so short is that in deference to Shane Morris they didn't take another quarterback in his year… or the year in front of him. That was a disastrous decision. Let's not do that any more.
Harbaugh won't: at Stanford he took an average of two QBs a year.
Two stars bad. More stars good.
@mgoblog with so many high end prospects out there showing interest,why are we pursuing 2 ⭐️players at any position right now?
— Tessmer (@TyTessmer) January 25, 2015
There are only a couple guys on the board who fit that description: recent OH OL commit Nolan Ulizio and as-yet-unoffered FL CB Markel Bush. Everyone else is at least a three star and—unlike many of the transitional Hoke recruits—courted by or committed to high level BCS schools. (Hoke got decommits from Indiana, Vanderbilt, and Minnesota; Harbaugh has flipped guys from Texas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.) So Harbaugh is already doing well.
As for the two stars, Bush is clearly a backup plan in case they don't get two of the four guys they've offered (Iman Marshall,
Will Lockett, Damon Arnette, and Jarius Adams). Ulizio is an offensive lineman. Offensive linemen are less likely to fulfill recruiting expectations than any other position, and as you say Michigan had opportunities to look at other, more highly-rated guys. They passed. Is that a concern?
…let's cool it on the judgy bits just yet.
[After THE JUMP: Marrow, length of tenure, Dymonte Thomas, sloxen, Gary Danielson email]
Sad we missed on Vince Marrow, but oh well. Moving on, that was quite an interesting resume he had, yeah? Did his involvement in the search bring any talk of an interesting personality to match? The odd professional path seemed intentional and I was wondering if we missed out on a unique character as well as a quality recruiter.
Cheers and Harbaugh,
His resume was very weird. He got his job at Kentucky because he was personally connected to Stoops, though, and that's a highly conventional way to get any job. The recruting successes in Ohio were what got him a look from Michigan—and, if you believe reports out there, his own stumping for a job.
The way things played out certainly made it look like Marrow was taking advantage of Michigan's situation in order to grab a raise. Check. I don't think Michigan is going to miss him much.
Harbaugh tenure worries
As much as I love the Harbaugh hire (What sane/non-clinically depressed person wouldn't?) I am a bit worried about the potential length of his tenure.
Let's say Harbaugh is as successful as we expect, and brings the program back to national prominence within a few years. Chances are someone like Harbaugh would get restless and jump back into the NFL to win a Super Bowl forcing us to go back to doing laps in Hackett's swim lanes again. As much as we would all like to see Harbaugh make a Bo/Carr run of it here for a decade or two, that seems rather unlikely in the 21st Century football coaching
If that turns out to be the case perhaps Michigan should shift its hiring model and make the best coaching hire regardless of age? Also, I'm not advocating for Miles here but perhaps Michigan shouldn't immediately turn its nose up at someone with 10 years left in his coaching career when chances are a home run hire like Harbaugh is almost likely to leave in half that time?
I don't know how long Harbaugh's going to be around; I don't think he knows either. I'm not particularly worried about a short tenure for a number of reasons. One: the guy loves Michigan and wants to do the job right. Two: the vast majority of chatter about Harbaugh's heart blah blah blah was stated by NFL reporters who literally could not have been more wrong about him during the coaching search, with the remainder provided by the sour grapes of rival fans.
Three: in Harbaugh's specific case I don't care too much even if he does bolt back to the pros in short order. Stanford is not particularly displeased with their Harbaugh aftermath. And Michigan has an obvious internal hire on the staff in DJ Durkin. If Harbaugh does go early that means Michigan has just had a kick-ass season and should be set up for a period of success. I'd rather have Harbaugh around until he's 90, but the downside here is not so bad.
As far as changing your hiring model to go after whoever no matter how old they are, I think it pays to remember that coaches are not flat lines. We have all seen the pattern of extended decline in which a fanbase gets grumpier and grumpier with a long-term coach until there's a messy breakup: Joe Paterno, Don Nehlen, Mack Brown, Phil Fulmer, Frank Beamer… there is a point at which the guy no longer is what he was, and things get sloppy. Ohio State was in fact fortunate to have to get rid of Jim Tressel when they did, as they got to skip that period and go straight to Urban Meyer.
I also think there are a lot of coaches who will stick for long periods of time at single college programs, certainly enough that will hit ten or fifteen years to make hiring a guy who could hit that level of longevity worthwhile. Saban is going into year nine at Alabama, after all. Might as well give yourself that chance when things are relatively equal.
Wither Dymonte Thomas?
I have heard it said that it is tough to move back (ie linebacker to safety) then forward. Given that Dymonte Thomas played LB in high school and seems to struggle at safety, why not move him to LB? Peppers can shift to S as pointed out
Peter from Horsham
It's getting late early for Thomas thanks to the previous staff's decision to forgo a redshirt for a guy who was patently unprepared. Thomas spent his freshman year covering kickoffs that were headed to the endzone anyway. So that's a tough decision.
It's less of a tough one if Michigan sticks with the over system they moved to a year ago, in which the SAM linebacker is often walked out over the slot and has a diverse set of coverage and tackling responsibilities. Thomas's promise was that he could act as a Hybrid Space Player, whether you label that a linebacker, cornerback, safety, or give it its own designation like nickelback.
Michigan tried him there for a while and he didn't offer much—his tackling was extremely sub-par. They never got any traction with him afterwards. We're about to find out whether that's a function of poor coaching or just a guy who doesn't translate to college.
I'd keep him at safety, personally, with the intention of sliding Peppers down to the slot in nickel packages.
important lingo question
if Rodriguez had "slot ninjas", tiny dudes who can do everything - block, run, catch, what do we call Harbaugh's tight-end/h-back giant dudes that line up everywhere and do everything? rhino-backs? slot-oxen? tank-ends?
Slot-oxen does pleasingly shorten itself to "sloxen," and it makes me think about Oregon Trail. I think that's the winner.
I was wondering if you could comment on Oregon's offensive performance [in the national championship game. Amongst those who prefer manball, the conventional wisdom is that fast paced spread offenses light up poor defenses but fall flat on their face against stout competition. The national championship just added a lot of fuel to that fire. Despite being the beneficiaries of 4 (FOUR!!) turnovers, they only managed to put up 20 points. That's fewer than even Michigan managed.
It's tough to make that argument when the other team is a spread option as well, albeit one with a different orientation. To me the thing that happened to Oregon is the thing that usually does when someone shuts their offense down: their offensive line got whipped.
That's what happened earlier this year when Arizona upset them. Oregon was down something like four starters and it showed. Scooby Wright went nuts, Oregon bogged down, and Arizona took off. They got guys back for the Pac 12 title game and blew Arizona's doors off. Oregon-Stanford games have been Stanford wins when the Cardinal DL is winning the 4 on 5 matchup up front consistently.
That gives you back the extra guy the spread option takes away, and then Oregon looks mortal. Ohio State's DL featured an All American and a bunch of other guys the NFL is going to be all over; they beat up Oregon up front (and Oregon dropped a number of critical passes) and that was it.
The rest of your assertions are nonsense unless you're trying to draw a line between Ohio State and Oregon because Oregon is more focused on tempo. The key innovation of the spread option is bringing 11 on 11 football back to college without sacrificing a threatening vertical passing game, and if you're trying to define OSU out of that category that gets you an okay dot gif.
None of these things ever come with statistical backing so let me just reply with some anecdotes: Oregon 59, FSU 20. Oregon 46, MSU 27. Oregon 45, Stanford 16. OSU's third string QB 42, Alabama 35.
I'm just as hopeful about Jim Harbaugh as anybody but asserting that there's a fatal flaw in the spread in 2015 is some Gary Danielson level stuff.
Funchess and Butt red zone targets.
This is an old email from before the OSU game that got buried in a mailbag draft that never got fleshed out.
I couldn't sleep last night after drinking too much coffee. [So he compiled redzone passing attempts to the big guys.] As it turns out, it didn't take too long since Michigan only made the redzone 3 times combined between the Notre Dame, Utah, Penn State, and Minnesota games. I took out garbage time drives, the Penn State run/kneel down in the redzone, and two others where they got inside the 20y line on 3rd down, but not enough for a 1st down - resulting in FG attempts.
Devin Funchess - 6'5", 230lb // Jake Butt - 6'6", 249lb
2014 Combined Redzone Targets (20y to endzone): 8 of 64 plays. 7 for Funchess, 1 for Butt.
Of the 8 targets, only two were jump ball situations. One was the jump ball to Funchess over 2 defenders for a TD against App State. The other was a fade pattern against Michigan State that was nearly (should have been?) caught.
2 jump balls on tiny corners for the entire season to this point! And to think what they would(n't) do with 6'7" Ian Bunting next year.
Add it to the pile of things that made no sense about the last two years. Also: hooray that two of these games feature NO REDZONE PLAYS.