Lottery

Submitted by El Caballo de Sangre on December 21st, 2008 at 5:53 AM

Full disclosure: I am a fan of Ohio State. I am emphatically not a fan of Michigan. I am not, however, here to be a douchebag - I'm here to tell you that I feel your pain (and, eventually, to tell you that you whistle past Beaver's de-commit at your peril).

I've been around long enough to have seen both Archie Griffin play in the (old) 'Shoe in person and my Buckeyes' loss to Air Force. And while I'm happy at the moment to be enjoying what the spin of the wheel has brought Ohio State recently, the searing memory of Cooper's 2-10-1 tenure is always with me. You won't find me here trolling about "LLLLLoyd". I actually really like that old coot, aside from the two-inches-from-the-official's-ear tantrums. And I don't believe for one second that we're just going to keep stomping you forever. Like I said, I've seen too many spins of the wheel to be that sanguine.

Anyway: This Beaver business is bad, bad news right now repeat right now, no matter how good or bad either Forcier or Beaver turn out to be. Nobody knows right now how good a college QB either of these two kids is going to be, as Brian said in the thread to another diary. One or the other, or both, might be terrible, merely competent, or outstanding. Odds are - per Brian's apparently well-supported theory on the predictive value of guru rankings - that, out of the pair, Michigan would get at least one very good QB, and perhaps two. But at the moment, the chances that Michigan will get a good QB out of the 2009 class have been halved to one - which, under the circumstances, is a whole lot less than two.

What if Forcier cannot beat out Threet - or, Jebus forbid, Sheridan - next fall? I've seen some commentary here that says: no matter, the universally guaranteed leap in QB competence between a player's first and second years will lead to a no-worries, put-it-in-the-bank 8-4 record that will make everything OK until we can land the next Pat White, or until Forcier turns into him or Shaun King.

Methinks that predictions of an 8-4 record, absent the emergence of a "good" rather than a "not DEATH" QB, assume facts not in evidence, especially during an offseason in which an entirely new defense (if you're going to play a 3-3-5, or even a 3-4-4, or whatever alignment you choose, isn't good safety play part of the deal?) is apparently going to be implemented. And me also thinks that nothing less than 7-5, which at this moment seems aspirational rather than assured, will be acceptable.

But all this is beside the point: Having both Forcier and Beaver in the fold meant that there were two highly-rated dual-threat QBs with a chance to rescue the Wolverines in the RichRod era. Now there is only one. Somebody in another thread brought up Ohio State's situation a few years ago with Troy Smith and Justin Zwick - but here's the rub: Troy Smith was recruited as an ATHLETE who had been given a chance to prove himself as a QB. Had Tressel been given a "Sophie's Choice" between one or the other as a QB recruit, then, based on rankings alone, he would have chosen Justin Zwick.

What has happened here is that Michigan has had one of those options taken away from them. That cannot, at all, be portrayed as not a big deal, other than with the future benefit of 20/20 hindsight. What is certain right now is that Beaver's de-committment really, really sucks for you.

Comments

El Caballo de Sangre

December 21st, 2008 at 6:55 AM ^

...if it weren't for somebody bringing it up here w/r/t this whole Beaver/Tate/-1 situation. I am not at all trying to rub your nose in Troy. I thought I made that clear.

But since you mentioned it: the point is that nobody REPEAT NOBODY - including Tressel - knew during the recruiting/signing period in question that Troy would turn out to be a legendary Wolverine-killer and a Drew-Brees-style world-beater (just leave your Florida digs aside, please - you all know what I'm talking about). It just worked out that way, which was extremely fortunate for us, because I shudder to think what might have been with Zwick at the helm during that time.

The point here is that we had MORE THAN ONE OPTION. The way I see UM's QB situation w/r/t the coming season, there's only ONE OPTION (OK, two)that points toward "success", by which I mean "better than a 6-6 record":

1. Steven Threet improves MASSIVELY from this years performance and ability to avoid injury,

2. Forcier is much more ready than your average true-freshman QB to lead his team to victories.

Of course, it may turn out that Forcier is quite awesome. It may turn out that Threet just needed the number of game snaps he got plus an offseason of RR's tutelage to be awesome. That's not what's important here, other than in the sense that Brian likened recruits to lottery tickets.

What is important is that Beaver's de-commit has thrown your QB situation - always a precarious situation in most circdumstances - into a MUCH more chancey realm.

Route66

December 21st, 2008 at 10:47 AM ^

How about 1 year precarious going on 2. That is what you meant, right?

The funny thing about this whole QB situation is that maybe some folks are forgetting how bad we were this last year all around. Ineptitude(sp?) on that scale is hard to acheive again.(even ND couldn't duplicate '07) I will go back to my whole argument for this past year. The QB's were horrible and inconsistent mixed in with injuries but the supporting cast was GREEN. With Threet healing up and the overall experience factor of the rest of the team....O-line..... 8 wins are possible. I see this team puting up 35 a game....go ahead, call me crazy. If Tate is the real deal, he will only help. There is plenty of time to pick up another 3 star or better QB too. I honestly think that we have two good options for next year with Threet and Forcier.

wlvrine

December 21st, 2008 at 7:03 AM ^

Certainly it sucks to lose a highly recruited QB. Does that mean all is lost? Or that Michigan will repeat its performance of this last year?

Yes. No. Maybe.

Like you and so many others have said, it's a lottery. And we still hold tickets. So while our odds of winning may have changed, It certainly does not change the possibility of hitting the jackpot.

El Caballo de Sangre

December 21st, 2008 at 7:12 AM ^

On this whole "lottery" business: if recruits were not "lottery tickets" in a sense, then players like Colt Brennan, Alex Smith, and Nate Davis would not end up at programs like Hawaii, Utah, and Ball State - even considering whatever pitches coaches like June Jones, Urban Meyer (did he even recruit Alex Smith? - NO), and Brady Fucking Hoke threw at them.

To repeat: Forcier may be awesome and Beaver may suck. That is the nature of a lottery. It is sure that somebody right now is a fantastic dual-threat QB that RR "should" have recruited because he would have come to UM had RR done so - none of that matters at this moment. What matters is that Beaver has cut your odds of winning in half with precious little time or opportunity to recoup.

Elno Lewis

December 21st, 2008 at 8:27 AM ^

We lost Rick Mirer due to some Dierdorf comment on MNF, and the program did not collapse--and Beaver is no Rick Mirer.

And Maurice Clarret didn't bring down sOSU either.

KzooRick

December 21st, 2008 at 10:01 AM ^

Dierdof's comment was made on the occasion of Jim Harbaugh's first NFL start and was about the rarity of a former UM qbs starting in the NFl.
The ironic thing is that I firmly believe that playing for Holtz made Mirer ill prepared to play NFL qb. UM on the other other hand UM was forced use a little recruited almost unknown clutsy 6'6" guy named Elivis and turn him into a viable NFL qb.

wlvrine

December 21st, 2008 at 8:45 AM ^

"Though I pass through the valley of Columbus
I fear no Buckeye.
Beside me, Rod and his staff
are there to hearten me."

Your dire warnings and predictions of doom have already been discussed on this board Ad nauseam.

Take it on the road.

KzooRick

December 21st, 2008 at 9:18 AM ^

Sure where better off with Beaver than without him but I was skeptical from the beginning that we could bring in 2 qbs as highly rated as him and Tate. Remember when brian was comparing Forcer and Newsome to see which one he would prefer to come to UM. I havn't done any research but I think it would have been a rare occurence in this day and age pull this off. Players now days take a long look at rosters and pick schools based on where they can get the most playing time. I doubt it was hard to convince Beaver that he was going to be the odd man out next year with Tate coming in and may never be the starter as Michigan continued to pull in qbs in years to come. UM offering Cameron Gordon may have increased his doubt.

As for comparing our situation to tOSU and Cooper, I don't think there comparable. We lack players you lacked a game coach. When it became apparent Cooper was gone my Dad and I both felt the same way. After most of those UM wins we had the gut feeling we didn't so much win but had the game handed to us.

Right now we don't have the players. But we will and when we do look out. It might not be next year. It may not be year after that. But like Rick Leach said your day will come.

chitownblue (not verified)

December 21st, 2008 at 10:50 AM ^

I think he's coming in to play WR, with a switch to DB or LB if he fails. But still, your point that his presence shouldn't have any effect on Beaver's chances to play QB is correct.

KzooRick

December 21st, 2008 at 11:14 AM ^

Just that offering Cameron Gordon might indicate we are strongly going after Devon Gardner. Like we wouldn't anyway. But they may not have been Beaver expectation. RichRod seems to want to recruit the best at all positions and create a lot of competition. I believe this is a big change for the good from Carr but not one some recruits like.

El Caballo de Sangre

December 21st, 2008 at 11:02 AM ^

...compare UM's situation now to OSU's under Cooper - I only brought it up to establish that I'm not the sort of Buckeye that thinks history began when Jim Tressel was introduced at that basketball game in 2001.

I actually do have a theory about how RichRod = Cooper, but I don't think y'all would like it, and this isn't the place for me to air it, so...

KzooRick

December 21st, 2008 at 11:34 AM ^

My point about Cooper really had more to do with what Tressel inherited. For the most part he had the players. Right now we don't. I think it is unrealistic to think the qb depth situation is going to be fixed next year. Yes it looked like we were going to have options for a while but a lot of people thought Beavers verbal was soft despite his reassurances. Right now we are not reloading we are rebuilding. There is a good chance we will still get a ATH to come in and take a shot at qb or we will give guys already here a shot.
A prediction about 8-4 next year probably says more about are schedule than how good we will be. Nobody thinks we have any kind of shot contending for a big ten title.

blue edmore

December 21st, 2008 at 10:03 AM ^

I'm not surprised by what the Beav did. It is so hard to recruit 2 top QB's in the same year, and I really believe that the Beav saw what I see to be true: That this spread is going to evolve into something similar to what we are seeing in the Big 12 right now (which, by the way El Caballo, you will see when you play Texas), which places a stronger emphasis on an accurate QB with a quick release, and "some" scrambling ability, and maybe throw in an option or two.

I honestly don't think we need to look for the next Pat White. That name has been beaten to death around here. We need to look for the next Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, et al. I firmly believe that is the way to go, especially in the Big Ten.

You may be correct in stating that recruiting QB's is something of a crapshoot, but it appears, at least on the surface, that Forcier gives us the best chance to get back to where we can compete with the Bucks.

ChalmersE

December 21st, 2008 at 10:13 AM ^

Allow me to start by saying I appreciate the civil tone of your diary. One of my best friends is an OSU alum and while a little bit of trashing talking occurs, it always occurs with a smile. That's how a big rivalry should work (although I'll admit that I'm a tad tired of wearing scarlet and gray on those Mondays in November).

Anyway, some of your points have validity. Clearly Michigan is lacking in quarterback depth so any qb de-commit has consequences. That said, I have a couple of thoughts on Mr. Beaver's lack of commitment as well as on the depth situation. First, I used the phrase lack of commitment with malice aforethought. I never sensed a strong commitment from Mr. Beaver. I think he liked the idea of going to Michigan, but I'm not sure he liked the idea of going so far from home and perhaps winding up as a wide receiver. My assumption is that he wound up at Tulsa for two reasons: Tulsa probably promised him he'd be starting as a qb by the end of his freshman season -- and there's no way any contending BCS school could make such a promise -- and he got family pressure to stay closer to home. Two other notes:
-- I sensed all along that RR and his staff viewed him as a back-up contingency, and it's hard to hide that kind of viewpoint.
-- A risk of recruiting nationally in these times of heavy recruitment is that the farther you get from "home", the greater the likelihood of a decommitment. These 17- and 18- year olds won't be hearing nearly as much about those distant schools and their friends won't be enrolling there so the risk increases that second thoughts will creep into the equation.

Now as to depth, right now the depth chart reads:
-- Threet/Forcier
-- Forcier/Threet
-- Sheridan
-- Feagin
-- Brown

The incoming class actually does have a second qb right now: Thomas Gordon, who was recruited as an "athlete" just like Troy Smith was. I doubt that he will ever quarterback at Michigan, but stranger things have happened. In any event, assuming some improvement in Threet -- and we saw it before the dings started to come -- it's not horrible. More importantly, there's a month left in the recruiting season, would it shock anyone if Rodriguez turned his attention to quarterback and recruited someone potentially as good as Beaver.

I don't like that Beaver decommitted, but I do appreciate that he did it now, not in two weeks or after spring practice.

El Caballo de Sangre

December 21st, 2008 at 11:29 AM ^

the de-commit is not the end of the world, long-term. Unfortunately, I don't think Michigan has the luxury of thinking long-term right now. That depth chart you put up only highlights the problem here: while it is entirely possible that Threet/Forcier will emerge as a winning QB, it is every bit as possible that they will not. It follows, therefore, that the presence of Beaver would increase the likelihood that UM has a winning option at QB, and that Beaver's decision decreases that likelihood.

IT CANNOT BE EMPHASIZED ENOUGH THAT PROTESTATIONS ABOUT BEAVER'S "CHARACTER", "MICHIGAN-MAN"-NESS, etc., are immaterial to this discussion. Think about it this way: suppose Beaver honored his verbal, rehabbed his shoulder all spring, and emerged next fall as a clearly superior QB - would there be any doubts about his character then?

Of course there would not (absent arrests, bad grades, etc.). You're free to disagree, of course - but that kind of nutty denial and self-regard is something I've only associated with those who pray to TD Jesus.

KzooRick

December 21st, 2008 at 12:02 PM ^

I have no problem with Beaver wanting to go somewhere that he thinks he has a better chance at qb or staying closer to home. Another difference I perceive between Carr and RichRod is a push for early commitments. That is a strategy that is going to have its drawbacks. I firmly believe 17 yr should be able to change there minds without somebody calling out their character. I think RichRod would agree with me on that also.

chally

December 21st, 2008 at 10:23 AM ^

Losing Beaver is going to hurt. I'm one of the few around here that liked him more than Tate, and I think that our coaching staff did too. I agree that the people who are saying "Fuck Beaver, Tate was going to beat him out anyway!" are just rationalizing the loss.

However, there is no reason to believe that we will end up with just one recruited QB. We know that the staff is probably hitting the trail right now. If this had been signing day, your post would be perfectly valid. Instead, we have time to bring in another player. Given your assumption that recruits are like lottery tickets, as long as we have two QBs on signing day, the Beaver de-commitment didn't meaningfully hurt our chances of unearthing a good QB.

On the Troy Smith analogy, I want to point out that Michigan is continuing to recruit athletes who played QB in high school. In Tom VH's interview with Travonte Stallworth the other day, Stallworth mentioned that Michigan had offered him a chance to compete at QB. And this was back when we had both Beaver and Forcier. So even if we aren't able to recruit a second QB in time, we might not be any worse off than OSU was with Zwick and Smith in the fold.

All that said, I appreciate your point. I think your analysis is much more sensible than a lot of the "8-4," "9-3" and "Tate=Chase Daniel" posts we've been getting around here. I just think it is premature, given your own premise about the unpredictability of recruiting. Let's wait and see what happens before either side of the debate jumps to conclusions.

slblue

December 21st, 2008 at 11:28 AM ^

But looking back, there were a number of games that the current quarterbacks played well enough to win. Utah, Notre Dame, Purdue, Toledo would be on my list. When your special teams cough up the ball over and over, or your safety misses coverages over and over, I just don't blame the quarterback for that. My point is that in the scheme of winning and losing next year, I am not convinced that the loss of Beaver will have a statistically significant impact. I certainly don't think the Wolverines have anyone as talented as TPryor on the QB roster, but we already have enough at the position to play and win games next year - probably 6, maybe 7 or 8. Obviously, not enough to beat OSU unless lightning strikes, but UM is a few years away as a team anyway. Frankly, I am much more worried about the defense and special teams. Am I loco, compadre?

jg2112

December 21st, 2008 at 12:37 PM ^

The QB won't be the problem next year. The defense will be the wild card. Threet will be steady enough, in the second year, healthy, in this offense, to do the job. It's the defense that will have to stop Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Iowa, MSU, PSU and the others.

jg2112

December 21st, 2008 at 12:34 PM ^

Imagine if you were in your third system in three years and you had to learn how to play it during a season. Then you got injured multiple times right when you seemed to be figuring things out (or have we forgotten the first half of the Penn State game). Give Threet the offseason. He'll be fine. If he plays B-grade football next year the team will win 7-8 games next year.

Calm down, everyone. As you all should know from your freshman days at school, if the Beaver doesn't want you, you go find another one before it gets cold.

Next year will be just fine if "all Michigan has" is Threet, Forcier, Feagin, Sheridan and Cone. Good grief.

Where have we devolved to if we're so upset about a 17 year old with a separated shoulder whose mother decided he isn't going to go to Michigan? Get used to it. This is a byproduct of recruiting more in the south. More families and kids are going to balk at their kids going to school in the north. The more we get commitments from southern kids ten months before signing day, the more they'll decommit. End of story. (don't bring up Campbell or Barnes either. I know they're from the North. Big deal.)

If these kids decide to de-commit from an oral commitment, which means slightly less than my commitment to eat pizza instead of mexican food tonight, so what. Michigan will bring in 25 recruits, and I'm sure 2 of them will be QBs. They will all be very good players. Barwis will make them strong. Rich Rod will help them win. If he doesn't they both will be fired. And life is as simple as that.

I watch Michigan because of the wings on the helmet and the name of the school and for my father who graduated from the school, not the name on the jersey. All of you that are upset because Beaver's mom gave Rich Rodriguez a bad phone call this week really need to find better ways to spend your time.

slblue

December 21st, 2008 at 1:55 PM ^

If posters really want things to improve, rather than to just wring their hands, then we should shout praise from on high for pieces like TVH's on Ricardo Miller. There are many, many high quality players who are thrilled to put on the winged helmet. Let's hear about them and hype the great players that we have committed rather than lament those 17 year olds who change their minds for whatever reason. I, for one, would love to learn more about some of the defensive recruits whom we will look to next year. That is where we need to make sure we don't stumble. . .

jg2112

December 21st, 2008 at 3:02 PM ^

..but I'm going to. You are correct. Defense is the key, and it's good to read about good players like Miller.

One thing to remember, as well: Rich Rod learned throughout last season, I believe, that the key to winning in the Big Ten is to have big, solid interior lines (look at Minnesota - their season fell apart due to a crummy O-Line, which led to hiring a guy from Alabama to run the running game, and to marginalize Dunbar's spread). Those kids are predominantly northerners (yeah yeah Roh and Lewan), and those boys understand the Big Ten, and importantly, Michigan (see Lewan's deference to Jake Long). They don't de-commit to the extent the "skill" kids do. Without the lines, this team goes nowhere. Watch next year, when the O-Line is 500% better than they were against Utah, and 200% better than they were against Ohio State.

ImSoBlue

December 21st, 2008 at 1:57 PM ^

How are the OSU freshmen behind Pryor? Don't see any QBs in this years class for you and I am wondering just what is the plan if the big guy goes down with an injury, not that that ever happens with a running QB.

El Caballo de Sangre

December 23rd, 2008 at 2:29 AM ^

...is an issue right now. Behind Terrelle Pryor right now there is Todd Boeckman (who is of course a 6th-year senior, having "grayshirted" his 1st year on campus), redshirt freshman Joe Bauserman (who is in a Chris Weinke-type situation of having played minor-league baseball for a couple years before returning to college football), and a freshman named Ross Oltorik (who qualifies as a "who's that?" type of guy). The Pryor/Boeckman situation you're probably familiar with; Bauserman saw the field a few times in mop-up duty this year - during which, it should be said, as well as during Spring Games and such, he looks very competent.

There are also two DBs on the roster, Zach Domicone and Rocco Pentello, who were outstanding high school QBs and who hoped to be considered as QB recruits by Tressel until the Pryor signing made that question sort of moot.

The problem here is Antonio Henton having transferred this year after it became clear upon Pryor's arrival that he was almost certainly never going to start for the Buckeyes. Hard to blame him. He would have been a junior next season.

So: this transfer (having happened just this past fall) left OSU in sort of the same lurch as Beaver has left UM, which is to say scrambling late in the game to find a good QB recruit that we didn't think we'd need. We have been recruiting Tajh Boyd, and nobody else, as far as I know. I have to think - given his stated reasons for de-committing from WVU - that if it does in fact come down to Ohio State and Michigan, that he chooses the Buckeyes. But this is far from assured, since there are other schools in the mix for his services. If we don't get him, then I think Tressel will hope for the best and concentrate on finding a QB (or two) in next year's class.

tomhagan

December 21st, 2008 at 8:58 PM ^

does not recognize that the current 2 QBs are very weak, and do not fit his offense + that QB depth is a huge concern....well then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I will sell to you for a good price.

Therefore, it makes sense that RR will do what he can to address this problem, since it very obviously exists.

Not worried.

Jivas

December 22nd, 2008 at 2:56 AM ^

I agree with you 1000%. In fact, absent physical proof of the contrary, I will assume that Brian created your screen name and profile and posted this under a name other than his own, for one reason or another. (Perhaps embarrasment from the Jay Hopson incident at the mall?).

Numbers are good, and a Zwick/Smith outcome - now, numbingly, a Zwick outcome for us - is completely plausible.

Six Zero

December 22nd, 2008 at 8:30 AM ^

I'm sure you're a pretty nice guy, and you spoke very respectfully and openly to us about your position. You even made some valid points and (perhaps aside from the Troy Smith name drop) were not patronizing in the least.

Now, I am NOT Brian, and this is clearly not personal, but I'll tell you one thing right now... if I had my own Michigan Blog that was created solely for talking about the glory of all things Michigan, I would ban your scarlet-&-gray-wearing ass on sheer principle alone. I mean really, it's just unnatural. Shouldn't you be out pushing a car over the state line or something?

And on a side note... I could NEVER see myself browsing let alone contributing content to a damn Buckeyes blog. Why would I spend my time over there when it could be here among my fellow M friends???