Unverified Voracity Buys A Nail Gun

Submitted by Brian on January 8th, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Holy pants. I can't be the only person who exclaimed "WTF!"—yes, I speak in internet acronyms IRL LOL—when Beadie Russell from The Wire showed up on The Office. For some reason I expect that people on The Wire are real and that seeing, for instance, D'Angelo Barksdale's mother on an episode of NCIS* means Pure Evil has undergone a shocking career change.

So, yeah, this from reader Ba Orao was pretty freaky:


Clockwise from top left:

  • DT commit Pearlie Graves, a dead ringer for Marlo muscle Chris
  • WR commit Jeremy Gallon, who could not possibly look more like Marlo muscle Snoop despite the fact that Snoop is, you know, a girl
  • DE commit Anthony LaLota, a pretty good facsimile of Nick Sobotka
  • RB coach Fred Jackson, a less scarred version of Norman Wilson, the mayor's right hand man

The first two are astounding.

*(Watched involuntarily, in case anyone has actually seen that abomination and is now reconsidering their allegiance to this blog.)

I want your… nah, too easy. Penn State defensive line coach/recruiting ninja Larry Johnson is under consideration for the Illinois defensive coordinator job, which strikes Black Shoe Diaries as very bad news:

I don't have to tell you this is bad bad bad. With an 82 year old head coach who can't spend more than two hours sitting down in a car or airplane, the assistant coaches are our greatest asset when it comes to recruiting. And Larry Johnson is one of the best of them. … To lose him would be, in a word, disastrous for our program.

Johnson's a Penn State lifer—he's been there since 1993 and both of his kids played for PSU—but cash rules everything around us:

…as a defensive coordinator, Johnson would receive a salary increase from his estimated $200,000 salary. Penn State is not known for boosting its assistants' pay, and Illinois is apparently willing to pay what's necessary in the increasingly competitive world of assistant salaries. That might be even more true after it lost offensive line coach Eric Wolford, who will make $325,000 a year with his move to South Carolina.

So I'm thinking to myself "this would be a really good idea for Illinois; Johnson is a killer recruiter and have you seen Penn State's defensive line at any point in the past decade?" And it occurs to me: hey, would that be a good idea for us? Yeah, maybe. And maybe we're in on it. Same article:

Illinois is in discussions with Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson about becoming the new Illinois defensive coordinator, but Michigan also could be interested in hiring Johnson, sources said.

With Tom Bradley's status as the real ultimate power at Penn State, Johnson is going to be locked out of a coordinator spot until such time as Joe Paterno finally steps down, which could be never-ever-ever. Now might be the time to move.

I'd be a happy man if Johnson was the new DC, though the chances of that seem low. Dollars to donuts he uses the leverage to squeeze a raise out of Penn State.

Bob Knight, ladies and gentlemen. Zack Novak on the General:

"He'd usually tell us, girls are going to tear you down -- if you see a nice-looking girl, turn the other way because she's going to kill you," Novak said. "I remember thinking, I'm in third grade and he's telling me about girls. But I think that's kind of why you've got to appreciate him."

I always thought Knight would make a good Batman villain, no?

Yikes. I didn't mean for this to be Basketball Downer day, but, eh… yeah. Luke Winn busts out the tempo-free stats to evaluate overvalued and undervalued teams based on, you know, reasons. Key findings:

No Final Four team in the past five years has been ranked outside the top 25 in adjusted defensive efficiency (a competition-adjusted figure). And only two Elite Eight teams in the past five years have ranked outside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency. It's unlikely that a team will make a deep NCAA tournament run with just a good offense, and only a mediocre D.

The good news, such as it is: one of those two Elite Eight teams to flout Winn's cutoff was 2005 West Virginia, which finished 78th in adjusted D efficiency and was an overtime away from the Final Four.

The bad news:

Which teams in the AP's top 30 might be suspect in the postseason because of their lack of a quality defense? Eight ranked schools had adjusted defensive efficiency ratings outside the top 60. Unless they shape up over the next few months, the odds are stacked against them making deep NCAA tournament runs:

Team AP Adj. OffEff. (Nat'l Rk.) Adj. DefEff. (Nat'l Rk.)
Oklahoma 6 117.7 (8) 93.8 (66)
Notre Dame 13 119.7 (3) 99.1 (146)
Boston Coll. 17 112.2 (32) 96.1 (86)
Minnesota 22 109.4 (51) 96.1 (88)
Baylor 23 117.0 (11) 95.4 (78)
Michigan 26 116.6 (13) 101.2 (185)
California 27 115.6 (20) 93.5 (63)
Arkansas 28 106.2 (79) 96.8 (103)

That's pretty frightening right there: Michigan has by far the worst defense of any team in the AP top 30. That bodes unwell for the short term.

For the long term: I'm slightly concerned. Beilein's last two West Virginia teams were 53rd and 57th in AdjDE, and I think they're slightly underrated because his teams force a lot of turnovers, which in theory should lead to a larger than normal proportion of fast break buckets and higher offensive efficiency. The higher-quality recruits he hypothetically has access to at Michigan may allow the team to play better defense than he's thrown out there before.

But the concern comes in when Huggins arrives at WVA. In year one, defensive efficiency moves from 57th to 24th, and in year two they're second, using mostly the same players Beilein recruited. They're older and better, certainly. Is that the only difference? Probably not.

Etc.: Chalk talk on zone blitzes from Gsimmons; Orson obliterates Rick Reilly and Dr. Saturday does likewise with John Feinstein.



January 8th, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

After reading the first downer post about the bball team I was lamenting our fate with my colleague who is a big MSU fan. He disagreed. His take was this....

-- We have a young team coming from a history of losing.
-- It was our second road game.
-- We overcame a 20-point second half lead.

He thinks we're a good team and just have a wider variation from night to night due to the young players and style of play.

In the end, I think we're somewhere in the middle. We're a good team that doesn't have enough horses or experience to be a dominant team - and to expect that is probably unfair.

As for their defense, I think there are a couple of things contributing to the bad stats:

-- Giving up offensive rebounds hurts all defensive stats.
-- Playing with only Sims taller than 6'5" puts us at a disadvantage. Gibson and Shephard don't play enough to count defensively.
-- I love Novak and can't wait to watch him smoke 3s for four years....but defensively he's not very good and as his minutes have gone up our defense has gotten worse I suspect.
-- Merritt, Douglass, and Gibson aren't good defenders either.

I don't think they're ever going to play defense like MSU, but I don't they have to in order to win. Perimeter oriented teams are going to drive us crazy - whether they're fringe NCAA quality or conference champ quality. The standard deviation is likely just so much larger.


January 8th, 2009 at 2:44 PM ^

Bri I love ya bro but this Beilien worry fest is a little premature and unwarranted. I thought for a second and I would compare it to the hillbilly in Texas going "ya that Mike Leach feller is keeping us down we don't play a lick of D and we're not gonna win a NC this way" For the most part a true statement, but you have to understand who you are and where you are. Leach has brought Tex Tech past their wildest dreams expectations have grown and now you have criticism. We haven't seen a tourney in forever and Beilien has turned this mismash of crap and turned it into a 12-3 team. After we've made 2 or 3 tourney appearances and we've recruited like a legit D1 prospect other than Manny Harris then we can start to pile on with we don't play D, we need to get in the paint, we need a post player, were taking too many 3's. For now get on your knees and thank god we got this guy to take us out of the abyss known as EllerAmakerMartiFishdom. All Hail Beilien!!!!

PS For good Hillbilly smack check out My Big Fat Redneck Wedding on CMT. I'm still 40/60 it has to be faked some, but it's still hilarious.


January 8th, 2009 at 3:11 PM ^

"Dead ringer"?? No way, man. In fact, I don't see much resemblance at all, besides being muscular and black.

Chris has a much, much, much more pronounced supraorbital torus, a longer jaw with more obtuse angle, a jutting mandibular protuberance (while Graves's is quite flat), and rounder eyeballs. Well, on second look, I will concede similar musculature around the maxillary process. Not an astounding similarity, though, IMEO.


January 8th, 2009 at 3:21 PM ^

I love your blog and all, but I think you're being too negative. We haven't even been to the tournament in 10 years and you're worrying that we may not make a deep run if/when we get there this year. Relax, dude. As others have noted, this is a very young and not exceptionally talented team. Beilein has maximized the potential of the talent we do have, which is more than we could ever say about Ellerbe or Amaker. I don't think anyone expects us to contend for any kind of championship this year, so making the tournament would be a nice result. Take things one step at a time.


January 8th, 2009 at 3:32 PM ^

For everyone worrying that this team will make a short run in the NCAA tournament, I have three numbers for you:

10-22 - last year's record
1998 - unofficially the last time UM made the NCAA tournament (ignoring forfeits as part of recruiting scandal)
1989 - officially the last time UM made the NCAA tournament.

Michigan Arrogance

January 8th, 2009 at 3:34 PM ^

"I love Novak and can't wait to watch him smoke 3s for four years....but defensively he's not very good and as his minutes have gone up our defense has gotten worse I suspect."

novak does really well for a FR. he's asked to play a lot of the 4 defensively and all the coaches to is ask him to stand tall and don't foul... which is what he does. i think he's doing EXACTLY what the coaches ask of him on the defensive side and that's one reason he's 2nd-3rd (i assume) in minutes played.


January 8th, 2009 at 3:42 PM ^

but I think this doom and gloom stuff is pretty odd.

I'm not blind to the fact that UM has issues. But we are in year 2 of a new system , UM is playing 3 freshman(2 of whom were lightly recruited by ANY D-I school), 2 sophomores and 2 former walk-ons on a game in game out basis are logging important minutes and UM's got exactly 2 guys over 6'8, one of whom has had his share of struggles this season.

Regardless of what the stats say, this team is 12-3 and maybe they are overrated...but damn I'll take overrated any day of the week and twice on Sunday compared to what this program has seen in the past.

I also think the stats about the Final Four and Elite 8 teams is retarded...are we really putting this UM team in the same breath as teams that are Final Four or Elite 8 bound? Most fans, are simply ecstatic that this team is even in a position to make the dance...the fact that you are siting stats about UM being suspect in the postseason because of defense, wow...think about what you just wrote. Those stats assume UM will be in the dance...yet were are expressing concern because it looks like they aren't likely to make a run in the postseason.

Well, maybe I should be chastised for lowering expectations, but if UM makes the dance, I'd be more than happy for them to be considered overrated and not likely to make a deep run in March.


January 8th, 2009 at 4:44 PM ^

As a wide receiver, Snoop would get the biggest cushion ever seen in football. No cornerback would ever know her gender, and none would care. They'd just stay out of range.

The young man doesn't look all that much like her to me, but she was a badass. I hope he is too, without, you know, the felonies.


January 8th, 2009 at 4:55 PM ^

A "The Wire" subtopic and a subtle Wu-Tang Clan reference today? Aren't you just the renaissance man.

I know the "college football people as characters from TV shows" thing has become a bit trite, but I can't help but wonder how things would line up. Bill Martin as Chief Rawls? The Fab 5 as Clarence Royce and Clay Davis? The possibilities abound.


January 8th, 2009 at 7:24 PM ^

Gallon's going to be darting around opposing D's so quickly that no one, regrettably, will even get a good look at how pretty he is. I want a Gallon jersey.

I'm so glad i'm not the only one who thinks that show is crap. It's like Tom Clancy meets CSI with even more overwrought characters and terribly campy dialogue... if that's even possible. Man, some wack stuff goes down in the Navy, eh? Now, if only I could stop watching it.


January 9th, 2009 at 10:31 AM ^

While channel surfing, I always stop for a moment when I come across Charmed. I pay my perverted respects to Alyssa Milano, as every man should.

I don't know which CSI show it is (the one with David "Mr. Dramatic" Caruso) but the blonde chick who was briefly on The West Wing is hot. Love the southern drawl.

other sneaky hot women:
the Israeli chick mentioned below
George Lopez's TV wife AND daughter
the blonde from Scrubs
the Greek chick on a CSI show who used to be the doctor on Providence.
(sorry I don't know the names of all these women. I usually have my eyes closed when I'm thinking about them).


January 9th, 2009 at 6:00 PM ^

make the Big Ten Network "This is Big-10 Country" commercial lauding Beilin as "the minister of defense" even more absurd.

That being said, I'm also in the camp that now is the time to just enjoy the ride. They take way too many 3s and get hammered on the boards, but every time CJ Lee, Novack and Douglass hit a 3 during that comeback I realized I was sitting there with a ridiculous grin on my face.