Submitted by Brian on October 14th, 2014 at 12:07 PM

So this happened.

We need a Holtz/Norfleet mashup.

Penn State fans: aim before firing. See, this is a fanbase that's overreacting:

Year one, sanctions finally biting deeply, coach made Vanderbilt competitive. Let's stone him!

We are fulfilling our responsibilities as an internet website under provision 6 of the Norfleet Atomic Dog Act of 2560. Via Melissa Storch:

We misattributed the source of the Norfleet GIF in One Frame At A Time; this is the original.

INJURIES. Michigan has an implausible number of them. Remember when we thought Hoke was lucky? Funny thing about that. Water finds its level. Gardner was in a boot after the PSU game, but that seems like a precaution more than anything since the guy was on the field. He's got a well-timed bye to rest up before… another bye? Let's go with that.

Speaking of injuries, we have confirmation that Gardner was playing on a broken toe last year:

"Devin's leadership has been outstanding," Hoke said Saturday night. "He played a year ago with a broken toe for half the game (against Ohio State). You know he's got a toughness to him.

Everyone knew this; Michigan insisted on pretending otherwise.

Well played, headline guy? He didn't say the thing that is implied here:

Brady Hoke asked about being at Michigan in 2015, says he's not focused on that

"I'm focused on Heartstone, mostly."

Let's hire the guy who never punts! Barking Carnival has a two-part piece on Arkansas high school coach Kevin Kelley—you know, the guy who always goes for it and always onside kicks:

Kelley prepares the players for chaos.  Pulaski lives in created chaos - their job is to inoculate their players to its effects and let the other team drown in it.  That's what the conventional analysis of Kelley's approach doesn't understand - the Pulaski defense fully EXPECTS that they're going on the field with the opponent inside their territory several times in a game.  It's how they play.  Your panic is their comfort zone.  It's just another day at the office. …

Their guys are mentally tougher than yours because they always play in the fringes of chaos - they're experts in weirdness.  You're playing weird just one week.  They're veterans of weird outcomes and know that leads with time on the clock either way mean nothing.  Just keep playing.

We probably shouldn't hire the guy who never punts. But Kelley is an interesting guy who questions the basic assumptions of football in the same way Beilein did coming up what with his 1-3-1 zone and ALL OF THE SHOOTERS lineups. The burgeoning conventional wisdom that you should strive to shoot threes and layups and nothing else was the moneyball that got Beilein to the top of the ladder and there are guys out there who are doing the same in football now. We just don't know which thing is the thing.

Michigan should be looking for the most interesting plausible mind.

So here's Dan Mullen doing things. Mississippi State has a 6'5" linebacker headed for the early rounds of the NFL draft. How did that happen? Via the Caris LeVert method:

But then, to hear his coach tell it, McKinney’s emergence from obscurity had nothing to with odds, gambling, or catching lightning in a bottle. To Mullen, it’s all in a day’s work. “I don’t look at where they are today. My mind is, ‘Where are they going to be three years from now?’” Mullen told me. “Here’s a 6-foot-3, 210-pound high school quarterback who hasn’t played a lot of linebacker. But you talk to him and you realize he has toughness. And he can run. And you get him in the weight room, and he grows an inch and a half — which you can’t control — and he becomes a 250-pound athletic linebacker who can play at the next level.” …

“I’ll tell a kid sometimes, if he’s not rated very highly [by the recruiting services], ‘Hey, we have you rated higher than that,’” Mullen said. “If he’s got two stars beside his name, that’s even better. Because in my evaluation, he’s not that player.”

Mississippi State has systematically found guys who exceed expectations in the same way John Beilein has, and he's deployed them to maximum effectiveness. There hasn't been anything fluky about Mississippi State's rise, and that's why anyone with a job opening will be blowing up his agent's phone for the next couple months.

The NFL does not exist. That's the approach Michigan should be taking here. When Penn State grabbed Bill O'Brien, Brian Bennett wrote up a piece on guys who had made the NFL-to-college leap. I'm going to cut out everything and just list the names in the article:

  • Bill O'Brien
  • Charlie Weis
  • Ron Turner
  • Bill Callahan
  • Tim Brewster
  • Kirk Ferentz
  • Al Groh
  • Pat Hill
  • Pete Carroll
  • Mike Sherman
  • Dave Wannstedt

So you've got Carroll, who is in the 99th percentile of hey dude energy, Kirk Ferentz, a guy who went back to the NFL after two years, and fail fail fail fail fail. Oh and Pat Hill, who had a good run at Fresno.

The best coaches in college football are all college guys. The NFL does not exist.

Mullen speculation will be constant. Spencer Hall thinks that there might be a bit of a rift between Mullen and Florida AD Not Dave Brandon:

WE THINK DAN WOULD BE FINE BUT DOESN'T REALLY GET ALONG WITH FOLEY REPORTEDLY DOT COM. It's a nice idea to want Dan Mullen as Florida's head coach, but there are a few problems with this. Like for instance--

--fine, fine, just get the damn checkbook and paperwork. Get it now. YOU GO RUN AND GET THAT DAMN CHECKBOOK RIGHT NOW, FOLEY.

So there's that.

LeVert, profiled. DX scouting report:

If I was a college coach I'd have the "weaknesses" music on cue to blast whenever one of my stars lived up to one.

Furman, ascendant. Remember Josh Furman bolting for Oklahoma State in the offseason? Not really, because he seemed like a meh player? Well:

How’s this for help: Furman, with a fifth sack Saturday, through six games has more sacks than any Cowboy’s produced in a season since 2011. He forced a fumble to go with his pick against Kansas, adding just another solid performance to his building resume that would put him on a short list of contenders for OSU Most Valuable Player at the midway point.

“Yeah, I’d hate to think where we’d be without him,” Spencer said.

He is a "star" linebacker akin to the S/LB hybrids OSU rolls out on the regular; think a senior version of Stevie Brown.

Insert Balotelli WHY ALWAYS ME shirt here. Jon Chait (no polo) on football's concussion/health panic:

he same organization cited by Time found that, over a 30-year period, football is not a uniquely deadly sport for high-school athletes. It is not even the deadliest sport. High-school football has a fatality rate of 0.83 per 100,000 participants. This is actually lower than the rates of boys’ basketball (0.92), lacrosse (1.00), boys’ gymnastics (1.00), and water polo (1.3). There were three heartbreaking deaths of high-school football players last week, each of which attracted wide media coverage the way that tragic low-frequency events often do. But the unusual cluster of unfortunate deaths does not indicate a broader trend any more than the crash of an airliner signals an increasing danger associated with air travel.

Chait also follows up with a response to a guy who is a crusader against barbarism.

It might be more maize? Usual disclaimers about photo coloring apply but MVictors caught a reshoot of Devin Funchess on the program cover that strongly implies that Michigan has moved away from the highlighter yellow this year:

Since cover shots for the game programs of the players were shot before the season, they had to re-shoot Funchess in the #1 jersey:Photo Oct 11, 9 37 03 PM

Two things:
1. Notice Funchess has the 2014 helmet with the block M nosebumper.
2. Notice the striking difference in maize tone in the wings that was cited earlier this season between the 2014 and 2013 helmets.

And  while we’re on the topic of game programs…again—I wish they’d get creative here—do somethingbeyond just players standing there posing!

Those are likely to be in controlled conditions so I think it's for real. Small mercies.

The mood from an outsider's view. Excellent Michigan blog with bizarre color scheme Eleven Warriors had a correspondent take in the threatening-cow-rubbing affair on Saturday. The pulse:

Michigan is not broken, nor is it going anywhere at any point in the near future. Though the current caretakers aren't living up to the high standards heaped upon them, the likelihood of the program as a whole sliding toward eternal mediocrity is unlikely. With hundreds of thousands of living alumni, the tradition of "Michigan" is bigger than any one person.

I'm considering a piece about the "lack of local fan support," per Gameday, and the finger-wagging about how Michigan fans need to get behind the program. We're behind it; we're just thinking about more than the next few game.

Etc.: Get The Picture with a magnificent takedown of the NCAA over the Gurley affair. Speaking of, this guy should move to Canada.

Rick Pitino says Louisville is at a disadvantage recruiting because they're an Adidas school. SBN CEO Jim Bankoff talking media stuff is worth a read. Nerds are being adopted by hockey. Defense every snap.

Michigan's run by a guy who only sees the next spreadsheet.



October 14th, 2014 at 12:14 PM ^

As one who hates the terrible pumped in music, I'll admit that I'm cool with Norfleet's atomic dog.  It's something that actually fits and hypes up players and fans.  Contrast that with the dogshit, generic techno nonsense played prior to Atomic Dog and it should be clear to anyone not named Dave Brandon - Sweet Caroline and her friends need not ever be played in Michigan Stadium.  On the flip side, if an atomic dog wants Atomic Dog...then it makes sense.


October 14th, 2014 at 12:27 PM ^

Curious. Anyone familiar with the handle owner? Went to high school with one of Penn State's football players in the 1990s - Tyoka Jackson.  We had an Indian math teacher named Homayoun Homayouni. Hilarious fellow; dozed asleep at his desk while sitting in his stool. Always mispronounced names and called Tyoka "Toyota" (so we all call him Toyota Jackson to this day). Chain smoker. Wore gloves to help circulation in his hands. Another classmate sitting in the front row used his foot to push Mr. Homayouni a bit, so his chair slid about 3 feet before he woke up. He looked at Tyoka (also in front row) and growled "TOYOTA! If I fall out of my chair and break my neck I'll sue you!" Tyoka feigned anger and laughed while saying "TYOKA. My name is TYOKA!"

Mr. Homayouni squinted, grinned, and said "Next time I'll call you Nissan!"


October 14th, 2014 at 12:23 PM ^

Beating a dead horse: Putting norfleet back there for the kick, it looks like he was confirming to the M sideline that he was going to fair catch it (the wave).  Or maybe he was waving for fun.

MI Expat NY

October 14th, 2014 at 12:38 PM ^

That's the obvious play, no?  The only thing that gives PSU a chance in that situation is a roughing the punter penalty or a muffed kick.  It makes sense to tell your punt returner to call the fair catch so that the only thing he concentrates on his fielding the punt.  Of course, the better thing may have been to just leave the defense on the field, go safe and make sure nobody touches the ball at all.  

MI Expat NY

October 14th, 2014 at 1:40 PM ^

But drops happen, even for the best players.  Even if you assume he'd catch 999 out of 1000, why risk that 1000th event?  Of course, you only see Norfleet signalling that he's supposed to fair catch... maybe coaches were signalling back that he wasn't even supposed to catch it and he was just back there to make sure everybody got away.


October 14th, 2014 at 2:42 PM ^

if we are factoring in 1000 catches, i think we cant just look at the 1 time he muffs it.  What about the times when he disobeys the coaches orders and takes the punt for a touchdown?  Is that also a 1 in 1000?  I think it's probably higher than that.  A bad kick that comes as a line drive could lead to points.

My point is, I think there is more chance that something good happens here for Michigan than something bad, and leaving no one back to field the punt eliminates some of those good possibilities

Wolverine In Exile

October 14th, 2014 at 12:45 PM ^


Bill Walsh (had a couple good years at Stanford before he retired again)

Lou Holtz

June Jones


I'd also add as a counter though Paul Hackett (ultimately failed but left a ready to succeed Carson Palmer in place for Pete Carroll)


I don't think coming from the NFL is as much of a deathknell as Brian writes... the successful NFL returnees are those who are masterful motivators and solid X & O guys with head coaching experience. That's why I'm more upbeat about the possibilty of a Gary Kubiak than others. Hell I even think if the right situation was there and he was 5 years younger, I'd consider Dennis Green as well. Harbaugh caveats apply.


October 14th, 2014 at 3:05 PM ^

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.  The list, I guess, is trying to argue that straight NFL-to-college transitions are rough, but the guys UM is looking for the NFL typically have some previous connection to college coaching, either as HCs (Harbaugh) or position coach at big programs (Austin). 

Michigan probably shouldn't get an NFL guy unless it is a home run, but they also don't seem to be looking for guys who wouldn't have some deep connection to the University and/or college ball.

The FannMan

October 14th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

Students - you have until November 1 to learn Norfleet's Atomic Dog Dance.

Special K better play that the next time he is punt formation.  When Norfleet starts dancing (and he will), I want to see the whole Student Section dancing right along with him, step for step.  It would clearly be the best thing ever done by any Student Section ever.


Bob The Wonder Dog

October 14th, 2014 at 12:32 PM ^

for the kind of football coach we should be looking into. Someone with rare insight into the game and the ability to make a quantum leap in how football is played.

Let's hope there is someone in the athletic department who could recognize such a person.


October 14th, 2014 at 12:49 PM ^

he would recruit guys who fit his system and may be recruiting guys he sees that have potential to grow, like Jake Ryan (a three star).

Beilein does the same thing.  He recruits high level talent, but only if that high level talent fits within his system.  He also identifies guys that are under the radar because they also fit his system and have room to grow.


October 14th, 2014 at 8:01 PM ^

Dan Mullen can't get as many of the high "star" guys at Miss St., so he has done a good job of identifying which of the lower rated guys will outperform their ranking.  That doesn't mean that if he coached at a big time school he would tell the 5-star kids to take a hike.  RichRod still recruited 5 star talents, and sometimes got them.  But he was also able to identify guys at certain positions that were either above their ranking or that fir his system well (like Odoms or Dileo).  That didn't mean he passed on the legit 5-stars, like Sammy Watkins or Dee Hart.  


October 14th, 2014 at 12:39 PM ^

Most of those folks listed were not head coaches in the NFL.  Al Groh was a head coach for a year when Parcells retired.  Callahan got two years after Gruden left the Raiders (went to the Super Bowl in year one, stunk when guys left/retired a year later). 

The list of guys who had been head coaches for any period of time is just Carroll (wildly successful), Sherman, Wannstedt, and Jim Mora, Jr.

Mike Sherman went 9-4 in his third year at A&M, sharing the Big 12 south title with OU and OSU.  In year four they went 6-6 and he got fired, but they lost to end of season #3 Ok. State by one point, to #5 Arkansas by 4, to Missouri in OT, to #15 Kansas State in 4OT, to Texas by 2, and to Oklahoma.  A year later they won ten games under Sumlin and have had a ton of guys drafted in the early rounds who Sherman brought in.

Wannstedt went 5-2 in the Big East in each of his last three seasons.  He didn't meet high expectations, but was hardly a disaster and they've been worse every year since then.

Mora is 23-10 so far at UCLA, and last year had a very young team that went 10-3.

Considering the programs those guys were at, it isn't a bad track record at all.



October 14th, 2014 at 12:47 PM ^

Even after Minnesota I still leaned towards irrational support of the Hoke regime but that Furman bit is the straw.  Despite the mountain of evidence that should have had me in the It's Not Happening with Hoke camp already, it's a former special teamer turning into a potential (likely?) All-Conference player in the space of one offseason that has finally brought clarity to me.


So, hooray for that?


October 14th, 2014 at 3:11 PM ^

As a counter, this is an OSU defense that is giving up 25 points a game and that's having basically played Florida St. and Texas Tech and nobody else approximating a competent offense.  He's been a good piece for a meh defense, but I don't think the coaches "failed" on developing the guy as much as he needed a change of scenery.

True Blue Grit

October 14th, 2014 at 3:35 PM ^

We've simply had too many guys here in recent years (Furman and Marvin Robinson are just two examples) that despite being good athletes never seemed to develop.   And I'm sure many on this blog could name a lot of 4* star guys currently on the team who don't seem to be making much progress either. 


October 14th, 2014 at 12:53 PM ^

Notice Funchess has the 2014 helmet with the block M nosebumper.

Too bad it's the 2013 helmet that looks like the improvement.  It actually matches the rest of the uni.

Either make the pants/jersey numbers match the helmet, or make the helmet match the pants/jersey numbers.  I don't really care which one.  But having them be a hodge-podge mismatch out of a yard sale makes them look like hand-me-downs to the junior varsity team.


October 14th, 2014 at 1:07 PM ^

I'm friends with the Riddell rep that does their reconditioning, warned me last year to buy the replica helmet then because Brady was doing away with that tone of yellow with the matalic flake, and returning them to original maize. Said entire uniform is going back to old school maize soon.