Unverified Voracity Says Well Luck, Kid

Submitted by Brian on February 20th, 2009 at 10:59 AM

Guess it didn't go good. You might recall the stunningly annoying/developmentally disabled Notre Dame fan/future player standing behind yrs truly at the ND-M game at Yost; if so, know that I and a few others have concluded that that fan must have been Cam Fowler simply because he was too tall to be any of the other USNTDP kids committed to ND for next year. At one point Fowler jawed that if his grades went "good" he'd be playing for ND next year.


2010 NHL draft stud Cam Fowler of the U.S. under-18 squad has de-committed from Notre Dame. This is the first step toward an official announcement of his signing with the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires.

Algebra and geography and, you know, like, stuff did not go good, I guess. That's a major blow to ND; Fowler may have trouble spelling his name but is widely regarded a top-ten NHL draft pick.

Ha. I love this verdict to tiny little bits:

A Washtenaw County jury today found former Wolverine Marlin Jackson was defamed by a fellow student who falsely accused him of assault with a bottle at an off-campus party in 2003. The six-member panel also awarded Jackson, a defensive back with the Indianapolis Colts, $225,000 in damages --roughly the equivalent of a draft slot in the NFL, said his attorney, Ellis Freatman.

One Shahin Farokhrany—who certainly looks like an eminently punchable douchebag—sued Jackson for ten million dollars after accusing him of striking him with a bottle. Evidently this did not occur, and now EPD Farokhrany is on the hook for a cool two hundred grand plus attorney's costs. Score one for Jackson.

Croosh the Illini. I haven't embedded a Wolverine Historian video in a while, so here's ten minutes of Michigan beating Illinois 38-14 in 1995:

Speaking of. The JCCW says a prayer for beatwriters:

It's flattering, but the ironic truth is that I leach (not unfairly, but still) off the work of Auburn's beat writers 10,000 times more than I'm sure they leach from me. The number of times Messrs. Woodbery, Goldberg, Tate, Bitter, and Brietzke have felt the need to link to me can still be counted on one hand. … Without those guys, the JCCW doesn't have any news to report, no breaking stories to react to, no quotes to parse. At that point it's all Rumor and Speculation, and while there's always ways to dig through the topsoil of Rumor and Speculation to get to the truth buried underneath, it's not an easy or particularly fun process. Beat writers, in my view, are an essential set of cogs in this great big machine we call Being an Auburn Fan.

Which is why it always makes my skin crawl a bit when I see bloggers celebrating the death of the newspaper.

While newspapers are imploding in spectacular fashion you're not going to see them disappear of the map entirely.

Given the current vectors a couple of these guys will end up locked behind paywalls, but there's always going to be at least one free beatwriter sort; failing that you're going to see athletic departments get involved with the dissemination of information. How many articles about Steven Threet's transfer do you need? Before the internet the answer was "as many as there are newspapers"; now the answer is "one." Not one two three four five six and probably more that I can't be bothered to turn up right now. Unless said writer has some sort of special inside relationship with the program or coaches, as Angelique Chengelis did with Lloyd Carr, their work is completely redundant with everyone else out there, with limited exceptions. And since in Michigan's case those exceptions seem to be limited to the student newspaper unearthing more actual information than the professionals, let's not get too worked up over the imminent departure of some random guy writing the same exact stories as some other random guy at another news organization.

A beatwriter is important, and the one or two or three folks best qualified will see it through. The rest of them have a future in PR; their departure will be felt by no one. Kids, if you're angling to write about sports for a living don't make the vast bulk of your writing a commodity replicable by anyone with an editor. Pretend you're going to be asked to justify your existence, Onion-style, every week.

Do we have expectations? The good doctor has been wondering about Michigan with frequency of late, and his latest runs down the list of true freshman quarterbacks deployed at power programs with an eye towards the Forcier/Robinson pairing that will, ready or not, be thrust into the Michigan QB job come fall. The results are predictably grim, with no team on the list finishing with fewer than three losses and several cratering spectacularly:


A quick check of the successful teams reveals things like Beanie Wells and Braylon Edwards and Darren McFadden and Knowshown Moreno, and while Michigan isn't as bereft of talent as Baylor they aren't exactly sprouting obvious top ten draft picks from every available orifice.

DocSat ends on a grim note:

In the wake of last year's Chernobyl-like meltdown, .500 and a middling bowl game with a true freshman starter who eventually solidifies himself as a long-term answer might suit Michigan just fine. If you compare the Wolverines to the handiest available precedent, Notre Dame's rebound campaign last year, that's as far as the Irish bounced off their 3-9 disaster, and that was with a sophomore with a full season under his belt and the world at his feet as a recruit. Forcier is very, very reminiscent of a less-hyped, more athletic Jimmy Clausen, another relatively polished California kid preceded by in the big-time college ranks by his older brother. Unlike Charlie Weis, though, who was coming off a pair of BCS bowl bids in his first two seasons in South Bend, Rich Rodriguez can't really afford another mulligan.

I was basically with him up until the final sentence, which suggests that expectations for Charlie Weis' fourth year were softer than they will be for Rodriguez's second, something which might be true if Rodriguez had the same sort of head coaching resume Weis did: none. The BCS bowl bids Weis picked up his first two years may have bought him some time; shouldn't the BCS bowl bids Rodriguez acquired at West Virginia afford him the same sort of leniency?

Walkin' on. The Big House Blog has been rounding up various kids who have accepted preferred walk-on spots. There are a couple of linemen unlikely to ever see the field, but fullback Calvin Smith seems pretty relevant given Mark Moundros and Owen Schmitt and so on and so forth:

Smith, who played his senior year of high school at Joliet Catholic Academy after three years at Providence Catholic, has accepted an invitation to attend the University of Michigan as a preferred walk-on.

Michigan's coach, Rich Rodriguez, was at West Virginia through the 2007 season. He brought Schmitt on board as a walkon. Schmitt, now a rugged 6-foot-2, 247 pounder, earned a scholarship and, eventually, the opportunity to hear his name called on draft day.

So why not the 6-2, 235 Smith?

Michigan is going to need a fullback after Moundros graduates this year, and with Vince Helmuth currently trying to scratch out a living as a defensive tackle Smith looks to have the inside track. More walk-ons will join him, but Rodriguez isn't going to recruit anyone to be the heir apparent:

"There's only true fullback at Michigan now," Smith said. "Coach Rodriguez said all his fullbacks start out as walkons. But he has had 30 walkons total in five years who eventually were on scholarship.

Etc.: Ticket prices decline slightly; a diarist interviews TX DT Jay Guy but cannot forestall him from committing to Cal, unfortunately. Deadspin, which jumped the shark about six seconds after Leitch left, is now taking body blows from the internet for being wantonly retarded.



February 20th, 2009 at 11:06 AM ^

When I was in college I worked with the grounds crew for some extra cash. One of the full-time employees regaled us with his future intention of being an editor. His reasoning for this career pursuit?:

"I read good."



February 20th, 2009 at 11:14 AM ^

As always.

That list of frosh QBs was about to drive me to the bottle until I saw one name.

Reggie Ball.

If the Techsters can cobble together a 7-6 mark with that dude as a true frosh, then maybe our hopes aren't all that doomed. Its not like GT was loaded with draft picks either back then, so I'm telling you there's a chance.

Yinka Double Dare

February 20th, 2009 at 11:23 AM ^

I'd also be curious as to how many of those guys enrolled early and were the clear starter in spring practice from Day 1. Answer: probably zero of them? Not to mention the QB is going to do a lot of running in this offense now.

But yeah, we shouldn't be expecting good QB performance this year, he's a true freshman, and odds are against him being actually good right off the bat. Better than last year is a pretty reasonable expectation though -- Tate's going to have as much experience in the system as Threet and Sheridan did (more, actually -- he'll get all the #1 reps I presume, while there was competition last year right through the opener), except his skill set is a much, much better fit for the system. I like his chances of executing the short passes and screens better than either of last year's guys, and it isn't like either guy was having any success on the deep ball either, so he probably can't be any worse at that.

Strangely enough, that was Reggie Ball's best completion percentage of his college career. How one could be that terrible even having Calvin Johnson to throw to, and still keep your job for four years, just boggles the mind. Oh, wait, Chan Gailey. Right.


February 20th, 2009 at 1:41 PM ^

I have reflexively ignored or confronted past posters who seemed IMO to be overly optimistic about projecting success for Forcier next year. None of us (that I'm aware of) has actually seen him at the college level, and when it is a fact of college football that many "can't miss" QB prospects actually do miss, even guys rated much higher than Tate, it seemed foolish to actually project success with any confidence. But your explanation makes sense to me, in terms of both the short passes which you mentioned, and I would add he likely will be better at making the read on the defensive end. Putting it in that way, there is a rational reason to expect slightly better QB play, which should get us slightly more wins, which combined with the easier schedule, could get us to 7 wins which is my hope. Anyway, nice post.


February 20th, 2009 at 11:37 AM ^

Moundros doesn't graduate after this season, per MgoBlue.com

Instead it would be 2010.

The 2008 roster had him listed as a junior with sophomore eligibility, thus in 2009, he would be a senior with junior eligility and in 2010 a fifth year senior.

He must have gotten that red shirt his freshman year. Which is strange because I didn't know walk ons could red shirt. Unless they can and it just isn't done often and Lloyd new he was gonna get a scholarship down the road.


February 20th, 2009 at 11:38 AM ^

That 38-14 pasting of the Illini had a bit of a back story to it.

Illini coach Lou Tepper was interviewed earlier in that week, and was asked about the problems that Illinois would have matching up with Michigan. Lou said something to the effect that Illinois was better than Michigan and then gave the lockerroom quote of the decade, saying that "the only problem I have with Michigan is that we don't get to play them twice." At 19 years old and in living in the shadows of the Big House, I remember thinking about murdering Coach Lou.

The blowout resulted in a stellar cover page in Monday's Daily that simply said...



February 20th, 2009 at 1:54 PM ^

I didn't remember that story...classic. Tepper was a douche. What about Dreisbach on the freshmen list?? Too bad about his injuries watching that tape he looked better than I remember..who knows what could have been for him. Boy that defense was young saw a lot of the seeds of the 97 defense out there. Nice watching a good old fashioned butt kicking from Mich I think we have had a rough couple of years you forget some of the good ones.

Laser Wolf

February 20th, 2009 at 11:48 AM ^

I think the second commenter on the BHGP post sums it up nicely. Leitch leaving Deadspin has opened a nice little slot in my day where I can choose to work or read something substantive.

Say what you will about the motives of pre-Daulerio Deadspin, but at the very least you could tell Will Leitch earnestly loved sports. Daulerio has taken the yoke from the pilot and flown the whole mess into the sea. It's at best a hack gossip site at this point. I consider it the sports version of Perez Hilton.

Yinka Double Dare

February 20th, 2009 at 11:58 AM ^

There is the occasionally funny stuff that I might have missed otherwise (like Pete posting some of the Ed Hightower photoshops from a Kansas board) that are still worthwhile, but yeah, there's a lot more crap on there than there used to be, and the comments are just a clusterfuck now.


February 20th, 2009 at 12:00 PM ^

have a cyborg by the name of Calvin Johnson that year?

Given our personnel, I will be quite satisfied with 6-6 and a Motor City bowl victory in 2009, thank you very much.


February 20th, 2009 at 2:23 PM ^

Unless Forcier is injured, Robinson doesn't have time to pick up the offense, and Sheridan plays, I will not be satisfied with 6-6.

I think there is more talent there than it may appear, and think that 8-4 is a reasonable expectation. I am sticking with my 9-3 prediction, though.


February 20th, 2009 at 12:20 PM ^

Too bad Marlin can't collect a nickel for every web post which mentioned the false "bottle bashing" on their list of Michigan football player misdeeds.


February 20th, 2009 at 1:03 PM ^

Arizona (again)
ND (again)

Interesting. With the exception of ND, the other teams on that list that finished below .500 don't have talent comparable to Michigan.


February 20th, 2009 at 1:10 PM ^

"The BCS bowl bids Weis picked up his first two years may have bought him some time; shouldn't the BCS bowl bids Rodriguez acquired at West Virginia afford him the same sort of leniency?"

uhh....no. wvu and michigan are two completely different situations. though rr might very well be successful, past performance is NOT an indicator of future results. i think the argument can be made that he deserves more than 2 years, but if you're going to try to make it dont say its because he won some bcs games at a different school.

big gay heart

February 20th, 2009 at 1:22 PM ^

Past performance absolutely IS an indicator of future success. Alone, past performance doesn't prove anything. Failure is always a reasonable outcome. But when it comes to indicating or pointing to a logically intuitive result, a solidified body of previous successes points to an ability to succeed in the future. That's the reason that responsible companies spend billions of dollars performing pre-acquisition due diligence and all Government contracts have a past performance requirement.

matty blue

February 20th, 2009 at 1:33 PM ^

"dont say its because he won some bcs games at a different school."

why on earth not? the guy is a proven coach, with a proven track record of success at the highest level. no rational person would look at two unsuccessful seasons and decide that the previous 20 years were not an indicator of his talent or of his chances at future success.

but i think rationality might not exactly apply here.


February 20th, 2009 at 3:45 PM ^

I think that goes too far, but they are more different than most people think. He's been a Division I head coach at one other school (WVU). He had the poor first year, three good solid bowl years, and then 3 great ones. Two things happened between years 4 and 5 that helped put WVU and Rodriguez on the national map. First was Pat White (and Slaton to a lesser degree), which while not exactly repeatable is based on something everyone believes he's good at (recruiting). The second isn't repeatable and it's the turnover in the Big East (Miami, BC, and V. Tech left for the ACC--Temple just left--and in came USF, UConn, Louisville, and Cincinnati). That's a pretty big schedule difference right there. With the talent infusion and the downgrade in conference schedule 8-4's became 11-1's.


February 20th, 2009 at 5:15 PM ^

I do believe that his great years were partially due to the shakeup in the conference, not sure that you can argue with that--but-- you can't discredit those years either, because its impossible to say what would have happened. I could argue that since Miami spiraled down immediately after, that the results could have been replicable had those teams stayed. I don't believe that though, because no matter what anyone says Lousville, USF and Cinci are are not the equal of the teams that left, not then, not now.


February 20th, 2009 at 2:13 PM ^

I am guessing that all of RR's FB's are walk-ons because the job isn't very glorious in his system, and scholly players all think they are NFL-worthy and transfer to schools that they think will make them look better for the NFL.

Meanwhile, Schmitt may prove that RR gives walk-ons a chance to play on Sundays.


February 20th, 2009 at 4:58 PM ^

Did I just start something? Yesterday I made a diary post on this blog about the stats of true freshman QBs, and I see someone else runs the same thing?

I thought only conventional media types robbed from "the bloggers".