Unverified Voracity Dominates Combines Comment Count

Brian February 28th, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Release the constructions. Stage N of the everlasting Crisler revamp has begun. Behold pictures of construction.


The renovations will be completed just in time for no one to be able to afford tickets.

Combine crushage. Mike Martin may not have put up as many reps as he wanted in the bench press but he still finished second amongst DTs. In everything else he was exceptional:

Bench press: 36 repetitions, where he tied for second
40-yard dash: 4.88 seconds
Vertical jump: 33.5 inches, where he tied for 13th
Broad jump: 113 inches
3-cone drill: 7.19 seconds, where he tied for 15th
20-yard shuttle: 4.25 seconds, tied for sixth

That is at 306 pounds. He's a riser amongst DTs.

Meanwhile, Junior Hemingway put up two 4.5 40s and killed the agility drills:

In the other events, Hemingway really stood out:

  • Three-cone: 6.59 seconds, first out of 26 receivers
  • 20-yard shuttle: 3.98 seconds, tied for first out of 26 receivers
  • 60-yard shuttle: 11.16 seconds, 2nd out of 13 receivers

"There aren't many receivers who did more for themselves than that guy," an AFC scout said of Hemingway. "He wasn't even on our radar going into this thing. He is now.

Therein is the inexplicable YAC knack. I wonder why it seemed like he could never get separation if he's putting up those numbers. A 225 pound guy who can change directions that fast should be open all the time.

For his part, David Molk put up 41 reps in the bench, second only to Memphis freak of nature Dontari Poe. He is furious about this, because David Molk is furious about everything.

Ahem. Barwis?

The bust. Rivals puts out a list of recruiting class busts highlighted by Kiffin's single year at Tennessee and three consecutive Florida State classes in the dying days of the Bowden era. Michigan's '05 class checks in 7th. Michigan finished sixth in the class rankings that year and got very little from that class.


  • Kevin Grady (#22 overall)
  • Jason Forcier
  • Brandon Logan
  • LaTerryal Savoy
  • Mister Simpson
  • Andre Criswell (not that anyone expected a ton from him)


  • Marques Slocum (#37)
  • James McKinney (#98)
  • Eugene Germany
  • Chris Richards
  • Johnny Sears
  • Justin Schifano (not a bad guy but didn't want to play football)
  • Carson Butler


  • Antonio Bass (#49)
  • Cory Zirbel (#83)
  • Chris McLaurin


  • Mario Manningham (#45)
  • Terrance Taylor (#96)
  • Brandon Harrison
  • David Moosman
  • Zoltan Mesko
  • Tim McAvoy (sort of)
  • Mark Ortmann

That's brutal. You've got a couple of okay linemen, Manningham, Taylor, and Harrison. The next year's class was decent (Brandon Graham, Steve Schilling, Jonas Mouton, Steve Brown, Brandon Minor) but didn't produce anything past the four stars save Perry Dorrestein; 2007 had Mallett and Warren as five star headliners and was then mostly junk, which set Rodriguez up for failure from the start. Rodriguez then helped matters along, of course.

This is all so clear in retrospect. One of the things I'll be looking for in the first couple Hoke classes is how many guys we see burn out for character/grade issues. It certainly seems like that number is going to be a lot lower than we saw at the tail end of the Carr regime. So far Hoke's only got Chris Barnett, the surprise tight end with red flags galore who burned out halfway through fall camp and took Kellen Jones with him. (Jones ended up at Oklahoma. QED.) That's an understandable misstep in the midst of a chaotic final month before signing day with a new roster. Since then he hasn't approached a guy with a whisper of an issue.

Popcorn time. Sports statistics fabulist David Berri is still plugging his ridiculous notion that draft status is not at all predictive of NFL QB performance. This was one of the claims that caused me to write a long screed about how useless Berri is a couple years ago in which I collected Berri debunkings in the four major sports to point out that his claims are almost always either easily proven false or simpleminded simplifications of incredibly complex questions.

This remains the case if he's still pumping his inane NFL QB study. This time Phil Birnbaum has noticed:

They argue -- as does Gladwell -- that we should just assume the guys who played less, or didn't play at all, are just as good as the guys who did play. We should just disregard the opinions of the coaches, who decided they weren't good enough.

That's silly, isn't it? I mean, it's not logically impossible, but it defies common sense. At least you should need some evidence for it, instead of just blithely accepting it as a given.

And, in any case, there's an obvious, reasonable alternative model that doesn't force you to second-guess the professionals quite as much. That is: maybe early draft choices aren't taken because they're expected to be *better* superstars, but because they're expected to be *more likely* to be superstars.

He promises future posts examining the subject. I promise they'll leave Berri's study shattered at the bottom of a ravine.

Erp? TTB interviews Ben Braden and comes back with this:

Early playing time: Right now, the plan is that I will not be redshirting. I think I'll be a second stringer, and then just go from there. But right now that's the plan between me and the coaches. . . . [I'll be playing] right tackle.

I'm not exactly stressed that Michigan might miss out on a redshirt senior year from Braden what with the 2013 OL class, but if I had to bet I'd say Braden ends up redshirting anyway.

There's a difference between Jack Miller redshirting—the world will end before you see the field this year—and Braden's spot on the depth chart. It's not too hard to envision a situation in which he's forced onto the field. Even assuming Kalis is what he's reputed to be Braden's certainly in the running to be the second guy off the bench in the event of injuries at tackle. I bet we'd see Elliott Mealer in before Braden in the event a tackle goes down with a minor injury a la Lewan last year, as they'll want to preserve that redshirt if possible.

Etc.: Oregon in trouble yo. Bacon on Ford and Willis Ward. If you haven't read Baumgardner's extensive profile of Douglass and Novak you should.



February 28th, 2012 at 2:48 PM ^

On players who had entered the University, and flamed out. That's what Brian was talking about, and in Yuri's case the problem was stemmed off before he got here.  It's taking a nitpick of a word, to change the whole meaning of the passage. It's kinda like writing something negative about a recruit, like Logan Tully-Tillman, and then saying the whole thing is unendingly and unfairly negative. It's taking out one part and picking at that nit to insinuate it disproves all the rest.


February 28th, 2012 at 3:30 PM ^

Smart people can filter out information for what it means without making unfair generalizations.  I don't think it's picking nits.  Michigan has recruited guys with character issues, and I'm sure Brian's well aware of that.  Have they committed to Michigan in the last two recruiting classes?  For the most part, no.  Brian's statement wasn't 100% true, and the responder's statement doesn't mean that Hoke has pursued a bunch of criminals.  It doesn't have to be either one of those extremes.


February 28th, 2012 at 3:40 PM ^

"Since then he hasn't had a guy approaching a whisper of an issue."  would we all be happier? Yes, maybe bad wording on Brian's part, but I don't see how the gist of something discussing what players have done (and how they've bombed out) inside the program is really in any way related to the one sentence he took to question the rest. Thus, the nit.  Because that takes it a step further from what guys have done once they get here, to what every guy we've ever recruited does after they go wherever, even the ones we turn down for those very issues.


Michigan has had players in the past with character issues. It happened under Lloyd, it happened under Rich, heck, it happened under Bo, and it will eventually happen to Hoke too. You take chances on guys...sometimes for football reasons, sometimes because you think you can reach a kid.  I like to think we take less serious chances than a lot of programs, and when we do we at least do it for some combination of those reasons, and not just the former.  None of this is news to you or most anyone reading it.

So yes, as worded the one sentence, taken out of the context of the whole passage, was incorrect.  Whether that was just snark for the sake of it or some serious point of contention is up for debate.


February 28th, 2012 at 2:31 PM ^

Dead bodies?

And if no one goes because they can't afford tickets, is that really that different than no one going because they don't care? I'm not sure how Brandon deduced that because of one pretty good year that it's suddenly the hot ticket in town. It's still a program that couldn't sell out every game in the Fab Five's final full year in the Big Ten. He's charging at rates of programs that hang banners every year. You're going to see a lot of empty seats, seats filled by suits, or seats sold off to opposing fans.  Particularly if the team doesn't continue it's upward trend. But hey, the upper deck will be really loud.

Is it possible that Mister Simpson could be on both bust lists? Scary dude.


February 28th, 2012 at 3:00 PM ^

More East Coast Kids will help fill it up.  The stereotype seems to be that Midwestern folks go to hockey games.  East Coast kids go to basketball games.  Not always true of course.  

I've only been in Crisler twice due to hockey.  If I'm going to see a sporting event that isn't football, hockey it is.  Between the Red Wings and Yost I've never really reached a point where I can't get tickets to a hockey game.  We have to get in more coastal kids who value basketball over hockey.  


February 28th, 2012 at 3:30 PM ^

I think hockey is like it is everywhere else except Canada. A niche sport that has a small but really loyal fanbase in hotbed of hockey.  And it helps a lot when said team is good, and they're not the "Dead Things" or Michigan before or at the beginning of Berenson where MSU used to fill up Yost like they did when Izzo was stomping the latest inept Michigan basketball coach.  People forget it now, or weren't around long enough to remember it, but Sparty used to fill up hockey games down here. Till we became better than them again.

The University has always had a disproportionate amount of New Yorkers for where the school is located (for various reasons), so I'm not sure how much of an influx we can get.  Maybe more ACC country, but the problem is Michigan Basketball isn't football.  Yost looks and sounds amazing because the arena is so small, and those who fill it know their stuff and are very passionate about it. If they flipped arenas, Hockey would be playing to a lot of seats, and you could probably fill Yost with basketball die hards. 

Michigan is one of a few schools set up to be traditionally good at both "major" sports.  But whether it's UCLA, or whoever, one is always primary over the other. Here, it's football. They've done a good job bringing excitment back to the program, but when it's not "oohhh...we ALMOST won a Big Ten title", and excellence is expected, are we really going to become Duke North?  Or more likely go back to where excellence is expected, people will show up for big games (as they almost always have), and make the lesser ones an empty affair. It's not Michigan Football, where every seat is cherished (and I'm not sure how many more years we could have pittered around in mediocrity before you started really seeing empty sections of the Stadium). And who knows what happens when Beilein retires?  You could go back to a struggling team, and have a lot of empty seats, and prices you can't roll back because the people who ARE paying the license fees are going to want to know why should pay them if they're going to turn around and sell the seat next to them for $20.

You can do that stuff in football, as long as you stay good. During so in basketball I fear is a grave over estimation in the drawing power of the program, and the success level they've actually obtained to date. Win a title. Go to a Final Four. Preferrably more than once.  Then you can get all "keeping up with the Jones."


February 28th, 2012 at 3:58 PM ^

At the end of the day, Ann Arbor is not a big town.  There just aren't enough immediate locals to fill Crisler on a regular basis like you would have in Minneapolis, Columbus, or even Madison (roughly twice as large).  For football, people are willing to drive in 6-8 times a year on a Saturday afternoon.  The pool of people who will get off work and drive 45 minutes both ways on a Wednesday night in January or February is always going to be a lot smaller, and they aren't going to make that sacrifice unless there is a really compelling reason (team is great, playing a top-notch opponent, rivalry game, etc.).  

Like you say, I think it would take quite a lot to bring in a sell-out crowd every night.  I doubt raising ticket prices substantially brings us any closer to that goal. 


February 29th, 2012 at 8:52 AM ^

Bloomington is significantly smaller than Ann Arbor, yet IU averages more per game at Assembly Hall (larger than Crisler by a few thousand) and has for decades. The reasons are simple: basketball is the big sport here, and IU's been good enough often enough that interest can be sustained even through down times. (The same is true to a lesser extent at Purdue; much less national success, but enough conference success to combine with general basketball interest to put ticket sales in the top 25 despite having a significantly smaller arena than IU does.)

The thing is not that Ann Arbor isn't a big town - it's that Ann Arbor isn't a basketball town. Neither is Columbus. (Even with a larger, newer arena and significantly better teams than in the past, OSU struggles to outdraw Indiana and Wisconsin.) Neither is Minneapolis. (Minnesota hasn't drawn capacity crowds since 1999.) In 1989, Michigan was sixth in the Big Ten in attendance; in 1990, they were seventh. In neither season were they drawing capacity crowds. Basketball success is cool, but football success is paramount, and if there's a secondary sport, it's hockey, right?

At OSU, I doubt there's a secondary sport behind football. At Minnesota, I doubt there's a secondary sport behind hockey. Unless someone comes in and develops a program that takes the conference by storm, that won't change. (Look at how long it took Sparty to draw sellout crowds, and watch what happens when Izzo leaves.)


February 28th, 2012 at 3:20 PM ^

I wonder to what extent this is a calculated decision by Brandon (or any AD) that higher prices will lead to more ticket revenue, even if fewer butts are in the seats. 

I've seen similar issues with respect to USC football, where ticket prices have risen at a time when the team's fortunes weren't necessarily improving and you ended up with 60-65 thousand folks in a stadium that holds over 90,000 (happened at least 3 times this past season).  Even the games against UCLA and ND have failed to sell out as the school refuses to budge from their $85+ (not to mention bullshit fees and what-not) price tag for even the crappiest seats in the stadium.  They make the tickets seem super exclusive, refuse to sell them except as part of a package with another game, and then end up (it seems) desperately trying to move them the week of the game.  I wonder if this is just a miscalculation or a designed plan to maximize revenue, even if there are a few empty seats on camera.  They also change the student seating on a seemingly annual basis (and preventing kids from selling their tickets to someone who wants to go) creating some games that are overpacked with fans and others where half the student section is empty.

Obviously LA fans are notoriously fickle, but I doubt there is any more fluctuation in attendance than we've seen for Michigan basketball over the years.  I'd be curious to know at what point the AD would choose a packed house every night over an increase in revenue.



February 28th, 2012 at 4:09 PM ^

First of all, you couldn't regularly fill USC's basketball arena even if they gave away the tickets for free. 

I realize the football/basketball situations are different, but I think the phenomenon of (potentially) raising prices in the face of (again, potentially) diminishing attendance is an interesting one with parallels between the two programs.  In the case of both programs (SC football and Michigan basketball), attendance has usually fallen just short of 100% (even in the best of times) and demand is extremely elastic (SC was bringing in 40-50 thousand at the end of the Hackett years and I've been in Crisler plenty of times when it was half full). 

At SC they raised prices, saw a slight downtick in performance (not bad, just not BCS-bowl-every-year good), and the result was a ton of empty seats.  If Michigan goes back to being a bubble team or worse every year, I imagine we'll also see a lot of poorly attended games here as well, especially against anonymous non-conference opponents. 

My question is, how much does either AD care if revenue is up?  At what point does any AD value a full house every night over maximizing ticket revenue?  Also, do you paint yourself into a corner as in the example M-Wolverine mentioned where people who paid top dollar are going to be pissed if the same or similar seats start going to bargain prices in order to fill the arena.


February 28th, 2012 at 4:16 PM ^

Every sports team that sells tickets decides (at least by default) how much they're willing to risk driving people away with their ticket prices.  I hope that Michigan will always err on the side of losing out on some potential money in exchange for higher attendance, but I could easily see it going the other way. 


February 28th, 2012 at 8:57 PM ^

The NFL can get away with anything; they're Teflon. And sure some other teams like the Yankees could. Or college basketball hotbeds. But say the Pistons- their prices are outrageous when they're competing for a championship, but they LOWER the prices when they suck. And still can't give them way. If you've had big $$$ donations, how do you just say "oh, you don't have to give them anymore till we don't suck again." when was the last time major college ticket prices went down?


February 28th, 2012 at 5:33 PM ^

If USC had a smaller stadium - like say, 65-70K - every game would be a sellout.  Their real problem is that their stadium is too large.  I don't think USC has ever sold out on a regular basis.

The diehard fans will pay the additional costs to go to the games.  (We've seen this in Michigan football, where ticket prices have more than doubled over the past decade.)  It's the casual fan - the guy who just wants to be entertained for a few hours - that is affected by price increases.  

Michigan basketball should be able to fill up a 12,000-seat arena.  I don't think ticket prices are ultimately going to be an issue.  The issue is having a large enough pool of diehards to go.  Really, it shouldn't be an problem.   If MSU can sell out the Bresln Center (which seats nearly 15,000) while being located in a much less populous area, we should be able to as well.

 Our problem is that for various reasons, a lot of fans - particularly the big-money types - have not felt an identification with the program for a long time.  The 1980s teams were tarnished by rumors of off-court issues.  The Fab Five rubbed the old-money fans the wrong way.  Then the program collapsed, making fans embarassed to support them.  I do think Beilein is the guy who can bring the "football crowd" into the fold.  It may take a couple more years, though. 


February 28th, 2012 at 9:09 PM ^

I don't know... But that's a long time for fans to be not in sync with the program. We probably shoud be able to fill a 12,000 set arena. I'm just not sure we ever have, so I don't know that there's any reason to think we will.

MSU has done it because they've had a run more successful than any program they've had in over 50 years; maybe ever. Yes, if we're going to a Final Four every four years and hanging banners regularly we could sell out 15,000 seats. Anyone can. (Maybe. A National Championship and two more Final Fours in 5 years couldn't). MSU used to sell out hockey games before they started sucking. They're fans aren't more loyal; they're winning the title, again.

If we're depending on old blue to buy the expensive tickets and sell the place out, we could be waiting a long time. Unless we become Duke. Because they won't come unless we win a LOT...and to win a lot, you need the "type of players" that seem to rub them the wrong way. Doesn't mean you have to be dirty, or have thugs. But even Duke can't succeed off of recruiting only country club kids anymore.


February 29th, 2012 at 12:37 AM ^

"And if no one goes because they can't afford tickets, is that really that different than no one going because they don't care?   I'm not sure how Brandon deduced that because of one pretty good year that it's suddenly the hot ticket in town"

Why are we still questioning David Brandon's decision making without any empirical evidence to suggest it is poor?  David Brandon has been under insane levels of scrutiny by the people on this forum since the day he was hired as AD and he has handled the AD position flawlessly the entire time.  Give it a rest.  The ticket pricing is exactly in equilibrium with demand.


February 28th, 2012 at 2:35 PM ^

I'm not questioning the gist of your point about busts - Michigan does seem to be going after kids with high character more so than Rodriguez.  But I do slightly disagree with the talk about not approaching guys with issues altogether.  I'll give Hoke a bit of a pass on Barnett, because the signs were there but Michigan needed a tight end in a short period of time.  But there is at least one guy who's had some off-the-field issues.  Time will tell if it carries over into college.

Section 1

February 28th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

Hey, all I do is ask questions.  Not build painstakingly-researched charts and graphs, utilizing a comprehension of advanced statistical analysis that I can only dream of.  Okay?

Anyway, here is the thing I'd like to see quantified: the effect, on recruiting, of sincerely-perceived doubt that the Head Football Coach will be able to keep his job.  Or coaching changes more broadly.

I can see the problems arising; how do you quanitfy "rumors that the coach is going to get fired"?  (Look at years just before a coach actually gets fired, I guess.)  Do you regress for the fact that coaches might get fired because they are being unsuccessful, losing, and not recruiting well to begin with?  Uh, yes.  Somehow.  Would it be particularly helpful to look at coaches who were terminated for reasons like NCAA investigations, rules violations, scandal, etc.?  Probably.  Seems like that would help.  Are there lots more interesting problems that I am not even thinking about?  Undoubtedly.



February 28th, 2012 at 2:45 PM ^

What is an NFL team supposed to do with that information?  Of course a first-rounder might be a bust!  You none-the-less would be a fool to say, "Well, we have Andrew Luck as the best player on the board, but there is only a weak correlation between round selected and performance, so let's wait to the seventh round and draft Ryan Lindley because there is only a slight chance that Luck will out-perform Lindley."*

 EDIT:  Looking at the Berri paper more - and building on the rebuttal in Brian's post -  it makes the mistake of assuming that a back-up who goes 11/12 with a TD with no interceptions against a second string defense in a late-season game is better than a guy who starts all year with a 60% completion percentage and 30 TDs to 16 Ints. 

*Assuming that your goal is to get the best possible QB.   


February 28th, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

I think part of the problem is the NFL was maybe in the past too quick to jump on anyone with "franchise QB" potential.  The more early round picks get spent on QBs, the more "busts" you are going to have (there are just a limited number of slots for Pro Bowl caliber players.  It seems like lately we've seen fewer and fewer QBs taken in the first round as a result of the realization that beyond the surefire, can't-find-a-flaw guys like Manning, most guys come with question marks. 

It is just anecdotal, but we even saw Aaron Rodgers slip quite a bit in the first round.  It seems like most years that 2nd QB is getting drafted later and later, and we're seeing fewer years like the one where Cade McNown and Akili Smith went in the first round.


February 28th, 2012 at 3:23 PM ^

Teams seem to reach less than they used to for QBs, but that seems to me to be evidence in favor of relying on the measurements that Berri and his co-writer dismiss.   In other words, teams were missing on QBs (I believe) in part because they were disregarding their evaluations as to where a player ranked on the draft board, not because their evaluations were incorrect...I realize that you're not arguing in favor of the Berri paper, btw.       


February 28th, 2012 at 3:38 PM ^

It does seem like teams were essentially gambling (i.e. ignoring their "best player" grading) simply because the potential payoff of landing a blue-chip QB seemed so high.  I imagine you see more busts at offensive tackle for the same reason as teams draft on potential at that spot while waiting and being more careful about who they select at guard/center. 

This also seems like an issue the NFL has largely self-corrected in recent years, Vince Young and Jamarcus Russell aside.

Beyond that, Berri seems to miss the scope of the available candidates (hundreds of college starters at every level and in some cases their backups) and the limited number of slots (especially for a high end, starting NFL QB).  In the some way too much is made of all the 2-star recruits who go on to get drafted (most high school players in the country are two-star recruits or below, so there is an enormous pool of them), he seems to miss the boat on the sheer numbers involved. 


February 28th, 2012 at 3:31 PM ^

Obviously I rooted for Martin and Molk (though I'm surprised by Hemingway), but I've never been a fan of the Combine because it rewards all the wrong skills.  It's one reason why Ryan Leaf got drafted #2 while Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round.  Tom Brady was able to add strength and speed to his frame, but you can't give a Wazzu QB brains.  I disagree with the fallacy that draft status has NO correlation with NFL performance.  That said, there are exceptions, and I generally find the exceptions are due to too much attention to the wrong details -- including, but not limited to, the Combine.

It certainly helps that dudes who can play do well at the Combine, and I think that's what we see here with Martin.  That said, a lot of "game speed" and "game strength" are really vision, leverage and decision-making.  You could bench press 400 pounds, but if your balance and leverage are bad, you could by applying as little as half that strength on your opponent.  Mike Martin generally doesn't make that mistake, making his Combine numbers lethal.  You can run through some cones quickly, but cones don't move on their own.  If a DL is constantly having to re-set his feet reacting to the play, "speed" really isn't even the right word anymore to describe just how slowly the lineman moves through the field.  This in part could explain why Hemingway couldn't get separation -- he's got quickness but never had a knack for using it without the ball in his hands.  I don't remember details but I get the feeling he was a "by the book" route runner, meaning he didn't try many moves on the guy covering him for fear the delay would disrupt Denard's timing.  When the ball's already in his hands and there's no more timing to worry about, he's like, "Fark it, now I can do my Barry Sanders thing."

The book on Dontari Poe is that he's basically just a big mauler.  Despite being a Combine freak he didn't really dominate on the field.  He did require a double-team but a lack of quickness meant he could be controlled -- or just ridden out of the play.  Martin didn't get as many reps as Poe, but he's a wrestler -- what muscles he does have will be very efficiently applied in oh so painful ways.  On the other hand, he is short for an NFL tackle, so despite being stronger than many O-linemen he may have problems with leverage.  The mistake here is that NFL scouts will say, "Well, you can develop Poe's quickness but you can't make Mike Martin grow any taller."  That's hypothetically true ONLY if you assume every player out of college can be taught, and scouts really underrate work ethic.  I don't know Poe, but my point isn't to pick on Poe so much as focus on how NFL scouts are often overly optimistic in that "he'll be perfect for me once I change him" way.


February 28th, 2012 at 3:54 PM ^

The Berri paper, though, says that height, Wonderlic, and 40 yard dash don't have any correlation to a QB's success (when looking at QBs drafted 1-250).  They also say that accuracy in college has a correlation to accuracy in the pros but then downplay how much that matters in an overall evaluation. 

A problem is that they seem to be looking at the above stats in isolation and also (by default) dealing with players who were at least believed to have enough potential when it came to those measurements to merit an invite to the combine.   Looking at Drew Brees, Brady, and others, you can obviously be a little short (Brees), a little slow (Brady), or whatever, but you cannot be short and slow and have a relatively poor ability to problem-solve, etc. 


February 28th, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State  -  V
With so many rising defensive linemen, some players had to fall. One such prospect was Jerel Worthy, who was pretty sloppy in the drills. His vertical (28.5) didn't really impress, though it's worth noting that he had a quality 10-yard split (1.64) in the 40. 


February 28th, 2012 at 3:42 PM ^

The Oregon link says that Oregon paid two guys for recruit into. Is that new info? How big of a deal is this? Is Kelley potentially in for show-cause charges? Is Oregon going to get lack of institutional control, failure to monitor? I haven't seen much speculation, but I'm wondering if Kelley will lose his job over this.


February 28th, 2012 at 3:46 PM ^

Wow....this thread is a vertible "who's who" of MGoBlog posters.  Magnus, M-Wolverine, Section 1, Eric in Dayon and Purple Stuff.  And all over recruiting and character kids....who would've guessed?

El Jeffe

February 28th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

I kind of get why they measure vertical jump for D linemen, since it's probably predictive of overall athleticism. But like, vertical jump for D linemen? WTF?

Also, 33.5" is ridiculous for a man that big. So he's got that going for him. And were there really 12 D linemen who outjumped him? That's crazy.


February 28th, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

the 12 DL include DEs, who are lighter and freak-athlete-ier more than MM.

Vertical Jump can show leg strength to an extent. They don't do a squat lift, but a vertical jump shows strength and explosiveness. Also, a good vertical jump from a DL can help you do this:

sports fan

February 28th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

One of my pet peaves is the incessant clamboring for fresh recruits to redshirt their first year. That is simply asking a young man to spend at least 5 years in college.  If he can graduate in 4 years, it seems selfish to me as a fan to ask him to hang around so my team might be better 5 years from now.  If the recruit and the coaches think that is in his best interests to do so, fine.  But if that recruit thinks it is not in his best interest, that should be fine also.

It might be different if we only had a few high quality recruits.  Then we might be success-starved if they didn't hang around for a bigger, stronger, fifth year.  However, if we can continue to recruit high quality players, they will all be pushing for playing time early.  When Ben Braden is in his fourth year, he will have three years of top quality recruits right behind him. Keeping him for another year, it seems to me, would be frustrating for the guys behind to looking for playing time, and, apparently, frustrating for Braden who wants to be in a position to move on.

Couple of years ago lots of bloggers wanted Gardner's redshirt saved, so he would be around an extra year.  Now Gardner almost seems like an afterthought with Morris in the picture.  Who needs Gardner's redshirt.  Take a longer view of things, folks.

All of this brings up an interesting subject.  What is the ideal recruiting / playing cycle for an athlete.  Let's say you sign all 5* players, one for each position of the team every year.  Fans would want them all to redshirt year one, scout team year two, special teams year three, two deep year four, start year five.  Then off to the pros.  Repeat year after year, after year.  How many 5*s are going to settle for that pattern?

Maybe you cut that down a year; skip the redshirt year.  That gets your 5* backups playing time sooner.  But maybe you can't even recruit 5*s the second or third year in this cycle  because there are too  many 5*s ahead of them.

Maybe you cut that down one more year and send your 5*s off to the pros after three years.  This makes it easier to recruit  5*s behind the ones leaving early.  That would jeopardize you ARP, however.

Maybe you recruit only 4*s who will stay the full four years.

All this is highly theoretical, of course, but so is the reason we think in year zero, that a player needs to redshirt.



February 28th, 2012 at 4:00 PM ^

Comes from EA NCAA Football.  They don't take into account the kids (living, breathing, thinking, feeling ones), or the team dynamic.  You owe it to your team, and your current seniors to play the best players who will help you win right now.  Now that doesn't mean you play a guy one time on special teams because you really need him for that one play just to sacrifice his season (see Horford).  

And the other factor is the kid.  If you're wasting a year by not redshirting him, the kid is losing out. If he's actually better than the guy ahead of him, then you're cheating him so he can be super-duper extra good his 5th year. And player know that. They know who the best guys are, whether it's them, or somebody else. And it's not good for team morale to say "yeah, you've worked harder, and are playing better than the next guy...but he's playing because we want to redshirt you."  If it's earned, it has to be given.

The unsaid thing in all of this for a few is money. Keep them an extra year, and you're taking an extra year of football earnings in a very finite career from them.  Or, on the other end, they only have to stay 3 years whether they redshirt or not. So you can play a really great guy for 3 years, or redshirt him, have him play for 2, THEN go to the NFL.  Not optimal.


February 28th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

First, a redshirt often gives a guy the best chance to be at his best in college (his fifth year), thereby giving him the best chance to look good for scouts or at least the best chance to start.  This is especially true for lineman, of course. 

Second, I want Devin Gardner's redshirt, and I'll bet he does too.  His best chance to play in the NFL will be to have as much time as possible to start at Michigan, and I don't think anyone should take it for granted that Shane Morris will beat him out.  Morris will be in his first and second years in 2013-14.  Gardner will be in his fourth and possibly fifth. 


February 28th, 2012 at 10:37 PM ^

There can be positive academic results for a fifth year.  We shouldn't focus only on athletics. Most of the studies I have seen report something in the neighborhood of 40% of college students graduating in four years and 60% in six years.  There are, of course, numerous variables in play, but getting an extra year to graduate can be an academic blessing for many students. Even a high achieving student can benefit from being able to mix in more fun or easy electives into their courses, so instead of taking, say, five really tough classes one semester, taking four tought classes and one that's an easy passing grade. Or they could pick up a minor or second major.  And for students who start out needing a remedial class or two, that extra year can be a Godsend.  For those going into the NFL, think how much easier it is on them to graduate after 4 1/2 years and have the spring of their 5th year to focus purely on preparing for the NFL draft.


February 28th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

Brian Wonders:  Therein is the inexplicable YAC knack. I wonder why it seemed like he could never get separation if he's putting up those numbers. A 225 pound guy who can change directions that fast should be open all the time.

1) Junior had several years of young QBs throwing inaccurately in a spread attack (not a sophisticated passing attack at all)... not based on timing or anything really to do with an NFL offense...other than his jump ball ability...Junior basically was not featured in this RR offensive scheme....

2) the agility drill shows that he has explosion...he just needs to get in the right offense, get his patterns down and work on timing with the QB.

Junior could have thrived in a traditional UM offense, he was just a victim of bad timing.


February 28th, 2012 at 4:53 PM ^

Junior Hemingway's 2010 stats (missed 3 games due to injury): 3.2 catches per game, 59.3 yards per game, 4 total TD

Junior Hemingway's 2011 stats: 2.6 catches per game, 53.8 yards per game, 4 total TD

Scheme and coaching had no impact on how Junior Hemingway was featured in the offense.  Any change in perception came as other guys lost catches in 2011 with the team throwing the ball a lot less and Stonum leaving the lineup.  

In a "traditional" UM offense (one coached by Mr. Schembechler, for example), Junior's numbers would have been a lot lower.  That is what happens when you run the ball as effectively as Michigan has the last two years.  And there is never a bad time to rush for 220+ yards per game. 


February 29th, 2012 at 12:20 AM ^

Well...there are still some RR fans here....which is fine. 

However, if you do not think that Junior (and other WRs) numbers were not affected by a running spread, (and young QBs who are not that accurate throwing) did not affect his numbers, well OK.... but IMO you are looking at the same offense (basically because Borges had to adjust to the fact that Denard really is not accurate in a West Coast, so he ran more spread concepts)... .when you toss out numbers from 10 and 11.  That is not at all what I was getting at.

When I mentioned a "traditional UM offense" (which by the way is NOT a Bo offense)...a "Tradtional Michigan Offense" would be any in the Brady to Henne era...and I guarantee that had Junior been healthy and played 4 years in a pro style attack with a passing QB, that hed put up close to 1000 yds, if not exceed it.

Hell, just look at Jason Avant... the numbers he put up in a pro style as the number 2 WR at Michigan...and he does not have the size, speed, agility or hands that Junior has. 

It was just bad timing that Junior had to go through the transitions and offenses for most of his career at Michigan.


February 29th, 2012 at 12:30 PM ^

In Hemingway's junior year, our quarterbacks combined to complete 63.1% of their passes.  I fail to see how that is "inaccurate".  The top two wide receivers on the team (Roundtree and Stonum) accounted for 1,568 yards between them.  Odoms and Grady added another 452.  The system and the quarterbacks didn't stop Hemingway from catching more passes, having a bunch of productive guys on the team at his position did.

In 2011 everybody's (except Hemingway's) production dipped tremendously as the team struggled through a major offensive transition (54.6% completions, almost 900 fewer passing yards).  That had way less to do with the nature of the offense (Borges's or RR's) or Denard's inherent ability and way more to do with the fact that everyone was starting over and learning a new offense from scratch.



February 28th, 2012 at 4:32 PM ^

"... which set Rodriguez up for failure from the start. Rodriguez then helped matters along, of course."

I think that's a reasonable summary.

I expect that we'll get a similar analysis (minus the failure part, hopefully) in a few years when the '10 class is reviewed.


February 28th, 2012 at 5:47 PM ^

Ash, Avery, Black, and Ryan all played on defense in the Sugar Bowl.  Dileo, Hopkins, and Gardner have made decent contributions on offense and will do a lot more (especially Gardner) going forward.  Hagerup is the starting punter.

That is already more contributors than the 2005 class, and these guys are still only freshmen/sophomores.  I wouldn't be surprised at all to see guys like Furman, Robinson (who was playing a fairly big role on defense early in the year before getting in the dog house), Wilkins, and Miller being a big part of the team over the next 2-3 years. 

A class with 27 guys is by its nature going to have more busts.  We also lost a fair number of guys due to the coaching transition.  At the end of the day though, the class is going to produce a lot of solid players, especially considering that is the class that was recruited off of 3-9.  It also came on the heels of two fantastic classes in 2008 and 2009 (not the start of a three year slide, as in 2005).  Considering the gems we've already found in the 2011 class (Clark, Countess, Morgan, Beyer, etc.) and the great classes in '12 and '13, the chances of failure are pretty slim.