Unverified Voracity Catches Up

Submitted by Brian on December 29th, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Hello. Things that transpired in my absence:

Basketball got splattered by Purdue.  Hello, reality. You suck. Michigan hadn't played terribly in a game anyone could see yet this year, but they did so yesterday, and those NCAA bubble dreams should be shelved. From the first Jajuan Johnson undefendable hook shot it was clear Purdue was on another level from Michigan's previous victims, especially on defense. Michigan had far too many possessions where the ball barely approached the three-point line until there were ten seconds on the shot clock. The resulting chuck-fest was reminiscent of Amaker's teams.

Michigan's comeback at the end of the first half was nice to see—Stu Douglass was so on fire he drove to the basket for an easy layup that wasn't blocked into the third row—but even as it was happening I was thinking "this can't last." Lo, it did not.

A side note: Purdue employed a strategy I've long thought is a low-cost way to lower your opponent's efficiency: a token press. Don't trap, don't get yourself out of position for easy buckets, just defend all 90 feet. Michigan crossed the half-court line four or five seconds later than they would have normally and often struggled to initiate the offense when the ballhandler picked up his dribble just past the line. On a half-dozen possessions Michigan had no semblance of an offense until half the shot clock was gone.

A kicker committed. I've searched for this a million times already so I know it's not out there but this, truly, is news that should be met with that bit of Monty Python and the Holy Grail wherein the animated peasants give a desultory "hurrah." The tubes don't have this because if you type "holy grail peasants" you get this a billion times:

Which is fine and all but doesn't have much relevance to Michigan's kicker situation. He's Matt Goudis, Tim all typed him up and stuff, and he should be a massive upgrade for Michigan's national-worst field goal kicking.

I'm most encouraged by the bit of the ESPN profile that says he's a "refined ball striker"—yes, yes, that's what she said—with a "motion that's very repeatable"—ditto—since Michigan went with a guy who didn't have great technique but made a lot of high school field goals in Brendan Gibbons and that didn't so much work out. I don't really care if kickers can hit 50-yarders since in most situations you're better off going for it in that portion of the field; give me a Garrett Rivas any day of the week.

Anthony Zettel committed… to Penn State. Guh. If Zettel was going to wait until the 28th of December, what's one more week to see if Rodriguez is retained or booted and if the latter who his replacement would be? That's a major loss for the class and a guy who will rankle every time he does something for Penn State, and one that would have been averted with one more win somewhere along the way this year.

Tate Forcier said a bunch of stuff. Angelique Chengelis scored an excellent interview with Tate Forcier at some of the Gator Bowl festivities. The bit most directly relevant to the "will he or won't he" stuff:

But not long after the UConn game, a posting on Twitter [ed: by that swimsuit model] said Forcier would transfer.

"That was like the fourth time I'd heard that," Forcier said. "I would have left if I was leaving. You just never know what can happen. It's God's plan. You don't know who's watching, and it's really what you make of it. So I stuck it out. It was actually after the UConn game that I just decided I'm going to stick here at least for this year.

"I think it took time for me. If I were to leave, I didn't realize what I would be leaving. One of the things I noticed, everyone who left would have had a shot to play if they would have stayed."

Forcier also says Michigan's system is "tailor-made" for Denard, that he "knows he can run" the offense but that "Denard is better in it, honestly." All of this sounds like a guy resigned to the idea he's a backup at Michigan if he stays, which is a mature way to approach things… and almost certainly provides strong motivation to depart after the year. He's certainly going to think about it:

"Anytime somebody says something to me about leaving, I say, 'I'm still here, aren't I?" Forcier said, pulling his jacket hard to make sure the Michigan logo is properly displayed. "You still see me with all this Michigan stuff on me. This is me. I'm already acclimated to everything here. The education is something you can't pass up.

"You never know what could happen. I just think it's really about what you make of it. When I get in (games), I try to do what I can do and make the most of it. I'm pretty much going to ride my own road. It's up to me."

I do have a credible-seeming email in the inbox about Montana getting a big time I-A QB transfer from a "west coast kid not on the west coast," FWIW, but even if that points to Forcier no names are in it. Since Forcier has a redshirt available it would seem to make more sense for him to transfer to another D-I school, anyway.

I hope he stays but you can't blame him for leaving. We'll always have triple overtime against Illinois.

Old man yelled at cloud. A guy in the News who literally writes Gil Thorpe wrote some thing about how Rich Rodriguez is a slippery money-grubbing so-and-so with a distinctly Hun disposition that's about what you'd expect from Gil Thorpe:


wsg Ming The Merciless

I'm not going to rehash the usual defense of Rich Rodriguez's contractual whatnot—in brief it's "John Beilein, saint"—but here's an oh snap from MVictors in response to the assertion that "Fielding Yost didn’t sign contract extensions and then flirt with other schools to extort raises":

“No matter how long Yost’s contract was (one-year, two-year, five-year) in his first decade, it was always a source of relief in Ann Arbor every late-Nov/early-Dec when he announced he was for sure coming back. Occasionally, there were reports he was considering an offer from, say, Wisconsin — or from the East. One year he even boldly and publicly disputed the wording of his contract as to whether he’d be allowed to coach elsewhere if he opted out of coaching Michigan.   Another year he threatened to retire, he was so discouraged.  Yost worked it masterfully to his own advantage."

If you think the response to this column has been harsh check out the comments on any Gil Thorpe online, wherein a bunch of snarky hipsters snark at each other about how terrible Gil Thorpe is.

Jim Harbaugh was like "oh no he di'in't." The report about Harbaugh signing an extension and staying at Stanford from the Stanford AD—always questionable—was obliterated by one Jim Harbaugh:

Harbaugh has yet to sign with Stanford, and when asked about his supposedly pending contract extension he stated:

"I haven't even discussed it."

Perhaps more interesting, when asked to respond to remarks from the Stanford AD implying that Harbaugh will sign the contract, "Maybe he misspoke."

On the other hand, his brother thinks he'll stay on the Farm and Harbaugh himself thinks Andrew Luck is staying in school. So there you go. We are inside of a week until we know.

Denard said he was "100 percent." Eeeee:

“He’s not banged up anymore,” receiver Roy Roundtree said. “He’s ready to go and he’s just getting the offense ready.”

Robinson didn’t divulge how much of an impact the injuries had on his performance, but he said while speaking at the team’s hotel that he was now “100 percent.”

Martavious Odoms became available for the Gator Bowl. Michigan's wide receiver depth gets a boost:

"Rodriguez says Odoms has been able to do everything in practice and should be good to go in the bowl game."

7-5 Iowa, fresh off a loss to Minnesota, beat Missouri. Good start for the Big Ten and a reason for the conference to be thankful the bowl matchups shook out the way they did—would Michigan have any chance to stay within two touchdowns of Blaine Gabbert and company with their secondary? Probably not.

The big story as far as 2011 goes was Marcus Coker bulldozing the Missouri defense for 200 yards and establishing himself the next obvious target for the wrath of Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God. If he's not struck down by providence, it looks like Iowa's got themselves a version of Beanie Wells the next few years.

Billy Sauer fought Bobby Goepfert. Seriously:

Billy's in the ECHL now. This kind of stuff happens.

Etc.: Ryan Mallett is an "overrated prospect who definitely should return" to Arkansas because he's got a bad case of the Stanzis (Stanzi as a junior, anyway). A few players had trouble getting to Jacksonville because of weather. There was also an "impromptu dance-off." Smart Football emerged from hibernation. Michigan will not have Jon Merrill and Chris Brown for the GLI (which starting tonight with a game against Michigan Tech) as both made the World Junior team. Craig Roh is a nice dude.



December 29th, 2010 at 11:38 PM ^

reality is that DB said on week one the decision would be made after the bowl

reality is he said this after Michigan had won 5 straight games

reality is he's sticking to the plan everyone seems to have forgotten he established

it's so ridiculous people are clamoring for a response and asserting it means one thing or another - would it mean RR was out if DB still hadn't announced but UM was 8-4? or 9-3? or 10-2? because i'm confident the exact same timeline would be utilized.

i'd be beyond frustrated if i were DB. he said he would announce at the end of the season before this was a 5 loss team. why did people just determine he was joking/not serious?


December 30th, 2010 at 10:04 AM ^

Just because DB says something doesn't mean its correct.  Everyone doesn't have to fall in line and believe everything he says or assume its correct.  DB is being consistent - good for him.  That doesn't mean he's doing the right thing.


December 29th, 2010 at 5:36 PM ^

If they make a bowl. As I watch Maryland with a lame duck coach right now. How many major programs have coaching uncertainly today, other than us? It ONLY makes sense if he's got JH ready to come in on the timeline some have guessed. If he's keeping Rich, it is monumentally stupid to hamper his recruiting, create more rumors, and alienate your coaches and players by leaving them dangling. And it's only worse if someone who has seen "the other 95%" HASN'T decided at this point whether to keep him or replace him after 3 years, and is being swayed by the frickin' Gator Bowl. If that's the case, he's not the slick businessman we've been led to believe, but a giant boob. And I would be far more scared of that being the case than keeping or firing Rich.

Fuzzy Dunlop

December 29th, 2010 at 5:43 PM ^

The only logical conclusions to be drawn from Brandon's timeline are as follows:

1)  He has Harbaugh in his pocket, or is negotiating with Harbaugh, but is waiting until after Harbaugh's bowl game to announce out of respect for the players on both teams;

2)  He is waiting to see the results of the bowl game before making his decision, with a great win weighing in Rodriguez's favor, a terrible loss being his death knell, and anything in between having some indeterminate impact.


December 29th, 2010 at 6:44 PM ^

But neither one seems like a shrewd approach.

1) Disrespects the 2011 Michigan team and beyond.  Preparing future Michigan teams is more important than bowl games for the 2010 Michigan team and 2010 Stanford team (which DB shouldn't be concerned with).


2) Inflicts needless damage to recruiting.  I find it hard to believe one game against Miss St matters compared to the last 3 years and the years to come (assuming RR is retained).  At the very least, DB would be better served saying "he's the coach" publicly and then backtracking if the unlikely (a terrible loss) occurs.


December 29th, 2010 at 10:40 PM ^

If you persist in announcing that because Brandon's decison timeline differs from yours he is a "giant boob", "monumentally stupid", and making you "very afraid" then there is little left to say.

I sleep well at night with the knowledge that whether Brandon announces his intentions today or in one week will have very little long term effect on the Michigan football program.


December 29th, 2010 at 11:34 PM ^

was that you are trying way too hard to sound smart and above the process. i flat out said it was my opinion based upon 9 different factors. DB could end up shoving a pizza down his pants, name Mike Illitch the coach and jump aboard an oceanliner. while i hope it won't happen, and 9000 different factors imply it won't, i guess it's just hope, isn't it?

i don't have a perogative. i answered a damn question assuming it was, you know, a question and not a rhetorical effort to show how absurd you think it is he hasn't answered.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:32 PM ^


There is no source for any timeline other than "an evaluation will be made after the season."

Everything else is speculation based on what people think has already been decided or will happen or what not.

No one knows anything.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:52 PM ^

I've thought all along that the one, single thing we did know is that DB did/is/will seriously think about the question of changing football coaches or not. But, yeah, while it seems extremely unlikely that's untrue, even that is an assumption.

For instance, it's entirely w/in the realm of possibility that we lose to Miss State and DB says, I think the program is on the right track under RR, I've thought it all along, and I really was being a massive stick in the mud about the fine point of letting the team finish the season before touching it in any way. It seems possible DB already plans to retain RR no matter the Gator outcome.

Though that scenario strikes me as one mother of a longshot.


December 29th, 2010 at 1:48 PM ^

I think the general assumption is that if DB changes coches it will be immedietly after the bowl game.  After that RRs season is over, and the sooner the new coach is hired the more time he has to get ready before his inagural season. 


December 29th, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

I just don't know why the general assumption is assumed to be true.

Logicially, it makes the most sense to make a decision at the end of November.  One can make arguments to push the decision into January, but one can also make arguments to push it into February...or July.

I too, expect an announcement in January but I don't understand the certainity that it will occur quickly, particularly when DB hasn't bowed to public pressure re:appropriate timelines.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:15 PM ^

Since speculation makes it seem like it will either be Harbaugh or RR coaching UM next year I'm not sure DB dumps RR right after the bowl game.  Stanford doesn't play until the night of the 3rd so if Harbaugh and DB already have something worked out, I don't think any annoucement would come until the 4th.  If DB were to announce on the 1st or 2nd that RR is gone, it would fuel massive speculation about Harbaugh right before Stanford's bowl game. 


December 29th, 2010 at 2:34 PM ^

One important date to keep in mind:

The "recruiting dead period" ends on 1/4.  On this date, coaches are allowed to contact potential recruits.  Given that our recruiting has been somewhat held back by the uncertainty surrounding the cc issue, I would imagine that whomever is selected to coach our fine football team will need every minutes of the time between 1/4 and signing day to try to lock down as many solid recruits as possible.  This is even more important if we have a new coach, who will REALLY be playing catch-up. 

I have to believe that DB gets this, so perhaps an announcemeny by 1/3 or early on 1/4 if RR is coming back.  If RR is going, I could see a 1/3 firing announcement with a 1/4 hiring of the new coach.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:57 PM ^

I get your point that DB has said that a week or so of recruiting here or there is not as important as this decision.  But, to not make a decision shortly after the bowl game and to risk losing the good part of this class (or miss out on getting kids who we might otherwise get if this is resolved) would be negligent, in my opinion.  We have experienced over the past three years the effects of some poor recruiting classes, and it ain't pretty.

My simplified view:

1.  If DB fires RR for JH:  If he does this, he had better do it ASAP.  If he waits until mid-January, JH only has 2 weeks before signing day to (1) get his staff in place, (2) try to solidify the current commits, (3) try to actually, you know, recruit kids who are undecided and (4) try to get some of his Stanford commits to come with him to AA.  In short, the new coach - JH or anyone else - would be at a huge disadvantage.  And this disadvantage would come with no corresponding benefit.

2.  If DB retains RR:  The media speculation surroundding RR's employment status has already grown to a fevered pitch, and has already made recruiting more difficult.  It has likely factored into at least a few kids choosing not to come here.  If DB doesn't announce his decision to retain RR until mid-January (or maybe until after signing day), RR will miss out on crucial weeks that could have otherwise have been spent firming up the class.  Again, this woul be done with no benefit to Michigan.

It only makes sense for DB to announce his decision ASAP.  As to my comment that "you have to believe that DB gets this," if he doesn't get this, than he is not worthy of his job.


December 29th, 2010 at 5:33 PM ^

But, isn't waiting till January when you could have had December also negligent? Can we be sure the harm to the program in december is less than in january?

If JH is hired in January, why couldn't he be hired in December?  DB had all the evidence needed (or 98% of it) to make a decision.  And Harbaugh, if he's serious about Michigan, owes it to UofM to give it all he has rather than taking a victory lap with Stanford.  Thats more important than coaching in a (fairly meaningless) bowl game.  So why wait?

If RR is reaffirmed as head coach in January, why couldn't this be done in December?  Again, the bowl game and its outcome can't be so significant that they override the recruiting ramifications for the future of the program.

"It only makes sense for DB to announce his decision ASAP." - to that I say it only makes sense for DB to announce his decision shortly after the OSU game.

The "David Brandon won't do it that way because I think doing it that way is wrong" logic doesn't make any sense to me when what he's done up till now is just that.  DB didnt get it last week, why would he get it next week.

Maybe I'm underplaying the value of the bowl game, but I'd rather see Michigan turn down the invitation than put the program in Park for an important month and a half leading up to signing day.

I hope everyones faith in Brandon is correct, I just don't see where its coming from.  Is he worthy of his job? It seems entirely unclear up to this point.


December 30th, 2010 at 3:02 AM ^

... But I figure that the way he took charge of the NCAA investigation, secured the first ever night game in The Big House, big match with Alabama in 2012, permanent lights for the Big House and hints that the basketball facilities will be upgraded, et all, in one year, seems quite impressive.

Does the above translate in knowledge in how to deal with a a coaching decision? no. But I respect the fact that he seems to want all data available before making a decision, and that includes how we perform in the Bowl game. So yeah, to me it is all hanging on the bowl performance. That is the only thing that explains to me, why the wait.


December 29th, 2010 at 1:42 PM ^

you didn't include the fact Forcier said, explicitly, he wouldn't transfer/get an education from somewhere that didn't have the quality of schooling that he can get from Michigan

Montana =/= Michigan


December 29th, 2010 at 2:14 PM ^

the University of Montana's College of Forestry and Conservation is a swell program as I understand it.  Tate Forcier:  spread qb/forest ranger/tree farmer/conservationist.

he could throw quick outs to the squirrels and so forth.


December 29th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

More maturity (at least in the public arena) than I could have possibly showed at that age. Hell, probably better than I could do now.


I hope he stays for Michigan, but I hope he does what's best for himself. I think that means transferring. I don't know.


December 29th, 2010 at 2:18 PM ^

Not only will we always have 3OT vs. Illinois, but we'll also have last year's epic win against ND, and the slightly less epic but just as nailbitingly anxiety-causing win against IU last year.

No matter what he does or where he goes, I for one will always appreciate his time here at Michigan, and the magical moments he provided.


December 29th, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

I'm ok with Forcier transferring after this year.  He provided much needed depth, and was able to take the reins when Denard went down.  It's good to see that he appears to have matured over the past year.

With that being said, it's probably in his own best interest to transfer.  He's clearly going to be stuck behind Denard, and possibly Devin Gardner the rest of his tenure at Michigan.  There are plenty of other schools out there that offer a Michigan-level of education that would love a QB of his caliber.

Blue boy johnson

December 29th, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

That full court press thing is a good way to bleed time off the clock, but over the course of a season it wears on your legs, which is why you don't see NBA teams doing that type of thing. I am more in favor of not guarding players until they are a threat to score, unless your'e playing from behind and situation dictates pressing.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:48 PM ^

There wasn't much I liked about Nolan Richardson, but I always admired his 40 minutes of hell defense. It didn't take the best talent, just a lot of depth, and caused havoc.


December 29th, 2010 at 9:48 PM ^

It's good to get your a$$ handed to you earlier in the season.  They should be able to work that much harder to play to that level.  I have faith.  They will improve as the season progresses.  I'm still hoping for a game above .500 in conference play.  That should squeak us in to the bubble!  With that said we need a lot of work, an injection of confidence, and a little luck.