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07/19/2018 - 5:41pm This could work.  What made…

This could work.  What made it work for Belgium, though, is that Lukaku, Hazard, and De Bruyne can all create their own space.  Even Mertens and Chadli would be full-time starters for the USMNT, and I'm not certain we'll have enough players that can create opportunities on their own to play the Belgium style.  Trying to replicate Croatia makes much more sense to me.

07/19/2018 - 5:36pm I really don't think the US…

I really don't think the US can defend with seven.  The 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-1-2 are possibilities, but the boring 4-4-1-1 or 4-1-4-1 seem far more likely.  The right coach might be able to build around a 3-5-2, but I can't see the US being defensively sound with only seven players naturally positioned to defend.  

I hope I'm wrong.

07/19/2018 - 5:27pm I think omitting Tim Ream is…

I think omitting Tim Ream is a bit presumptuous.  He'll be 34 at the next WC, but players at his spot can still be effective at that age.  Don't get me wrong--I hope more of the young talent pops and there are better options, but he's a guy that could really be a valuable piece.

Very much share your glee about the youth movement and its likelihood of success.  There are probably 2-3 guys not on your list or posts that will emerge in the next two years as well.

The next generation will be the first to have quality coaching through their entire youth experiences and should be the beginning of the US consistently being comparable to a mid-tier European country.

FWIW, I believe the US has the talent to play very much like Croatia did in this WC cycle--physical, hard-working, simple tactics with a high volume of crosses and a minimal emphasis on 1-v-1 soccer.  Many will argue that we can't replicate Rakitic and Modric, and while this is true those two players were mostly facilitating crosses instead making final passes or runs themselves.  There is very little that Croatia did technically that our pool could not replicate.

07/19/2018 - 4:04pm Hate to say it, but this…

Hate to say it, but this shows how underpaid Don Brown is.  Venables and Aranda are both making $2MM+/year and not doing as well with arguably more talent.

07/18/2018 - 2:50pm Love this format.  It's a…

Love this format.  It's a massive upgrade, IMO, over the actual drafting.  

Would not mind seeing more baseless mocking or use of PFF stats to deride each other over meaningless predictions.

07/18/2018 - 1:50am Yes, but only marginally…

Yes, but only marginally right now. Less front page football content and fewer quality diaries and board posts mean I’m increasingly going to wolverineswire or the newspaper sites. 

If the site bugs get worked out and the authors can refocus on content, things might go back to the way they were. But damn, I miss the insightful diaries and board posts. 

07/16/2018 - 9:38pm Are you serious? Donovan,…

Are you serious? Donovan, Dempsey, and Altidore are the only three we have ever had that had even decent success at NT level. After that, there is the overachieving Wynalda and the creaky McBride. The next five are led by Joe Max-Moore. Joe Max-Moore! The only reason the goal totals even look decent is because of the competition we play. 

So yes, give this generation over the previous one. Pulisic is already better than Donovan and Altidore ever were, and the rest of the young talent will more than surpass this group.

Just look at where this generation plays. It’s our first group of top level international talent ever. Some of it will pop. 

07/16/2018 - 5:30pm There is no doubt that this…

There is no doubt that this is the best generation of attacking players the U.S. has ever had.  It's somewhat crazy that our back four might be more worrisome than our front four.

As for the spine...there are lots of possibilities, but I'm eager to see Brian's write-up on the central midfield.  Just not sure we have the steady hands (feet) there that we need.

07/16/2018 - 4:46pm It's a good start.  Would…

It's a good start.  Would add two requirements:

  1. Every player takes at least one semester of financial management courses, and have a team of financial planners ready to assist the players during and after college.
  2. Every player takes a marketing course (with a contract element) and learns the basics of using and protecting their opportunities.  The goal of this course is to educate on how to spot fraudsters and cling-ons that can destroy your wealth and exploit you for their gain.

Let's not just enable the players to have money, let's help them learn how to use it, grow it, and make more.  I sure wish there had been practical financial management courses for me to take in college.

07/16/2018 - 4:35pm You have never had good…

You have never had good burnt ends.  Many places that serve "Burnt Ends" are just using fatty cuts from the brisket instead of actually using, you know, the burnt ends that naturally result from properly seasoning and smoking brisket.

In my experience, they can be especially amazing when they are the ends of pastrami.

07/16/2018 - 4:31pm There is no winning here. …

There is no winning here.  Everything would get old pretty quickly.

At one point in my life the answer would have been easy: Double-Double, animal style.

My palate has matured a bit, so now I might say...the Bella Bella Benny from Snooze?  

This reality would make me seriously contemplate the point of existing.

07/14/2018 - 11:19am By Spartan Physicist you…

By Spartan Physicist you must mean person who figures out how many cronies can fit into the top of the university structure. 

07/14/2018 - 12:12am OP list is more like the…

OP list is more like the best characters  this century. Here’s an unordered, partial list of some greats that go further back:

  • Captain Kirk
  • Spock
  • Beavis
  • The Fonz
  • Jack & Karen (Will and Grace)
  • Rose & Sophia (Golden Girls)
  • Niles Crane
  • Sydney Bristow
  • Cliff, Clair, and Denise Huxtable
  • Carlton and the Fresh Prince
  • Violet Crowley
  • Frank Underwood 
  • Vic Mackey
  • Kermit and Gonzo
  • Roseanne 
  • Jack Bauer and David Palmer
  • Larry David
  • Abed, Jeff, and Pierce
  • Scully and Mulder
  • Tracey Jordan
  • Picard and Data
  • Sipowicz 
  • Zach Morrison
  • Basically everyone in the West Wing, particularly Josh, CJ, and Charlie
  • George And Jerry
  • Steve Urkel
  • Hannibal, Murdock, and BA
  • Sheldon Cooper
  • Dev Shah
  • Bull Shannon
  • Gilligan 
  • Mork
  • Alex Keaton
  • Arnold Jackson
  • Murphy Brown
  • Peter, Stewie, and Brian Griffin
  • Marie and Robert Barone
  • Martin Payne
  • Al Bundy
  • Sherlock
  • Rustin Cohle
07/13/2018 - 5:21pm Definitely file a complaint…

Definitely file a complaint with the BBB.  Use pictures and documented evidence.

If you can get an attorney to consult with you and write a letter, even better.

07/13/2018 - 5:17pm Cornelius Johnson could…

Cornelius Johnson could absolutely play outside WR.  So could Dylan Wright.

Are we out for both of those guys?

07/13/2018 - 1:09pm Progress!  Happy Friday!

Progress!  Happy Friday!

07/13/2018 - 12:54pm .8900 is a four-star on the…

.8900 is a four-star on the composite, not .9000

07/13/2018 - 11:29am The 2018 class definitely…

The 2018 class definitely has some fliers in it, but it's making more and more sense to me from a strategic standpoint.  That said, Hutchinson is in another category.  Very, very good player that would be a take by almost any school in almost any class.

Only time can vindicate the staff, but I think we'll look back and be pleasantly surprised at the production of this group.

07/12/2018 - 12:07pm YUGE!


07/11/2018 - 11:08pm The same as the ratio of…

The same as the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns.

07/11/2018 - 9:27pm Yes. 


07/11/2018 - 3:08pm This post = Pure Joy

This post = Pure Joy

07/10/2018 - 3:39pm If Hamler had been in the…

If Hamler had been in the 2019 recruiting cycle, he almost certainly gets an offer.  Michigan is recruiting that type of athlete now (GJIII, Sainristil, Barrett, Jackson, W. Robinson).

07/10/2018 - 3:36pm Hard to argue against Higdon…

Hard to argue against Higdon.  Highly-productive despite suspect blocking and gameplanning; probably earned us an extra win last season on his own.

07/10/2018 - 12:19pm Great stuff.  There are a…

Great stuff.  There are a couple of recruits that might experience modest drops, and a handful or more that should see modest-to-substantial upgrades.  This class will finish top ten, and, with some great work and performance this fall, could be close to top five.

07/10/2018 - 12:14pm One minivan, one sedan.

One minivan, one sedan.

07/09/2018 - 1:33pm Belgium vs. Croatia


Belgium vs. Croatia

Belgium is the team I'm rooting for, and, I believe the most talented team remaining.  France is very good but young.  I'd expect the winner of that game to win the tournament.

England/Croatia is a toss-up game, but I believe Croatia has more quality, while England have more momentum and energy.

Worth noting that I believe Martinez and Dalic have been the best managers this WC.

07/09/2018 - 12:22am Whom do you think is…

Whom do you think is overrated? Any guys you think are underrated?

07/09/2018 - 12:21am Whom do you think is…

Whom do you think is overrated? Any guys you there no are underrated?

07/06/2018 - 2:55pm I agree that Bredeson is not…

I agree that Bredeson is not likely to go.  That said, we was second-team all-B1G last year and could take off as a junior (common for OL) under Warriner.  Even if he does, I hope he stays for his senior season.

Not sure how Gentry would test.  Worth noting that he is a far better blocker than Gesicki ever was.  If he can put up monster numbers, he'll definitely have a shot.

On offense, the only guaranteed draftee is Higdon.  Patterson is probably the next most likely.  But if our offense takes off and Michigan has the special season we are all hoping for, it's likely that we see a few more leave for the league.

07/06/2018 - 2:47pm Sam Webb.

Sam Webb.

07/06/2018 - 1:48pm Don Brown can develop all of…

Don Brown can develop all of those guys into very productive players.  There's a decent chance that this year's defense loses up to six guys to the NFL: Gary, Winovich, Bush, Hudson, Long, Hill.  While I certainly hope that doesn't happen, the fact that it's even a possibility says a lot about Brown's defense and the staff's ability to develop players.

Shea, Higdon, Bredeson, and Gentry could all go from the offense.  Heck, Warriner might even develop JBB into a draft pick.  

There will likely be 6-10 guys drafted in 2019.  This staff is delivering on its NFL pedigree.

07/06/2018 - 1:39pm Mike Sainrisitil is…

Mike Sainrisitil is committed to VT, but Michigan is recruiting him as a slot, not a DB.

07/06/2018 - 1:25pm Adding either Crouch or Hill…

Adding either Crouch or Hill makes this a homerun defensive class.

Adding both might cause the earth to tilt on its axis when Crouch comes on a blitz and Hill is the robber.

Will be interesting to see how many more guys Michigan recruits on defense.  My guess is that they won't recruit many more until they know what their top targets are doing.

07/06/2018 - 9:41am Nope. Jones is ranked ahead…

Nope. Jones is ranked ahead of Charbonnet and 72 spots away from being a three star. His composite grade is .9019, you have to be under .8900 to be a three star. He’s not borderline. He’s a top 300 player. 

07/05/2018 - 6:17pm That's how he's listed on…

That's how he's listed on 247.  And George Johnson III is listed as a DUAL.  But Michigan is recruiting both as slots.

07/05/2018 - 2:32pm Nope.  Harbaugh has made it…

Nope.  Harbaugh has made it clear that you must continue to perform/improve to keep your offer, so some changes are certainly possible, but that seems unlikely barring injury.

Newburg, All, Ojabo, and Thomas should all outplay their rankings and keep their offers, and the only other guy that might be in question (especially if we get Cine) is Joey Velazquez, but his measurables are excellent and he'd be hard to pass up.

The scouting this year really does seem to be better than last year, and I think most everyone that's committed has a secure spot, assuming they continue their trajectory.

I know your post was a little tongue-in-cheek, but the more likely scenario is that a great season means we add guys like Crouch, Ford, and maybe even flip a couple others.  There won't be wholesale changes to this class, nor should there be.

07/05/2018 - 2:23pm Trente Jones is a four-star…

Trente Jones is a four-star OL. That deserves an edit.

If the RBs get the bumps Brian has described, we add Keegan and a four-star WR, then we are pretty close to 2017 class levels.  Adding Crouch or Foskey to that haul puts this class pretty even with the 2017 class on offense.  And while that class had an embarrassment of riches at WR, this class has the best RB group since the 90s, IMO.

What I'm saying is that as of right now, it's a Hoke/Carr class, but could easily find its way into being another elite Harbaugh class.  It's also worth pointing out that George Johnson III is criminally underrated, and whether it's Giles Jackson, Wandale Robinson, or even Mike Sainristil, we're probably adding another underrated slot-back type.

Let's wait and see--the floor on this class is very good, and the plausible ceiling is amazing.

07/05/2018 - 2:05pm So many unknowns in this…

So many unknowns in this game:

  • Notre Dame will have a new DC in Clark Lea, who replaces the excellent Mike Elko (left for TAMU).  The defense looked awful in the spring game, which is meaningless
  • Michigan is likely to have a more modern offense.  Normally I'd count the claims of spreading the offense more as off-season palaver, but seeing Michigan's recruiting focus change (fewer TE/FB types and more slot backs) signals that the offense is very likely to evolve.
  • Shea Patterson
  • ND's O-Line lost two great players.  They will still be good, but they'll also be facing one of the top D-Lines in the country AND a Don Brown defense that will offer plenty of exotic blitzes.  This match-up might decide the game.

Ultimately, Michigan is on the road, at night, against a quality opponent.  That is a brutal way to open the season.  If we did not have what could be the best defense in the country, I'd say we were in big trouble.  Even with that great defense, this will be a big challenge.

And, as the article correctly points out, it really won't be a good indicator of where the season is headed.  But for momentum, recruiting, and the team's confidence, it's still a very big game.

07/04/2018 - 3:43pm Jabrill Peppers? 


Jabrill Peppers? 

Rashan Gary?

Chris Hinton?


we are doing all right pulling in elite talent. 

07/04/2018 - 12:57pm From Bill Connelly’s preview…

From Bill Connelly’s preview:

Don Brown is a national treasure.

07/04/2018 - 9:14am Add Quinten to the list of…

Add Quinten to the list of underrated Michigan recruits. He’s quick and fast, strong, and has good ball skills. He has some technique to clean up, but his athleticism is near elite. Here are the other guys due for a ratings bump, IMO:

  • George Johnson III (rating only makes sense if you really think he’s a QB)
  • Joey Velazquez (rating only makes sense if you think he’s not going to play football at all)
  • David Ojabo (dude has Rashan Gary like speed and quickness)
  • DJ Turner (Jack of all trades skill set seems to be hurting his ranking)

All five of these players have at least plus athleticism to compete at the college level. Ojabo and QJ have elite athleticism, while GJ and Velazquez have some unique traits and DJ has athleticism plus technique. 

It will be interesting to see where they all finish in the rankings. 

07/04/2018 - 12:53am That’s really more about…

That’s really more about what Jackson wants than what Michigan wants. If Jackson is happy as a slot, Michigan would be fortunate to get him. If he really wants to play RB? That doesn’t look too good, but I don’t know the depth chart like the coaches do. Watching his tape and seeing his numbers, Michigan should be all over him as a slot. Hope he is interested in playing that position. 

07/02/2018 - 11:53pm Yep. I was actually…

Yep. I was actually concerned my office window might break. The force of the hail hitting the twelfth Story was insane. Also dented my car something fierce. 

07/02/2018 - 3:24pm Also Denver area (Centennial…

Also Denver area (Centennial).

Would add to Pros:

  • Booming economy
  • Excellent trails, parks, and open spaces in the city area itself (and all the great outdoor opportunities of the west within driving distance

Would add to Cons:

  • Infrequent, but crazy hailstorms
  • Traffic and highway system
07/02/2018 - 2:19pm Keegan and Cine are both…

Keegan and Cine are both important targets.  Would love them both and hope we get them both.  I'm guessing Keegan, hoping for Cine, as I think we need him more.

07/02/2018 - 10:28am I don’t think people realize…

I don’t think people realize how fast a true 4.57 40 is.  Royce Freeman ran a 4.54 at the combine. So did Sony Michel. Those guys trained for months before that test. Only three or four backs run sub 4.5 at the combine. 

Gray is fast. He’s not Chris Johnson, but he’s real fast and won’t get caught from behind much, even at the college level. 

07/02/2018 - 9:29am Let’s Goooooooo!

Ojabo has…

Let’s Goooooooo!

Ojabo has the potential to be one of the best players to ever wear the winged helmet. I fully expect at least three of our current 3-Star guys to get a serious bump, and Ojabo tops that list. 

Cant wait to see how great he is after putting in work. GO BLUE!

07/01/2018 - 11:38pm He’s listed as a DB, but…

He’s listed as a DB, but according to Sam Webb, he’s being recruited as a slot. 

The only other RB take is Crouch, and he’s defense first. Sainristil, Jackson, and Robinson are all slot types. 

My guess is that ROBINSON will look elsewhere after Gray's commitment. Sainristil is a former teammate of Lewis Cine, and both he and Jackson are amazing athletes. Would love to have them both if we have room.

The 2019 class really signals the move to a modern offense. 

07/01/2018 - 11:29pm The competition is actually…

The competition is actually pretty good