Sam gave a gut feeling on Caesar Ruiz

Submitted by ldevon1 on October 17th, 2016 at 8:44 AM

This morning. Maybe the Fab Five these lineman have been talking about is closer to reality than we might think.  smiley




October 17th, 2016 at 8:48 AM ^

How does Ruiz compare to kugler?
I recall expectations were higher for kugler than his production to date.
Do OL projected as centers have less upside?

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October 17th, 2016 at 9:31 AM ^

Derrick Green left for TCU. He's averaging 3.7 yards a carry hasn't hit 100 yards yet, total, playing against MAC-level competition (TCU's early schedule is atrocious).  His main problem was, as a big guy, going down way too easily; not sure how much coaching can help that.

Recruiting is (obviously) inexact and while an average 5-star is better than an average 4-start, etc, sometimes you just miss. Hoke did more than his share of missing, and his tremendous hits didn't make up for it (e.g., Peppers, who he never got a chance to coach more than a game or so).


October 17th, 2016 at 9:47 AM ^

I try not to follow recruiting too closely, as it has so many false hopes and weird stories, but what you say sounds right. I went to 24/7 to see if they listed when everyone committed, but for old classes, they just list one the "home page" when people signed -- you have to click on each person's name to see when they commited (e.g., Wormley was in August, to pick just one example).

In the off-season, that would be a great diary, if it hasn't already been done: see how team rankings for coaches (e.g., Carr, RichRod, Hoke, Harbaugh) changed over time (e.g., in August; in November, on signing day).

True Blue Grit

October 17th, 2016 at 10:31 AM ^

Hoke liked to lock guys in early and not "roll the dice" in the months of January and February as much as possible.  It's a very conservative approach and I can see why coaches do it.  They want to make sure all their needs by position are filled with decent guys.  The risk in waiting until the few weeks before NSD is that you don't get enough players to fill the depth chart at certain positions.  You could argue that happened to Michigan this year when a bunch of top OL targets went elsewhere.   Harbaugh is definitely being more aggressive and going for the top guys.  I think it will work out well for Michigan as long as we continue to win big.  


October 17th, 2016 at 10:31 AM ^

The late signs by other schools helped them pass us (although we were always still very high in the final rankings). But it wasn't because the kids were taken too early, generally. It's because the other school's rankings were artificially low by not having got the kids committed until the last second. When you're adding a top-100 recruit and replacing either an empty spot or a generic 3-star, your rankings are going to change a lot more than what happens if your top-100 recruit becomes a top 200 recruit.

Besides, Kugler, who this discussion largely jumped off of, was a 5-star in Scout's final rankings.


October 17th, 2016 at 11:49 AM ^

"Hoke did more than his share of missing, and his tremendous hits didn't make up for it"

I think you might need to rethink that statement. You do realize that we are ranked No. 3, have the country's No. 1 defense, and have more projected draft picks than any team in the country with starters completely comprised of Hoke recruits.

Hoke had a lot of issues (coaching being major among them), but he took a back seat to no one in recruiting. For him to pull as many big time recruits, with no real name recognition as a coach and sub par performances on the field was impressive.

The biggest frustration with Hoke for me was you could see the talent we had, they were just not properly coached or prepared.

Everyone misses on 5 stars. Deshawn Hand was suppose to be the best player in the country, he is a backup for Bama. Kareem Walker was ranked as the No. 1 RB in the country and it is unlikely that he lives up to that billing.

Jimmy will miss on recruits like anyone else, but if he could give us a defense this talented off his recruiting, i think we would all take it.


October 17th, 2016 at 1:00 PM ^

Harbaugh could have went to many schools and quickly turned things around, so don't give Hoke too much credit.

The 49ers were not a good team and he instantly got them to an NFL championship game.


October 17th, 2016 at 1:18 PM ^

You beat me to it.

A look at our current starters on offense and defense are almost exclusively Hoke's recruits.

Some people will blame Hoke for the rain crapping up their day. Hoke could recruit. Period.

While some kids will get better as they mature and gain experience, I nonetheless think it's fair to criticize Hoke & Co. for talent development. In addition, the offensive and defensive game planning with this staff seems far superior, as well.


October 17th, 2016 at 1:36 PM ^

You haven't fully witnessed the misses of Hoke. He missed on an entire class of WRs (Ways, Jones, Harris), and that fact has been hidden by the dominance of Darboh and Chesson. But will be evident when our starting WRs next year are freshmen and sophomores while the upperclassmen sit on the scout team. Then QB, where he decided to take 1 QB in two seasons, and that QB was Morris. We all know how that worked out. Add Bellomy to the fail list. Speight has been good, but it really seems like that's a result of this staff's coaching and not Hoke recruiting. Now look at our current LB depth.

Hoke's strength WAS recruiting. But he still had failures on many levels in that regard.


October 18th, 2016 at 2:12 AM ^

is he had his second team QB playing wr without having him take practice snaps during the week. That is coaching at Pee Wee level, as witnessed by Bellomy's non-performance in the UN game. Next time he was called on, he couldn't find his helmet. I mean yes, I'd have a beer with him. But as an AD, I would never hire a sub .500 coach at a school like UM. NO F'ing way. 


October 17th, 2016 at 11:02 AM ^

Hoke doesn't coach O-line play.  Maybe Funk was a bad hire, but Cole and Glasgow seemed to be well coached.  Point being that the correlation between recruiting stars and Oline production are alot more variable than other positions.  Remember Seth's Oline recruiting look back of the Carr years?  It was full of 4 stars that never even saw the field.  Bredeson is going through alot of the same struggles thus far in his career under Drevno as Hoke's guys did.  It's just the nature of the position.


October 17th, 2016 at 1:42 PM ^

Funk WAS a bad hire. No maybe there.

Cole played one year as a true freshman under Hoke. He wasn't that good honestly. I mean he played fine, but he relied more on strength and his mind than he did proper technique. I don't attribute that to good coaching. Especially when the current OLine has been very clear that they weren't coached well.

Bredeson has had issues like Hokes guys did? A guy who has been on campus for three months (at a position 95% of players redshirt at) is having the same struggles as guys who started 2-3 years under Hoke? THATS the point you're trying to make? A true freshman is struggling like a redshirt junior or senior?

Space Coyote

October 17th, 2016 at 9:21 AM ^

Is the same as it is for an OL, only it's magnified because it's the Center position: it's extremely difficult to scout the mental aspect of the game.

Ruiz is probably a bit closer in terms of physical size (Kugler was hurt by injuries as well; his brother never had an issue with size), but Center is just a really hard position in general. All the line calls, snapping the ball, still maintaining technique, etc. We've seen Cole look like a fairly average OL this year after moving to Center. It's just a tough position.

Don't get me wrong, player development was a huge issue under Hoke, particularly on the OL. But OL are generally very difficult to scout anyway, even the most ready of the bunch.

oriental andrew

October 17th, 2016 at 9:37 AM ^

Many folks were saying Kyle Kalis was as physically ready coming in as anyone they had seen. However, he struggled mightily. How much of that was just him vs. the coaching staff? Given his improvement this year, I'd like to say it's more on the previous staff, although you never know how much of it is one vs. the other.


October 17th, 2016 at 11:56 AM ^

But lots of players at lots of programs are considered college ready as recruits but then aren't. Turns out, Kalis wasn't. But Mason Cole, also under Hoke, was college ready. I'm not saying none of this is on Hoke, but let's not assume that that was the main reason. Some guys just aren't as good or as ready as we're led to believe by recruiting sites.

Also, one of Kalis's issues was the mental side - knowing who to block. That aspect is very hard to project.


October 17th, 2016 at 1:39 PM ^

identifying, recruiting, and for the most part developing a lot of the Defensive talent currently on the roster, I think that's perfectly fair, though to argue that Harbaugh and his staff hasn't taken them to a new level would be absolutely absurd.  

OTOH, I think it's equally absurd, with the benefit of hindsight, that Hoke and his staff aren't the main reason for the problems with the players on the offensive side of the ball, even if there were a few outliers(Glasgow, Cole, Butt).  Given the performance of that unit and those players under Hoke vs their performance under Harbaugh in fact gives clear evidence that Hoke and his staff were clueless about teaching and developing the talent they had on hand.  

Where there are incremental jumps in the defensive performance, there are night and day differences in the offensive performance and output, and I think you're being far too forgiving in saying that Hoke WASN'T the main reason for the underperformance of those players.


October 17th, 2016 at 12:07 PM ^

Kalis probably was physically ready. The problem is OL is the most mental position on the field this side of QB. Kalis' problems have been most finding who to block and how to block them. Once he gets on guys they move. It also probably helps that he's playing in the same system consecutive years for the first time in his career.


October 17th, 2016 at 3:13 PM ^

a more general discussion of talent vs coaching -

Speight had a very revealing set of comments about this, IMO. He said something like 'Good coaching was always made available under the previous coaching staff. Unfortunately, I (Speight) wasn't always as motivated as I should be to seek it out and put that coaching to work. Under Coach Harbaugh, the choice was made clear - Take our coaching, use it, get better each day, or you will never play football for UM'

</end paraphrase of speight>

So this is somewhere in between "are coaches good?" and "are the players as good as we thought they were?" Kyle Kalis/Patrick Kugler/Derrick Green/AJ Williams may always have had the talent, and the coaches knew how to teach them, but it wasn't perfectly clear to the players that they MUST avail themselves of that coaching and work their butts off every day to be better than their teammates/opponents/guys that might be drafted ahead of them.

Again, my perception is Harbaugh does everything players need to make it clear what will have to happen for them to succeed.

FWIW, I personally believe that the current coaches are ALSO better at teaching the skills/knowledge, and know more. But it doesn't matter what you know if you can't convince the student to WANT it.


Space Coyote

October 17th, 2016 at 3:40 PM ^

Was that he was essentially the definition of a "player's coach". That can be great when you have the leadership in the player ranks needed to help motivate and get guys going in the right direction. Unfortunately for Hoke, he lost a ton of great leadership after his first season and never really replaced it. Don't get me wrong, there were good guys and good players on his other teams, but there was no Molk or Martin or Van Bergan. When you are relying on a guy like Lewan (I know it's fashionable now to bash him, but honestly, in this case it's correct) - who thought simply bullying people was being a leader - you're not getting the leadership you need from the players.

Hoke tried to compensate by doing things that other coaches, coaches he respected, did, such as giving Funchess the #1 jersey. But he was in a position to back it up like Carr did. And I think that was a major part of his downfall; when the ship got going in the wrong direction, he didn't have in place what was needed assert leadership throughout the program.

Harbaugh is less a players coach. He'll lead and be fine with that. There are good aspects of both methods (he's also benefitted by now having some great leaders in the program, like Peppers and Smith; and he'll lean on them when needed), but that seems like a fairly clear difference between the two and has helped Harbaugh quickly right the ship at several locations now.

It also helps that Harbaugh has significantly better staff around him. As they say, winning cures all, and Harbaugh wins.


October 17th, 2016 at 8:57 AM ^

Coupled with the latest predictions for Chuck Filiaga to UM (EJ Holland, Texas writer + Ryan Bartow) and the same for Wilson (Wiltfong + Lorenz iirc?)...need movement on the other 2 (Leatherwood + Wills)