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Date Title Body
11/30/2017 - 12:22pm Counter

If you create a culture where your employees genuinely like working for you, then they will give you a chance to counter (because they still want to work for you albeit at a higher income level). Otherwise, if an employee leaves without at least seeing whether you would match the offer, you should take that as a reflection on you and/or your company, not that employee. It is common sense that people who like where they work don't want to leave.

11/30/2017 - 12:22pm Counter

If you create a culture where your employees genuinely like working for you, then they will give you a chance to counter (because they still want to work for you albeit at a higher income level). Otherwise, if an employee leaves without at least seeing whether you would match the offer, you should take that as a reflection on you and/or your company, not that employee. It is common sense that people who like where they work don't want to leave.

11/30/2017 - 12:22pm Counter

If you create a culture where your employees genuinely like working for you, then they will give you a chance to counter (because they still want to work for you albeit at a higher income level). Otherwise, if an employee leaves without at least seeing whether you would match the offer, you should take that as a reflection on you and/or your company, not that employee. It is common sense that people who like where they work don't want to leave.

11/30/2017 - 12:22pm Counter

If you create a culture where your employees genuinely like working for you, then they will give you a chance to counter (because they still want to work for you albeit at a higher income level). Otherwise, if an employee leaves without at least seeing whether you would match the offer, you should take that as a reflection on you and/or your company, not that employee. It is common sense that people who like where they work don't want to leave.

09/25/2017 - 5:12pm Throwing Motion

 

I mentioned this in the thread on the board.  Doyle has a very compact and smooth trhowing motion (in contract to Joe Milton's throwing motion).  I think Milton has a stronger arm but Doyle has far less mechanical work ahead of him.

 

09/25/2017 - 1:52pm Throwing Motion

Agree with most of the sentiments so far.  This young man has a very compact and smooth throwing motion (in contract to Joe Milton's throwing motion).  I think Milton has a stronger arm but Doyle has far less mechanical work ahead of him.

08/22/2017 - 1:46pm Respectfully Disagree

I agree that great coaches make personnel errors sometimes.  I would also concede that Smith's lack of speed prevented the the team from having as many explosive runs as they could have had last year; however, I wouldn't say that the team wasted carries with him.

Smith was easily the best runner when it came to grinding out yards.  He hardly ever fumbled (Evans had one more fumble in roughly 100 less carries).  Finally, Smith was easily the best pass blocker.  I think it was easy to underestimate Smith's value because his major weakness was so obvious (lack of speed) but his strengths (good balance, ball security, pass protection) were less noticeable.

I know Evans and Higdon had far better yards/attempt numbers than Smith, but a lot of those yards were coming in garbage time or for specially designed plays.  In my opinion, all the RBs were very similar in their ineffectiveness when the blocking broke down (most RBs will struggle when their OL struggles).  Obviously, Evans and Higdon could turn in more explosive plays when holes opened up, but their presence on the field was also a strong cue to the defense to prepare for a running play or some sort of screen-pass/draw play.

I'm honestly astonished at how often those screen passes and draw plays worked when Higdon, Evans, or Isaac were in the game (especially on 3rd and long) because it was very obvious that the coaching staff didn't trust the trio's pass blocking.  I only distinctly remember Ohio State stopping the draw play (but this was because they also have very good players and very good coaches).

08/18/2017 - 9:27am Throwing Motion

Henne was a very good QB at Michigan, but one of the things holding him back in the NFL is his throwing motion.  There are also other issues as well that cropped up during his time at Michigan (locking in on receivers, accuracy issues, etc.) that appear to have continued in the NFL.

He has good arm-strength, but his throwing motion is way too long.  He brings the ball down to his hip during his windup.  It negates his arm-strength because it allows NFL defensive backs the time to break on his passes.  Bringing the ball down to his hip also causes his arm slot to be too low somtimes, resulting in a 3/4s delivery that causes his passes to sail on him (i.e. tacopants).  It doesn't help that he has generally played on mediocre to bad teams with mediocre to bad offensive lines his whole career.

I wish him all the best because he was a great Michigan Man, but unless there are many changes to his mechanics (which is unlikely this late in his career), I believe that he will struggle if he wins the starting job.

Good luck Henne!  Go Blue!

08/04/2017 - 12:13pm Bank Account with No FX Fee or ATM Fee

If available to you, try the TD Premier checking account (can be opened in 20 minutes at a branch).  The account has no FX transaction fee or non-TD ATM fee (TD doesn't itself charge a fee and they will actually reimburse the fee that the other bank/ATM charges you).

You can then basically go to any ATM in the world and get local-currency cash without paying any fees while getting the previous day's spot rate.  I opened one up a few years ago specifically for this reason when I was traveling out of the country.

Good Luck!

07/07/2017 - 2:09pm Good Reason, Still Bad Optics

That's a good reason for the $266,647.  Why doesn't the AD then just reimburse the University for the academic support specialist's salary?  It appears that the "Total Allocated" figure is a net amount.  Wouldn't a full reimbursement back to the University result in a $0 number?  Since the employee is still being paid by the University vs the AD, the conflict would still be avoided.

I agree with kdhoffma that the AD does eventually end up making net payments back to the University (especially considering that the AD writes a giant check to the University on top of student-athlete tuition payments).

For me, it's more about optics.  There are still idiots out there who think "my tax money" is being used to pay Harbaugh's salary.  Figures like this reinforce the idea, regardless of the actual truth behind the numbers.

07/07/2017 - 11:24am Total Allocated

 

Does anybody know why the AD takes $266,467 from the University as described in the "Total Allocated" column (i.e. "sum of student fees, direct and indirect institutional support and state money allocated to the athletics department, minus certain funds the department transferred back to the school")?

It doesn't appear that the AD needs the ~$250k given the reported ~$6MM margin (understanding that the $6MM can be wiggled around through accounting adjustments).

The optics just look bad when the University is appearing to take funds from the University when the ADs of other public universities are not.

 

06/15/2017 - 8:09pm Marginal Tax Rates vs Effective Tax Rates

Marginal tax rates do not equal effective tax rates.  The tax brackets are based on marginal income.

Yes, in your example, by going $1 above, you are going to pay 33% instead of 28% but only for that $1; it does not change the tax rate applied to the income you earned prior to moving up to the 33% tax bracket.  Yes, your overall effective tax rate will increase, but it will not increase by 5% of your taxable income.  In fact, if you only make $1 extra, your effective tax rate will barely change at all.

Tax Table for Individuals

Tax Rate    Income Range
10%             0 - $9,325
15%             $9,326 - $37,950
25%             $37,951 - $91,900
28%             $91,901 - $191,650

Example 1:  Let's say that you are an individual whose taxable income (all income minus deductions, credits, etc.) is $91,900.  Your marginal tax rate is  25%.  Your effective tax rate is approximately 20.3632%.

Income from 0 - $9,325 = $9,325 of income ---> taxed at 10% = $932.50
Income from $9,325 - $37,950 = $28,625 of income ---> taxed at 15%   = $4,293.75
Income from $37,950 - $91,900 = $53,950 of income ---> taxed at 25% = $13,487.50

Total Taxes paid is $932.50 + $4,293.75 + $13,487.50 = $18,713.75
Total income of $91,900
Effective Tax Rate = $18,713.75 / $91,900 = approximately 20.3632%

Example 2:  Let's you say make an extra $1 so that your taxable income is now $91,901.  You have jumped a tax bracket, so your marginal tax rate is now 28%.  Your effective tax rate is now 20.3635%.  It barely made a difference (0.0003%).

Income from 0 - $9,325 = $9,325 of income ---> taxed at 10% = $932.50
Income from $9,325 - $37,950 = $28,625 of income ---> taxed at 15% = $4,293.75
Income from $37,950 - $91,900 = $53,950 of income ---> taxed at 25% = $13,487.50
Income from $91,900 - $91,901 = $1 of income ---> taxed at 28% = $0.28

Total Taxes paid is $932.50 + $4,293.75 + $13,487.50 + $0.28 = $18,714.03
Total income of $91,901
Effective Tax Rate = $18,714.03 / $91,900 = approximately 20.3635%

This idea that you get drastically screwed because you made an extra dollar which caused you to jump a bracket is just a ridiculous view that unfortunately a lot of people share.

06/15/2017 - 7:24pm State Funding

Yes, funding from the State of Michigan only represents roughly 15% of the University's revenues, which is much lower than it used to be.  Let's be clear though.  If 15% of the University's budget disappeared, we would all be pretty angry.

As long as Umich takes public money from the State of Michigan, it needs to favor in-state students.  That's just a political reality, or else say goodby to 15% of the budget.

06/15/2017 - 6:48pm Arbitrary Income Limits

The problem with this model is that the $65k (or whatever the gradient thresholds are) is more or less an arbitrary number.  Sure, it may be based off of some calculation (e.g. multiple of the poverty line, median family income in Michigan, etc.), but there are going to be people who barely exceed the cutoff who are not demonstrably in a better financial position than those who are below the cutoff and receive the free tuition benefit (as some have already pointed out).  This leads to bad incentives and may be deemed by some to be unfair.

The better model would be to cap the per student tuition at a percentage derived by using marginal income brackets similar to the methodology of our tax rate schedules.  I believe that it would be the most fair given that the cap is progressive, and it wouldn't create a dranconian penalty to families for increasing its income over some arbitrary number.  Sure, the income ranges themselves would be arbitrary numbers, but the extra tuition costs from jumping a bracket would be more paleatable.

Of course, this then would mean that the Umich would be functionally reducing tuition for many in-state students.  Given the qualifiers attached to the current plan, I would be curious to see what percentage of in-state students Umich projects will qualify.

06/12/2017 - 7:11pm Molding the Clay

It will be very interesting to see Harbaugh develop Milton's mechanics.  Milton's arm strength is clearly evident; however, he needs to correct some issues.

Granted this is just one highlight video from one 7on7; however, every now and then he opens up his hips too much (i.e. steps too far to the left ) that causes him to be off-balance when throwing.  His most obvious area for improvement is his throwing motion; his windup is too long/slow and his elbow is too low which messes up his arm slot.  This won't necessarily preclude him from being successful (hello Philip Rivers), but it does make things harder if he doesn't clean some things up.

But jeebus, the ball just explodes out of his hand.  Understanding that good quarterbacking also involves being accurate, reading coverages, understanding the playbook, and a million other things, you simply can't teach that arm strength.

Milton's E11 video reminds me a lot of Shane Morris's E11 tape from Morris's sophomore year.  I haven't really watched Tyler Shough's tape, but it will be interesting to see if the staff pursues a more mechanically developed prospect for its second QB.  Like most/all of us, I will definitely be rooting for Milton, and I think 4 or 5 years with Harbaugh will turn him into a 1st-rounder.

08/24/2016 - 1:08pm Cutback

I wonder if this was a designed cutback.

The play at first looks like standard inside zone with Smith heading toward the frontside, but Glasgow and Kalis don't look like they're trying to combo and seal the DT.  Glasgow almost looks like he's blocking down on the DT.  The playside linebacker is filling his gap and the D linemen are flowing (or trying to flow) playside which creates a crease that Smith runs through.

The problem is actually Braden.  Because this play looks like inside zone, the linebacker that Braden is supposed to block takes a step to the playside.  This gives Braden a very good angle to push the linebacker down the line which would lead to a huge gap for Smith to run through.  Instead, Braden just falls over without impeding his man who ends up filling the backside gap and stopping the play for a minimal gain.

07/07/2016 - 4:03pm Not About Last Marginal Dollar

There is a difference between "doing everything for the last marginal dollar at the expense of everything else" and making decisions based on financial considerations.

Brandon was the king of the marginal dollar (e.g. banning seat cushions, banning water bottles, putting a giant noodle outside Michigan Stadium, etc.).  This was unnecessary as the harm in fanbase goodwill greatly outweighed whatever extra revenue (of which I assume was probably minimal considering how dumb those ideas were) was generated.

There are very prudent reasons, however, for why an athletic department would want to smooth out revenues.  The AD's bills don't magically decrease simply because the football team only had six home games that year.  Consistent revenues are preferable from a budgeting standpoint and a capital planning standpoint (things that theoretically should benefit the student-athletes and the fans).

Just because an athletic department makes financial decisions doesn't necessarily mean that it is nickle-and-diming its fanbase.  Running a major Power 5 football program (which also basically supports 20+ other varsity sports) sometimes requires agreeing to shitty things to benefit the overall organization.

The extra game (revenue) in '18 has no bearing on fixing the decrease in '19 cash flows.  Sure, the AD could hold proceeds from the extra home game in '18 in reserve (not likely though).  Yes, the $2MM buyout changes the equation and it sucks.  I obviously don't have the AD's budget forecasts so I have no idea where that fits.  Maybe you're right and it messes up the entire analysis.

It could be true that Manuel is a complete dipshit who just got owned by Swarbrick.  I would imagine that a lot of thought was put into this, and in my view, I can at least see some logical rationale behind the whole thing.

07/07/2016 - 3:10pm Probably True

True, Michigan could have asked Arkansas to flip the '18/'19 schedule.  If I'm Jeff Long, I probably would have asked Michigan for $2MM to do this :)

The issue then is that Michigan is still playing Arkansas instead of Notre Dame.  Just my opinion, but I see that as the worse option.

I don't see a problem with killing two birds with one stone.  Manuel was able to get Notre Dame back on the schedule and able to get those '18/'19 home/away games fixed.

07/07/2016 - 3:03pm Fair Point

Fair point.  "Hands are absolutely tied" was probably not the best statement.

My point is that there is a distinct possiblity that the home and home with Arkansas was going to get moved/reversed/changed regardless.  Otherwise, to squeeze seven games of revenue into six games, the AD would have to raise prices for football (by at least 17% total over the entire season).  Not sure the fanbase would like kindly upon this.

All three rivals away in the same year is a bad thing.  No doubt about it.

I do, however, like that Manuel fixed the six-home-game issue in '19.  Also, I would rather see Michigan play Notre Dame than Arkansas.  Obviously, there are disagreements on the relative merits and drawbacks of the arrangement, but this is just my opinion.

07/07/2016 - 2:33pm Fair Point

That's a fair point that Manuel's hands weren't necessarily tied and that he could have deferred until 2020/2021 to schedule Notre Dame.

My point is that there is a distinct possiblity that Michigan's '18/'19 arrangement with Arkansas was going to get changed regardless.  That six home game schedule in 2019 was problematic.

Essentially, to squeeze seven games of revenue into six games, total revenue for those six games (tickets, concessions, parking, etc.) would have to be increased by ~17% at a minimum (given that price increases would distort demand).  I'm not sure the fanbase would take kindly to paying higher prices for seats.

From an optics standpoint, all three rivals away in the same year is bad.  From financial standpoint, it potentially makes sense.  It wouldn't be the worst thing to kill two birds with one stone (i.e. fix the six home game issue while getting Notre Dame back on the schedule).

07/07/2016 - 12:30pm Unfortunate but Not Necessarily Stupid

Playing Arkansas at home in 2018, Michigan would have had up to eight home games that year (five BIG home games).  Playing Arkansas away in 2019, Michigan would have had at most six home games that year (four BIG home games).

Playing at South Bend in 2018 (i.e. switching the 2018 Arkansas home game with a Notre Dame away game) could be a means for smoothing out the home/away breakdown for those two years (i.e. seven home games in both 2018 and 2019 vs. the eight and six setup).

Fandom-wise, it’s sub-optimal for Michigan to play at Columbus, East Lansing, and South Bend in the same year.  Nobody is debating this.  Revenue-wise, it could be that playing in South Bend in 2018 is better overall for the AD’s year-to-year cash management.  Regardless of how many home games there are in a given year, the AD will always have fixed working capital requirements and debt-service payments relating to prior financing on capex (i.e. stadium upgrades, Crisler Center, other capital projects, etc.).  Without having the numbers in front of me, it is a possibility that the extra revenue generated from premium games such as OSU and MSU aren’t enough to offset not having a seventh game (which would be the case in 2019).  It could also be that the discounted opportunity cost of not having the seventh home game in 2019 exceeds the lost revenue of removing a premium home game in 2018.

I have a pretty neutral opinion of Manuel (to me, he’s “just a guy”), but a lot of people seem to want to jump the gun on him.  Scheduling Notre Dame away in 2018 doesn’t necessarily make him stupid or a bad AD.  His hands are absolutely tied.  Having both OSU and MSU at home during four BIG home game years is the absolute worst-case scenario for Michigan (I’m actually trying to figure out why Brandon would agree to box himself into a six home game year (even if OSU and MSU are at home)).  Short of convincing the rest of the BIG to revamp the 2018 and 2019 conference schedule by allowing us to split OSU and MSU home games into different years (or moving the OSU/MSU home years to the years where Michigan has five BIG home games), I’m not sure Manuel had a good option either way.

Whatever, hopefully the next time the schedule is made (or there is realignment), Manuel won’t have been such a d*ck that the other ADs allegedly go out of their way to screw Michigan.

07/07/2016 - 12:27pm Unfortunate but Not Necessarily Stupid

Playing Arkansas at home in 2018, Michigan would have had up to eight home games that year (five BIG home games).  Playing Arkansas away in 2019, Michigan would have had at most six home games that year (four BIG home games).

Playing at South Bend in 2018 (i.e. switching the 2018 Arkansas home game with a Notre Dame away game) could be a means for smoothing out the home/away breakdown for those two years (i.e. seven home games in both 2018 and 2019 vs. the eight and six setup).

Fandom-wise, it’s sub-optimal for Michigan to play at Columbus, East Lansing, and South Bend in the same year.  Nobody is debating this.  Revenue-wise, it could be that playing in South Bend in 2018 is better overall for the AD’s year-to-year cash management.  Regardless of how many home games there are in a given year, the AD will always have fixed working capital requirements and debt-service payments relating to prior financing on capex (i.e. stadium upgrades, Crisler Center, other capital projects, etc.).  Without having the numbers in front of me, it is a possibility that the extra revenue generated from premium games such as OSU and MSU aren’t enough to offset not having a seventh game (which would be the case in 2019).  It could also be that the discounted opportunity cost of not having the seventh home game in 2019 exceeds the lost revenue of removing a premium home game in 2018.

I have a pretty neutral opinion of Manuel (to me, he’s “just a guy”), but a lot of people seem to want to jump the gun on him.  Scheduling Notre Dame away in 2018 doesn’t necessarily make him stupid or a bad AD.  His hands are absolutely tied.  Having both OSU and MSU at home during four BIG home game years is the absolute worst-case scenario for Michigan (I’m actually trying to figure out why Brandon would agree to box himself into a six home game year (even if OSU and MSU are at home)).  Short of convincing the rest of the BIG to revamp the 2018 and 2019 conference schedule by allowing us to split OSU and MSU home games into different years (or moving the OSU/MSU home years to the years where Michigan has five BIG home games), I’m not sure Manuel had a good option either way.

Whatever, hopefully the next time the schedule is made (or there is realignment), Manuel won’t have been such a d*ck that the other ADs allegedly go out of their way to screw Michigan.

08/17/2011 - 11:40am SAM and WDE

The responsibilities of these two positions are not necessarily that dissimilar.  In our 4-3 under, they are essentially DEs in a shaded a 5-2. 

Obviously you look for different physical attributes for the SAM and WDE, but their responsibilities are similar (e.g. keep contain on running plays, rush the passer (you will see C Gordon or Jake Ryan blitzing a lot from the SAM), drop into zones (you will see Roh dropping back a lot when we run zone blitzes), etc).

You generally want both your WDE and SAM to be hybrid-ish players in the 4-3 under; you want the SAM to be more athletic and the WDE to be bigger.  None of us have seen Beyer actually play; maybe he has the mobility/change of direction skills to cover TEs or backs coming into the flat; maybe he doesn't.

Mattison said in his presser that they may make minor tweaks with the "rush linebacker" (i.e. the WDE).  I'm pretty sure this is what he is alluding to and that there are no plans to stick Beyer at MLB or WLB.

07/24/2011 - 3:34pm Against the rules

I don't know the exact penalty (maybe illegal procedure) but you can't have more than one guy in motion at the snap of the ball. 

You can do a "shift" where multiple guys move at the same time before the ball is snapped (you will see this with audibles), but all but one guy needs to be set for at least a second before the ball is snapped (e.g. if four guys "shift", then at least three of them need to be set for one second before the ball is snapped; the fourth guy could still be in motion when the ball is snapped).

07/24/2011 - 2:59pm Nitpicky But ...

You can't have two players go in motion at the same time.

05/12/2011 - 8:59pm Just Wait Until

- BJ Cunningham starts failing drug tests, breaks his collarbone twice, then never plays football again

- Keith Nichols gains 100 lbs

- a freshman refuses to carry Keshawn Martin's shoulder pads and Martin starts crying about it

05/12/2011 - 8:37pm OL is pretty scary too

Agreed that the DT and NT positions very much need to be addressed.  In 2012, our rotation is Campbell, Washington, Ash and Talbott.  Obviously this year we will see where these four stand since all of them should at least see the field some this year (maybe not Talbott).  If there is any position where a true freshman will play in 2012, it is at DT. 

As we know, the coaching staff is also addressing the OL situation too.  I'm not trying to be a downer but for the next three years (2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons) the extended depth chart (i.e. the backups) looks very scary, especially 2013.  This obviously isn't a new concept as we have all witnessed the 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes with respect to the OL and the lack of bodies (we can throw in 2009 too, now that Q Washington is a DT). 

2011 Depth Chart (2 Deep in Italics)
LT:  Lewan (RS So); Schofield (RS So)
LG:  Barnum (RS Jr); Pace (RS Fr)
C:    Molk (RS Sr); Khoury (RS Jr); Miller (Fr)
RG: Omameh (RS Jr); Mealer (RS Jr)
RT:  Huyge (RS Sr); Posada (Fr) OR Bryant (Fr)

Assuming no walk-ons are good enough to play, we will have a true freshman (Posada or Bryant) in the 2-deep next year.  This is also assuming that Pace is able to continue his career; I have not read anything negative about Pace's injury situation in a while so I will assume that has resumed his playing career.  If Pace is not able to play, then we will have two true freshmen in the 2-deep since both Posada and Bryant will be in it.  Either way, we will have two freshman in the 2-deep since Pace is redshirt freshman.  Also, Bryant has been pegged as a guard and there is some chatter that Posada is a better fit as a guard as well.  IDK if Posada is a guard or a tackle but I hope one of them can fill in as a backup. 

2012 Depth Chart (2 Deep in Italics)
LT:  Lewan (RS Jr); Posada (RS Fr);
LG:  Barnum (RS Sr); Bryant (RS Fr);
C:    Khoury (RS Sr); Pace (RS So); Miller (RS Fr)
RG: Omameh (RS Sr); Mealer (RS Sr); 2012 Recruit #1 - Stacey? (Fr)
RT:  Schofield (RS Jr); 2012 Recruit #2 - Braden? (Fr)

We have no OTs outside of Lewan and Schofield; this is where not taking any tackles in 2010 really hurts.  Again, the questions about playing Posada at tackle still apply.  Hypothetically, Bryant can be a backup OT (he is 6'5") and we can slide Miller or Pace into G which is obviously less than ideal.  Assuming that Posada and Bryant weren't forced into duty in 2011 thus keeping their redshirts intact, we will have at least 3 freshman in the 2-deep (either (i) 2 RS freshman (Bryant, Posada) and a true freshman (Braden or other recruit) if Bryant is a guard or (ii) 3 RS freshman (Bryant, Posada and Miller) if Bryant is a tackle.  As an optimist, 2012 could be a special year since we return a very veteran starting lineup on the OL (all RS juniors and seniors with starting experience except for Khoury who will be a RS senior).

2013 Depth Chart (2 Deep in Italics)
LT:  Lewan (RS Sr); ???
LG:  Bryant (RS So); ???
C:    Pace (RS Jr); Miller (RS So)
RG: Posada (RS So); Stacey? (RS Fr)
RT:  Schofield (RS Sr); Braden? (RS Fr)

I am pretty confident that the coaching staff will be able to get their 6 OL for the 2012 recruiting class, so those "???" will obviously be filled in with 2012 recruits.  The story, however, is that we will again have freshman in our 2-deep.  This time, the number of freshman is 4.  I have Posada as a guard, but he could also be a backup tackle and we could have the loser of the battle at center (between Pace and Miller) slide over to guard.  Then in the case of an injury, Posada could fill in.

CONCLUSION
1.  Our starting lineups look pretty good actually with 2012 looking like a year where our line should dominate in the trenches.  The problem is that injuries and players not panning out can obviously ruin this.  Since we did not recruit with high numbers, we absolutely need Barnum, Schofield, Posada, Bryant, Miller/Pace to become at least average B10 linemen (for which I'm cautiously confident), or we need to have the recruits after them be the Long/Lewan types who can play well as redshirt freshman.  I'm not sure how reasonable it is to not have any injuries to the OL over the next three years, and any accuracy of the Pace rumors would obviously exacerbate things.  Likewise there is a lot of pressure on the coaches (not that there isn't normally a lot of pressure on these coaches) to develop and motivate these guys as Posada and Bryant will need to develop into capable starters by their RS sophomore years.
2.  Again to state the obvious, it is absolutely critical that we get at least 5 lineman this year with at least two guards and two tackles.  The previous sentence was actually true for last year's class but that obviously didn't happen due to reasons that I wish to not re-live.  Failure to do this will result in 2014 looking exactly like 2008 (DTs switching to OL and starting games).
3.  I don't think we will see a true spring game until 2014 since that will be the first year that we can fill our two-deep with non-freshman (of course assuming that we get our 5-6 OL recruits this year).

05/12/2011 - 11:40am 4*

I'm pretty sure Mike Martin had four stars from both Rivals and Scout.  Either way, best of luck to Godin!

03/30/2011 - 5:40pm Jake Ryan at SAM

If Jake Ryan is at SAM, that may explain the DE confusion.  The SAM is ideally a tweener DE/LB that can really run; think Shawn Crable without the missed tackles.

02/25/2011 - 12:44pm Zone Blocking

"I assume they weren't zone blocking, as Hoke doesn't like it."

Hoke never said he doesn't like zone blocking.  He said he doesn't like to zone block all the time.  SDSU did run zone strech plays in their bowl game.

It makes sense to mix up our blocking schemes, especially since the zone plays and power plays are good counters to each other.  There were a few games last year where RR blocked down and pulled his guards.

02/25/2011 - 12:17pm A little biased are we?

1.  A good coach is a good coach, regardless of conference.  RR didn't fail at Michigan because the Big Ten was so much tougher than the Big East.  Urban Meyer never was a head coach at a power conference before going to Florida.  Tressel was able to parlay his success at I-AA into success at Ohio St.  Dantonio (18-17) and Chizik both had mediocre to bad records at their previous stops before moving into the Big 10 and SEC respectively.  The thing that Meyer (ND), Tressel (OSU), Dantonio (MSU, OSU) and Chizik (Aub, Tex) all had was experience working at a big-time program (either as a position coach or coordinator).  Hoke has coached a Michigan before and he has turned around programs.  I don't understand how those programs being in the MAC or Mountain West change anything; the ability to change culture/attitude is universal, regardless of where you coach and in what conference.

2.  Why are people so convinced that the switch to a more balanced offense (balanced as in spread/power/i-form balance not run/pass balance) will spell the doom Denard?  Hoke never said he won't run zone blocking; he said he doesn't like running it all the time.  Borges never said we won't run the spread, he said we won't be a spread team (i.e. we won't run the spread exclusively).  Borges did say that we would be under center 50%; I would assume the 50% of the time we're in shotgun will be out of spread formations.  I would assume out of these spread formations, we will still run the ball a lot.  The coaches still expect to run Denard 15 times a game which is much more manageable than the 20+ last year.  Denard will never be mistaken for Tom Brady but he showed that he can be an effective passer, and I expect him to be even better if they can fix a few things in his throwing motion.  Denard should still rush for close to 1,000+ yards and I expect his passing yardage will skyrocket because we will run a more sophisticated passing attack (or at least we better).

3.  If we can pull the top recruits out of the south and west, then yes, I would prefer recruits from there because they are better.  With the exception of Denard, however, it's not like we were cleaning up in the south and west.  It looks like we were pulling players from those areas that were comparable in talent to those found in the midwest.  If that's going to be the case, then I would prefer players from the midwest; they are easier to reel in and they have less of a weather adjustment.  Talent does trump all though; if we can get to the point where we have our pick of recruits, then I would obviously prefer the best of FL, CA, TX, LA, GA over the best of the midwest.  Let's focus on the low-hanging fruit first (especially since the talent is good in the midwest this year) until we can rebuild towards a national championship level.

4.  He did fine in the press conference I thought.  He won't win speech contests but he said what he needed to say.  RR always got into trouble because he would try to make jokes at his press conference and the media would always turn it around on him (e.g. Vince Lombardi not being able to coach this defense).  Also, RR had a tendency to try to explain what went wrong which came across as making excuses or throwing his players under the bus.  We will see, but I just don't see this happening with Hoke.

Like most of us, I was underwhelmed by the hire but I'm more than willing to give the guy a chance.  He has a lot of things lined up for him (returning talent, support from alums and AD).  If he can start creating some positive momentum (which he has already started with media perception) then maybe this will snowball into great things.  Look at Dantonio at MSU; he's a mediocre coach leading a mediocre program but those guys love him there.  He is providing stability and positive momentum.  Take our program, even after the last 3 years, get our Dantonio (minus the douchiness) and we maybe get back to being an elite program.

02/17/2011 - 12:22pm I didn't take it as you

I didn't take it as you calling me out, and I respect that you obviously know what you're talking about.

I think we should be under the assumption that our safeties are fast enough to cover TEs.  There are occasional fast TEs, but the TEs are generally not the burners that are going to be beating you deep or making quick cuts that create seperation.  If it's the case that our safeties can't cover TEs, then we can't play man.

Likewise using your example of the personnel package of Hopkins, Hayes, Koger, Hemmingway, Roundtree, we need to switch out of man if Hayes motions to the slot and we don't have a safety that can cover him.  If they go big (with Hemmingway as the H-back), we can very much play man, assuming that a safety can cover Koger.

I agree that the offensive coaches are looking for ways to gain an advantage on the offense through formation, motion, personnel groupings, but the defense doesn't have to just sit there and take it.  Shouldn't a defense change their scheme/calls/coverages based on what the offense shows (e.g. example of Hayes coming out of the backfield so you check out of man)? 

02/16/2011 - 6:13pm CBs

Thanks for the explanation of the cover-6.  Always just called it "rotating safeties", good to put a real name on it.

I agree with you about the true freshman CBs not necessarily being ready to play and that we should cut them some slack.  I agree that they can become better tacklers with more experience/coaching/size/strength/etc.  I still think that they are going to have some problems going into their sophomore years.

I'm not understanding the analogy to LBs.  One of a LB's major responsibility is to stop the run; that is not necessarily the case with a CB based on the scheme.  If your LB is a poor tackler, there is not much you can do to hide it; you can, however, hide or scheme around a CB who has problems tackling by giving them deep zone responsibilities.  That was all I was saying.  I was just stating an opinion about the best coverage given what I perceive to be our personnel's relative strengths and weaknesses.

Also, if our safeties aren't fast enough to cover slots in man, then we need to substitute them out and bring in somebody (maybe a CB) who is.  If our secondary can't stay with every receiver that lines up on a particular play, then we can't play man on that play (e.g. if we only have two guys who are able to cover, then we can't play man on plays where the offense comes out with 3+ receivers).  All I'm saying is that none of our safeties (assuming Woolfolk isn't a safety) are known for being burners, so I don't see how running a base coverage that requires each of them cover half the field is putting them in a position to succeed.

I do think we're going to run some cover-2 but I would assume that we will see a lot more cover 6, cover 4, cover 3 and cover 1 based on our personnel.

02/16/2011 - 5:13pm 4-3 Under

"I think of the 4-3 under as something halfway between a 4-3 and a 3-4"

The 4-3 under is actually a 5-2 defense where the line is shaded to the strong side and the "5-2 strong side DE" is a "4-3 under SLB" with pass coverage responsibilities. 

The defense is designed to be very stout against the run and also create a lot of pressure from the line on pass plays for the reasons that Brian discussed (3-tech and weakside 5-tech being one-on-one with their OL counterparts).

The 3-4 is very closely related to the 5-2, however, so I guess Brian's view still holds.

02/16/2011 - 4:40pm Cover - 2

By "lets assume that we are going to be running cover 2, which is a very likely", I'm assuming that you mean that one of our many coverages will be the cover 2. 

I'm not sure our safeties are fast enough yet for us to run a cover 2 as a base coverage.  Also, if Woolfolk stays at CB, we may want to utilize his speed more by giving him deep responsibilities.  Also, the other CBs (Floyd, Avery, Talbott, Christian) weren't exactly the best tacklers either; not sure asking them to support the run as cover 2 CBs caters to their strengths. 

Obviously the cover 2 has a lot of advantages and thus we need to run it on occasion, but I think our secondary would get abused if we ran it as our base coverage. 

It sounds like we are going to be running a lot of man.  I would imagine that we are also going to be rotating our coverage a lot out of a 2 deep safety look where Woolfolk as a weakside CB takes his deep outside 1/3, the weakside safety takes the deep middle 1/3, the strongside safety takes the strongside outside 1/3 and the strongside CB takes his flat and supports the run.

02/09/2011 - 6:43pm True

The main responsibility of any defensive lineman is to make sure they don't get driven back.  I agree 100%, but that's a given for any defense.  If your DL is getting dominated and pushed back 5 yards every play, you will not be good, regardless of where you line up.  I'm assuming that our DL is not so undermanned that they will be at least able to individually hold their own against blockers.

With that said, in the 4-3 over/under defense, the main responsibility of the lineman is still to maintain an outside technique on the blocker.  That doesn't mean you shoot the outside gap; you still need to engage the blocker and hold your ground but the defense will give up long gains if a lineman gets hooked (obviously the same holds true if a lineman gets driven back).  That's why the linemen are lined up in outside shades to make it harder for the blockers to accomplish this.  I think we're saying the same thing.

I agree that a 3-3-5 is supposed to be a 1-gap defense, but I'm not sure that's what we were playing last year.  It appeared that Martin's job was to engage the center and then fight to the side of the flow.  Also, it doesn't look like any of the linebackers were shooting any particular gap but were rather reading the line/flow.

It's hard to tell what was going on because GERG was pinching and slanting the line a lot but personally, it was frustrating to watch the DEs when they were lined up in 5-techniques getting hooked by the tackle. 

02/09/2011 - 5:31pm Not True

In a 3-4 defense you operate on the general assumption that your linemen can defeat single blocks. 

Also, you can pinch your DEs or run twists with your NT and LB to protect your LBs.  The 3-4 (or any other 3-man front defense) is no more susceptible against the run than the 4-3.   

There are certain plays where the 3-4 is more vulnerable (stretch and power plays where you hook defenders) and there are certain plays where the 4-3 is more vulnerable (inside iso plays).  Each defense has its relative strengths and weaknesses. 

02/09/2011 - 4:46pm True

Finding a scheme that matches personnel is more important than whether it is a 3 or 4 man line.  Executing the scheme is the most important.  I honestly don't think it's fair to say that we actually ran a 3-3-5 last year considering that we didn't line people up correctly and we didn't follow any of the principles of the defense (attacking downhill defense with multiple fronts).  If you can find it, watch videos of WVA or SDSU's defenses; it looks like a completely different defense.  GERG and company basically ruined the 3-3-5 in the same way that the Black Eyed Peas ruined that song from Dirty Dancing.

Our personnel is actually decently equipped for a 3-4.  We have all these S/OLB and OLB/DE hybrids who were supposed to be Spurs, Bandits, Spinners or Deathbackers.  We could make Roh a rush linebacker who has occasional (and I mean occasional) pass coverage responsibilities but mostly shoots into the backfield from a 2-point stance (similar to Woodley for the Steelers).  The other OLB could be Cam Gordon, leaving holes at DE and ILB (holes we basically have with the 4-3 under/over anyways).

The only problem with this is that the overall talent level on our line is still better than the overall talent level of our LBs, so it makes more sense to have more lineman playing.  Hence, the 4-3.

02/09/2011 - 4:06pm Agree

But I think you mean that the 4-3 defense is more "gap sound" because it is a 1-gap defense.  It is easier to maintain your gap responsibility when you only have 1 gap to worry about. 

Plus, the over and under fronts make it easier to be "gap sound" because you're always shading the outside shoulder of the blocker (e.g. 1-tech shades the center to either side, 3-tech is on the outside shoulder of the guard, 5-tech is on the outside shoulder of the tackle, etc).  The main responsibility of every lineman is to make sure they don't get hooked (i.e. to make sure that they always stay on the outside shoulder of the defender that they line up against).

The big runs that came from those combo blocks where Molk and a guard would effectively block a playside NT so that eventually Molk could hook that NT show how important it is for the linemen to not get hooked.  Watch what happened on those plays where Molk wasn't able to hook the NT, they usually never went anywhere.

The only worry is that last year our line, in particular certain DEs, were so bad at following this basic rule of not getting hooked, leading to very long gains for the offense.  Some of this was because we slanted our line a lot but many times it appeared that our line simply didn't do a very good job of executing their responsibilities.  Luckily the culprits will be getting bigger/stronger (Black) or will have graduated (Banks). 

I like the 4-man fronts, but if all 4 linemen aren't good enough to avoid getting hooked or pushed back, then we are better off with a 3-4 (or even a 3-3-5) where we slant linemen and shoot a LB or two into unoccupied gaps.

01/19/2011 - 2:28pm NT

We definitely need a NT to step up (looking at you Will Campbell and Quinton Washington).  RVB is not a DT and Mike Martin would be put to better use as a 3-tech DT rather than a NT in the 4-3.

Maybe Ash steps up but I would realistically expect Campbell and Washington to be more ready considering that they will be entering year 3 of a college strength and conditioning program.

Does anybody know what kind of 4-3 Mattison runs (over, under, stack, etc.)? 

01/19/2011 - 2:20pm 3-3-5

We didn't really run the 3-3-5.  It was more a bastardized version of it; our defense just happened to have 3 linemen, 3 linebackers and 5 defensive backs. 

When I watched some SDSU games to see how a Hoke/Borges offense looked, I couldn't help but notice their 3-3-5 and how effective it was.  Every play featured at least one (and usually more) LBs blitzing into a gap.  Furthermore, when the LBs weren't blitzing, they were filling gaps very aggressively (i.e. they were running north and south rather than the side-to-side movements of our LBs last year).  And also, the LBs were always lined up 5 yards from the LOS to avoid getting caught in the wash and also giving them time to pick up some speed before taking on a blocker.

Our defense sucked, no doubt about it, but it wasn't because the 3-3-5 sucks.  It can be a good defense when run properly.

01/19/2011 - 12:42pm I'm Excited Too

As much as this is good news b/c I'm excited about Kellen's potential, I honestly hope he doesn't see the field for at least 2 years.  This would require the guys ahead of him to step up. 

RBs and CBs can step in as true freshman.  LBs ... not so much.

01/13/2011 - 12:40am Watching Navy Game Too

After watching this game, I feel soooo much better about our offense next year.  Al Borges runs a multiple offense which appears to be highly adaptable to Denard's skill set.

- SDSU has run a lot of shotgun.  Granted they have passed far more often than run out of the gun but they did run a read-option type play as stated above.

- Regardless of whether they are under-center or in the gun, they tend to run single back, TE, and 3 WRs as stated above.

- They feature a good mix between power runs (i.e. blocking down with pulling guards) and zone runs (i.e. stretch plays similar to what we ran under RR in 2008/2009 and DeBord with Mike Hart).

-  The passing attack appears to be more complex.  The intermediate zones are attacked more.  There doesn't appear to be a heavy reliance on all the WRs running the same routes (e.g. 4 verticals or all the WRs running 5 yard hitches, etc)

-  Tunnel screens and jailbreak screens are used (I'm looking at you Roundtree, Grady, Odoms, Gallon, et al)

Howeva ...

- Lindley (SDSU's QB) is 3 or 4 inches taller than Denard.  Denard shouldn't have trouble throwing over the middle when in shotgun but I wonder if he has problems with batted-down balls when he throws from under-center.

-  We will really need a RB to step up next year ... which would be true regardless of the offense/coach.

Watching SDSU's offense, I honestly don't think our offensive players will have soo much trouble adapting to this offense.  Molk and Robinson will be under center more.  The WRs will run different types of routes.  Robinson will have more reads.  Omameh and the other OG will be pulling more.  Obviously they will have to learn a new terminology. 

The blocking schemes, however, do not seem much different.  Denard can still have designed runs out of shotgun along with the "oh no" plays that come with them.  If the players can learn the playbook and Denard can continue to improve his accuracy, I don't see why our offense won't still put up big numbers.

Also, watching SDSU's 3-3-5 makes me even more angry about the GERG/2010-defensive-staff debacle.  The linebackers line up 5 yards from the LOS, there are many formations (i.e. the OLBs, spur and bandit all change where they line up from play to play), and the LBs attack the LOS.  Basically they did everything in Brian's picture-page of WVU's defense.

01/12/2011 - 5:39pm Happens A Lot To "Regular" Students

This happens more than you think to the general student population.  I know a few people who had to leave for a semester and go to community college to prove that they would focus on school.  I know of at least two who were re-admitted to U-M, others were less motivated and never came back to U-M. 

Obviously, this means that you have already done the "academic probation" thing and that U-M has already given you your "last chance".  If Tate is serious about coming back to U-M, it is possible for him to wear the winged helmet again.

01/03/2011 - 2:43pm Or

That the starting secondary for the final games was comprised of a position-switch-WR-turned-CB, two true freshman and a sophomore former walk-on.  This in turn required us to play a lot more conservatively on defense, further exacerbated by the fact that we only had 3 big ten ready defensive linemen.

Like a lot of people, I don't want to discuss who is to blame or whether we should keep RR or not b/c of this. 

I would assume, however, that regardless of whomever coaches the team next year, the defense will at least improve simply on the basis that we shouldn't have to play true freshman anymore (assuming that these young guys continue to lift weights, watch film and do drills; and there is no reason to think that they wouldn't do all these things).

12/21/2010 - 9:03pm True Senior

Kellen Moore is a true junior right now so he will be a true senior next year.

12/08/2010 - 8:37pm Maybe

If a defense is containing well enough to stop the QB sweep, I would assume they would be containing well enough to stop the speed option. 

Hopefully having that elite runner will make the frontside plays (i.e. zone stretch, inside zone) more of a threat which will then require the defense to overcompensate to the playside.  This will then open up the QB keeper to the backside with the RB as a lead blocker (or maybe even running the option as you suggest).

Obviously the coaches may determine that they want to start limiting the shots that Denard takes and start running some option, especially if a RB steps up to become an equally viable threat running the ball as you suggest.

12/08/2010 - 7:09pm No Need for Motion on Running Plays

The pre-snap motion serves two purposes in the spread.  (1) on passing plays it allows the QB to see if the defense is playing man-to-man or zone and (2) it sets up the option play.

On passing plays, it would be nice to send a WR in motion so that we can see how the defense reacts and adjust the routes based on the coverage the defense shows (i.e. if a defender follows the WR, the defense is in man; if the defense simply shifts, they are in zone).

Pre-snap motion on running plays is designed to set up the traditional option where the QB either (i) hands it off to the motioning slot receiver or (ii) fakes it to the motioning slot receiver and then runs an option with the RB.  The problem with this setup is that Gallon and maybe Odoms are the only WRs that I would honestly want to see running the ball; otherwise we are better off just handing the ball off to a RB or having Denard keep it and using the WRs as blockers. 

Likewise, we don't run the option b/c Denard is the best runner on our team.  I would much rather have the RB acting as a lead blocker on a QB dive/keeper than have our offense option that defender and force Denard to pitch it to a RB who is a lesser runner.  Assuming that the RB can make the block on a QB keeper, the two plays are functionally equal except that the keeper features Denard as the ball carrier and the option will likely see the RB carry the ball b/c the defense will force Denard to pitch.

If Denard were to go down for an extended period of time and Tate was our starting QB, I would very much expect us to start running a lot of option plays.

Likewise, I'm assuming we don't motion on passing plays b/c we don't motion on running plays so it would be obvious to the defense that we are passing.

I would assume that our offense is pretty much fully installed.  I think most people see the limited number of formations and assume that we have so much more to install, but that is actually the genius of RR's system.  He runs a limited amount of formations and a limited amount of plays but each formation/play combination has many different variations and blocking schemes.  Each variation is designed to counter the defense's adjustments (e.g. the HB pulling across the formation vs acting as a lead blockers, WRs blocking on bubble screens vs running seams, blocking down and pulling guards vs zone stretch plays, Cam Newton play vs zone read, etc).

I don't see why we should hand the ball off to slot receivers just for the sake of doing it; instead I prefer that our best playmakers have the ball the majoritiy of the time.

11/30/2010 - 6:52pm 1.  Vanity - Not sure where

1.  Vanity - Not sure where you are getting this idea of wanting to destroy Michigan's tradition.  It's not unprecedented for a new coach/leader to come to a new place and want to clean house and may incorporate some of the things that worked for him in the past.

2.  Diplomacy - May be a fair point but not necessarily a reason to fire somebody in my book.

3.  Recruiting - I don't think our recruiting has been bad at all unless your analysis starts and ends with Rivals/Scout/ESPN.  Even if so, RR has not fared too poorly according to all three of the recruiting services (don't have the exact numbers and don't feel like looking them up but his classes have been Top 15 for each recruiting service for each of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 classes). 

Most of the stars of the past weren't stars until they were upperclassmen (many of them redshirting too).  If you look at our roster, are you telling me that you don't see in two years the following players at least being contenders for All Big Ten selections:  Denard, Roundtree, Lewan, Omameh, Hopkins, Roh, Demens (LC recruit).  Obviously the other 15 players need to be filled in with Big Ten caliber players but I have yet to see a RR recruited upperclassmen look out of place in the Big Ten.  His recruits may not be glamorous according to the recruiting services but the present product isn't necessarily a logical evaluation of his recruiting abilities yet.

4.  Academics - Hard to say.  Tate was benched last year for missing study sessions.  Dorsey was recruited to the school, but I don't necessarily blame him for at least trying to see if he could get Dorsey in.  Even if TWolf doesn't get hurt, RR still knows there is a strong possibility that he plays a true freshman.  Why not get somebody who supposedly was faster in the 100m than Denard?  RR's "marginal student" recruits may be something that has received more publicity than in the past but I'm not sure its because it is happening more often than before.  Recruits did get denied under Carr.  So far, it doesn't look like there is a mass exodus of players leaving because of academic reasons (Cissoko, Wermers notwithstanding).  Likewise, his players don't seem to be getting into trouble any more often than Carr's did (Cissoko, Feagan notwithstanding).

5.  Defense - Not based on fact.  The idea that RR sees his defense as nothing more than a ramped up scout defense is ridiculous.  If he has 1s going against 1s, it's probably so that each side can work on things at something more resembling game speed.  Your better argument is just simply stating that RR's defenses have been horrible.

6.  Management - Maybe this is correct; I'm so indifferent.

7.  Attention to Detail - This is more on the players.  I'm not sure how our kicker's inability to make field goals is tied towards attention to detail.  The fumbling/tackling problem may be an indication that we need to go live more often in practice (which we can't do yet because our depth isn't where it needs to be).  It's hard to improve technique when you're running tackling drills at half-speed most of the time.

What I'm saying is that most of the reasons in the article were somewhat weak and speculative to me.  I don't see how having Harbaugh as our coach this year would have made our defense any better.  He would have still been dealing with our secondary (a mixture of true freshman, a redshirt sophomore, and a converted-from-WR-2-weeks-before-first-game senior).  He still would have had to pick his poison with our front 7; we basically have 5 Big Ten-ready/caliber players (Martin, Van Bergen, Roh, Demens, Mouton) to play 7 positions.  Harbaugh would still be short a DT and a LB with the non-existent 4th DL being the most glaring problem. 

If you think RR is a horrible fit for Michigan, then fine.  That's about the only legitimate reason I have heard for letting him go.  Our athletic department is reliant on donors and boosters, and the fact that he has such little support is a problem.  Obviously his record has a lot to do with it but he was never completely welcomed from the start.  He has had to deal with so much BS from the get-go that has only intensified, that it may very well be better for both parties to just go separate ways.

This idea of the perfect fit will always be elusive though.  Harbaugh is arrogant and surly, just like Rodriguez; people will take issue with his personality.  Nick Saban/Urban Meyer/Pete Carroll, Mack Brown would never be "good fits" here at Michigan either; say what you want about the shadiness factor for some of them but they are/were the best coaches in the game.  Harbaugh may be the "best fit" b/c of his ties to Bo, but we will find a reason to turn on him just like we did to Carr and RR.

11/29/2010 - 4:58pm Rhetorical Question Regarding Henning and Herbstreit

So, what are the chances that they apologize for perpetuating unsubstantiated reports from "good sources" that Rich Rod would be fired today (the Monday after the OSU game)? 

Also, didn't Herbstreit say following the Les Miles fiasco that he would never do this again?