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Brian May 8th, 2018 at 12:16 PM


this bullet mentions Charles Matthews and Nick Ward [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Implications of exclusion. Charles Matthews was not invited to the NBA draft combine, and MLive's Kyle Austin has some data on what that means:

In the two NBA drafts since 2016, when college players were first allowed to return to school after declaring, 254 college players have declared early. Of them, the majority (157) didn't receive a combine invite.

Most prospects in that situation opt to return to school -- a total of 130 players have withdrawn from the draft in the last two years. But 47 of those players have opted stayed in the draft despite no combine invitation. None of those 47 players were drafted.

Many of the 47 who stayed in had reasons: they were going to be ineligible or were never going to be NBA players anyway and wanted to get on with overseas careers. (CC: Nick Ward?) A few have worked their way into the league after going undrafted, but it's a rough way to attempt to break in.

Another year of John Beilein Development™ is a better path to the league for Matthews, who clearly has NBA upside if he can just learn to shoot some.

WOULD BE NICE. Standard offseason new position coach articles do come with a little more oomph when the coach in question has the track record of Ed Warinner. Angelique Chengelis got a hell of a quote from Stephen Spanellis:

“It’s really amazing,” lineman Stephen Spanellis said during the team’s trip to Paris this past week. “Coach Warinner’s philosophy, he tells us that he doesn’t to start calculus before everybody can pass Algebra 1. I felt like before we would go straight to rocket science and try to cover everything possible in every meeting. And some guys can’t keep up and it doesn’t have value for a guy to sit in a meeting and they have no idea what’s going on fundamentally with normal plays like inside zone or power.

“So why not slow it down and learn all the basics before you progress? What makes it hard is our defense is so complex, that they break a lot of rules and you have to advance a little bit. But fundamentally, slowing it down a little bit has a lot of value especially for the younger guys who are still learning the offense. For example, James Hudson coming over from defense, it takes a long time to learn the offense in general. Why leave a guy like that at a disadvantage by making it too complicated?”

"No idea what's going on with normal plays" is unfortunately the story of every Michigan line since 2011, and the most depressing thing about last year was that disease following Michigan through a third head coach, and the one who should have been least susceptible to such a thing. But at least the ax fell.

It will not be another off year for Michigan in the NFL draft. The league's official site put out a list of 150 guys to watch for next year's draft, and Michigan players are liberally sprinkled throughout:

  • #3 Rashan Gary: "A big man with linebacker-like movement skills"
  • #10(!) Devin Bush: "the new prototype for linebacker in college and the NFL -- not necessarily big, but fast and aggressive."
  • #25 Shea Patterson: "shows off great escapability on the run and an ability to move the ball through the air."
  • #47 Chase Winovich: "can rush from a two- or three-point stance. He can also be effective bringing pressure from the interior."
  • #65 Karan Higdon: "clearly superior to Ohio State's Mike Weber."
  • #76 Khaleke Hudson
  • #112 Lavert Hill

David Long's continued absence from these lists is baffling.

Per Zach Shaw, Michigan has the fourth-most players on the list, behind Clemson, Alabama, and OSU. A couple of OSU's are a little… uh… speculative. JK Dobbins, who isn't eligible for the upcoming draft, is there. So is Dwayne Haskins, who hasn't started a game yet.

On Mo Hurst in the NFL. Hurst dropped to the fifth round because of his heart issue, and the Raiders picking him prompted a bunch of criticism from everyone's favorite, the Anonymous NFL Insider. A former NFL team doctor reps his bros in response:

I actually think it is not only unfair and inaccurate but also irresponsible for a scout to characterize the drafting as "irresponsible." There is no way for a non-medical person to know.

As an orthopedic surgeon and physician, even I would rely on my primary care doctor and cardiology consultants to weigh in.

I do not see how a personnel person can make this proclamation. This opinion should carry the same weight as a team physician publicly criticizing Baker Mayfield as not worthy of the first pick in the draft.

I also don't know what's going on with Hurst's heart; hopefully everything works out for him.

Apparent hockey exit. The USHL's various drafts are ongoing—I won't bother you with the details—but since one weird hockey thing is that transfers will often return to the USHL for their NCAA mandated sit-out year, you occasionally get roster news. Roster news:

Sanchez had 8 points in 27 games last year after playing in 34 as a freshman; he was stuck on the fourth line and probably had a talk about whether that was ever going to change.

Also in USHL draft news, highly touted 2020 commit Owen Power went 7th overall to Chicago in a different USHL draft—yes there are like seven different ways to get in this league—after being an early second-round pick in the OHL draft. That's a good sign for this edition of Michigan's never-ending blood war with the OHL.

Fellow touted 2020 commit Cole Perfetti went in the third round, also to Chicago. He went fifth overall in the OHL draft and will either be traded to a different OHL team for a bushel of picks in August or September and report or stick with his commitment. Due to yet more details about junior hockey that you don't need to know*, a high OHL draft selection is not necessarily the kiss of death. As Antonio Stranges demonstrated, it's more about location than draft slot.

*[OK, fine: Saginaw has a nearly full roster this year with or without Perfetti and will get a compensatory pick one slot lower than Perfetti's #5 selection next year if he doesn't report and is declared "defective."]

Etc.: AFC Ann Arbor plays an Open Cup match in Ypsi at 6. This year's basketball noncon tourney projects to be pretty lame, especially since M gets GW in the first round. Ok thanks Bobby Kotick but when do we get an updated Mechwarrior? Very detailed take on Comcast dropping BTN out of footprint.



May 8th, 2018 at 12:28 PM ^

The new Mechwarrior comes out later this year, doesn't it?

I remember reading somewhere that it would have a format that resembled the original Mechwarrior, which was awesome. I never did figure out how to pursue the plot, but running my own mercenary stable wherever I wanted was great.

Ron Utah

May 8th, 2018 at 12:48 PM ^

What's so interesting here is that the fan criticism was more or less confirmed by the program:

  • Harbuagh himself admitted to an offense that was to voluminous, lacked identity, and failed to properly train its QBs.
  • Drevno was let go and it's been reported by multiple sources that the line calls were too complicated and that the team lacked a basic understanding of how to execute because they were too busy trying to figure out/remember what the calls meant
  • An accomplished WR coach was added
  • Drevno's replacement does not appear to be another OC-type, and Frey is gone, so even adding McElwain there seems to be one less cook in the kitchen

My sincere hope is that Michigan's offense evolves much the way Georgia's did last year, streamlining a bit to focus on what we do well while adding simple, complimentary wrinkles like RPOs.

Harbaugh's offenses will always be multiple, but that doesn't mean there can't be a clear identity.  We have the big uglies to run very effectively, and if Warriner can simply get the talent on the same page, this could be a special season.


May 8th, 2018 at 12:59 PM ^

It's clear from past seasons that Harbaugh is aware of the benefit of teaching concepts over procedure.  He has receivers running option routes and the QB picking the play at the line based on alignment.  His offense is based on the players being students of the art.

I can only assume he trusted Drevno and Frey to work things out but it seems in hindsight neither of them were making sure the linemen understood what they were doing.  No wonder both are gone.  Warinner isn't doing anything revolutionary; the OL coaching situation was practically addition by subraction before his track record is taken into account.


May 8th, 2018 at 1:25 PM ^


I also think some of that responsibility falls on Harbaugh to make sure his two line coaches are communicating properly, especially if they are installing a new blocking scheme for the running game.  But yeah, it does feel like nobody knew what they were trying to do at a basic level, which led to the numerous pass-blocking breakdowns last season.


May 8th, 2018 at 1:35 PM ^

I'm going to give Frey a pass on this; he was here for one season, and it's not clear from what I've read how much of an influence he had on the OL line calls and terminology. If he was expected to work within the overly complex system Drevno had already installed, then the problems could be expected to persist regardless of what Frey was going to do in one season. I can't imagine that Frey was trying to install his own terminology for his guys.

Harbaugh bears as much responsibility for this as Drevno—I can't believe he couldn't perceive that overly complex OL terminology at the collegiate level was simply not going to work. At least JH made what seem like a necessary change.

It's mystifying because Drevno had a solid track record as an OL coach prior to coming here. I can't believe that the OL at USC are fundamentally smarter than the guys here at Michigan, so what the hell happened in the interim?


May 8th, 2018 at 1:55 PM ^

"Harbaugh bears as much responsibility for this as Drevno—I can't believe he couldn't perceive that overly complex OL terminology at the collegiate level was simply not going to work."

How are we so sure the OL was the only overly complex coached unit on the team? Did you hear some of the play calls for the offense in the All or Nothing series? 


May 8th, 2018 at 2:14 PM ^

Don't put so much stock into the play names you heard.  Those terms meant different things to each group - the first three were for the QB and WR's, the next three for the RB's, next two were TE, and then the OL listend to the last four.  Or some such lineup like that - those were not individual play calls.  Once lined up, the OC can change block assignments/lineup based on defensive alignment, the WR's can alter routes (hot routes, options, etc), and the RB can see a blitz coming he needs to pick up.  So many options in that offense...

I suspect most of the OL problems came from Frey and Drevno not working well together.  I mean, Drevno had the OL in 2015 and 2016 running much better than the 2017 version.  That step backward was huge!  And seeing some of these quotes, putting it together tells me that the Frey-Drev combo just didn't work.  Good on Harbaugh for not trying to assign blame by keeping one part of the problem.  He just cleaned house to start over, and I appreciate that.


May 8th, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

I'm aware each wording has its own meaning for its own group. My point is and I feel your first paragraph backs it up is its a very complicated system as adjustments seem potentially limitless. Each and every wording needs to be known and understood by the QB or else a concept of the play will be missed, which might be nothing...or lead to a botched play. I know this system is common in football but from the little I heard our terminology seemed excessive for players who are still just kids. Considering how not only the OL struggled, but indivudally each of our QBs, and our WRs struggled as well. 

Obviously guessing here, but it seems like an NFL playbook. Which if our guys can handle thats fantastic, but if not we will struggle. There are a lot of up tempo college programs that have simple approaches compared to ours that produce more points than us. 

I agree the mix of Drev and Frey was a disaster. I hope the problems up front caused a trickle effect that hurt everything else. Then fixing the line can be close to a cure all. Please football gods let this be the case. 


May 8th, 2018 at 3:56 PM ^

was probably a big issue last year as the reason for the dropoff from 2015-2016 to 2017.

We lost a bunch of guys, had to start two true Sophs at guard, a C that for four years couldn't get on the field, an OT playing out of position and an revolving door of OTs that shouldn't have been on the two-deep, talent-wise.  Sometimes you're players are two young/not talented enough/don't get it and that seemed to be the combo last year.

Quite likely the Drevno/Frey dynamic compounded things as well.  Doesn't seem like a good idea to have different coaches coaching the interior line and OTs when it's a position group that has to work so closely together.  I could be wrong about that but probably a reason OL isn't typically coached that way.


May 8th, 2018 at 4:00 PM ^

the guy has been a good OL coach in the past.  I have to think the Drevno/Frey split responsibility and general lack of experience/talent on the line were the biggest problems.

Of course the remaining players are going to say things like this.  They're not going to say, yeah, we just weren't very good last year.

This is spring.  Every spring you hear "we're more focused than last year" and "we like what we're running better", blah blah blah.

4th phase

May 8th, 2018 at 5:00 PM ^

Since this sentiment has been repeated a lot I tried searching back through the archives of when Drevno and Frey were hired and the subsequent spring fluff articles and I havent been able to find the words: simpler, simplified, back to basics, etc. The descriptors around Drevno's hire seem to be intense, hard working, and tougher as compared to Hoke's tenure. (Harder working and tougher are probably about physicallity but could also apply to a more complicated offensive playbook). So yes all spring chatter is extremely optimistic, but there could be something to this whole simple approach thing.


May 8th, 2018 at 5:43 PM ^

simpler, simplified or back to basics when Drevno was hired?  Their whole thing was that they were going to be "multiple" and have a complicated system that was difficult for defenses to prepare for.  And the narrative is that's how they won at Stanford.  It had been proven to work on a college level.  It was seen as a good thing then.

So there's a chance that the players last year just didn't get it and that's not necessarily a surprise given they were starting two second year Guards, a C that seemed to have a mental barrier to ever getting it, and a revolving door at RT. 

Definitely on the coaches to dumb it down to the level their players can understand, but instead they added complication by switching to zone after being a largely gap-blocking team.  That had to have been a decision made by the boss though.  And it might not have been the wrong decision long term, but was going to cause some serious growing pains for an already inexperienced unit.

4th phase

May 9th, 2018 at 10:56 AM ^

The point was we don't hear the same things every time a new coach is hired/every off-season. Everyone is so cynical about the dumbing it down talk we are hearing about Warinner, saying we hear that all the time and the OL is still broken. I'm pointing out that the comments from the players are not just lip service, there may be something to it.


May 9th, 2018 at 1:07 AM ^

Cole obvioulsy had a ton of experience, but:

Onwenu was a first year starter and just a true soph.  Young and inexperienced for an o lineman.

Bredeson was still a true soph after a freshman year looking mostly lost.

Both of the other spots had first year starters (and Ulizio, who was a RS soph gets 1/2 of the RT blame)


May 9th, 2018 at 9:09 AM ^

you have all 5 guys on the same page blocking correctly.  Last year the line was much better probably because Cole was calling plays at the line. With him out at tackle, that fell on Kugler who was starting for the first time as a 5th year.  If you add in complex line calls, then you see guys leaving people unblocked with missed assignments.  

I didn't play football, but when I played soccer, by far my worst games were when I was over thinking or over analyzing.  I'm glad to hear that they are not going to do that this year.  Avreage line play with the running backs, Wide recievers, and QBs tied to this years defense is going to take this team a long way. But they need all 5 to play as a unit to be average. 


May 8th, 2018 at 1:37 PM ^

One concern I have regarding your Georgia comment is Peters enrolled early, redshirted, sat half his RS Frosh season and still was only given a very basic vanilla playbook when he finally started. Fromm looked to have Georgia's playbook close to mastered by the end of his true freshmen season. Yet in twice as much practice time we can't get our QB to master half the plays.

Here is a quote from Shea Patterson's brother Nick regarding our playbook, “Michigan is a whole different animal than Ole Miss,” Nick said. “When they found out he was transferring, Michigan gave him this huge playbook. He had to study it. I definitely believe his football IQ has gotten stronger since going to Michigan.”


I don't think the OL is the only place where more simplification would be helpful.



May 8th, 2018 at 1:51 PM ^

everyone is so convinced that the playbook was so vanilla for Peters and he doesn't know the offense. Watching him play he didn't struggle with the playbook, it was just the speed of the game and him making his pre-snap reads as well as his progressions needing to be quicker.

It's a huge adjustment going from practice to games and trying to read a good defense at the speed they play at this level. He just needs more work to quicken how he goes through a progression and make the proper read. He was usually 1-2 seconds slower then he should be and that can kill a play right there. That will come and from all accounts it has been improving.


May 8th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

Re-watch the Rutgers game. When O'Korn was in he was doing a lot of multiple shift pre-snap plays. He also did a lot of pre-snap calls and signals. O'Korn played terribly but he knew all the plays. Then when Peters came in he never did more than single man in motion. He didn't do much pre-snap. But Peters played pretty good.  He definitely played with the tip of the iceberg playbook.

Next game against Minnesota he threw a whopping 56 yards on 13 throws. We ran heavy and let Brandon learn more week to week but the full playbook was not usable at this time. What other reason would we keep things so simple on offense other than we were forced to? That and "we are saving everything for osu." 


May 8th, 2018 at 1:52 PM ^

This is the classic offseason topic that confounds fans and is basically nothing.

Bad season-

If things were too strict you loosen up and have more fun.

If it was too loose you tighten them up.

Schemes are either too predictable or too complicated.

Usually you have to get in better shape.

Definitely have to take summer more seriously.

Usually the Seniors sucked at leadership. Need to find new leaders(miraculously the Juniors are always better leaders after a poor season)

Feel free to add your own.


The scheme was probably not that overly complicated, but it may have been too complicated for the youth on the line.  Everything is a disaster so the new coach comes in and starts it from scratch at a basic level and it seems easier for the players.   Warriner will probably start layering in more and more complexity and they will be right back to where they were complexity wise without even knowing it because hopefully now they understand it. 

These articles always make the coaches look like morons, but logically it doesn't make any sense. 





May 8th, 2018 at 3:16 PM ^

How does this make any coach look like an idiot? Did you read it? I'm not sure what your point is with the first half of stuff you said. I thought the article was interesting to get an idea of the size of one major D1 school's football playbook compared to another. 


May 8th, 2018 at 2:21 PM ^

Fromm enrolled early and had the playbook nearly a full year before he played  He also had 34 seniors on the two-deep surrounding him, with a blatently heavy run-first offense.  He wasn't asked to win games, nor was he even asked to manage them.  He was merely tasked with staying out of the way and not losing them.  He certainly improved through the year as he gained experience and confidence.  But comparing his season to Peters is a non-starter...


May 8th, 2018 at 3:25 PM ^

Peters also enrolled early so I'd imagine they would have received playbooks near the same relative time? Also I don't think a high school senior will learn too much with a playbook before arrving on campus anyway. Georgia had a better team for sure with older players. But we were also a blatently heavy run-first offense. Peters also was not asked to win games when he started. Peters was also tasked with not losing them and being a manager.  Most things you mentioned are similarities not differences.

Fromm was forced to play well and stop being a manager late in his season. He did well and they almost became national champions because of it. Peters was asked to step up and win a bowl game against an above average South Carolina team. It did not go well.



May 8th, 2018 at 2:01 PM ^

The Spam quote is enlightening on that. It’s not a gap/zone identity problem (basically everyone runs both), but rather an over complicating what OL do on a given play problem.

Basically OL rules are a series of if/then decisions dependent on where the defense lines up and OL calls. Each contingency you add makes it harder to get all five on the same page. It makes sense that last year’s team would be better at Power and Counter because those plays are traditionally pretty simple in terms of blocking rules. Also makes sense why they would be terrible in pass pro as that’s way more complicated.

Good news is this is the easiest thing to fix; spring hype qualifiers and all that but hearing this is basically the best cas scenario for immediate improvement.

I wonder if that was Drevno/Frey making a misguided attempt trying to counter Don Brown (who will break your rules with aggression) in practice or just general incompetence on their part.


May 8th, 2018 at 12:52 PM ^

"A big man with CORNERBACK-like movement skills"

There, fixed it for ya, NFL guy.  As in, Gary literally outperformed our CBs in ability drills.

Gary is an intriguing talent not so much because he'll probably be great -- that's almost a given -- but because his physical talent is bona fide generational.  He is literally faster than NFL linebackers as an SDE, yet powerful enough to play inside at the college level.  He's what Str 20, Dex 20 looks like.

From a career achievement standpoint it's obviously way too early to tell, but based strictly on his measurables -- which I usually think are overrated, but in this case an exception is warranted because of what Gary's doing -- he has the potential to be in the "greatest athlete ever" conversation.  Now, to temper that, pure athleticism does not always result in accomplishments that get someone that conversation.  I'm just saying, sheesh. . . I honestly have not seen such a combination of power and speed for as long as I've been following sports.

panthera leo fututio

May 8th, 2018 at 1:37 PM ^

Aside from being spot on in ripping* dipshit Anonymous NFL Insiders, it's good to know that doctors really are smart people who aren't going to leave a surgical instrument inside me or misdiagnose a UTI in front of my girlfriend.


*(Spellcheck** in original piece; 'rep' fits and flips the meaning)
**EDIT: I see that in context doc actually is 'repping' his fellow medical professionals; as usual, I'm both an embarrassing pedant and wrong


May 8th, 2018 at 1:01 PM ^

Well Brian since you already admitted to playing X-COM and you've played Mechwarrior you should really play the newly released Battletech game on PC... ah shit guys sorry I just killed the site's content for a couple of weeks.


May 8th, 2018 at 1:05 PM ^

I did a double take when reading the NFL review of Higdon:

#65 Karan Higdon: "clearly superior to Ohio State's Mike Weber." 

I suspected Brian was up to some shennanigans, so I clicked the link.  Brian was, indeed, up to some shennanigans.  I approve.




May 8th, 2018 at 1:13 PM ^

To be honest I'm a wait and see on Warinner.  I live in Minneapolis and I didn't see any marked improvement in the Gopher O-Line while he was in charge.


May 8th, 2018 at 1:30 PM ^

I can't speak for Minnesota; if he had a problem to fix or if he was limited by the talent.  As I said elsewhere, Warinner's not reinventing the wheel here.  We just need the O-line to stop being a revolving door.  Winovich's quote about having to work for sacks is encouraging.  The guy's an elite college pass rusher so that he gets sacks against our O-line is not the end of the world.  The problem is that linemen would just fly through the O-line untouched and Winovich said that wasn't happening anymore.

I think our problems on offense are way too numerous to fix before the start of the season.  But if last year's buttfense was due to youth and coaching, time took care of the former and Harbaugh acted on the latter.  As far from perfection they'll be, drives will be much more successful if the offense isn't shooting itself in the foot as often.


May 8th, 2018 at 2:48 PM ^



We also need to remember that it's likely we will have a top 10 defense this year.  In order to compete for the Big Ten championship even WITH a tough schedule, we don't need a top 10 offense.  We just need a somewhat competent one. 

Our S&P+ Offense overall ranking was 85th, whereas our RUSHING S&P+ was 14th. 

Granted, I don't know how S&P works, so maybe the Maryland/Minnesota games skews that too much.  But if not,  then being14th in the nation rushing is when everybody and their sister KNEW by mid-season that we had no passing game and could likely stack the box without being punished too much is pretty dang good.  So if we can just bring up our passing game to merely average, I'd make a bet that we'd also see our S&P Rushing crack the top 10 nationally.

Basically, this stuff all feeds on each other.  All we need is for the passing offense not to be a major anchor weighing everything down.  The factors in our favor here:

  • Likely Shea at QB, who seems more accurate & has that escapability factor to keep the defenses honest/punish them for overpursuit or stacking the box.  Or worst case an improved Peters or a McCaffrey who by definition would have beaten out an improved Peters.
  • Athletically elite 2nd year WRs (hopefully more assertive/reliable route running)
  • Better S&C (if you believe the hype)
  • Warriner/Simplified OL calls

That last point also might not be a permanent situation. 

As long as we can survive ND on September 1st, the OL will have 2 weeks of tomato can games to solidify basics and start to add in more complexity during practice.  Then they get a doable 3 game stretch of Nebraska, @ Northwestern (aka Chicagoland Michigan Alumni Game) & Maryland where our defense should be able to tide us over.  So by the time we hit the meat of our schedule--Wisconsin, @ MSU, Bye, PSU--the OL will have had an additional 6 weeks of practice to start throwing in some additional wrinkles.

Even if just 2 of those 4 bullet points above end up panning out, I think our chances of at least moderate passing game improvement is more likely than not.



May 8th, 2018 at 1:27 PM ^

"So, is this an indication that the amount of alternative entertainment programming has increased to the point where traditional MVPDs are no longer willing to distribute content that is not watched?"

Of the hundreds of channels that are available to me on Comcast, 95% carry unwatchable horseshit. I can't believe that many of them get the eyeballs that the BTN gets.

And then there's this:

"As more people use the Internet to stream video, the future battleground will involve Internet speeds and net neutrality, a topic about which I scratched the surface last December. That future is now present, as Comcast last week announced it will only increase Internet speeds for customers who also purchase the company’s cable bundle. The company which owns the distribution holds the power."

And it seemed like just yesterday that we were being promised that the end of NN would automatically lead to better service and cheaper internet.


May 8th, 2018 at 5:17 PM ^

Hey this is very timely for me. Moving in a couple weeks and I've been trying to check out cable/internet packages that would have BTN in my location (Oshtemo/Kalamazoo). I've come across references to BTN "overflow channels". Google has not been very helpful. Does anyone know the best provider and package for Oshtemo that has BTN?