Unverified Voracity Mimics Dhani

Submitted by Brian on February 3rd, 2011 at 1:45 PM


Kellen Jones M bowtie FTW.

Improving the not LOI. Compliance people complain to each other on twitter about people who abbreviate the "National Letter of Intent" as "LOI" instead of "NLI." Apparently there are other LOIs. You have been warned.

In any case they should be heavily reformed. Right now they're one-way binds with silly timing that have created a cottage industry of kids who attempt to reserve their spot by being "committed, but open." Paul Johnson's opinion of this is similar to Artur Boruc's about corn:

What I’d like to see happen, but I’m probably by myself: if you have 85 scholarships, and you can sign 25 a year or however many you have. When they commit, they sign the papers and you stop. It would stop all the verbal commitments and all the hats. The guys who weren’t ready wouldn’t commit. You’d call their bluff. They couldn’t make their reservation. We’ll talk to kids all the time, juniors right now, who are committing. We’ll say ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’

“Oh coach, I’m open.”

[HT: Get The Picture.]

I'm not really sure what the argument against early signing is. The way it's set up now everyone scrambles to get their class locked in on Signing Day, so someone like FL WR AJ King who has his scholarship pulled by Purdue is in a tough spot in his attempt to find a landing place. If he was signed, he'd be signed and hijinks both ways would be seriously reduced.

The Bylaw Blog has a few other suggestions, one of which I've made in this space before: the NCAA should implement a "no contact" agreement. That piece of paper would be non-binding but would allow the school specified by the player to contact the kid without restriction… and make it a violation for anyone else to. Official visits would also be off the table. That's a verbal commitment that actually exists and would help coaches figure out who's serious and who's just making a backup plan.

Heart-hurting. Remember that video of the Detroit Renaissance coach declaring Michigan's treatment of former Ren players "hurt his heart," thus explaining why Michigan couldn't get anyone out of there no matter what? Raise your hand if you're surprised that Ren's Lawrence Thomas recited the entire negative recruiting playbook:

"Why not Michigan? They had problems. There were some past experiences with other Renaissance players that I didn't like. Plus, Rich Rodriguez sent an assistant to our school to recruit me. He wouldn't even send the defensive coordinator, just an assistant. Then we'd hear that Rich Rod would be in Florida recruiting."

The Renaissance players were Andre Criswell, a last-second addition at FB who never saw the field and was kept on as a GA after leaving the team before his fifth year, and Carson Butler, the insane tight end who finally ran out of chances towards the end of Rodriguez's first year. Butler was treated so badly he stuck up for Rodriguez during the jihad. Michigan did as well by those kids as they could given the latter's hatred of nerds, be they in the wrong dorm room or playing for Notre Dame.

So… this was not a situation likely to produce a commitment even if Rodriguez showed up with every assistant he had, and one that would likely have continued under Hoke. Similarly, when Taiwan Jones complains about a lack of attention from Michigan during his visit to the UConn game he's complaining as a guy who had been a MSU commit for months already and who Michigan never even considered offering.

This continues the theme from these Blue Chip articles in the News since the beginning of time: Michigan commits asked about State say something short, polite and vague, State commits asked about Michigan rant about a lack of respect, and the guys towards the bottom of the list submit a tear-stained questionnaire because neither school thought they were good enough. This will happen next year, and the year after, and so on and so forth.

Adventures in re-evaluating wins. So… how about not losing to Iowa by twenty points? Yeah, got a whole new sheen on it today, that does.

I mention it by way of inserting this "Fran-graph" from BHGP:

fran15_medium Michigan's at the top and you can see the extreme focus on the rim or the three point line in Michigan's field goals. BHGP's Horace E Cow explains:

In men's basketball in the NCAA this year, players have made 34.5% of threes and 48.2% of twos.  The average value, then, of a three-point attempt is  3*.345 = 1.04, and the average of a two is 2*.482 = .964.  This fact has led many college (and pro) coaches to the reasonable conclusion that  three-point shots are better bets than two-point shots, and that their teams should take as many threes as possible (Todd Lickliter was one of these coaches, actually). 

Not all twos are worth less than threes, though: shots at the rim are usually made at a very high percentage (60-70%) and thus the average dunk or lay-up is worth 1.2-1.4 points, much more than the average three.  Putting  these two facts together (threes are better than most twos, but dunks are better than threes), coaches have developed what could be called a "hollowing-out" strategy on offense: threes and dunks are encouraged, anything in between in discouraged.

My first experience with this line of thinking was watching some Kentucky game back in the day when Pitino was coaching them and hearing the announcer go on about how Pitino loathed shots just inside the arc. Beilein's system is the logical extension of that thinking. Michigan's makes against Iowa: 14 threes, nine layups/dunks, and ten anything else.

If you can get it to work it's great, and it's not a strategy that seems to have a ceiling. One of this year's other proponents of the dunk-or-deep strategy is #1 and current opponent Ohio State. Because they have Jared Sullinger they aren't launching as many threes but both their 2PT% and 3PT% are off the charts—they're in the top ten in both nationally. They've got four guys who take a large volume of two-point shots, and two of them are shooting a Jordan-Morgan-like 59%. Ohio State's distribution isn't quite as extreme but it's essentially the same thing.

The slight difference between the programs is the ability to recruit Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas every damn year.

BONUS: Do you like slow? You'll love tonight's basketball game.

180 update. Media 180, Signing Day edition:

And I'm not even looking at the Free Press, which remains dead to me. I can only imagine the tiny drawings of angels.

I like the one that says there's more toughness now. That's definitely true. Being not tough was the problem, not the secondary being old enough to drive only if they all stood on each other's shoulders in a huge trenchcoat. Also that's the same guy who wrote about the "impossible expectations" driving Tate Forcier away. Pete Bigelow needs to make up his mind about toughness.

[Disclaimer section: Hoke did an okay job, but nothing that should push opinions either way. Not going into the year down eight kids is good. Losing Willingham to Central Florida(!?!?) is pretty wack, but being in a position to say that's wack is impressive since Michigan was nowhere with that kid before Mattison showed up. Losing Jake Fisher makes the tackle depth chart terrifying. I also don't understand telling Rivals 250 receiver Devin Lucien, a guy who was seriously looking at Stanford and silently committed to Rodriguez during The Process because he liked Michigan's academics, "defense or GTFO." Even if you don't want Hakeem Flowers, Michigan had room for another five players and has no receivers in this class.

Meanwhile, most of the guys picked up were of the low-hanging fruit variety: guys who were committed to Indiana or Minnesota or Vandy and didn't have a ton of other confirmed Big Ten options (Heitzman, Carter, Taylor, Bellomy) or guys who had been openly coveting Michigan offers (Poole, Rawls, Taylor again) but didn't get them until later. TX TE Chris Barnett is the exception.

This class is a wait-and-see sort of thing. We won't know if these late pickups were players RR and other Big Ten schools misevaluated or warm bodies for a while, and we won't know about Hoke's recruiting prowess until the 2012 commits start rolling in and he's competing against Ohio State. Not that Rodriguez won many battles against OSU.

On the other hand, a quarter of the class won't fail to show up or wash out by the end of spring like the last RR class so that's cool. Snatching Frank Clark away from MSU despite his existence in close proximity to Ted Ginn is promising. Also: kicker. Hoke uber alles.]

    Etc.: Thomas Rawls may be a member of the Jackson family. The awkward Hoke-Rodriguez video. Going back to the 4-3. Michigan finishes 21st in the Rivals rankings. Hoke's got 8 years before the deck stacks against him significantly. Don't play the Hoke "toughness" drinking game. Nutt greyshirt hijinks.



    February 3rd, 2011 at 1:58 PM ^

    There was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding the press under RR.  People ripped them for being unfair, digging up stories, and generally being troublesome and negative.


    Now they seem to like the new coach, write positive stories and the MGo folks ... complain?


    I guess if the press were indifferent, folks might be happy, but really, it seems like there is no way to win


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

    "I guess if the press were indifferent, folks might be happy, but really, it seems like there is no way to win"

    The press is supposed to be indifferent. Take facts and present them to the general public, not make their own news like our good friends over at the Freep.

    The local MSM generally hated RR and appear to love Hoke, both of which irritate me.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:20 PM ^

    I generally agree with you that the press should be indifferent, but this is one of the exceptions. It is irritating that RR got such a continued raw deal, and also now everyone is fawning over Hoke with very little real data to back up their ascertains. But, honestly, this program needs positive press to keep all the happy feelings building among the masses (potential recruits included). If it takes some journalists selling out integrity to accomplish that, I'm all for it. Whatever may help the program.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:20 PM ^

    press is supposed to be unbiased in reporting, not indifferent.


    And these are columnists, that are supposed to have opinions and bias.  


    And as a Michigan fan, not sure why having the local opinion reporters like our coach would bother you.  I generally prefer positive, glowing press, but to each their own


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

    "And as a Michigan fan, not sure why having the local opinion reporters like our coach would bother you."

    The counter-point to that is the problem. This blog's readership is a minority in the Michigan fanbase. Most fans, especially the local ones get their information from the MSM. Getting the positive press is fine, but where do you think all the animosity towards RR grew from?

    The local media hates RR, and in turn the fans start to. And I'm not talking about op-ed pieces, I'm talking about the Drew Sharp type crap where every single thing RR did was turned in to a negative. That's not indifferent, unbiased reporting, that's Sharp being Sharp, and unfortunately, a lot of people read and take what he's saying as truth.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:52 PM ^

    But you did say that the local press loving Hoke irritates you.  Which is confusing.  You can hate the way the local press treated Rodriguez (I certainly do), but you should welcome with open arms their two-facedness on this.  These media pinheads aren't going to listen to logic or reason, so might as well save the gnashing of teeth for unwarranted hit jobs.  Good press on the other hand, should be welcomed.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

    I just don't like the hypocrisy of it all, which was why I originally responded to the OP.

    If having the media gush over Hoke means he gets a fair chance to do his job then I'm all for that. But the OP asked why it would upset people and the two-facedness (is that a word?) of the local media is frustrating is all. Hence why I didn't like the unfair criticism of RR and I equally don't like how they've treated Hoke.

    But yes, in the long run, fawning over the coach is far better then trying to dig up dirt at every turn.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:09 PM ^

    I'm definitely not going to complain about Michigan being a media darling.  I think what frustrates people though is just how obvious the hypocrisy and bullshit coming out of the MSM is.  Seeing the sudden change in tune just illustrates how and why they've been so ridiculous the last three years.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:16 PM ^

    I agree with that.  I think that people also have the right to be upset for a while, especially since the whole situation is an open wound still.  I think what some might be worrying (or maybe it's just me) is that constantly harping on it will make it a reality that people can't let go of.  I don't think Brian will, but retaining this pain and directing it towards Hoke isn't going to help the program or help Rodriguez.  At some point we've got to let it go.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 5:12 PM ^

    See M vs. MSU coverage in, well, everything. But better they're hypocritical, than just consistently critical. Frustrating? Yes. But complaining about it seems to be an encouragement for them to be "fair", and treat us like crap again. But then, they never listened to us before. But it'd be par for the course for them to start now.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

    Perhaps if you read the opening line of this section of the post, the reference to a "Media 180" might allay your confusion?  The complaint is not with positive stories, but with the immediate about-face in the slant of the stories about the football program.  Some find this a tad hypocritical and inconsistent with journalistic standards.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:29 PM ^

    standards are you referring to?  These are columnists, not reporters.  They can have different opinions about different people.  In fact, that's what they get paid for.


    And the fact that they like our coach and write nice stories about him should be applauded, not ripped.  Especially since we bemoaned the opposite.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:54 PM ^

    A little help here?  Hey, I'd be as happy as anyone to read an article comparing me favorably to Mother Teresa and advocating that I be awarded the Nobel Prize.  Nonetheless, I might question the author's journalistic standards, even if he was only stating his "opinion."  It might also give me pause if that article was written by a guy who yesterday wrote that my predecessor made Hitler look good and advocated that he be imprisoned.

    Seriously, it's not really that hard to understand the point Brian is making, is it?  But, if you just want to believe the "nice stories," no matter the journalistic integrity of the writer, nobody's stopping you.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

    It's an opinion piece.  So when you say things like "journalistic integrity" you seem to be missing the point.  They are giving you an opinion, their opinion, of things.  That doesn't need to be unbiased, and their opinions are just a bit different than the Mother Theresa/Hitler dichotomy that you set up.  This isn't Rosenberg misrepresenting facts.


    There have been plenty of complaints about the press giving negative opinions, because it hurts Michigan football, (this has been repeated here) and now complaining about positive press, is confusing.


    How many times have you read on this board or others "RR had no chance.  People were trashing him from the beginning."  Now, those same people are giving Hoke some nice press, and we're still complaining.  Shouldn't we be happy he's getting this treatment from the press?  

    Would Brian, or you, been happier with headlines like


    Hoke Barely Keeps Together Class Below Michigan's Expectations 


    Of course not.  So why not just take good press and be happy with it?




    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

    Isn't it reasonably possible that a new coach (that hasn't coached a single game at UM mind you) is going to get a bit of media leeway?  I remember the Freep jihad in advance of the 2009 season, but, and forgive me if I'm remembering incorrectly, was early 2008 really that anti-Rodriguez in the media?

    From late 2007:

    MARK SNYDER; Detroit Free Press; Dec 17, 2007; pg. A.1;

    MARK SNYDER; Detroit Free Press; Jan 12, 2008; pg. B.1;

    This appear negative, but it's mostly about the signing of the contract and WVU.  It's hard to tell since the content is now pay-walled.  Could be negative:

    MARK SNYDER; Detroit Free Press; May 14, 2008; pg. C.2;

    MARK SNYDER; Detroit Free Press; May 31, 2008; pg. C.3;

    Looks like Rosenberg always hated him:

    MICHAEL ROSENBERG; Detroit Free Press; Jul 10, 2008; pg. C.1;

    And uh, this has to be after Boren, that standup guy that masturbated under his sheets:

    SCOTT BELL; Detroit Free Press; Mar 30, 2008; pg. D.12;


    Conclusion?  I don't know.  I'm not sure if it was the WVU contract that started things or if Rosenberg always had it out for Rodriguez.  Seems like Snyder certainly gave him the benefit of the doubt.



    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

    Without getting into the opinion vs. news debate (and without delving into the lack of standards shown through the terrible practice violations), it should be noted that the press has been provided with lots of positive copy.  The media (at times....hell, at most times) is lazy.  They will report what you provide them to report.  So, if you can put a lot of quotes from high school coaches, college coaches, pro coaches, former players, etc. into a press release....then you've done the media's job for them.  They like that.

    Maybe the athletic department didn't have the positive quotes to help spin for RR?  Maybe they weren't thinking ahead (as they probably should have), but RR didn't do much to help himself with the media.  It was almost as if he was feeding them quotes to pounce on (see "Vince Lombardi" and "at least we're fun to watch").  In short, people (of all trustworthy sorts) are making positive statements about Hoke.  That is a great thing.  Maybe those positive statements (were high school coaches publicly stating their love for RR?) just didn't exist before Hoke's arrival?  i'm not sure of the answer.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

    to add to the whole renaissance topic, I've personally talked to Criswall. He told me all that stuff out there about RR treating him and Carson bad was b/s. 

    it seems pretty obvious to me that the guy is a Spartan blow-hard with a strong anti-Michigan agenda. 


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

    First - Rivals always does a recruiting class re-rank once kids are enrolled in the fall, and takes into account the kids who didn't make to their respective schools for whatever reason.  We will almost certainly move up when some of the teams above us such as TTU, USC(NTUSC) and Ole Miss who are ahead of us because they have 50 more commits than we have lose a few of them to non-qualifying.  Especially if one or more of those kids are 4 stars.  It only takes one place for us to be in the top-20.

    Also - in regards to your "low hanging fruit" comment - I do not think Raymon Taylor is low hanging fruit.  He's fast, hits really hard, can likely play multiple defensive backfield positions, and can probably return kicks and punts for us as well.  I know we don't love to rely on recruiting rankings, but Rivals saw enough in him to keep 4 stars on him - something Dallas Crawford never earned. 


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:45 PM ^

    I don't think the "low hanging fruit" comment regarding Taylor is necessarily a comment on his ability as much as it is a comment on the difficulty of getting him to commit.  "Low hanging fruit" isn't worse than fruit higher up on the tree.  It's just easier to pick.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:55 PM ^

    No, low hanging fruit definitely refers to quality as well.

    Not every apple on an apple tree is the same, but usually the good and bad are equally distributed throughout the tree.  The first ones picked are always the good ones on the bottom, as they are both the best and easiest to get to.  The term "low hanging fruit" refers to a person who walks by when the good ones are taken from the bottom, and has a choice between working hard to get the good fruit or settling for the low hanging fruit. 

    Back to recruiting, I've never heard anyone refer to a highly rated recruit who jumped right on board with Michigan as "low hanging fruit." 


    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:35 PM ^


    We have Mother Nature to thank for the expression low hanging fruit. A fruit-bearing tree often contains some branches low enough for animals and humans to reach without much effort... From this we get the popular expression "low hanging fruit", which generally means selecting the easiest targets with the least amount of effort.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 5:30 PM ^

    Wiktionary says: Easily obtained gains; what can be obtained by readily available means


    Encarta says:  a target that is easy to achieve, or a problem that is easy to solve


    Encycolpedia.com says: a thing or person that can be won, obtained, or persuaded with little effort:


    Good luck finding something that says a low hanging fruit is necessarily of bad quality.  



    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:35 PM ^

    ...of checking out the Freep.


    Rosenberg wrote a positive article to add onto the pile. Surprisingly,  he also acknowledged that Hoke paid tribute to the foundation Rodriguez laid for the class.


    Sharp also wrote something. It should be used as toilet paper.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:43 PM ^

    What are we gonna have? A whole year of comparisons to RR so we can confirm the hypocrisy of writers in the MSM who don't deserve the time it takes to read their stuff; or, so we can feel better knowing that RR should have had another year; or, so we can bemoan "The Process?"

    Seems like a bunch of whiny crap to me. I've seen a lot of posts about supporting Michigan which turn on a dime and damn Hoke with faint praise.



    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:01 PM ^

    irritated me is that Hoke said that RR made a great base for him to finish out the recruiting class.  The main difference would be in TE's and OL.  He said that Posada and Bryant at 330 lbs each would be the NEW MOLD of Michigan lineman.

    Posada committed to Rich Rod and Bryant would have committed to Rich Rod if he was our coach.  Hoke had to convince Bryant that even though Rich Rod is gone, he can still have success in our new offense.

    Rich realized that he needed bigger lineman to succeed in the big 10 and was well on his way to bringing in those big lineman who could also move well.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

    I didn't take Hoke's comments about the new mold as a shot at RR at all.  All he was saying was that in recent years, we were small and we lost the battles in the trenches and that going forward, we would be much bigger.  

    Hoke has been nothing but respectful to RR, complimenting him in just about every press conference or interview that he has given.

    I know that many feel that RR got a bad deal while he was here - and to some extent he did (and to some extent he caused some of the problems that led to his demise).  But, people in the former "pro-RR" camp really are too defensive.  Let it go and let's all unite behind the coach that we now have.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:22 PM ^

    We didn't lose battles in the trenches because Rodriguez recruited small guys.  Lewan, Mealer, Ash, Washington, Campbell, Posada, Bryant, etc. are all pretty big dudes.  Guys like Barnum and Omameh came in lean and put on 40-60 pounds each within a couple of years.  Having an imploded offensive line in 2008 and having to play guys like Martin and Roh as underclassmen were the problems, not Rodriguez's cruel attempt to bring in as many dwarfs as possible.

    I'm pretty sure we're going to see Michigan win plenty of battles in the trenches over the next two years with the guys Rodriguez brought here.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 3:43 PM ^

    Look back at my post to which you replied.  I did not make a single attack or criticism on RR, even regarding the fact that we were smaller up front.  

    The first line of your response:  "We didn't lose battles in the trenches because Rodriguez recruited small guys."

    I never said that he did.  I never assigned ANY blame on the "smaller up front" issue to RR or anyone else.  But, like many on this blog, you felt a need to rush to RR's defense.

    That is the point of the post to which you responded.  People who are upset about RR not working out are so quick to look for comments - either by Hoke, former players or posters on this or other boards - as "criticism" of RR and to rush to RR's defense that many are seeing criticisms where none existed.  As you did in my post.

    Go Blue Eyes

    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:53 PM ^

    I would certainly give Hoke an "A" for effort on the recruiting process.  He kept most of the commitments, got some new and exciting new prospects, and although he did have to get "lesser' known recruits this might be the perfect example of "trusting the coaches" and the reasons they picked them.

    So the recruiting phase is over and we move towards spring ball - which I believe is Hoke's next big test.  A test in some ways bigger than the recruiting battle.  This is where the team offensive and defensive philosophies are going to change.  Existing team members (including one Denard Robinson) have really nothing to lose by staying through the coaching change at this point.  A transfer now or at the end of the semester still results in a missed 2011 season so why not wait and see what happens?

    Personally I am very confident that the defensive players are going to love the move to Mattison and if Hoke is true to his word regarding adapting to the offensive talent on hand, we will not lose any major players there either.

    One more thing: Do keep the spring game at all costs.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 2:59 PM ^

    What exactly was/is the Renaissance beef with Michigan?  In my day in DPS, Renaissance (and Cass) were the top two public schools.  The top students (athletes or otherwise) would naturally progress to the top college - Michigan.  What happened to change that at Renaissance?   Could it really just be Butler?


    February 3rd, 2011 at 4:33 PM ^

    That he may attempt a comeback to the team for one more shot. He had a serious shoulder injury that kept him from playing but it has since been fixed. He never got a chance to play because he kept changing positions and then got hurt. He is a massive and really well built guy. I don't know if he's still got it but he could provide some help at FB or TE if so needed. He is currently in Grad school and a very nice and polite guy so I hope not to see any negatives tossed around about him.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 4:47 PM ^

    Michigan had room for another five players

    Brian, you need to check your math. The way you explain this meme in the depth-chart-by-class post just seems wrong. I count just two open spots (85 new or current scholarships with eligibility remaining, minus Watson and Williams equals 83), maybe a third if you deny Herron or Grady. Not five.

    FWIW, I think you double-counted Watson and Williams when you were doing the math.


    February 3rd, 2011 at 5:23 PM ^

    We could get a few more middle of the road recruits for a slapped together recruiting class, or have more for next year with uncommon talent in out recruiting areas while our major competition is short on scholarships. If anything, we need to find more for next year, not use up more. It seems like an excuse to complain to the detriment of the program, long-term.

    MI Expat NY

    February 3rd, 2011 at 6:26 PM ^

    I agree whole-heartedly with what SanDiego just said.  Additionally, I think you're going to see a decent amount of attrition next year.  Between Robinson, Gallon and Dileo, a couple of them are not going to have much to do.  The offensive line usually loses a guy or so a year, although with the low numbers, maybe not next season.  We're going to have 13 or so underclassmen at Secondary positions next season, at least a couple of them are going to see the writing on the wall.  If we're at 16 now, we're going to be easily into the low 20's by the time the next class is signed.  

    Using one scholarship now on a 4 star WR who was very interested wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world.  I will, however, forgive Hoke if we land the next AJ Green next year.