Unverified Voracity Is In France Comment Count

Brian July 14th, 2015 at 12:07 PM

I'M IN FRANCE. Harbaugh in the city of lights.

This has no doubt angered many SEC coaches and Frenchmen. The number of people who have pretended not to speak English as Harbaugh increases his volume level to jet-takeoff levels must be truly prodigious. I would watch a reality show of this. "Football Coach Vacations." This is a million dollar idea.

Random. Denard Robinson retweeted this.

That Wiz Khalifa is a card.

Skate with Jack Johnson. August 1st at the Cube, for charity. MGoBlog not responsible if Jack Johnson turns you into a pylon or a bird or is just so pretty on skates that you forget how to drive. Jeff Moss will be there, too! You can find out if he is a real person or just a floating sack of anger!

TJ Weist, 1992. Via Dr. Sap:

Northwestern, 1981. Via Wolverine Historian:

Also 2002 Minnesota.

…Al? Syracuse used one cadence last year.

Since he was officially named the Syracuse Orange offensive coordinator for 2015, Tim Lester's been a bit of a sharer. We're fine with that since it's nice to actually get updates from the football staff, especially with the honesty and candor he seems to deliver it all.

Sometimes it's a point of debate.

Sometimes it's just a description of the Orange offense, compared to last year.

And others, it's a something that will send you into fits of rage, directly aimed at George McDonald, first and foremost:

SU football used one offensive cadence throughout 2014.

If Syracuse tried other cadences, the linemen "wouldn't have been able to stay onside," because reasons. This makes me feel slightly better about Tyus Battle.

…Rich? Let's check in on Kansas.

The Jayhawks would finish 1-11 in 2012, and with the roster ailing, Weis desired a quick-fix strategy for what he once famously called a “pile of crap.” In early 2013, Weis signed 16 junior-college recruits in a 25-man class. If a majority of the players hit, Weis figured, perhaps Kansas could claw to respectability in a year or two.

The move was a massive failure. By last fall, just eight of those players remained in the program. The volume of junior-college players — many of whom were borderline qualifiers and academic risks — weighed down the program. Six of those junior-college recruits — including highly touted players Marquel Combs, Kevin Short and Chris Martin — never played a down. After senior safety Isaiah Johnson transferred to South Carolina in the spring, and defensive lineman Andrew Bolton left the team this month, not one of those 16 junior-college players remains on the roster.

So here we are, two years later, and just five players remain from Kansas’ 2013 recruiting class.

This fall, Kansas has 60 scholarship players. It's a self-imposed punishment twice as bad as anything that happened to USC or Penn State. Charlie Weis is the king of "people in charge of things are just in charge of them for no reason."

More on cable bubbles. The WSJ has an article on ESPN doing something they haven't even had to think about in a long time: belt-tightening. Cord cutting is on in earnest and it's no surprise that the most expensive channel is amongst the most affected:


Only the Weather Channel—which is now completely superfluous thanks to the internet—is suffering more. The WSJ attributes Keith Olbermann's departure to simple finances. It is not hard to trace a line from ESPN's current trend and the long-term contracts they have signed with sports leagues and find a point at which it is impossible for them to make money.

ESPN has lost enough subscribers that they have the contractual right to yank their channels from Dish's $20 Sling service. Meanwhile, they are limited in their ability to move to a Netflix/HBO model since if they introduce a stand-alone service cable providers can sell ESPN a la carte—a disaster for a channel that gets six bucks from my grandmother.

Fred Jackson was right! Sort of! Via Austin Roberts, another running back makes good after he departs Michigan:

Another “real bright spot” was running back Thomas Rawls, a 5-foot-l9, 215-pound undrafted rookie free agent out of Central Michigan.

“I love his style of running,” Carroll said. “He’s really a head-knocker. He really goes after guys and when you guys get to see him put the pads on you’ll see how physical of a runner he is. He had play after play in college of just smacking people and running and breaking tackles and all that. He showed very good feet, he caught the ball well, he’s going to be a very-willing blocker.”

All of those came against Purdue or at CMU. Remember when Michigan's running game was so good it got their running backs drafted too early? Those were different times right there. By the end Jackson was stealing money. And various beverages. Holding him over on coaching staff after coaching staff was a major sign of the complacency that overtook the program over the past decade.

Gary Danielson was not right and has never been right. Gary Danielson is pretty good at looking at one specific play and telling you what happened on it. Once you get any more abstract, he turns into a parody of sports commentary. The latest example is Danielson fretting that the SEC is going to lose its way because it might try to score some points.

“The big advantage the SEC had against other conferences was they were the most physical, NFL-like conference there was,” he said. “If they try to morph too much into becoming a fantasy league, they are going to cede their position as the toughest and best conference in college football.”

"Fantasy league." Gary Danielson saying that after Urban Meyer, who was rather successful in the SEC, blew Alabama to bits with his third string QB is a top ten "Is Gary Danielson Having A Stroke?" moment.

Etc.: Hire a Beilein, you get to play a Beilein. Brandon Graham back in town for a bit. You are on the Butkus watch list. Smart Football made another book, which you should buy. BLOOM COUNTY BACK? The Graham Couch bot is either becoming self-aware or has improved its trolling algorithm. Jim Hackett is the best.



July 14th, 2015 at 12:24 PM ^

I just cannot understand why so many people still defend Fred Jackson's coaching ability.  Seems like a great guy but the results speak for themselves.  Essentially 2 truly effective running backs who showed any improvement through their playing careers since Anthony Thomas left.


July 14th, 2015 at 1:00 PM ^

what you're saying but it's not Fred's fault he was the running back coach on some of UM's worst offenses.  Fitz was a beast in the second half of 2011, and then the oline cratered in 2012 and 2013.  

I'm not saying Fred is without fault but there were a lot of other problems going on with the offense that were probably out of his control.


July 14th, 2015 at 1:06 PM ^

Lemme tell y'all what I think of co-workers who always greet you witha smile, bring goodies to work, have a warm handshake, possess infectious sunny personalities, are unflappably polite. . . but the minute some goddamn work needs to be done they're nowhere to be found.

Our RBs last season looked like they weren't coached.  At all.  Don't anyone gimme crap about how his job was mainly recruiting.  I get that you can only do so much with RBs, but one thing you CAN do is teach them to find the damn hole.

There's a huge difference between being a friendly person and being a good person.  Someone who doesn't pull his weight is not a "great guy".


July 14th, 2015 at 3:01 PM ^

And that's with Devin bringing our numbers down due to sacks.  That's actually better than the 2006 team, which averaged 4.3 ypc.  And the 4.6 is way better than the 3.3 ypc in 2013.  This was a terribly inconsistent offense, but the running game improved greatly in 2014.  It Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith, guys who won't run jet sweeps, are able to average over 5.0 ypc between them, they must have been able to hit some holes.


July 14th, 2015 at 12:35 PM ^

Maybe Fred Jackson never stopped being good-to-OK at identifying RB talent (e.g., Mike Cox, Thomas Rawls, Toussaint). Maybe it was the changes around him, particularly the ability to develop OL and implement a coherent offensive system, that led to the dramatic change in the fortunes of UM RBs (both in production and draft position). It seems like he might be getting the whipping boy treatment for a host of failures that have befallen the program over the last decade and should be shared amongst a lot of coaches (Funk, Borges, Rodriguez, Magee, Carr, Debord, etc.)

I'd submit that Jackson got too much credit for the success of our 90s RBs (those OLs tho...) and too much blame for the massive dropoff over the last 5 years.  Right now his late-aughts backs are floating around as 3rd and 4th string NFL players -- pretty much like his 90s guys did.  Not as good sure, but Michigan was running on all cylinders in the 90s and recently it's been coaching transitions and a few sub-500 seasons.  If anything, I'd argue Jackson was pretty consistent - regardless of his idiosyncratic bevarage intake. 

But even moreso, I'd argue -- We're talking about a RB coach!  His main job is to recruit.  Michigan has done well there and the extent to which the RB coach gets/blame credit is debatable at best.  You ever want to evaluate the guy you better include all the NFL players for whom he was the lead recruiter on.

Space Coyote

July 14th, 2015 at 12:42 PM ^

I actually watched quite a bit of CMU last year, and Rawls looked like a completely different player there. It wasn't merely the OL (of which CMU had a solid group), he was more decisive, he played through contact significantly better, his footwork improved. It wasn't scheme or those around him, he legitimately looked significantly better at CMU and looked like a borderline draft prospect (and probably would have been if not for off-field concerns).

Some combination of S&C, position coaching, and the light bulb simply going on for him happened when he transferred to CMU. The RB we saw at Michigan didn't deserve to play over the other guys on the roster, we saw that when he was given snaps. It wasn't a "maybe" situation like with Cox, where he flashed potential to be the best RB on the roster but supposedly had a ton of issues in practice. Rawls essentially flashed next to nothing in game (except against Purdue) at Michigan, and didn't look like he deserved more of a shot.

Glad for him and a Flint product to seemingly have a bit of an NFL career (either on practice squad, or more likely at this point, as a RB3 or RB4 in Seattle). Nice to see players finish make good use of their potential; and still feel bad he had to miss his bowl game for reasons that weren't his fault.


July 14th, 2015 at 12:59 PM ^

The reasons are hard to disentangle and I buy your argument for multiple factors.  But I doubt coaching was one of the main 'ingredients' in Rawls' success.

Playing in the MAC, for an OL that wasn't in shambles, and a coaching staff that wasn't in perpetual transition... In my view that stuff is very likely to have a major contribution to things like decisiveness (and therein footwork). Everybody looks better when they have a clear idea of what they are supposed to do.  Maybe Jackson is to blame for that lack at Michigan but to me it seems the burden belongs more on the OL and scheme.


Space Coyote

July 14th, 2015 at 1:21 PM ^

CMU ran inside zone, outside zone, Power O, Counter H, Iso, etc. I think the OL is a big part of it, but Rawls running style while at Michigan never produced more than he was given; he didn't break tackles, he didn't hit holes with authority, he didn't threaten the defense.

Comfort in the scheme is likely a big part of it, and that comes with time/experience, but it also depends on how well things are being coached to him in terms of what to look for. OL and level of play is also a factor, but he seems to be doing well enough in Seattle to indicate that just a step down in level of play isn't a huge factor.


July 14th, 2015 at 2:50 PM ^

I take your point, but I think Rawls hit his stride in large part because of the context.  I'm sure coaching was part of that, but the position coach? We're talking about the same guy who coached all those Michigan offenses with dominant run games in the 90s and early aughts.  Did he just lose his coaching handbook, forget everything he learned, stop giving an F?  I mean it's possible his coaching acumen collapsed but isn't it more likely that he was who he was and the other stuff that he didn't control affected the results? 

I feel like this is a bit like blaming your broker when the stock market takes a massive dive.  I suppose he could have been a savant to see all this coming and make the right moves to avoid it, but if he's a typically competant person at his job, neither terrible nor great, he likely gets affected by stuff that is bigger than him.

I prefer to think of Jackson as a guy who was pretty good at his job - especially the recruiting side of it.  His skills may have eroded over time but they did not collopse to the pont of incompetance, as has been asserted by many. He was retained by Hoke, Rodriguez, and Carr for reasons unless you want to entertain nutter theories.  I don't. 

Jackson is a whipping boy for fans disallusioned with a program that has struggled.  We can all agree that it's time to move on but I think it's untoward to disrespect a guy who contributed so much to the program and disparage a guy who was clearly a pretty good coach for a long time.

Space Coyote

July 14th, 2015 at 3:01 PM ^

I think Jackson still knew what he was doing, I don't think coaches forget that stuff. But he certainly didn't connect with Rawls in the way he needed. The thing about coaching is that it constantly changes over time; the players change, the way you do things change, the coaches change in personality and passion, etc.

I don't think Jackson was held onto just to hold on to someone. But he certainly was a part of not getting the most out of Rawls. There are several factors in play, and his position coaching was certainly part of it for whatever reason.


July 14th, 2015 at 4:14 PM ^

Appreciate your toughts on this and while I agree that Jackson was PART of the issue, I don't think he was a big part of it.

  • Chris Perry's YPC went 4.1, 4.2, 5.0 between his soph and senior year (all at Michigan, under Jackson).
  • Thomas Rawls' YPC went 4.0,4.2, 5.3 between his soph and senior year.

While you can dispute the relevance or significance of the statistical parallels, it is certainly true that an individual can improve dramatically in their senior year.  Seeing it (under different coaches) doesn't necessarily mean coaching incompetance (not that you were saying that).


July 14th, 2015 at 4:12 PM ^

You're entitled to your opinion - I just wonder if there's any evidence for it beyond the RBs didn't look good with a bad OL/Passing Game/scheme/etc). 

It seems unfair to me to assert this kind of stuff about a guy who coach for 22 years and contributed so much to the program's success.


July 14th, 2015 at 12:33 PM ^

Alabama and Auburn scored 40+ points 8 times against SEC competition last year, four each.

......for the second year in a row

.....the score of the Alabama/Auburn game was 55-44


July 14th, 2015 at 1:25 PM ^

has is issues and I don't agree that if the SEC became a passing fantasy league it would struggle. But pointing out the fact Alabama and Auburn can score points doesn't mean they both don't do it by trying to mostly be smash-mouth teams. Auburn's offense is about getting huge numbers of guys at the point of attack in the run game and then play action off of that. Alabama is more traditional.

And hell Ohio State won a national championship by running Q counter up Oregon's ass.

Just because it's a "spread" offense doesn't mean it isn't hard, physical football--it depends on the team.


July 14th, 2015 at 1:15 PM ^

Is it? Went right over my head then. Didn't make a lick of sense to me... Having said that, I know Ace has previously expressed an affinity for Wiz so thought maybe this was Brian playing to that crowd? (As if Ace were in and of himself a "crowd")

Space Coyote

July 14th, 2015 at 12:45 PM ^

I don't care if you get a false start flag, you have to at least threaten to do a different snap count. Penalties are the most frustrating things for coaches, particularly ones that are simply based on focus; but these guys have been trained since Middle School to not jump. And even if they do, letting a defense tee off on you every single snap absolutely mitigates a huge advantage you have over the defense in dictating play.


July 14th, 2015 at 12:46 PM ^

Is the 160,000 seat stadium, that Hackett declined a neutral site in, a Speedway? Because I cant find any stadium that could possibly fit 160,000 besides North Korea's national stadium and I doubt we were invited to play there.


July 14th, 2015 at 1:06 PM ^

That would be insane, I'm kinda dissapointed that it isnt happening. I always thought of speedways as huge bleachers on one side of a track but I guess I was always wrong. Bristol looks like it would work.


July 15th, 2015 at 3:35 AM ^

Bristol "works" because the infield is relatively small and the seats go all the way around.  A track like MIS would not work, you could only see the game from one side.

They have done this before at Bristol, it's not new.

But it's just a novelty that they do once every 5- years.  It's a suckful way to actually watch a football game.


July 14th, 2015 at 1:25 PM ^

Two other candidates might be Daytona and Charlotte as they're in the 160,000 plus range.  I realize he can't divulge details, but it would have been interesting to read which site was being considered and who the potential opponents were being considered.

I'm not in favor of neutral site games when you consider the billions of dollars that college football programs have spent on upgrades to campus stadiums, etc., with most of that money coming out of the fans' pockets.  Alabama has its one major non-conference game at a neutral site each year.  If I were a Bama supporter, I don't think I'd be real happy about playing an annual neutral site game in Dallas or Atlanta (although the teams they play are pretty good with Wisconsin, USC and Florida State coming up in the near term).  

OTOH, there are two major series that are played at neutral sites each year that work for their alums, etc.--Florida and Georgia in Jacksonville and Texas versus Oklahoma in Dallas.  Given the tradition around those games ("World's Largest Cocktail Party", "Red River Rivalry"), I can't really advocate a change back to the campus sites for those four schools.

I may be reading between the lines a bit, but it appears Hackett isn't going to put a second Power Five team on the schedule for the 2018/9 seasons.  Michigan does have two home-and-homes with Virginia Tech and Washington for the 2020/1 seasons.  Michgan opens the 2018/9 seasons with Arkanas and plays SMU in the third week of the 2018 season.  I suspect we'll see pay for play opponents for the three other open non-conference dates in 2018/9.  Brandon was moving UM away from MAC schools--we'll see what Hackett does to fill those dates.