Unverified Voracity Is Distorted For Fun

Submitted by Brian on June 10th, 2009 at 11:12 AM

Baseball draftin'. While the Major League Baseball draft isn't a major concern for anyone currently on the team—only Chris Fetter is expected to get drafted, and he's a senior—there are a couple of recruits who will be watching carefully to see where they go:

Derek Dennis, a shortstop from Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central High School, Daniel Fields, an infielder from University of Detroit Jesuit, and Patrick Biondi, a Dearborn Divine Child outfielder, are all potential early-round draft prospects.

Maloney said Baseball America projects Dennis as a third- or fourth-round pick and Fields as a fifth- or sixth-round pick.

Dennis, Baseball America's #6 high school shortstop, appears to be leaning towards school. Varsity Blue highlights a Grand Rapids Press article and sums up:

Michigan is close to signing Forest Hills shortstop Derek Dennis.  Dennis visited this last week, talked with Coach Maloney, Lloyd Carr, John Beilien, and Red Berenson to discuss the benefits of college.  The GRP makes it sound like if he’s not taken in the top 3 rounds, he will forgo signing and come to Michigan.  This may bode well, as if a team suspects he may not sign, he may get drafted even lower, increasing his odds of coming to Ann Arbor.

Dennis did not go yesterday, when rounds 1-3 were held. Fields, meanwhile, was the subject of an ESPNRise article in May that contains only this about the probability he'll end up on campus:

"He's got the combination of speed and potential power that a lot of people covet," says his father. "The power has to be more consistent, and I think it will be. To me, he's a potential five-tool player."

"He's the whole package," adds Fernandez.

MLB scouts will likely come out in droves this spring to watch Fields, who knows he has another great option -- his scholarship to Michigan -- in case the draft doesn't work out.

I didn't find anything on Biondi.

Zonin' it. Florida State, now possessors of former Rodriguez offensive line coach Rick Trickett, is something of a funhouse mirror via which we can discern things in the Michigan program. Trickett's installed the same sort of zone blocking Michigan has, and this has led to a fantastic post at Tomahawk Nation about the system. My favorite bits are the ones where TN transcribes a video of Alex Gibbs, the longtime Broncos guru and a guy who had major influence on zone running games across the country, including the spread 'n' shred:

Above all, we want guys who want play so bad they could die.  We want guys who can run, who are athletic, who have "recoverability", but who maybe lacks bulk and strength.  Maybe doesn't know what his body is about yet.  We want guys who are going to take advantage of that redshirt year.

TACKLES:  Tall, length, maybe no basic strength, but he can run, and we're willing to let him add that power. 6'5 1/2" is usually the max we want.

GUARDS & CENTERS:  height and length doesn't mean ****.  Marginal height, but plays with great leverage.  "LOW WAISTED" (long torso short legs), with leverage under our bodies.  Healthier by not being heavy.   RARE for them to play early.  Nobody over 6'3".  My center must be football brilliant.

Very intelligent on the inside.  The "test score limit would SCARE YOU."

In here you see the initial seeds of Molk, Omameh, and Huyge's successes, plus the coaching staff's out-and-out glee at picking up 6'3" Quinton Washington. You can also see why maybe Dann O'Neill was buried and why Mr. Plow said "screw you guys, I'm going home." Also of interest: that Christian Pace AMP interview where he came off like a future engineer.

Also note Florida State's heir apparent at running back, Jermaine Thomas. Thomas was a nondescript three-star—though ESPN made googly eyes—with but two major offers (Florida State and LSU). All he did last year was this:

Name No Gain Loss Net AVG
Smith,Antone 177 868 76 792 4.5
Thomas,Jermaine 69 492 10 482 7.0
Jones,Carlton 11 106 7 99 9.0
Sims,Marcus 23 68 4 64 2.8

And that's not especially cherry-picked runs against I-AA teams, either: take out Thomas's 18 carries against them and his average drops, sure, but only to 6.2 YPC. His highlight video is strikingly reminiscent of someone you might be familiar with:

That guy is a smaller, possibly faster, version of Brandon Minor down to the upright running style. One cut. Go. Also, check out how many of Thomas' big runs here are outside zones that get, you know, outside. I don't think I saw Michigan pull this off at any point last year. I specifically remember posting UFRs that openly questioned why the fullback always shot outside of a tackle who was getting shoved back to the point where the tailback had no choice but to turn it up between said tackle and Molk's generally-effective reach block. Since I never saw anyone actually get outside the tackle, it seemed like a waste.

I wonder what caused that. There are a number of possibilities:

  • The tackles weren't that good.
  • Molk's youth and lack of strength made it tough for him to anchor and dangerous for the tackle to hold his ground lest the holes evaporate entirely.
  • Opposing teams, confident in their ability to avoid second-level blocks from Michigan's ponderous guards, sold out to stop players from getting outside.

The answer was probably some mix of the three.

Say what? Tennessee blogs are casting about, looking for ways to explain the flood of secondary violations that have descended upon the program since Lane Kiffin was hired. Bruce Feldman helps out:

Truth is, almost every program has at least a dozen secondary violations a year. Until recently, they almost never made news.

Uh… maybe if Feldman is talking about entire athletic departments, and even that's a stretch. To suggest the Keystone Kiffins are anywhere near an NCAA median—or even under it—is wrong:

Of the 21 NCAA recruiting violations committed by Big Ten schools during the 2007-08 year, Ohio State committed more than half with 13.

Big Ten teams not named Ohio State averaged 0.8 secondary recruiting violations last year… for their entire athletic department. Even violation-happy Ohio State had only four fey self-applied wrist taps given to the football team, which is two fewer than Tennessee has racked up in six months.

How much does this matter? In no way whatsoever, apparently. But let's not pretend that this is some sort of media explosion over nothing*: Kiffin is racking up secondary violations at a rapid pace, and the reason they're so much more visible than the others are is that other secondary violations are things like "accidentally talked to recruit on Shrove Tuesday." Kiffin's blunders are far stupider, and far more public.

*(WE GET IT, Clay Travis. The SEC is going to dominate everything forever and everything that happens is evidence of this.)

Holy pants. Yost Built relays word that Michigan's disgusting 2010 hockey recruiting class looks to get disgustinger in the near future:

Mike Spath posted that Lucas Lessio, a first-round pick in the OHL Draft, may become a Wolverine. He would then play at St. Mike's (The school that produced Caporusso, Cogliano, and Burlon) next season. His source told him that Lessio would be the best player to come to Michigan out of Ontario in the last decade (which includes the names listed above as well as Mike Cammalleri). Lofty praise. He's been compared to Rick Nash in the past, according to that thread.

Holy hotpants. Please get to campus, everyone.

Tim also has a complaint about the home schedule, which finishes up with a Thursday night game against new power Notre Dame, but a commenter corrects him:

Spring break doesn't start until Feb. 27 or something like that next year, so thankfully students will actually get to be there for senior day. I'm assuming that is part of the reason why the game is on a Thursday.

If so, this is a fantastic move by the AD. Most previous senior days have been over breaks, which has been an enormous missed opportunity. Having a full-fledged home crowd for what could be a CCHA-title deciding game also seems like a good idea.

It will continue. Michigan's basketball scheduling looks like it will remain shiny as long as Beilein's around:

"When you have a situation like we're in right now when you have an (experienced) team coming back, I wanted to get my arms around this thing," coach John Beilein said. "We wanted to have enough games so we can have enough games in this (Crisler) arena. At the same time, when you've got a team coming off the NCAA tournament and a lot of people back, that's the time to go after it."

Adding Kansas to the mix may be the most intriguing element.

"I always would like to have one really marquee big-time team coming here," Beilein said.

Etc.: Nick Montana commits to… Washington? What? Some flashy Darius Morris highlights at UMHoops.


Michigan Arrogance

June 10th, 2009 at 11:52 AM ^

i think the schedule is a result of some special circumstances...

1) the Wisc outdoor game. everyone agrees it's a great idea, but it is another away game that had to be scheduled during a conf weekend. hence the wierd BG series and 1 fewer home game.

2) the BU series. we hosted BU for 2 and we have to to BU for 2. it's just weird that we have to split it up to one game in 2 years instead of the inverse. hence, a light home schedule.

there's a conservation principle going on there, AKA, there's no such thing as a free lunch. we want outdoor games and good teams to come to A2, but then complain about the schedule after we get what we want. there's not much they can do about it, [email protected].

Packer487 (not verified)

June 10th, 2009 at 1:55 PM ^

FTR, the only real beef I had with the schedule was the prospect of playing Notre Dame in a crucial series with the students away on Spring Break. It appears the AD agreed and moved the game prior to the start of Spring Break, which is a fantastic move. Anyone who's been to recent senior night games (the 4-0 (?) loss to FYS jumps right to mind) with a dead atmosphere knows what I'm talking about. If the students are there, I'm perfectly happy and I love the thought of a home-and-home with the Irish potentially with the CCHA title on the line.

I'd much rather play outdoor games and get teams like BU and BC at Yost (with the away games that go along with things like that) than series against Mercyhurst and Quinnipiac every year.

The home schedule *looks* light when you see 16 home games out of 37, but I pointed out that we only had 17/36 last year. It's not so different.

I'm fine with the Thursday/Tuesday BGSU games. They have definite "let-down" potential that scares me a little bit, but it's not like we don't look past teams like that and get bit every year anyway...


June 10th, 2009 at 11:52 AM ^

Fabulous stuff, including an interesting comment by Gibbs in the article:

"Your group and your chemistry is more important then your plays... I don't get Christmas cards, but I do get handshakes and head nods. Been to a lot of topless bars with my guys."


June 10th, 2009 at 12:05 PM ^

I remember Shaw getting to the outside a couple times last year. I think McGuffie's big run against ND came on a little flare pass that got him to the outside pre-snap. I actually saw Shaw more than Minor in the 1/3 of the highlights I watched above. I'm excited for that kid to get healthy and get on the field.

Is it september yet?


June 10th, 2009 at 12:47 PM ^

I think you're right if the money's good. Look at Putnam last year going lower than he hoped but still signing. If the money's right, playing for his hometown team's gotta be a big pull for him. What are the odds he goes that high and to Detroit again in three years? All the same I'd love to see him stay with Michigan if he's that good.


June 10th, 2009 at 1:25 PM ^

I think Minor's big run against Ohio State this past year that set up our only score was on the outside. But yeah....they were few and far between last year.


June 10th, 2009 at 1:27 PM ^

I understand the point [I think] of the TN post that one of the goals of a zone blocking/teamwork scheme is to eliminate negative plays, even if sometimes this cuts down the chances for long gains.

But, it seems to me that overall the spread rushing attack trends in just the opposite direction, that is, high risk/high reward. Doesn't it seem that a system that is so dependent on making reads so quickly would be the kind of system that is most likely to lead to spectacular gains or losses? [Although, the TN post seems to say that mega-repetitions of a small number of plays is the way to cure that.]

Anyway, even if last year's Michigan offense is not a good example of spread running game execution---I do not think I remember seeing other spread running offenses grinding it out +3, +5, +4, etc., the way it was done when I was in school during the Schembechler days [insert age joke here].

So, is the Michigan spread run game really supposed to get lots of small, positive plays? Or, is what FSU runs that different?


June 10th, 2009 at 1:55 PM ^

I didn't do a great job of pointing this out, but FSU is not moving towards the spread and shred. We want to run more 3WR1TE1RB/ 2WR2TE1RB type stuff (or use a fullback as an HBack).

We're trying to install what the Broncos did. Remember Minnesota under Glenn Mason with Maroney? I'm told that's what we want.

We ran a lot of spread stuff last year because we had 7 upperclassmen wideouts who were 4* or better. Teams had to respect the throw game (and DID, playing with two deep safeties all the time). We didn't throw it well, as our protection was pretty poor, and our QB made mistakes. But teams still played two safeties deep. This made it a lot easier on our OLine for run blocking.

This year we are light on wideouts (you may have heard??), and will be running more of what Minnesota does.

We want to use an 18" split (found that out last night from someone who has to line up in the system ;) ), which is a lot smaller than what Michigan wants to run. Still, the double team principles are very similar and the plays are very similar.

I am glad you asked this. In part 3 or 4, I am discussing splits. The spread n shred allows much greater gains, but also a lot greater penetration. Gibbs addresses this exact point.

Again guys, thanks for the linkage.


June 10th, 2009 at 2:01 PM ^

The RichRod offense is the same blocking scheme, with the addition of the QB read to hold the backside DE and act essentially as another blocker, enabling the tackle on the backside to immediately release to the second level. It also has the same emphasis on the quick backs who can get burst through the holes when they are created. The reason you don't remember most spread-option offenses grinding it out is because the defenses sell out to stop the reliable running play, which leaves them vulnerable to constraint plays that pick up large chunks of yards when the D is out of position.

Although my memory may be hazy due to lots of attempts to forget, I seem to remember Oregon doing this particularly well during The Horror pt II a few years ago. Jonathon Stewart would reliably gain 4-5 yards every running play until Michigan sold out to stop it, at which point Dennis Dixon would be off to the races.

marco dane

June 10th, 2009 at 2:27 PM ^

I like what the Athletic Department & Coach B are doing in this department. However I for one would LOVE Michigan continue playing Georgetown or starting a series with Georgia Tech,Western Kentucky,LSU or Bama.


June 10th, 2009 at 2:45 PM ^


A preemptive apology for the nitpick, but shouldn't this recurring title read "Unverified Veracity" as opposed to "Voracity". Unverified Voracity sounds like an unfounded claim about Gabe Watson's cafeteria exploits. I just wouldn't want you to miss this vocab question on the THE Ohio State High School Graduation Test. We can't run the risk of you being ruled ineligible this year. We need you man.

Bartleby the Scrivner

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UM English Major '90
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