Unverified Voracity Has A Hut Belly Comment Count

Brian August 22nd, 2018 at 11:27 AM

[Bryan Fuller]

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:

Jon Teske for 3: eyeballs emoji. UMHoops and Brendan Quinn have some takeaways for you, Quinn's from Michigan's first game in Spain.

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leaves junior Tony Jones whose pedestrian results – amid a quartet of runners whose individual efforts consistently superseded his own last fall – have failed to pique the interest of Irish fans.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:

Mo Hurst is still Mo Hurst. Seems familiar:

Hurst is going to go down as the weirdest Michigan-related draft day drop in recent memory.

Yooooooooo. Ding dong, the stat is dead:

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:

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:

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.



August 22nd, 2018 at 11:45 AM ^

I don't generally believe negative stuff coming out of other team camps because I'm a major pessimist and don't think we're that lucky. But the stuff coming from ND is pretty dour; are they always like this? Were they talking like this before last season when they were coming off of a bad year and about to embark on a really good one?

I didn't think Florida was as bad as they sounded in pregame chatter, either, and they turned out to be every bit that bad, especially at the much-discussed QB position. 


August 22nd, 2018 at 11:57 AM ^

I agree that I don't want to get too high on other team's negative preseason reports, but preseason reports tend to be overly positive.  How many times have Michigan fans read about better offensive lines, a different feeling around camp, a new scheme that will help the offense turn the corner.  The one time I remember dire reports out of Michigan's camp was 2008, and we know how that turned out.


August 22nd, 2018 at 12:42 PM ^

Having lived in South Bend for several years, and right down the road from campus at that, I can tell you that if anything they are overly optimistic every year. So, for these reports to be as pessimistic as they are, I'm not sure what to think. But we know what both their QB's bring to the table and if they don't have a stout running game like last year that will spell doom against Don Brown's defense. 

Honestly, I'm more worried about our offense vs. their defense. Want to believe Shea is the answer for this offense but I'll believe it when I see it. 

The Fox Says Hail

August 23rd, 2018 at 8:50 AM ^

THIS^. Tony Jones Jr. is apparently a diamond in the rough, they're 6'5" and 6'4" receivers are demi-gods, the TE group in South Bend is apparently deeper than it has ever been. They're defense is the best it has ever been (ever) and will not experience any drop off after losing their DC because they hired from within. Brandon Wimbush is better than Shea Patterson by a long shot and their offensive line will be stout because they recruit athletes with high ceilings. 

They're some logical fans who see this as a tough game at best, but man I wish I could count the times I've heard the stuff above uttered by some ND fans. 


August 22nd, 2018 at 1:57 PM ^

Unfortunately, that is pessimism earned the hard way.

Name 3 seasons that have turned out better than you had expected pre-season since Bo retired. It won't be easy. 

Spot ya the '97, give you a possible on the '99, and give or take an inch we can go '16, even tho that ended with a 1-3 stretch and the 1 was a dogfight at home vs Indiana. 

Got any others? 


Cautiously Pessimistic 


August 22nd, 2018 at 2:29 PM ^

'15 the bowl was better than expected, NOTHING else exceeded expectations. Mine anyway.

'06 until we lost the 2 biggest games of the year, granted after a GREAT 1st 10 games... but does that qualify it as exceeding expectations overall?

'11, with Hoke, Yeah! You definitely get that point!

But then I counter, did '99 REALLY exceed expectations? We had 2 bad losses! (Yeah, winning at msu looks tough NOW, but did it then?)


August 22nd, 2018 at 4:12 PM ^

We were terrible in '14. In '15 the team was quite good and extremely competent. Absolutely better than I thought it would be.

2006 ended on a very sour note; I expected 4 losses going into the year, including another humiliation in South Bend. A close loss at OSU before the streak became what it is now was disappointing but not unreasonable. Only the Rose Bowl was worse than what I would have hoped, and even then it seemed pretty far out at the beginning of the year.

The loss at MSU was bad because it was MSU, but it wasn't a bad loss; that was a terrific team. '99, though was part of a stretch of years where you hoped the team was capable of a national title or at least being really good. We were really good. It was a rare case where high expectations were met but in no way exceeded. 

FWIW, bouncing back to earlier in this subthread, my knowledge of Michigan's expectations starts in 1989, and in the 29 seasons since we've solidly exceeded expectations in perhaps three years (97, 06, 11). 

Here's to a fourth in 2018. 


August 22nd, 2018 at 3:09 PM ^

'04 LOVE Frosh Henne & Braylonfest, but we lost to osu AND the Rose, just like '06. That does NOT exceed my expectations, at all...

Again, '15 Nope! Dropped punt snap, routed by OSU, can't call that exceeding expectations (aside from the bowl whupping of our now WR Coach)

'11, yeah maybe #2 behind '97 in exceeding expectations of UM football since '69 & '85. Those 2 are legendary! 

In '85 I STILL remember the Iowa kicker lining up for the winning FG & thinking to myself "missing this kick NEVER happens for Michigan!"

And it didn't! '04 Rose vs Vince Young too, and we even got a finger on that one!


August 22nd, 2018 at 2:43 PM ^

I also think Michigan fans - given our history and game day fortune dating back decades - is overly pessimistic.  There are UM fans who still remember Game One of 1989 with Rocket Ishmail, and this scarred their childhood.  For me it was the legs of Bryan Virgil/Chuck Male and then Harry Oliver back-to-back.

Also, the negative recency bias in these games - Carr, Rodriguez, Hoke and even Harbaugh - tends to turn us all into Debbie Downers until kickoff for some reason.

I'm excited to see Don Brown's defense against BrianKelly/ChipLong/Jeff Quinn offense.  

It sounds like Don Brown's defense is up to its usual billing, and might be even better than last year.

As for offense, I think Michigan will perform far better than anyone predicts - mainly because of coaching improvements with the additions of Patterson at QB, and competence at S&C and OL coach with Wisconsin's/Arkansas's Ben Herbert and Ohio State's Ed Warriner.  

These were two really good hires by Harbaugh in my view, and perhaps the best ons since grabbing John Baxter as ST coach in 2015 and then Don Brown as DC in 2016.




August 22nd, 2018 at 3:40 PM ^

As far as I'm concerned, the Baxter hire was the worst Harbaugh made.... just losing to MSU like that... they send nobody to field punt and rush 11 guys, and Baxter wasn't ready for that.  Lose that game and things right now would I beleive, be different for both programs....

I'm actually annoyed you mentioned Baxter.


August 22nd, 2018 at 11:46 AM ^

The $2,200 bill was for "sex toys, male apparel and photography equipment".  I could imagine the photography equipment made up the bulk of the dollar value.  One wonders exactly what he was doing with that particular combination of goods.  I could speculate but this here is a family blog.


August 22nd, 2018 at 12:01 PM ^

There's something odd about this that isn't adding up. For one, why is photography equipment included in that report unless there is solid evidence he was using it in relation to the toys? And if that's the case, what the heck was he doing there? Anyone can snap a photo of a sex act with their phone. Heck, there's been at least one Hollywood movie shot purely on an iPhone. It makes you wonder if he was actually producing serious pronography in the facilities.


August 22nd, 2018 at 11:51 AM ^

I get that Kenpom is designed, above all else, to be predictive, which means it may not be the best tool/model for ranking teams on an S-curve, but why would it matter if the model is margin-aware or not? Whatever makes for the most accurate model, no?


August 22nd, 2018 at 12:28 PM ^

Because they don't want to reward running up the score on a weaker opponent.  At least, that was always the argument that was trotted out in the BCS era when discussing computer ranking algorithms.  (Yes, I know that I've trotted out the wrong sport.  I'm guessing the rationale is the same.)


August 23rd, 2018 at 1:36 PM ^

It's valuable as a predictor, much more valuable as predictor than even game results.

But in addition to the desire to keep teams from running up the score, I think the argument for not using it is the BEST vs MOST DESERVING arguments.

Margin of victory based ranking indicate the BEST teams insofar as they are the best way to predict who would win.

But the best teams are not necessarily most deserving if you want wins and losses to matter.

Take Xavier for example last year.  They won the Big East outright. It was the third or second toughest league depending on which ranking system you go by.  They finished ahead of Villanova who was widely considered the best team in that league.

BUT they had a mediocre 14th kenpom rating going into the tournament thanks to an absurd number of close wins.  Beating bad teams by 2 points just says you were slightly better than a bad team that day which is why margin is a better indicator of team quality.  But they beat so many teams and won so many games.  At some point all those close wins have to be rewarded right?

So Xavier probably did DESERVE a 1 seed based on their wins even though their quality may not have been top 4.


August 22nd, 2018 at 11:52 AM ^

Those Jordan shoes go for some serious money. They're fairly common on StockX, here's one I found just now: 2018-08-22_11-49-24.pngThat's a nice chunk of change. You get four or five pair of those in your career and don't make it to the league? You bet players are gonna sell those first chance they get. Lord knows I would. 


August 23rd, 2018 at 7:45 AM ^

In general, the defense in these situations is very good because by this time these guys know each others strengths and weaknesses very well. In this regard, there were some very notable indicators in the clip. And while in general, I like the talent of this roster very much, there is a glaring offensive weakness at the most important position in college basketball-point guard. This is very troubling...I am curious what the plan is to mitigate this. Actually there were some indicators here as well...but we will see. 

I see both a very high ceiling and a very low floor with this team. It's a wonderful coaching challenge...hope it's an (positive) exciting year.

Yinka Double Dare

August 22nd, 2018 at 12:22 PM ^

The only Adidas shoes that I'm aware of that are pricey are Yeezys but I'm not sure they give those out as swag to any of their college teams, and they're certainly not like the super-limited special edition Jordans that the Jordan Brand programs are getting.


August 22nd, 2018 at 12:23 PM ^

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.

Pretty much any offense going up against Don Brown these days may be doomed, but I'm not sure I'd call that one-dimensional.  Hitting deep throws stretches the field vertically, makes safeties think about the deep ball, which is maddening for them if the QB can also run.  YPP could be a wash (relative to dink-and-dunk) because of the increased incompletions, but the defense can't have safeties anything less than elite hanging out 5-7 yards from the LoS if you can complete those throws.

It's likely Wimbush running for 5.7YPC and hitting deep throws aren't incidental facts.  It's a lot easier to run when a third of the defense is thirty yards downfield.


August 22nd, 2018 at 12:32 PM ^

Which could lead to ND's hope for success hinging entirely on... hitting some deep passes to the third-best receiver.

It could happen, but that's a pretty small margin for them.

I actually expect Notre Dame to put together a couple of drives and score some points. 13-17 range, I'd guess. Michigan can beat that if they don't gift them a TD or two and if the offense can hit 20, as suggested in Brian's post. 

I actually have sure-to-be-disappointed hope for offensive success in this game. A good start could see us staked to, say, a 17-point lead that will feel pretty safe to me, recent bowl loss notwithstanding.


August 22nd, 2018 at 12:50 PM ^

My big concerns for this game are run defense in the middle and jump balls to the receivers.  Hurst is a big loss and Dwumfour/Solomon will need to be at least solid against the run.  And even though Hill/Long are great, ND's starting WRs are both around 6'4.  Only takes a CB losing track of the ball or mistiming a jump for ND to pick up a big completion, and then you have the safeties trying to cover large TEs.  I still vividly remember Gesicki easily catching balls over the heads of Michigan's safeties last year.

Hopefully the trend with Brown's defenses really cutting down on explosive plays once he's fully established continues.


August 22nd, 2018 at 12:58 PM ^

You have some good points. I think your concern for the interior line, especially against an ND team with a proven OL track record, is warranted. I for one am probably guilty of just assuming it will be ok even though we suffered our biggest loss by far (on the whole team) at that spot with Hurst graduating. 

I'm really confident in our corners, and I'm cautiously optimistic our safeties will improve. I do, nonetheless, expect teams like ND to hit the occasional big play. What I don't expect is a disaster like Penn State, where they were able to consistently hurt us downfield by exploiting bad matchups. A 30-yard pass or two won't kill us if our defenders can limit the damage of that play and there isn't a weak spot that they can consistently pick on. It's not like they'll be threatening us with Saquon Barkley out there. 


August 22nd, 2018 at 1:14 PM ^

Your biggest worries are the areas patrolled by the most lockdown CB duo in the country and an All-American caliber middle linebacker?

ND's going to get their fair share of yards but I don't think Brown's going to make it easy.  In particular, I'd love it if ND tried their luck against the teeth of this defense.