Open practice! Sunday 6-7. Free parking, be there or be normal.
Sponsor note. In these trying times when every week brings another boggling scandal, you can turn to Richard Hoeg for a calm and reasoned take on the situation. If you'd like a calm and reasoned take on your small business, whether it's incorporation or contracts or any of the other varied legal niceties that come along with having a business, you should call Richard Hoeg.
He's excellent at parsing things.
This is a separate bullet point and therefore not part of the sponsor note. Police horses.
Basketball practice. This was the longest segment of the open basketball practice I ran across:
AS THE URBAN TURNS. If you thought things were weird in Columbus, you are correct, but we're gonna need a bigger word:
Zach Smith Ordered Sex Toys to Ohio State Offices, Had Sex With Staffer, Took Nude Photos at White House
More than $2,200 in sex toys! To the office! Hugh Freeze is impressed! He's like "dang, son!"
[After the JUMP: what does 2,200 dollars worth of sex toys even look like! How big was this box? I don't want to know the answers to these questions!]
This sounds a little grim for Notre Dame? Practice reports are generally sunny things but recent talk out of South Bend is pretty skeptical for the genre. 24/7 on the running back situation:
Senior Dexter Williams’ talents are unlikely to be available until at least Game 5. That leaves junior Tony Jones whose pedestrian results – amid a quartet of runners whose individual efforts consistently superseded his own last fall – have failed to pique the interest of Irish fans. ... Notre Dame’s most productive runner in the season’s opening month could be the guy receiving all of the snaps from center.
Everyone other than Jones is either a true freshman or a redshirt freshman who just switched positions. They go on to say Notre Dame "has two quarterbacks who can win games," but it doesn't sound like that many?
Book’s strengths – efficiency with the read option, accuracy on both short and athletic throws – are starter Brandon Wimbush’s apparent weaknesses. But Wimbush is a big play waiting to happen and more important, a first-down machine with his legs. If he can hit the easy throws that plagued him last year (screen game and wide open deep posts) and occasionally did as well in our four camp viewings this month (the hot reads), the Irish offense should click.
This follows on from an Athletic article about a week ago in which Pete Sampson was trying to gently talk ND fans onto the ledge:
What I didn’t see coming was the possibility Wimbush would start training camp the same way he finished last season, where the hard throws look doable and the easy throws look wild. I will stick to my position, that what I’m seeing from Wimbush today doesn’t necessarily have much to do with the Wimbush you’ll see in September. But it’s hard to hold that line based on three open practices. Because the Wimbush who’s resurfaced this month looks like every bit the wildcard who finished last year.
That Wimbush completed less than half his passes, but did hit a lot of deep throws and ran for 800 yards at 5.7 YPC. A one-dimensional running offense without a running back going up against Don Brown is probably doomed. Michigan's offense has to be marginally less doomed against a good defense that returns virtually everyone. First one to 20 wins?
The shoe thing. Harbaugh told the assembled media that he doesn't expect any suspensions for sale of merchandise:
“Our compliance has investigated that,” Harbaugh said. “There’s been — a couple shoes reported that were (size) 14s that were out there. Talked to everybody that’s currently on the roster, and they’ve accounted for those pairs of shoes.
“The latest of what I saw was a No. 52 number. No one currently on the roster that had that number last year.” ...
“I don’t know what’s happened with every single case, but if somebody sold their shoes, they’re going to be ineligible. That point’s been hammered home. It’s been — ad nauseum — explained to the players. They understand, and hopefully they’ve done the right thing."
Mason Cole and Elysee Mbem-Bosse both wore 52 but Cole is in the NFL and Mbem-Bosse left the team after having a bit of a public breakdown. Once you're no longer in the NCAA's grasp you can sell whatever you want since capitalism is generally legal.
This does bring to light an interesting material benefit for Michigan players now that the program has returned to Nike and gotten that Jordan swag. These shoes are absurdly valuable. By the time you graduate you could be sitting on five digits of merch easy. I am not a shoe person but I don't think I've heard of Adidas shoes having anywhere near the same cachet for limited editions.
Mesmerizing. The essence of football coach:
The gut moving in synchronization with the snap count. This is art. pic.twitter.com/VxxPvNZdnt
— Joe Dolan (@FG_Dolan) August 22, 2018
Mo Hurst is still Mo Hurst. Seems familiar:
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) August 18, 2018
Hurst is going to go down as the weirdest Michigan-related draft day drop in recent memory.
Yooooooooo. Ding dong, the stat is dead:
The NCAA just announced that they will no longer use RPI as the primary sorting tool when it comes to NCAA tournament resumes.
— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) August 22, 2018
This is only a halfway accomplishment. As we noted last year, the presence of disgraced former MSU AD Mark Hollis on the selection committee got an even worse metric on the teamsheets. We're not talking about a room full of Will Huntings here. There are many potential pitfalls in picking a different main metric. One of the most obvious things to do is use Kenpom, but Kenpom is a margin-aware predictive ranking. If you play to win the game the metric used should be a descriptive, margin-unaware Strength of Record evaluation.
In case you weren't feeling old. Hockey commits! Michigan just took a 2004, D Hunter Brzustewicz. You can see his picture if you're inclined to click through, but be warned: you will sprout ear hair just doing so. As a 2004 I assume Brzustewicz is very good and virtually unscouted. He'll be easy to google down the road at least.
In less absurdly far-future but still sort of absurdly far-future players, Michigan picked up a couple of four-star-ish 2020 commits. Shattuck St-Mary's teammates Mackie Samoskevich and Brendan Brisson are seemingly both in the second tier of prospects in their age group, just outside of the NTDP. Brisson might be moving into that top tier after going from 22 to 67 points on Shattuck's U16 team—he played up last year—and standing out at the recent Select 17 camp. Jeff Cox named him one of the top three forwards at a camp that has just about every high-end American except NTDP selections. (The other two were Michigan commit Austen Swankler and an OHL guy, so that's pretty good for that 2020 class.) "Trending up" is the general vibe:
3.75⭐️ Brendan Brisson commits to Michigan. Led Team Red in scoring with 4-5-9 at Select 17s Game is detail oriented and versatile. Earned an A- grade and can help win games in lots of different ways. Trending upward.
Profile ➡️ https://t.co/FNDx0ZPJaS
— Neutral Zone (@_Neutral_Zone) August 7, 2018
Mike Legg goal fans should be pumped:
Brisson is indeed that Brisson: he's the son of NHL SUPER AGENT Pat Brisson, who is also the advisor for the various Hughes.
Samoskevich was Shattuck's second leading scorer a year ago but was about 20 points behind Brisson. Despite that, the Neutral Zone likes him slightly more:
Late 2002 Mackie Samoskevich commits to Michigan. 4.25 ⭐️ earned an A- grade in our USA Select 16 Development report. Below is a clip from that report.
Check his profile for stats, strengths, weaknesses and nine more articles on Mackie.
— Neutral Zone (@_Neutral_Zone) August 2, 2018
That 2020 class now has about five top-end forwards with Brisson, Samoskevich, Swankler, Josh Groll, and Andrei Bakanov. One or two of those guys will probably cool off and arrive as a career third-liner but even though Michigan took a couple of OHL hits it looks like Mel's first class that's entirely his own is going to have a ton of skill.
Etc.: Grant Newsome, retired. A&M transfer alleges violations in an effort to be immediately eligible at his new school... which is also Kevin Sumlin's new school. Rawr. Biff Poggi's new program at St Frances is making people mad, because they recruit I guess? Engler gonna Engler. This is Jim Delany's gravestone. Unions for football players might prevent them from dying so much. John Beilein's influence.