Unverified Voracity Sends Everyone Everywhere

Submitted by Brian on December 13th, 2013 at 12:39 PM


Alex Kile's pointless game winner [Bill Rapai]

And it was the most pointless of all events. Michigan got a 2-2 tie out of a tightly contested game against a quite good Ferris State outfit on Wednesday, and fans were treated to a shootout at the end. The shootout decided nothing and meant nothing and took about 85 shooters to complete, but it was superficially fun all the same. Wow experience.

Anyway, Michigan staged an epic comeback in the shot department after a first period that Ferris dominated there and on the ice. M went from 14-4 down to 22-22 after two and went toe-to-toe; in the third they were held without a shot for a long time mostly because they kept tipping the puck two inches wide of the post, agonizingly. Ferris's tying goal came on a screened shot where it looked like Nagelvoort was unaware of who even had the puck and was badly positioned; other than that he was pretty damn good.

Michigan needs Kevin Lohan back, and soon, so they can sit Clare. Clare saw a potential two-on-one developing at center ice and decided to charge it, for the rare center-ice pinch. Upside: Clare gets the puck just outside of the blue line with three M skaters in the offensive zone. Downside: two on one featuring Sinelli as the last guy. Completely insane decision, one of many.

Other than that, a damn good game between two good teams without a lot of offensive wizards on their roster.

GO AWAY. EVERYBODY GO AWAY. Pat Narduzzi turns down the UConn job, which makes perfect sense. Bob Diaco then takes it, which doesn't but does mean Notre Dame has lost both its coordinators this offseason. Offense hardly matters since that's Brian Kelly's show; Diaco's departure might put some wobble in a unit that's been pretty good ever since he figured out how to defend Navy.

ND players certainly freaked out about it. Stephon Tuitt in a since-deleted tweet:


It is called that, Mr. Tuitt, and my suggestion to you is to do the same.

As for Narduzzi, he seems to be holding out for a job that is not an AAC death trap. This is probably the right idea. Unfortunately for Michigan fans hoping for some shakeup in the MSU program, with all the heads on the table save Mack Brown it doesn't look like there's going to be an opening of appropriate attractiveness this offseason unless someone gets poached by the NFL late. I'll pencil him in as Illinois's coach starting next year.

Coaching trees. Diaco is the third Brian Kelly assistant to get a head job (Charlie Molnar is at UMass and Chuck Martin was just hired at Miami). Current head coaches from Carr/Hoke era assistants after Ron English (understandably) lost his mind at EMU:

  • Brady Hoke, Michigan
  • This is not a tree.
  • You need branches for that.
  • It's a coaching line.

With Mattison and Borges not candidates for head jobs due to a variety of factors, that's not going to change. Hell, the only Michigan guy under 50 to have reached a coordinator spot is Scot Loeffler, who may not be long for that role after one-year stints at Temple and Florida were followed by a miserable opening year at Virginia Tech.

That's alarming. Compare Carr's coaching tree to Bo's… actually don't even bother doing that, compare it to Gary Moeller. It's not good that the only major school still willing to hire Michigan coaches is Michigan.

YES GO AWAY. Braxton Miller's looking at the NFL:

“It’s tough,” Miller told the Tribune. “I just don't know. I’ve really got to sit down and go through the pros and cons. I’ll talk to my parents, take it slow.
"Hopefully ball out on January 3rd and see what the scouts are looking at.”

The NFL is looking at Braxton Miller and seeing a guy who's nowhere near an NFL quarterback right now, so this probably won't come to anything. But it should. Go away!

I like big Butt. Sorry. Inevitable that was going to happen at some point. It couldn't be helped, really. Here's why it happened:

Butt entered his first year at Michigan as a scrawny, 6-foot-6, 209-pound prospect with potential.

He'll leave it some 37 pounds heavier, at 6-foot-6, 246-pounder with 11 percent body fat and an appetite for much, much more.

"(The coaching staff) wants me at 255, but I think I can get to 260, I'm a skinny 246 right now," Butt said. "I can put on more."

That is a crazy amount of weight in one year. Contrast that to Devin Funchess, who was listed at 235 as both a freshman and sophomore. While that lack of weight gain was mostly due to the roster lying its ass off about Funchess as a freshman, hey look one of those guys is a tight end and the other one is a wide receiver who occasionally puts his hand down.

If Butt can get to 260 by next fall, Michigan could have an actual dual threat tight end. This would make everyone happy: Borges would have a guy who's an actual matchup issue and I wouldn't have to watch Borges put tight ends on the field over guys like Dileo when that makes no sense at all.

Come on baby.

You wouldn't even recognize my blocking (back in the spring compared to know), I didn't know which foot to step with or where to put my hands, it's night and day," Butt says. "I look at the film and wonder 'who is that kid?' The coaches here put a complete transformation on me."

They're going to play tight ends; hopefully they'll have one worth playing.

This used to happen all the time! Michigan's safety play was not great this year but got a lot worse once Michigan started futzing with their starters, inexplicably at first and then apparently injury-forced, and I still don't get why Michigan was so down on Thomas Gordon. Was he great? No. Did he do this?

For instance, below Michigan State packages mesh with a smash variation combining a corner and swing route. The goal is to put a man beater to the boundary and a hi-lo stretch to the field against a cover 2 corner.


At the snap, Cook reads cover 2, so he knows he is going to the wide side of the field, where he has the 2 on 1 against the squat corner. Cook knows that the corner must cover the swing to the wide side flat, and he can throw the flag pattern before the cover 2 safety can react.

So Michigan State has a good call against the Buckeye coverage. But a completion is one thing. Throwing gasoline on the fire, Corey Pitt Brown takes a horrible angle, coming under the throw and violating a cover 2 safety's primary rule, which is not get beat deep. Seventy-two yards later Michigan State was up 10-0.


No. He was a boring person who did boring things like be a step late on well-thrown corner routes. This is pretty good in the grand scheme of things.

Given what we saw out of Avery and Furman when they were inserted it's clear no one was pushing through; messing with the safeties was a counterproductive move likely borne out of panic about the offense making the defensive coaches try anything that might improve the defense. By the OSU game their hand was forced by Wilson's injury, which is one of about ten things that may have cost Michigan that game.

Compare and contrast. Michigan State got inundated with Rose Bowl ticket requests to the point that they had a choice: cut out some low end folks or reduce available tickets for big ballers from 6 to 4 and medium ballers from 4 to 2. They went with the latter.

"At some point, you have to be true to the character of your institution, your history and fanbase. We're not elitist. We realize we have tremendous fan support and we know the sacrifices people make to be donors.

"The decision was made to be in line with the inclusive character of our university," Schager added. "The bottom line is Michigan State University wants to accommodate as many people as possible (for) this experience that everybody wants to be a part of."

As soon as Michigan got a good basketball team, they reseated Crisler such that people who had put in the time to watch ten years of dreck got booted upstairs if they weren't huge donors.

And there's not going to be a pep band on Saturday… for some reason. The pep band people are irritated, so it's not them, but it seems insane for even Dave Brandon to try to milk some 100 extra seats out of one regular season basketball game. That appears to be the case, though.

One of these athletic directors is making decisions based on building loyalty with his whole fanbase; the other is still running a company that markets cardboard as pizza.

Amir Williams! Oh man I feel your pain, Amir Williams.

Etc.: Bowls are popular. WH Frank Beckmann tribute.


Ron Utah

December 13th, 2013 at 12:56 PM ^


messing with the safeties was a counterproductive move likely borne out of panic about the offense making the defensive coaches try anything that might improve the defense

Wait...is this a joke?  Or are you seriously blaming the offense and letting the defensive coaching off the hook for a bad change?

There's a lot we can blame Borges for, but certainly not our safety rotation.  That is silly, and I hope that was your intention.


December 13th, 2013 at 1:06 PM ^


That contrast between the MSU and UM athletic directors is just a picture, but it is a powerful one.  It's a sadly powerful thing when I would prefer my university AD's actions/attitude to be changed with those of the MSU AD.

But I do, 100%.


December 13th, 2013 at 1:08 PM ^

Once Michigan fields elite units on both sides of the ball, the coordinators will have the potential to take other positions. In the case of Borges and Mattison, they're both probably too old to anywhere else though.


December 13th, 2013 at 2:01 PM ^

This to me is a strong argument to can Borges now in favor of a young hotshot. Mattison is a career DC, and in any case he'll retire before Hoke does. We can live with that, because he's really good.

On the other hand, I don't think any of us, even those labeled "Borges defenders" on this site, would consider Borges to be an "elite" OC. He can be good with the right talent, but so can a lot of coordinators.

So why not replace him with a younger OC with more upside? At worst it could be a mild downgrade during the transition. At best, he could grow into "elite" status. Furthermore, it's a chance to build a Hoke coaching tree. Young OC comes here, does a good job for a few years, heads off for a head coaching spot, comes back to take the reins when Hoke retires. Hiring "Michigan Men" is only sustainable in the future if there's a reasonable pool to choose from - by the time Hoke is gone the Moeller/Carr tree (at least those with direct Michigan connections) will have withered. We need some fresh blood in the coaching tree.

I don't have a list of names in mind, but surely there must be some young upstart amongst the lower level FBS teams or the elite FCS squads that would be worth a look.


December 13th, 2013 at 4:38 PM ^

From what I understand, Hoke, Mattison, Borges and their respective families are very close, and the family atmosphere at Michigan is often praised by recruits.

Perhaps they would rather roll the dice on Borges and his inconsistency in order to maintain The Family, instead of rolling the dice on a new hotshot OC (if available) who may not fit in, or who provides less value than Al in that regard.


December 14th, 2013 at 1:36 AM ^

We have no idea whether the "real" Borges is the one whose team scored 19 points combined against MSU and Nebraska or the one whose team scored 41 against Ohio, but  I think the latter option is much more realistic than the former.  

As long as David Brandon thinks he has the right to dictate 20th century playcalling against 21st century teams, no coach will be able to do a credible job as the OC in A2.

turd ferguson

December 13th, 2013 at 1:15 PM ^

Wow, I love that quote from MSU's Paul Schager.  Ten years ago I probably would have expected that from anyone working in that kind of role (he's their associate AD).  Now it seems like we're asked to believe that you undermine your own programs if you don't organize all decisions around getting your hands on the most immediately available dollar.  Kudos to MSU on that one.


December 13th, 2013 at 1:52 PM ^

there really are two sides to that issue you list with Brandon and today's ADs.  There are lots of other non-revenue sports that benefit from all the money generated.  The question is...does the money made in the Brandon model equal what's being made in the MSU model?  If so, then why NOT be inclusive and still make the money?  As a former swimmer, I was grateful for the money raised by the AD and the money making sports.

turd ferguson

December 13th, 2013 at 2:09 PM ^

There's also a short run / long run question.  Realistically, Brandon's incentives are to make a big splash in the short run in order to have some immediate success (during and just after his watch).  That's how we tend to evaluate ADs and other leaders.  That's unfortunate, in my opinion, since I think good management typically means setting up your organization for success in the more distant future.  

I wrote out some thoughts about how well Brandon's setting us up for the future, but I just deleted them, since I was basically talking out of my ass.  I guess I just think we have to keep an eye on whether he's setting us up well for the decades to come.  He's not one who I'm immediately and automatically inclined to trust to do the "right" thing even when it's not in his incentives to do so.


December 13th, 2013 at 2:11 PM ^

I think the big thing separating the MSU AD from Brandon is that Brandon seems to take fan loyalty for granted. MSU can't, particularly for football, because their fanbase is smaller and more fickle (there's that word again...).

Brandon's attitude has always come across as "I'm going to try to get away with as much as I can up to and until the point I piss off a lot of people". That's a pretty lousy way to treat your loyal fans, and an even worse way to build loyalty in the next generation. Yeah, we're loyal to Michigan, but it's easier to justify expressing loyalty with cold hard cash when you feel like the people you're chucking greenbacks at are grateful for you and return your loyalty. Instead the attitude seems to be "We're so glad you're a Michigan fan, at least until we find a Michigan fan with more money than you".

MSU is making a smart move because a) it probably doesn't cost them all that much - the tickets will still get sold, and I doubt biggish donors will get too miffed about only getting 4 tickets, and b) the upside is big - by selling to more people lower on the totem pole, you expand the number of people who might get hooked (or who are already hooked but lack big cash) who might turn into tomorrow's big donors.

Michigan athletics will probably go through hard times in the future. Maybe soon, or maybe in a few years when the bottom drops out as it's been threatening for some time. Michigan will only be able to weather that with a solid base of loyal fans who will be around a long time - and that in turn requires courting the younger, poorer crowd now that they might turn into the rich bluehairs of the next couple decades.


December 15th, 2013 at 9:15 AM ^

Go to some of the MSU fan blogs.  There are plenty of upset MSU fans, and some of them are talking about drastically cutting their contributions to MSU athletics, since they don't bring the perks they thought they should.  When demand outstrips supply for something like bowl game tickets, someone is going to be pissed off.

Comparing what Hollis did with Rose Bowl tickets to what Brandon has been doing is not exactly comparing apples to apples, though.  Let Michigan get into a bowl game where demand outstrips supply and see how he handles it.


December 13th, 2013 at 2:13 PM ^

So if you're Dave Brandon, what makes more sense: heavily marketing the football and to some extent basketball teams to milk a little more cash for the swim team? Or just marketing the swim team directly? Hiring / creating the position of marketing director for the athletics department to increase publicity for the excellent things Michigan athletes are doing in non-revenue sports makes a lot of sense to me. I think part of what rankles so much is that it seems like that's not what the marketing department's job is. Instead, the AD's marketing team focuses on (seemingly unnecessarily) marketing the crap out of the football team, and squeezing every dime out of it that they can. Maybe that does make more money for the athletic department as a whole than direct marketing of soccer, volleyball, field hockey, etc. would have. Maybe the MBAs in charge have looked at trying to build enough interest in gymnastics that they could charge real money and make real revenue for tickets to gymnastics events, and decided it wasn't realistic. Maybe they're even right about that. But if they really are focused on making the revenue sports the WOW EXPERIENCEs that pay every other sport's bills, then doesn't it make sense to make sure the pep band IS at the basketball and hockey games? Isn't that part of what makes the ticket price worth paying?


December 13th, 2013 at 2:47 PM ^

Good points. At least in theory, the AD is a non-profit organization that should serve the public good in some way. To me, providing more opportunities for young fans and families to experience Michigan football / basketball at a reasonable cost is much more valuable than providing incrementally nicer facilities to the non-revenue sports teams. Yes, there is value, great value, in providing athletic opportunities for scholarship athletes, but those opportunities are not improved by giving every swimmer a gold plated iPad, and if the cost of giving the swimmer a nicer natatorium is pricing families out of the Big House, well, the swimmer can swim and learn leadership and camaraderie and dedication and all those other skills in a more modest facility.

I have (somewhat) less of a problem with palaces for football and basketball because, well, the players earn that. For better or worse, people are willing to pay enough to watch them play to offset those costs. Now even that ought to have a limit - at some point you go from having top-quality facilities and equipment for your student athletes to just gilding the lily, and I think the waterfall at Bama can attest that we've swung pretty hard toward the latter.

If the non-revenue sports want nicer stuff, let them earn it, either by attracting fans or courting donors. Otherwise give them functional but non-palacial facilities and keep football and basketball affordable for the average family.


December 13th, 2013 at 1:26 PM ^

"At some point, you have to be true to the character of your institution, your history and fanbase. We're not elitist."

 "The decision was made to be in line with the inclusive character of our university,"



So......aren't we sort-of consider to BE elitist?  And if so, can at least some of DB's decisions be explained by that fact?

Space Coyote

December 13th, 2013 at 2:03 PM ^

You give a decent chunk of change and suddenly you only have 2 tickets to the Rose Bowl and you can't take your whole family. You've been donating money through Bobby Williams and JLS and suddenly you only get 2 tickets after being told 4?

Now, it's great that some other people can get tickets and go see their team play, and in that sense it spreads brand loyalty. But you're also neglecting some people that likely put time and money into the program.

At the end of the day, I don't think this is a clear "this is easily the better option" as it's being made out to be. I see the reasoning behind both and the unjustice of both.


December 13th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

Maybe all of these examples don't fit this particular scenario, but Mike Hart doesn't have the money to be in the big baller donation tier. Neither does Shawn Hunwick, nor do most of the people teaching classes at Michigan, most of the people who have recently won top-end academic awards or people in general who are elite in fields without a lot of money in them.


NOLA Wolverine

December 13th, 2013 at 2:17 PM ^

Elitist is an attitude, not a social class. For example, you can be in middle management and act elitist or you could be a CEO and not act elitist (say, for instance, Costco's CEO). 

Heck, there are people on this board who feel superior to Michigan State grads working in the cubicle next to them at the same pay grade. 

Zone Left

December 13th, 2013 at 1:27 PM ^

Braxton Miller probably isn't going to be an NFL quarterback, but has nice potential elsewhere. If he believes that, then he probably should leave for the NFL now. It's not like he's going convince people he's a higher pick at running back next year.


December 13th, 2013 at 1:52 PM ^

According to an email from the athletic department, bleachers, section 130, and 132 are available to the students in the lower bowl. I've never heard of Sec 132 before, is that where the band normally is? Is it possible that the dept gave up the band in order to avoid turning students away who wanted to claim tickets?


December 13th, 2013 at 1:59 PM ^

At some point, you have to be true to the character of your institution, your history and fanbase. We're not elitist.

One could argue that what Brandon is doing is also consistent with the character of our institution. I mean, we are elitists, right? Pretty sure I've heard that someplace.

EDIT: beaten to the punch by the old guy with the hot wife.


December 13th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

Why do we care about a coaching tree? I'd rather our good coaches not leave for elsewhere, right? And can you include Nick Sheridan in the Michigan coaching tree? Or not because he's Rodriguez?


December 13th, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

Well yes you'd like to keep your good coaches, but you'd also like to have coaches good enough to get offers they can't refuse from other institutions. And I don't think any of us would be too mad at a guy who parlayed a great run as a coordinator at Michigan into a head coaching career (as long as he'd give M a look when the head job opened up).


December 13th, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

Because you do want some continuity when you have to replace guys. Also, having a deep tree usually means you have young coaches who are motivated and (you hope) a positive in recruiting. Having a bunch of old guys who seem content leads to stagnation and being surprised by spread offenses run by FCS teams.


December 13th, 2013 at 3:31 PM ^

Boise State, under Chris Peterson, became one of the most successful programs in college football. When he left for UW, Boise hired Bryan Harsin, who was the OC at Boise for 5 years before he left Boise in 2010 to be the co-OC at Texas, and then a head coach at Arkansas State. I'm sure Boise is thrilled to have that option, b/c it is a link to their successful past, but Harsin also got good experience elsewhere.

Michigan hasn't had that for close to twenty years now. And it has hurt the program.


December 13th, 2013 at 3:47 PM ^

Michigan, under Lloyd Carr, became one of the most successful programs in college football. When he retired, Mcihigan eventually hired Brady Hoke, who was the DL coach at Michigan  before he left to be the head coach at Ball State, and then head coach at San Diego State. I'm sure Michigan is thrilled to have that option, b/c it is a link to their successful past, but Hoke also got good experience elsewhere.

I am much more interested in Michigan winning today than worrying about who will or won't leave and come back 10 years from now.


December 13th, 2013 at 2:24 PM ^

I think it matters at Michigan because for some reason we have a significant chunk of the fanbase and leadership stuck on having a "Michigan Man" as a head coach. Time will tell how much it matters, but it was pretty much the only reason Brady Hoke got the job when he did. Sometime (hopefully far down the road) he's going to need a successor, and it would be nice to have a nice to have a large list of qualified options that wouldn't be actively undermined by the "Michigan Man" subset.


December 13th, 2013 at 4:06 PM ^

for some reason we have a significant chunk of the fanbase and leadership stuck on having a "Michigan Man" as a head coach.

This actually goes for most schools, and frequently guides their hiring decisions.  USC just hired a guy whose career record is 34-29, but he's an ex-assistant there.  Stanford replaced Harbaugh with Shaw, who had no head coaching experience but was an assistant and alumnus.  When MSU hired Dantonio, his career coaching record was 18-17, but he was an ex-assistant there.  ND hired Weis, an alumnus.  And so on.



December 13th, 2013 at 4:09 PM ^

This is a theme at many schools, but probably not a great one.  USC is a huge football program, and their last two hires have been unqualified guys who were "from the Carroll coaching tree."  The first one obviously didn't work out, and although there's evidence to suggest Sarkisian will do better, his resume certainly isn't one you'd expect to see at a top-5 college football job.  

I'm not saying schools should never do this, but they probably shouldn't do it as much.