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 12:52 PM ^

I like the highlighter yellow much better than the orangy color. The yellow pops really well against the dark blue, and also matches the pants.  One thing I've definetely disagreed on with some of the older crowd. (that and I also hate helmets with helmet stickers. Like putting bumper stickers on a porsche or Lamborgini).


October 14th, 2014 at 1:00 PM ^

I chased 6 kids off my lawn this week alone.

But I agree with you, the highlighter maize really pops against the dark blue and is a great look.  It is totally unique to Michigan.

I was at an airport somewhere far, far from Michigan.  It may have even been overseas.  I saw a guy from the back with a dark blue shirt and highlights in that bright yellow.  I instantly knew what it was and yelled "Go Blue!".  He turned around to reveal a Michigan shirt - of course - and gave me a big thumbs up.

I don't want colors that are Navy's/Toledo's/WVU's/etc.  I like our colors.  They're awesome.


October 14th, 2014 at 1:52 PM ^

I think it's pretty obvious that the helmet Funchess is holding is far closer to this color than the other helmets in the picture.  Of course it isn't an exact match because materials, dye, lighting, camera settings, etc.

RHammer - SNRE 98

October 14th, 2014 at 1:13 PM ^

the fact that there is even a hint or suggestion that it would be possible for my university alma mater to hire the head coach of my high school alma mater is basically making my head assplode...

I do like the convention-challenging nature of Coach Kelley's tactics and it sounds like most people currently at PA are enamored with the success (other than those who would prefer to continue to focus on fostering top-notch academics, rather than shifting towards solicitation of big donors for more sportsball facilities), but it might be helpful to have a little context in terms of the student body at the school... PA is a small, private, high-achieving academic school in west little rock, and has always had a very small (despite recent growth) pool of potential athletes for major athletics. [football has always been big there, but when I played we ran a wishbone and played an offshoot of the standard manball of the early '90's...]; kind of a high-school equivalent to Vandy, if you want an analogy

just as a thought exercise (because I don't think Brian is seriously suggesting hiring Coach Kelley, per se), i think the real question mark for hiring someone like Kelley is whether they could replicate their success in innovating tactically, while also taking advantage of the larger resources and type of recruits you can pull at a large program like Michigan... in other words, can you scale up the application of your tactics, or is your success more about taking advantage of the particular circumstances (ie. developing creative strategies to utilize the skill-set of a nerdy, hard-working set of kids at a lower-level) that won't work when you apply it on a higher level.  

I think someone like Mullen is clearly succeeding with a particular brand of this, but am skeptical that coaches like Stitt (closest analog to Kelley that I see on our current CC roundups) could appropriately scale up their coaching tactics/style, at least in the time frame that they would be allowed before the mgofanbase decides it isn't working...  in short, I would love to see a forward thinking, innovative coach who can attract and coach the best and the brightest, and out-coach the B1G and beyond with creative tactics, but I think finding a football Beilein is a much tougher task from a practical perspective than doing so in basketball; it's great if you can find someone that brings you to the point where you end up with a Fitzgerald/Harbaugh/Mullen-type of a program, but my sense is there was a portion of Bill Martin that thought he was getting a creative/innovative type of a guy in RichRod, and we all know how much rope he was given...  for my money, it would be best to find someone who has already proven a level of success at a major program, vs. trying to uncover a pure, small-school innovator who miraculously has success (and quickly) at their first attempt in this kind of big-time college program


October 15th, 2014 at 5:27 AM ^

I agree that we need someone with more proven success than Kelley has had thus far, such as Mullen.  On the topic of Kelley, however, I'm just fascinated by his successful application of a radical football philosophy.  I can't say that I've heard of anyone ever try that; it reminds me of how kids used to play football video games.  Are you still involved in the Pulaski community?  Have there been any rumors of his departure to a minor college somewhere, or do you think he'd even entertain them?  It'd be a shame not to see him get to try it out even at one of the smaller schools around like ATU, etc.

RHammer - SNRE 98

October 15th, 2014 at 10:13 AM ^

involved down there at all (unless you count traveling there a couple weeks ago for my 20th high school reunion)... most of us alums that live out of state only see what the rest of folks see (Grantland, occasional articles like those Brian linked, etc.), but I can tell you that it was pretty clear on my last visit that someone has been ponying up big bucks to upgrade the athletics facilities there; my guess would be that is part of the school's attempts to keep him happy at PA.  It's a private school though, so although I'm not an arkansas FOIA expert, I'd guess you wouldn't be able to get his wages through a public records request like you can for University coaches here; any attempt to figure out what it would take monetarily to lure him away with higher salary would be a complete guess on our part.  i'd wager most small schools in the area (UCA, etc.) wouldn't necessarily be able to offer too much in terms of salary increase, so he'd probably need to be at a place where he was ready to try his skills at the next level (unless an even bigger school came calling with bigger $$ to make that decision easier for him)

[also, not that it matters that much, but this was something that aggravated me about those articles in Brian's post: no one down there refers to the school as "Pulaski" in isolation.  the county that Little Rock is in is called Pulaski County, and since the school's name is Pulaski Academy, everyone down there refers to it solely as "PA"  #themoreyouknow]


October 16th, 2014 at 2:23 AM ^

Thanks for the informative response!  The PA boosters certainly have the opportunity to pay him well enough to keep the smaller colleges away, since their salaries are public knowledge.  I checked the 2012 salary of the UCA HC, which was $165k of public compensation.  From what I've heard from friends in the private HS coaching ranks, I'd be surprised that he's earning anywhere close to that.  Do you think so?  I wouldn't leave a successful HS situation paying that kind of money anytime soon if I were him!




MI Expat NY

October 14th, 2014 at 3:17 PM ^

And he was a college assistant for 15 years before his stint in Houston and a head college coach for 1 year before his stint in Cleveland.  Saban is a college coach who has dabbled in the NFL.  


October 14th, 2014 at 1:48 PM ^

There is a rather disturbing trend of poor talent evaluation developing for this staff (in addition to many failures already outlined in other places). Any individual item from the following list could be written off as a fluke or coincidence, but taken all together I think it represents a massive failure of the Brady Hoke era:

 - success of Josh Furman and Thomas Rawls after transferring.

 - Constant Oline shuffling last year.

 - Bellomy over Gardner (I know they moved Gardner to WR, they should have known that Bellomy wasn't ready)

 - Shane Morris over Gardner for Minnesota game.

 - Countess starting over Lewis to start this year.

 - Jake Ryan to middle linebacker.

 - Quest to replace Thomas Gordon last year despite him being one of our most reliable players.

 - AJ Williams over Hill or receiver.

This is all just off the top of my head, I am sure others can think of more examples. I am starting to come to the conclusion that Hoke and staff base their personnel decisions off of quaint and intangible notions like "toughness" and "physicality" rather than actual effectiveness. Their track record of identifying the best man for the job is pretty horrifying in my opinion.


October 14th, 2014 at 3:06 PM ^

Yeah, I've never seen a practice and don't know a thing about coaching football so that wouldn't be very meaningful to me anyways, so to me coaching is a black box in which you insert talent and extract results.  So far under Hoke we're inserting top 10 talent and extracting bottom 10 results.  I don't know what's being done wrong or who's doing it but somehow or another our coaching sucks.  I like Hoke and his family environment and his recruiting, and if he hadn't lost the fans and thus all the recruits I'd say fire all the position coaches and try one more year, but now that his recruiting is dead too I think we need a new regime that actually knows how to develop talent instead of destroy it.


October 14th, 2014 at 2:18 PM ^

Hate, hate, hate the Tennessee orange wings on the helmets. Highlighter may not be accurate, but neither is this--the maize I grew up on and that was brilliant in the 90s/early 00s puts this color to shame. It actively bothers me every time I see it on television.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 14th, 2014 at 11:01 PM ^

Too orangy.

I first laid my eyes on Michgian's uniforms in 1982, and my first reaction was "damn that's a bright yellow."  So if we have been "too yellow and not enough orange", we've been that way for a looong time.



October 14th, 2014 at 3:05 PM ^

The article was written in January of 2012 which is why guys like JM Jr., and Doug Marrone are not mentioned.

I’m not a fan of going the NFL route either for a failed HC or coordinator but the article did fail to mention guys like Howard Schnellenberger, and Butch Davis who were both probably considered a “NFL guy” before taking over Miami. 


October 14th, 2014 at 3:19 PM ^

While I am high on Mullen, I would like to point out that everyone was on the Kevin Sumlin bandwagon to start the season and after getting blown out 2 straight games and still being unable to field a competent defense, you don't hear so many people calling for him around these parts.  I think Mullen is a better coach, but outside of Auburn his team really hasn't beaten anyone I'd consider a good team (and yes LSU did beat Wiscy, but that was a weird game and neither team has impressed since). 

So if you are hiring Mullen, as much as this year has been fantastic you have to recognize that his teams still lose between 4 and 6 games a year in a tough SEC and sometimes win meh bowls against other crappy teams.  And for all the kudos about player development, Mississippi has the aforementioned lock on players that keeps them in state AND produces an outsized number of them versus population.  He's made a mediocre program a winner and that deserves lots of credit, but for every Dantonio-type you have LOTS of guys who win somewhere and can't recreate that somewhere else, or just play to the mean.


October 14th, 2014 at 3:44 PM ^

They have been wearing the more maizey helmets all year. It clearly contrasts with the jersey if you're at the game live. Howerver, when I've watched replays on TV, I don't notice the color difference, so it's kind of odd.


October 14th, 2014 at 6:23 PM ^

and IMO only, this is approximately what I would want the uniforms to look like.  This is back before the yellow was "hi-lighterized" by Nike in the mid-90's.  I think the yellow in this pic looks a little darker than it did in person due to the way the photo was processed.   I was at this game, and it definitely didn't look this dark under sunshine.  But this is clearly a different yellow than we saw by the time Nike was in full swing with our gear.

If anyone really thinks the uniform in this pic look BAD, well, I don't know what to say. 


October 15th, 2014 at 1:41 AM ^

I agree that the yellow in that pic is probably somewhat oversaturated from what it was in reality, I'm still pretty sure you're looking at a different color yellow than we had with Nike just a few years later in '97, and I guarantee you you're looking at a different color yellow than we had by last year when I think we hit peak highlighter.

This pic may be a more accurate representation of that uni.  I believe this is from the same game.  it's still quite a bit darker than the 2013 iteration of the uniform from what I can tell.  This shot looks like it was taken in sunlight which can make a difference too.



October 14th, 2014 at 11:10 PM ^

the "highlighter" yellow used the last several years. Better contrast. The old yellow with a tint of orange is better suited to a time when graphics and fabric dying were more limited.


October 15th, 2014 at 5:02 AM ^

The article about Kelley, his philosophy, and most of all his success with it, was quite the enjoyable read. It would be fascinating to see him get a chance to try it out at a higher level (even a tiny, local college like Arkansas Tech).