Unverified Voracity Is Afraid Of The Mississippi Black Hole Again

Submitted by Brian on August 6th, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Number one breakout. ESPN's Travis Haney compiled a list of 50 breakout players for the upcoming season based on "a lot of input from coaches" and your new favorite quarterback is #1:

“I recruited him,” said one of the Big Ten coaches who played against Gardner late last year. “I know how good he can be. I would say I have been looking forward to him getting his chance, because he’s a really good kid, but they’re on the schedule again this year.”

Frank Clark also features at #35.

Swag. We are totally losing Michael Ferns to Mississippi State, you guys.

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Following up on earlier assertion. I mentioned in passing in a previous post that I felt Bill Connolly was way underrating LeVeon Bell and way overrating Michigan State's offensive line in his Spartan preview for the year, and as I was looking up various things about Derrick Green I came across a stunning stat on Bell:

Le'Veon Bell gained 921 yards after contact in 2012, most among players from AQ schools. Bell gained more than 50 percent of his yards after contact and averaged 2.4 yards after contact per rush.

Bell got 2.3 yards before contact and 2.4 after. That is a man doing work to clean up for a terrible offensive line. And quarterback: Bell's 382 carries led the nation by 26.

Countdowns to kickoff. Taylor Lewan:

Countdown to Kickoff 2013: Day 28 - Taylor Lewan by mgovideo

Lewan is a thousand times more boring than he used to be. Leadership!

Also Quinton Washington and Jeremy Gallon. True story: bought a chair at Art Van this summer, marveled at the size of the guy they had hauling stuff around, realized that I knew who this was: Quinton Washington. Woo minimum wage, for one more year.

Also, the first day of practice:

Michigan Football First Practice Fall 2013 by mgovideo

Derrick Green's first carry went for 50 yards and birthed a unicorn.

Wide receivers block, then they receive. In-depth ESPN article on the blocking aspects of playing out wide comes highly recommended for interesting quotes and such. Minnesota safety Brock Vereen is either worried about his knees or an expert at backhanded compliments:

“They act as if they are more excited to block than they are to catch a pass,” Minnesota safety Brock Vereen said. “Sadly, I’m not even exaggerating.”

Michigan's dumped cut blocking for a lot of reasons, but the primary one is the fact that defensive backs just get up too darn fast these days:

“They are like those Weeble Wobbles that you had growing up,” Hecklinski said. “You can throw a great cut and he’s right back up making a play and golly, that’s a great cut."

"Golly," says the man eating everyone's lunch on the recruiting trail. #TheMichiganDifference.

The article gestures at one of the main reasons Michigan's wide receivers were so pumped up to block: with Denard Robinson on your team, any play could be a 20 yard run you fail to turn into 80, and then your ass is roasted. Hopefully they maintain the same urgency as Michigan moves to a system more likely to get you five (after contact, and by "contact" I mean "safety murder") than 50.

Hoke advocates earlier official visits. Makes sense, will never happen for the same reason a baseball season that makes sense will never happen:

“Having an official visit date in June would help football,” Hoke stated. “I know some of our friends in the Pac 12 and the SEC probably don’t want the young man and his family coming up to Michigan during the first two weeks in June, because they’re hoping it’s 10 below zero when those official visits take place.”

A rather large win. Wolverine Historian puts up the '95 Minnesota game:

Mack Brown offer letter. I just find this interesting. It's an official offer letter from Mack Brown to a guy named Lorenzo:

large[1]

[bigger version here]

Items:

  • The first bullet is basically Michigan's much-discussed and much-misunderstood "policy" about commits taking visits: you are committed if you are not taking visits, and if you visit elsewhere Michigan will not consider you committed. That doesn't necessarily mean they'll pull your scholarship offer, but your spot is no longer reserved and they may recruit someone else or just reconfigure their class. Why recruiting sites, opposing fans, and Michigan fans keep going on and on about it is a mystery to me.
  • Texas is explicitly offering four year scholarships, and seems to state that a fifth year is also guaranteed… but I think the fine print there means the firm handshake is still an option if the Head Coach wants it to be.
  • The pointlessness of the rule where players cannot get written offers before August 1st of their senior year is brought home in the first paragraph: Texas is "pleased to reconfirm our commitment to the football athletic scholarship you committed to earlier this year." The lack of written offers has led to the rise of the incredibly annoying "uncommittable offer" and prevents players from getting the exact stipulations of their scholarship offer in writing until long after many of them have committed. And it obviously does nothing to slow down the pace of recruiting.

The only way to slow down the pace of recruiting, by the way, is to let kids sign whenever they want. Eighth grader offers will come to a screeching halt, for real.

SBNation has a roundup of offer letters from around the country, featuring Comic Sans from Virginia Tech, "formally" spectacularly misspelled as "formerly" by Virginia, and Illinois claiming that those who attend there will play "championship football." That latter might be true if in fact the Big Ten has been relegated to the second level of English soccer. Which it probably has after last year. We done got relegated you guys.

Quite a rise. Four Michigan players make the final roster at the USA World Juniors evaluation camp: JT Compher, Tyler Motte, Boo Nieves… and Andrew Copp. I think 14 of the 18 forwards on the roster will be on the WJC team, so Copp's gone from JJ Swistak But Big to a guy with a very good chance of making the WJC team in 12 months. Wow.

Amen. Hoke on ND:

"I do not like the fact it's going away," Hoke said.

Asked who is a fault for all this, Hoke responded simply: "We would like to continue the series."

Realignment has replaced the ND game and games against Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Northwestern with Rutgers and Maryland.

Etc.: Harmon Of Michigan's theme song is a "Hollywood-style rendition of the Victors," and MVictors has it. Michigan Hockey Net posts the famous 2002 Denver-Michigan West Regional Final at Yost. Michigan players on the O'Bannon case.

Comments

imafreak1

August 6th, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

The frequent overrating of MSU's OL has confused me for a while now.

I think Cousin's amazing ability to avoid sacks and just general ability covered for a great deal of OL incompetence. Last year supported that conclusion.

I think this year, we will find out how much they miss LeVeon Bell and really how bad that OL is. FWIW, Bell is getting all the preseason hype in the Steelers camp.

The rubber meets the road this year. They got no RB and no QB. It's is all on the OL now.

bronxblue

August 7th, 2013 at 9:53 AM ^

They had a decent line during the early RR years, but I agree it has been massively overrated the past couple of years.  The problem, though, seems to be they always play their best against UM, so even if the OL is hot garbage against everyone else, I expect it to be a war when they play UM.

Randy Marsh

August 6th, 2013 at 3:37 PM ^

Here's what confuses me about the committed/not considered committed thing: A committed player decides to visit another school, so the coach calls and says "we no longer consider you committed"...

But, if they don't pull the offer, what's to stop the player from reconfirming his commitment to the offer after that visit?

Randy Marsh

August 6th, 2013 at 4:17 PM ^

Still seems like some kids could still try to get away with that though.

For instance, I think it's safe to assume the coaches aren't recruiting any other quarterbacks and haven't for a while. What if Wilton Speight suddenly thinks "Hey a free trip to Miami sounds nice. I think I'm gonna take an OV to see the canes." The coaches don't have that "other kid" you mentioned to go back to.

Edit: Also, if the coaches say "sorry" like you said, isn't that essentially the same as pulling the offer? Either that or it just becomes "uncommittable."

Vote_Crisler_1937

August 6th, 2013 at 4:17 PM ^

Im sure it has happened somewhere that a kid took a visit and still ended up at his original school of verbal commitment. That being said, it seems like David Dawson had to work really hard to get back in the class after his issues. In your example, while M may not be actively recruiting anyone at QB, I bet they could find one. Of course this is all hypothetical because the coaches have done their homework and Speight isn't looking around.

wile_e8

August 6th, 2013 at 5:00 PM ^

There's nothing that can ever completely prevent anyone from trying. But as long as the coaches have made the terms of commitment clear they can deter it as much as possible. I'm pretty sure the coaches have a good idea on the relative firmness of their commitments and have backup plans ready in case someone is thinking about trying it.

And about uncommittable offers, I'm pretty sure part of the terms in the offer sheet specify that space is limited and and someone else can take their spot. They send out more offers than they room for in the class, so most of them are bound to become technically uncommittable eventually.

Mr Miggle

August 6th, 2013 at 4:53 PM ^

That's a pretty big if to deal with if you're only looking to take a free trip. That spot might be taken sooner than you think. The coaches aren't necessarily going to wait until after that recruiting trip to pursue someone else. It's not advisable to surprise them with the news like P. Brown. Also, expect the coaches to want a sit down meeting before accepting a recommitment.  

reshp1

August 6th, 2013 at 5:11 PM ^

I think people view it too much as a policy and not the guideline that it is. A lot depends on the manner in which the recruit approaches things. A guy that says, "hey coach, I commited way too early and a lot of things have changed since then. You ok if I take another look?" is going to get treated a lot differently than a guy that the coaches hear about visiting another school through one of the recruitniks or something. Other extenuating circumstances may also apply (like your dad dying and you losing your way a bit, in the case of Dawson).

charblue.

August 6th, 2013 at 4:00 PM ^

Michigan hasn't done much to change that perspective in recent matchups. So, whether or not the perspective of MSU Oline as an effective unit is concerned, is based on experience and accountability, not that the Spartan offense has made a case for itself in the same timeframe. But the point is, whether other teams have exploited it, Michigan hasn't in recent meetings. 

And I am a guy who thinks the Oline has always sucked and Bell has overcompensated for its suckiness. Still, when Michigan has faced MSU, this questionable unit hasn't been that questionable. And this may just be because of the rivalry and the fact that perceived distinctions in talent and ability never factor in this contest. 

It's hard to lord a weakness over a team when you can't exploit it yourself. 

blueloosh

August 6th, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

The ruling of a completed pass at the 7:00 mark in the '85 Minnesota game is pretty hilarious to watch now that it can be considered alongside the Calvin Johnson incompletion where he did not complete the act (or whatever the phrase is).

Ron Utah

August 6th, 2013 at 4:56 PM ^

On the Bell issue, it's really amazing that he got more than half of his yards after contact.  And let's not forget, the dude was 6-2, 244.  Riley Bullough (converted from LB and presumed starter) is 6-2, 230, so he's not exactly small potatoes, but he's also not exactly a RB.  No one else is over 220.

Their O-Line will have to be much, much better for their ground game to find anything near the success it had with Bell.

Mr. Yost

August 6th, 2013 at 8:40 PM ^

Cause it sounds like an Urban comment. I feel like Ferentz wouldn't have bothered recruiting DG, but he did have Soup on his staff at the time. Pelini was in the Big 12. I just don't see that. I'm going with Meyer recruiting him to Florida. It would make sense as he could've sold Tim Tebow.

Blue Durham

August 6th, 2013 at 5:11 PM ^

as the 5th year being essentially guaranteed.

I read it that if the athlete conducts himself accordingly (the rules portion) and is approved by the head coach, AD, and financial aid, then he is awarded the 5th year. 

If by "firm handshake" you mean "shown the door," then I agree with you, but in essence and ultimately in practice I really don't see this as any change to the general status quo of granting 5th year scholarships.  It still comes down to the disgression of the head coach.

charblue.

August 7th, 2013 at 1:57 PM ^

I think he will be the real deal and perhaps raise himself to his own standard as a Michigan qb. We know he can pass, runs appropriately and effectively when required unlike Denard when he was caught in the pocket and thought scrambling was a discouraging crime for not finding anyone open except the enemy. 

While folks have worried about Devin's passing targets, I think the group he will be throwing to this year could become the real breakout performers this season. And that will happen if the Oline makes everything else happen along with the running game. And so, the wheels on the bus go round and round. 

echoWhiskey

August 7th, 2013 at 3:28 PM ^

The hand wringing over the no visits if you're committed stems from the associated "we're pulling your offer, too" that appeared to be the case until David Dawson - who was an extreme case.  If a commit can really get back into the class if there's still interest on both sides, then I don't see an issue.  But if you almost always pull the offer after a decommit, well, you might miss out on some people.  Certainly within the staff's right and I see their point, but I think that's where some people are in disagreement.