Friday, November 30, 2012

MLive: Beating cancer - Tiffany Hecklinski overcomes disease

Courtney Macomb
Kyle Meinke writes a solid article on wide receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski's wife's battle with cancer.  Best wishes to her and the Hecklinski family.

Attractive Michigan Girl of the Week

This anonymous Michigan fan comes to us from Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
If you have any other pictures of girls wearing Michigan gear, drop me an e-mail.  Thanks to the readers for their submissions.  Keep 'em coming!

Go Blue!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

EDSBS: Blatant Homerism

Danielle Knudson
Every Day Should Be Saturday  writes a list of bullet points about the experience of being in Columbus for The Game.

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Chad Henne

Chad Henne led his team to a 24-19 victory over the Tennessee Titans despite being sacked an unbelievable seven times.  The victory is only the second of the season for Jacksonville, and the win marks Henne's first start of the season after beating out the tenth overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft, QB Blaine Gabbert.  Henne went 17/26 passing for 261 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the win.  Henne's play has improved greatly since his days in Miami, and his passer rating on the season is now an even 100.  Mike Martin had one tackle in the game for the Titans.

Honorable Mention:  Mario Manningham, Henne's former go-to wide receiver, had a 40-yard reception in the first half of his 49ers win over the New Orleans Saints.  He finished the game with five receptions for 69 yards.  He now has 36 receptions for 412 yards on the season.

  • Stevie Brown had three tackles as his Giants beat up on the Packers
  • Brady Threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns; he rushed for another score.  He would be mentioned above, but I'm sick of writing about Tom Brady.
  • David Harris leads the Jets in tackles and had ten in a loss to the Patriots.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MLive: Lewan to file with NFL Draft Advisory Board

Jenna Renee Webb
As we all should have expected, Taylor Lewan is filing with the NFL Draft Advisory Board to see if he should leave school early.  My guess is that he will get a first round grade and depart after the bowl game.

Scouting Report: Cameron Hunt

Corona (CA) Centennial offensive lineman Cameron Hunt
Name: Cameron Hunt
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 267 lbs.
Class: 2013
Position: Offensive tackle
High school: Corona (CA) Centennial

Notes: Committed to Cal since July 7, 2012 . . . Also holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Cincinnati, Colorado, Duke, Fresno State, New Mexico State, Oregon State, San Diego State, UCLA, Utah, Washington, and Washington State . . . Plays left tackle in high school . . . Selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game . . . Claims a 5.35 forty, a 4.73 shuttle, and a 23" vertical . . . ESPN 4-star OT, #13 OT, 83 grade, #220 overall . . . Rivals 4-star OT, #33 OT . . . Scout 4-star OG, #15 OG . . . 247 Sports 3-star OT, #54 OT, 87 grade

Strengths: Thick lower body . . . Good initial punch . . . Good body lean and knee bend . . . Fits well on defensive linemen . . . Gets extension and controls defenders with his hands . . . Shows solid footwork in run game . . . Finishes blocks . . . Looks for second block when possible . . . Shows a bit of a nasty streak

Weaknesses: Decent athlete but not outstanding . . . Lacks some foot speed . . . Undersized right now and will need to add weight

Projection: Offensive guard. Hunt lacks the wingspan to play tackle at the Big Ten level, but he has good height and length for the guard position, and he could even play center if necessary.  I really like his on-the-field demeanor and the way he finishes blocks.  With pretty good technique, it seems like the biggest obstacle will be putting on sufficient weight and strength; he will also have to adjust to playing against talented defensive lineman who might be quicker than him.  If he can gain 30-40 pounds over the next couple years and improve his foot speed a little, he should be a good interior blocker.

Reminds me of: Erik Magnuson, albeit a smaller version

His senior highlights are on Hudl, and here are his junior highlights:

Video: Michigan at Ohio State - Every Snap

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Adiran Witty (#8) had a big game for Cincinnati
Former Michigan RB Michael Cox: Cox had 17 carries for 66 yards and 1 touchdown and 1 catch for 3 yards in UMass's 42-21 loss to Central Michigan.

Former Michigan CB commit Dallas Crawford: Crawford had 3 carries for 13 yards and also completed a halfback pass for 29 yards in Miami's 52-45 win over Duke.

Former Michigan S Vladimir Emilien: Emilien had 1 tackle in Toledo's 35-23 victory over Akron.

Former Michigan DT commit DeQuinta Jones: Jones had 2 tackles and 1 pass breakup in Arkansas's 20-13 loss to LSU.

Former Michigan RB Sam McGuffie: McGuffie had 2 receptions for 7 yards in Rice's 33-24 win over UTEP.

Former Michigan WR/CB commit Dewayne Peace: Peace had 7 catches for 101 yards in Houston's 40-17 victory over Tulane.

Former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez: Rodriguez and his Arizona Wildcats lost the regular season finale to Arizona State by a score of 41-34.  Star running back Kadeem Carey had 172 yards and 1 touchdown to bring his season totals to 1,757 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Former Michigan WR Je'Ron Stokes: Stokes had 1 catch for 0 yards in Bowling Green's 21-7 win over Kent State.

Former Michigan S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal had 1 tackle in Pitt's 27-6 victory over Rutgers.

Former Michigan CB commit Adrian Witty: Witty had the best game of his career with 3 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble in Cincinnati's 27-10 victory over South Florida.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wolverine Nation: What we learned in the Big Ten - Week 13

Alena Shishkova
Unfortunately, we didn't learn anything positive about Michigan, but here's the take of Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg, anyway.

Gareon Conley, Ex-Wolverine

Gareon Conley
Massillon (OH) Washington cornerback Gareon Conley decommitted from Michigan on Tuesday.  Conley had committed to Michigan back in March.  Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison visited Conley's school this afternoon.

Conley claimed at the time that Michigan was his dream offer, and he has stated at certain points that Washington's coaches don't like their kids to renege on their commitments.  However, he has been wavering for a long time, and there have rumblings in recent weeks about Oregon and Ohio State potentially stealing him away.  Oregon has yet to offer, but the Buckeyes swept in with an offer recently and Conley visited Ohio Stadium for last Saturday's face-off between Michigan and OSU.

There is still a chance that Conley will re-commit to Michigan, and the fact that he gave some forewarning to Michigan's coaches puts him in a different light than kids like Pharaoh Brown and David Dawson, who sneakily tried to visit Oregon and Florida, respectively.  However, it's fairly unusual - though not out of the question - for kids to re-commit to a school.  Usually it burns some bridges and causes some hurt feelings for one party or another, and sometimes it's better for the kid to go elsewhere and start somewhat fresh.

Michigan now has three cornerback commits in the class: Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling, and Ross Douglas.  The coaching staff is still angling for Seffner (FL) Armwood defensive back Leon McQuay III, who is more of a safety prospect but could also play slot corner.  It's also possible that the coaches send out new offers, perhaps to a kid like Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison cornerback Reon Dawson, who is committed to Illinois but entertaining preliminary talks with Michigan.  Uncommitted cornerback prospects with Michigan offers also include Los Angeles (CA) Loyola's Cameron Walker, Tempe (AZ) Marcos De Niza's Priest Willis, and Long Beach (CA) Jordan's John Ross.  The coaches are aiming to pull in 25 total recruits, and this loss puts Michigan at 22, so there are three remaining slots in the class.

For updates on other former Wolverines, check out the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia.

Scouting Report: Kenny Lacy

Phoenix (AZ) Mountain Pointe offensive tackle Kenny Lacy
Name: Kenny Lacy
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 270 lbs.
Class: 2013
Position: Offensive tackle
School: Phoenix (AZ) Mountain Pointe

Notes: Currently committed to UCLA as of September 10, 2012 . . . Holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Boise State, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Purdue, South Carolina, Texas A&M, UCLA, Utah, Vanderbilt, Washington, Washington State, and West Virginia . . . Officially visited UCLA, Arkansas, and Nebraska . . . Will visit Kansas State this coming weekend . . . ESPN 3-star OT, #40 OT, 79 grade . . . Rivals 4-star OT, #17 OT, #175 overall . . . Scout 4-star OT, #15 OT . . . 247 Sports 3-star OT, #48 OT, 87 grade

Strengths: Lanky, athletic body . . . Room to add weight . . . Active feet . . . Athletic enough to pull and block in space . . . Agile enough to help block on screens and reach block defensive ends occasionally . . . Understands footwork and body positioning

Weaknesses: Lacks fire . . . Seems to lack aggression . . . Plays high at times . . . Can get knocked off balance . . . More of a finesse pass blocker than a drive blocker . . . Needs to bend knees more . . . Lacks a great initial punch . . . Needs to strengthen lower and upper body

Projection: Offensive tackle or offensive guard.  Lacy could end up at either position, depending on how his body develops.  He has the body of an offensive tackle right now, and his lower body really needs to get stronger if he's going to play offensive guard.  I think the biggest obstacle in the way of playing time will be his on-field demeanor.  He seems to give up on too many blocks and doesn't show the dominance you would expect of a high-level prospect.  Some of his opponents get pancaked immediately, but it appears to be more because of the sheer size differential than unrelenting dominance on Lacy's part.

Reminds me of: Patrick Omameh

Senior Highlights: Henry Poggi

You can watch the video for yourself, but I have some slight concerns about how it seems that Poggi is regularly slow off the ball when playing defense.  I only saw one or two plays where he looks like he's getting off the ball as quickly as his fellow defensive linemen.

Highlights: Ohio State 26, Michigan 21

Michigan vs. Ohio State Awards

Denard Robinson broke these tackles in his way to a 67-yard touchdown
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Denard Robinson.  Robinson carried the ball just 4 times in the second half.  If the coaches aren't going to trust him to throw the ball at all, then he needs to run it.  Michigan has no runners who are capable of being dynamic except Robinson.  I would like to see Robinson make a full-time switch to running back for the bowl game, because Fitzgerald Toussaint has a broken leg and the other guys just can't do the job.  Robinson won't play quarterback in the NFL, so it's not like he needs the stage of the bowl game to show off his skills.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Vincent Smith.  This goes hand in hand with the usage of Robinson, but Smith can't be an every-down back.  The Michigan coaches should have learned that by now.  Al Borges tried to slam him up the middle with a weak interior line, and Smith went nowhere.  Throw him some screens and run the inverted veer with him, but don't line him up in the "I" and expect to gain yards on the ground.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Frank Clark.  Clark was in the doghouse during the offseason, and he's not the most disciplined player on the field.  But Clark is superior to Brennen Beyer in almost every other way.  The kid bats down passes, puts pressure on the quarterback, and makes plays.  Unless the coaches are still working out the issues of Clark's off-season troubles, Clark needs to be the starting weakside end.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Joe Bolden.  I've said it before, but Bolden's just not ready for these big-time games.  He took a couple bad angles on Saturday and missed some tackles.  I do believe that he'll be a solid player in the future, but the game's just moving too fast for him right now.  He's a perfect example of why freshman linebackers should redshirt.

Play of the game . . . Denard Robinson's 67-yard touchdown run.  While the Wolverines trotted out Robinson at quarterback with a minute and some change left, it seemed as though Michigan was going to be happy with the status quo going into halftime.  He couldn't beat Ohio State with his arm and everyone knew it.  He took the snap, went left, and gained a chunk of yards.  On the next play, he took the snap, faked a handoff, and then gave three blockers time to get out in front of him to the right.  He burst past his blockers, withstood two Buckeye tacklers who tried to crunch him between themselves, stumbled, and then outran everyone for a 67-yard touchdown that put Michigan up by 7 points.  Of course, Ohio State drove down and kicked a field goal before the half, but that was still a four-point swing in the right direction for Michigan.

MVP of the game . . . Jake Ryan.  Ryan didn't score any touchdowns, but he filled up the stat sheet on the defensive side of the ball and did a good job of mostly hemming in OSU quarterback Braxton Miller.  Ryan finished the day with 9 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 forced fumbles.  Michigan still had a chance to win the game because the defense kept them in it, and Ryan was the best defensive player on the field.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Michigan Daily: Life after football

Amanda Latona
Michigan Daily  writer Ben Estes writes about how football players cope after their playing days end.

2012 All-Big Ten teams announced

Taylor Lewan is First Team All-Big Ten
The All-Big Ten teams were announced on the Big Ten Network this evening, and there were some . . . interesting decisions.  Here are the Michigan players on the teams:

FIRST TEAM (Coaches):
Patrick Omameh, OG - 12 starts
Taylor Lewan, OT - 12 starts

SECOND TEAM (Coaches):
Craig Roh, DE - 36 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks
Jordan Kovacs, S - 65 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble

J.T. Floyd, CB - 48 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 5 pass breakups
Jeremy Gallon, WR - 40 catches, 684 yards, 2 touchdowns; 11 carries, 67 yards; 12 punt returns, 66 yards
Brendan Gibbons, K - 14/16 field goals, long of 52; 44/44 extra points
Will Hagerup, P - 33 punts, 1486 yards, 45.0 yards/punt
Roy Roundtree, WR - 28 catches, 553 yards, 3 touchdowns
Jake Ryan, LB - 84 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 4 forced fumbles

Taylor Lewan, OT
Will Hagerup, P

Jake Ryan, LB

William Campbell, DT - 44 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack
J.T. Floyd, CB
Devin Funchess, TE - 14 catches, 230 yards, 5 touchdowns
Jeremy Gallon, WR
Brendan Gibbons, K
Jordan Kovacs, S
Patrick Omameh, OG
Denard Robinson, QB - 89/166 (53.6%), 1319 yards, 9 touchdowns, 9 interceptions; 154 carries, 1166 yards, 7 touchdowns
Craig Roh, DE
Roy Roundtree, WR

I'm not too upset with these picks, because nobody on Michigan's team really had an outstanding season.  The only choice (or non-choice) that bugs me a bit is the lack of Jake Ryan on the coaches' team; Ryan should have been selected ahead of Nebraska linebacker Will Compton for second team honors.  But then again, the selection of Patrick Omameh to the first team on the coaches' team means you win some, you lose some.

Based on his last couple seasons, the absence of Denard Robinson from these lists is almost shocking.  He is one of the most exciting players in the entire country, but he missed too much time due to injury and threw the ball poorly in the first half of the year.  I can't argue that he deserves to be any higher, but I have to admit his performance was a little bit of a letdown after being in the Heisman discussion at various points throughout the past three years.  I hoped for better, and yet, he is what he's always been - an excellent runner and a poor passer.

Schools in the News

Danny Hope at Purdue, Tom O'Brien at North Carolina State, and Gene Chizik at Auburn have reportedly been fired.  This post is more for posterity's sake than anything, since Michigan rarely gets transfers and probably can't grab any of the commits listed, but it's still interesting to consider.

Here's a look at the guys on their respective rosters and commitment lists who were offered by Michigan:

Purdue 2013 commits: None
Purdue roster members: CB Ricardo Allen, WR O.J. Ross, DT Ryan Watson, LB Armstead Williams

North Carolina State 2013 commits: None
North Carolina State roster members: OT Rob Crisp, WR Hakeem Flowers

Auburn 2013 commits: DE Tashawn Bower, RB Jordan Wilkins
Auburn roster members: RB Mike Blakely, WR Quan Bray, OT Shane Callahan, OT Jordan Diamond, QB Kiehl Frazier, LB Kris Frost, TE Brandon Fulse, C Alex Kozan, DE Corey Lemonier, RB Tre Mason, CB Jonathan Mincy, WR Trovon Reed, OG Greg Robinson, OG Christian Westerman, WR JaQuay Williams, OT Avery Young

Recruiting Update: November 26, 2012

Corona (CA) Centennial offensive lineman Cameron Hunt might be in line for a Michigan offer (image via ESPN)
Avon (IN) Avon defensive end Elijah Daniel decommitted from Clemson.  He and Robert Nkemdiche had been committed to the Tigers for months, but Nkemdiche decommitted several weeks ago and Daniel had always had a wandering eye.  Michigan still isn't back in the mix for Daniel, but he's a free agent once again.

Indianapolis (IN) North Central defensive tackle Darius Latham committed to Indiana.  Latham had previously been committed to Wisconsin, but he and a few other in-state guys are going to try to stick together with the Hoosiers and get that program to a competitive level.

Michigan's assistant coaches will be having in-home visits with a lot of prospects this week.  Two potential offerees who are receiving visits include Phoenix (AZ) Mountain Pointe offensive guard Kenny Lacy and Corona (CA) Centennial offensive guard Cameron Hunt.  Both are Rivals 4-stars who play left tackle in high school, but they look more like interior players to me.  Hunt is committed to Cal but is open to other schools, especially now that head coach Jeff Tedford has been fired.  These two are potential replacements for offensive guard David Dawson, who decommitted from Michigan due to a desire to visit Florida.

Here's a list of kids who visited Ohio State's campus for Saturday's game.

Check out the Recruit Tracker series to see how Michigan's commits did this season.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Michigan Daily: Omameh - 300 pounds of sunshine

Cheryl Cole
The Daily profiles offensive guard Patrick Omameh.

Should Michigan get a QB coach?

I've seen a lot of discussion in the past 24 hours about whether Michigan should hire a full-time quarterbacks coach instead of asking offensive coordinator Al Borges to do double duty.  I have disagreed with that notion ever since it was mentioned in the first place (all the way back during the 2011 season), and a little bit of research today reinforces my opinion.  An offensive coordinator can do just fine as the quarterbacks coach.  The coordinating is done in the office, during meetings, at home, etc.  The game plan and play installation is done with the other coaches, who are and should be trusted with implementing the plays.  If the position coaches can't be trusted to install the offense correctly, then those position coaches need to be replaced.  The only team in the AP poll's top ten without a guy who doubles as the OC/QB coach is LSU, where Steve Kragthorpe's only role is as the quarterbacks coach and Greg Studrawa is the coordinator.

Teams with a coach who doubles as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

#1 Notre Dame - Chuck Martin
#2 Alabama - Doug Nussmeier
#3 Georgia - Mike Bobo
#4 Ohio State - Tom Herman
#5 Florida - Brent Pease (also coaches wide receivers)
#6 Oregon - Mark Helfrich
#7 Kansas State - Del Miller (co-offensive coordinator)
#8 Stanford - Pep Hamilton
#10 Texas A&M - Kliff Kingsbury

Recruit Tracker: Michael Ferns III

Michael Ferns III
August 23, 2012: Ferns's St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville team beat Wheeling Park (WV) Wheeling Park by a score of 47-27.  Ferns had 7 carries for 30 yards and 1 touchdown to go along with 2 receptions for 37 yards and 1 touchdown; he also had 7 tackles and 2 tackles for loss.  St. Clairsville is 1-0.

August 31, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Wellsburg (WV) Brooke by a score of 44-14.  St. Clairsville is now 2-0.

September 8, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Jefferson (OH) Jefferson by a score of 56-26.  St. Clairsville is now 3-0.

September 14, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Witnersville (OH) Indian Creek by a score of 48-6.  St. Clairsville is now 4-0.

September 21, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Harrison (OH) Central by a score of 42-6.  Ferns had 5 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.  The Red Devils are now 5-0.

September 28, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Bellaire (OH) Bellaire by a score of 58-14.  Ferns had 4 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.  St. Clairsville is now 6-0.

October 5, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Edison by a score of 56-14.  Ferns had 8 tackles.  St. Clairsville is now 7-0.

October 12, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Rayland (OH) Buckeye Local by a score of 48-6.  St. Clairsville is now 8-0.

October 19, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Martins Ferry (OH) Martins Ferry by a score of 47-13.  Ferns had 13 tackles.  St. Clairsville is now 9-0.

October 26, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Belmont (OH) Union Local by a score of 54-12.  St. Clairsville is now 10-0.

November 2, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Cadiz (OH) Harrison Central by a score of 41-6.  St. Clairsville is now 11-0.

November 9, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Piketon (OH) Piketon by a score of 59-27.  Ferns had 8 tackles and 3 tackles for loss.  St. Clairsville is now 12-0.

November 16, 2012: St. Clairsville beat Johnstown (OH) Johnstown-Monroe by a score of 37-29.  Ferns had a 12-yard touchdown reception, 11 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.  St. Clairsville is now 13-0.

Ohio State 26, Michigan 21

Here's some Kate Upton to make you feel better.
I told you so but I wish I didn't.  Last week I railed against the usage of Denard Robinson, saying that using Denard so much last week a) set him up to get injured, b) might limit his effectiveness against OSU, and c) took away the element of surprise of using him in the backfield and at receiver.  People responded by saying that they were glad Michigan used him because it would give Urban Meyer trouble preparing for this week's game.  How did that go for you?  Denard tweaked his elbow injury last week and didn't throw even once this game.  Michigan also ran very few plays with Robinson and Devin Gardner on the field, running a very vanilla and predictable offense.  I guess all that stuff last week was just for fun.

WTF.  There's really no excuse for the play calling in the second half, and that falls on both Brady Hoke and Al Borges.  People want to fire Al Borges, but the head coach has to step in and call shenanigans on the crappy play calling.  Now I'm not suggesting that either one get fired, but you can't separate the two entities. As the head guy, Hoke is responsible for the calls that are made by his coordinators.  Michigan tried running the ball up the middle with Vincent Smith - which has been a terrible idea for years - and generally went into a shell on offense.  There was no element of surprise, and all the plays and counter plays that were opened up last week by Robinson's utility were apparently erased from this week's playbook.

Derrick Green, come on down.  Outside of Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan's running backs are terrible.  Thomas Rawls has no vision, lacks speed, and isn't as powerful as a short yardage back should be.  Vincent Smith is gone anyway, and while I always liked him as a third down-type back, plugging him in for short-yardage plays against OSU was a poor decision.  You simply cannot expect him to gain yardage when Michigan's interior offensive line is this bad.  He did okay running outside on the inverted veer plays, but good grief, Borges has to put him in a position to be successful.  Even fullback Stephen Hopkins comes in for some criticism here, because he missed two key blocks and generally looked like he didn't understand his job.  Michigan needs running backs in a bad way, and I don't see game-breaking ability in either DeVeon Smith or Wyatt Shallman.  The coaches need to bring in a bunch of backs and let them improve through competition.

Play action bulls***. Here's the part that perhaps irked me most about the play calling in the second half.  Borges kept calling play action passes when there was clearly no threat of running the ball.  That doesn't work against teams who aren't stupid, and the Buckeyes are a lot of things - cheaters, ugly, arrogant, etc. - but their defense is always well coached.  When Devin Gardner turns around to give play action fakes, he's diverting his attention from the coverage and sometimes he's limiting himself to throwing to half the field.  The linebackers and safeties weren't biting on play action fakes to Vincent Smith because Smith gets tackled by a stiff breeze, so there's no tactical advantage.  But again and again, Gardner wasted time by running around with his back to the defense and pretending like the Buckeyes gave a s*** about the 5'7", 175 lb. running back.  Just drop Gardner straight back or roll him out.

Carlos Hyde played well.  I actually thought Michigan's interior defense would hold Hyde down pretty well, but Michigan's defensive ends and play calls seemed so concerned with Braxton Miller that they unclogged the middle a little bit.  Hyde got downhill and broke a few tackles, but there were several occasions where he got to the second and third levels without being touched.  Greg Mattison seemed to call more 4-3 Over defensive fronts than normal.

Freshman frustration.  I do not like seeing guys like James Ross and Joe Bolden out there in games like this.  It was somewhat inevitable, I guess, because of a lack of depth, but today is an example of why you need depth at linebacker.  Bolden in particular got out of position a couple times and allowed some key gains, and Ross got caught inside on a Braxton Miller run.  Both of those guys have high upsides, but freshmen are freshmen.  Next year the Wolverines should be able to go two-deep with experienced guys at every linebacker position, so we should see even more improvement in the linebacker group.

Mike Jones and Brandin Hawthorne exist in bad ways.  I was not a fan when Rich Rodriguez recruited Jones and Hawthorne, and they have worked their ways down the depth chart.  Jones incurred a 15-yard penalty for a late hit in this game, and Hawthorne has made similarly poor plays this season on special teams.  It's not a coincidence that Ross and Bolden passed those guys for playing time.  Hawthorne will graduate after this season, and I would not be surprised to see redshirt junior Jones depart with a year of eligibility remaining.

This was Gardner's worst game.  Gardner was visibly frustrated at a couple points, and it showed in his play.  Especially in the second half, it looked like he was trying to throw pinpoint passes instead if letting it fly.  He's always had a slightly awkward throwing motion, but he just didn't seem to be following through with his normal verve.  That's somewhat understandable for a kid playing quarterback in such a big game for the first time, which is why it would have been helpful to have Robinson ready to throw the ball.  Robinson had his best quarterbacking performance against these Buckeyes last season, so limiting him to 10 touches seems like a bad idea.  Gardner finished 11/20 for 171 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception, and he took 4 sacks despite the absence of John Simon, OSU's best defensive lineman.  There was nobody to take the pressure off of Gardner - Robinson out of the backfield, Toussaint, Borges - and thus it was left on his shoulders to try to make plays when there none to make.

The better team won.  I argued with people all week who said that Michigan was the better team but that the Wolverines played a tougher schedule.  The bottom line is that any of us would rather be 11-0 than 8-3 coming into the game, regardless of who was on the schedule.  The Buckeyes ran the ball well, threw the ball well, and played pretty solid defense except for a couple huge plays (Robinson's 67-yard touchdown, Roundtree's 75-yard TD reception).  The bottom line is that Michigan replaced David Molk, Mike Martin, and Ryan Van Bergen with Elliott Mealer, Quinton Washington, and Craig Roh, respectively, all of which are steps backward.  I fully believe that an influx of talent is coming with Hoke's recruiting classes, but right now Michigan has a deficit that will take some time to fix.

Senior Highlights: Ross Douglas

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Michigan Daily: Catching up with Rich Eisen

The Daily interviews former ESPN and current NFL Network talking head Rich Eisen, who used to write for the Daily.

Video: Inside the NFL - Logan Thompson featured with Michael Ferns

Recruit Tracker: Henry Poggi

Henry Poggi
August 26, 2012: Poggi's Baltimore (MD) Gilman team lost to Cincinnati (OH) Moeller by a score of 35-14 in a game televised on ESPN.  Gilman also features 2013 quarterback/safety offeree Shane Cockerille and 2014 cornerback offeree Troy Vincent, Jr.; and Moeller has 2013 Michigan State commit (and Michigan offeree) Shane Jones, a linebacker.  Poggi had 7 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 pass breakup.  Gilman is now 0-1.

August 31, 2012: Gilman lost to Olney (MD) Good Counsel by a score of 20-19 in overtime.  Good Counsel featured Michigan targets Dorian O'Daniel (142 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns) and Kendall Fuller (5-yard touchdown reception), who are committed to Clemson and Virginia Tech, respectively.  Gilman is now 0-2.

September 8, 2012: Gilman beat Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep by a score of 13-6.  Poggi had 11 tackles and 3.5 sacks.  Gilman is now 1-2.

September 14, 2012: Gilman beat Charlotte (NC) Christian by a score of 37-14.  Poggi had 7 tackles and 3 tackles for loss.  Gilman is now 2-2.

September 29, 2012: Gilman beat Baltimore (MD) Mount St. Joseph by a score of 37-7.  Gilman is now 3-2.

October 5, 2012: Gilman beat Severn (MD) Archbishop Spalding by a score of 49-2.  Poggi had 4 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.  Gilman is now 4-2.

October 12, 2012: Gilman beat Towson (MD) Loyola Blakefield by a score of 47-7.  Poggi had 10 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 sack.  Gilman is now 5-2.

October 19, 2012: Gilman beat Baltimore (MD) Calvert Hall by a score of 24-14.  Poggi had 9 tackles and 2 forced fumbles.  Gilman is now 6-2.

October 27, 2012: Gilman beat Owings Mills (MD) McDonogh by a score of 48-12.  Gilman is now 7-2.

November 10, 2012: Gilman beat Owings Mills (MD) McDonogh by a score of 20-8.  Poggi had 4 tackles and 2 tackles for loss.  Gilman is now 8-2.

November 17, 2012: Gilman beat Baltimore (MD) Calvert Hall by a score of 34-32.  Poggi had 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a 10-yard touchdown reception.  Gilman finished the year 9-2.

Recruit Tracker: Jourdan Lewis

Jourdan Lewis
August 25, 2012: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech beat Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice by a score of 25-18.  Lewis had 2 receptions for 52 yards and 1 passing touchdown to Damon Webb (video below).  The Technicians are now 1-0.

August 31, 2012: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) Northwestern by a score of 57-0.  Lewis returned 2 punts for touchdowns.  The Technicians are now 2-0.

September 7, 2012: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) Renaissance by a score of 44-0.  Lewis had 3 receptions for 40 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a two-point coversion.  He also had 1 interception.  The Technicians are now 3-0.

September 14, 2012: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) Cody by a score of 46-20.  Lewis had 1 reception for 12 yards and 1 touchdown.  Cass Tech is now 4-0.

September 21, 2012: Cass Tech lost to Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's by a score of 13-6.  Lewis had 1 catch for a 12-yard touchdown and 5 tackles.  Cass Tech is now 4-1.

September 28, 2012: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) Ford by a score of 56-0.  Lewis had just 1 tackle on defense, but he had 4 receptions on defense, including 2 touchdown catches.  Cass Tech is now 5-1.

October 5, 2012: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) Mumford by a score of 49-0.  Lewis had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown, 3 tackles, and a 20-yard touchdown reception.  Cass Tech is now 6-1.

October 12, 2012: Cass Tech lost to Detroit (MI) King by a score of 44-13.  Cass Tech is now 6-2.

October 19, 2012: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) U-D Jesuit by a score of 26-2.  Lewis had a 51-yard reception.  Cass Tech is now 7-2.

October 26, 2012: Cass Tech beat Grosse Pointe (MI) South by a score of 37-3.  Cass Tech is now 8-2.

November 2, 2012: Cass Tech beat Dearborn (MI) Dearborn by a score of 42-23.  Cass Tech is now 9-2.

November 9, 2012: Cass Tech beat Saline (MI) Saline by a score of 21-14.  Lewis had 2 receptions for 13 yards.  Cass Tech is now 10-2.

November 16, 2012: Cass Tech beat Lake Orion (MI) Lake Orion by a score of 34-27.  Lewis had 4 receptions for 87 yards and 1 touchdown.  Cass Tech is now 11-2.

Visitors: Michigan at Ohio State

Yes, Gareon Conley is visiting Columbus today.
This is always a big game for visits, and while it's taking place in Columbus this year, it's still a chance for Midwest prospects to see the Wolverines play football.  Hopefully they can be impressed by a Michigan win, because lots of kids who are interested in Ohio State are also interested in coming to Ann Arbor.

Dorian Baker - WR - Cleveland (OH) Heights: Offer from Pitt.

Drew Barker - QB - Burlington (KY) Conner: Visited Michigan over the summer. Class of 2014.

J.T. Barrett - QB - Wichita Falls (TX) Rider: Committed to Ohio State.

Kyle Berger - LB - Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius: Offer from Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Marcus Boone - RB - Woodbridge (VA) Senior: Teammate of Da'Shawn Hand. Class of 2014.

Noah Brown - S - Sparta (NJ) Pope John XXIII: Offers from Boston College, Rutgers. Class of 2014.

Cam Burrows - CB - Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison: Committed to Ohio State.

Jimmy Byrne - OG - Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius: Offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Gareon Conley - CB - Massillon (OH) Washington: Committed to Michigan (sort of).

Ezekiel Elliott - RB - St. Louis (MO) John Burroughs: Committed to Ohio State.

Jalen Embry - CB - Detroit (MI) King: Class of 2014.

Jaleel Fields - DT - Aliquippa (PA) Aliquippa: Class of 2014.

Carl Fuller - LB - Detroit (MI) King: Offer from Syracuse. Class of 2014.

Clifton Garrett - LB - Joliet (IL) Plainfield South: Offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Shelton Gibson - WR - Cleveland (OH) Heights: Offers from Auburn, Nebraska, Ohio State.

Nick Glass - S - Atlanta (GA) St. Pius X: Committed to Georgia. Class of 2014.

Eric Glover-Williams - CB - Canton (OH) McKinley: Class of 2015.

Da'Shawn Hand - DE - Woodbridge (VA) Senior: Offers from Michigan, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Damien Harris - RB - Berea (KY) Madison Southern: Offers from Michigan, Ohio State. Michigan reportedly leads. Class of 2015.

Joe Henderson - DE - Cleveland (OH) Shaker Heights: Offers from Cincinnati, Pitt. Visited Michigan. Class of 2014.

Dorian Hendrix - Huber Heights (OH) Wayne: Offer from Illinois. Class of 2014.

Dravon Henry - WR - Aliquippa (PA) Aliquippa: Offers from Ohio State, Rutgers, West Virginia. Class of 2014.

Mike Heuerman - TE - Naples (FL) Barron Collier: Committed to Notre Dame, offer from Ohio State, brother plays for Ohio State.

Michael Hill - DT - Pendleton (SC) Pendleton: Committed to Ohio State.

Mikel Horton - RB - West Chester (OH) Lakota West: Offer from Indiana. Class of 2014.

Jalen Hurd - RB - Hendersonville (TN) Beechville Senior: Offers from Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

William Houston - FB - Dublin (OH) Scioto: Committed to Ohio State as a preferred walk-on.

Auston Johnson - LB - Torrance (CA) El Camino Community College: Offer from Texas A&M.

Trey Johnson - LB - Lawrenceville (GA) Central Gwinnett: Committed to Auburn.

Jamarco Jones - OG - Chicago (IL) De La Salle: Offers from Michigan, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Marcelys Jones - OG - Cleveland (OH) Glenville: Offer from Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Derek Kief - WR - Cincinnati (OH) La Salle: Visited Michigan twice. Class of 2014.

DeShone Kizer - QB - Toledo (OH) Central Catholic: Visited Michigan. Offers from Michigan State, Nebraska. Class of 2014.

De'Niro Laster - WR - Cleveland (OH) Heights: Offers from Kansas, Minnesota.

Marshon Lattimore - WR - Cleveland (OH) Glenville: Offers from Michigan, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Darron Lee - S - New Albany (OH) New Albany: Committed to Ohio State.

Tyquan Lewis - DE - Tarboro (NC) Tarboro: Committed to Ohio State.

Evan Lisle - OT - Centerville (OH) Centerville: Committed to Ohio State.

Avonte Maddox - CB - Detroit (MI) King: Class of 2014.

Josh Malone - WR - Gallatin (TN) Station Camp: Offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Jalin Marshall - WR - Middletown (OH) Middletown: Committed to Ohio State.

Lawrence Marshall - DE - Southfield (MI) Southfield: Offers from Indiana, Michigan State. Class of 2014.

Daniel McMillian - LB - Jacksonville (FL) First Coast: Committed to Florida.

Raekwon McMillan - LB - Hinesville (GA) Liberty: Offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Airius Moore - LB - Beavercreek (OH) Beavercreek: Offers from Cincinnati, Illinois. Class of 2014.

Donovan Munger - DT - Shaker Heights (OH) Shaker Heights: Offers from Auburn, Notre Dame, Ohio State.

Sam Mustipher - OG - Olney (MD) Good Counsel: Offers from Ohio State, Penn State. Class of 2014.

Robbie Odeneal, Jr. - LB - Kankakee (IL) Bishop McNamara: Class of 2014.

Billy Price - DT - Youngstown (OH) Austintown Fitch: Committed to Ohio State.

James Quick - WR - Louisville (KY) Trinity: Offers from Michigan, Ohio State.

Nick Richardson - OG - Westerville (OH) Central: Offers from Cincinnati, Michigan State. Class of 2014.

Austin Roberts - WR - Carmel (IN) Carmel: Offers from Florida, Ohio State, Stanford. Class of 2014.

Alonzo Saxton - CB - Columbus (OH) Bishop Hartley: Offers from Cincinnati, Wisconsin. Class of 2014.

Erick Smith - S - Cleveland (OH) Glenville: Offers from Cincinnati, Georgia Tech. Class of 2014.

Thaddeus Snodgrass - WR - Springfield (OH) Springfield: Offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Martrell Spaight - LB - Coffeyville (KS) Coffeyville Community College: Offers from Indiana, Rutgers.

Tracy Sprinkle - DE - Elyria (OH) Elyria: Committed to Ohio State.

Nile Sykes - DE - Oak Park (IL) River Forest: Offer from Illinois. Class of 2014.

Jayme Thompson - S - Toledo (OH) Central Catholic: Committed to Ohio State.

Ryan Timmons - CB - Frankfort (GA) Franklin: Offers from Arkansas, Purdue.

Johnny Townsend - K - Orlando (FL) Boone: Committed to Ohio State.

Kyle Trout - OT - Lancaster (OH) Lancaster: Offers from Michigan State, West Virginia. Class of 2014.

Will Ulmer - QB - Washington (DC) St. John's: Offers from Maryland, North Carolina. Class of 2014.

Darius West - S - Lima (OH) Central Catholic: Visited Michigan multiple times. Offers from Cincinnati, Illinois. Class of 2014.

Parrker Westphal - CB - Bolingbrook (IL) Bolingbrook: Visited Michigan multiple times. Offers from Michigan, Ohio State. Class of 2014.

Korrin Wiggins - CB - Durham (NC) Hillside: Committed to North Carolina.

Mikale Wilbon - RB - Chicago (IL) De La Salle: Offers from Illinois, Iowa, Purdue. Class of 2014.

Eli Woodard - CB - Voorhees (NJ) Eastern: Committed to Ohio STate.

Christopher Worley - S - Cleveland (OH) Glenville: Offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, West Virginia.

Preview: Michigan at Ohio State

Rush Offense vs. Ohio State Rush Defense
Michigan is the #36 rushing offense in the country with 195 yards/game, but the rushing offense is perhaps in a dire situation.  Starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (514 yards, 5 touchdowns) will miss the rest of the season with a lower leg injury, which leaves the running back duties to Thomas Rawls (240 yards, 4 touchdowns, Vincent Smith (27 carries, 76 yards, 2 touchdowns), and Justice Hayes (16 carries, 83 yards, 1 touchdown).  The numbers don't look too bad, but most of Rawls's yards have come in garbage time and he has struggled against decent teams.  The wild card is Denard Robinson, who started at running back last week and - mostly from the quarterback position - has rushed for 1,044 yards and 6 touchdowns, good enough for the 15th-most yards in the nation despite missing 2.5 games due to injury.  He's clearly the best running option, but he may not be able to run Michigan's full complement of plays.  The Buckeyes have the #17 rush defense and have given up just 117 yards/game.  Defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins and Garrett Goebel don't get a ton of penetration, but they are space eaters who have combined for 8 tackles for loss.  Defensive end John Simon and linebacker Ryan Shazier have each made 14.5 tackles for loss, and Shazier has improved significantly since last year, when he played as a freshman.  The Buckeyes should be able to handle Michigan's interior offensive line, so the Wolverines will have to attack the edges and through the air.
Advantage: Ohio State

Pass Offense vs. Ohio State Pass Defense
Michigan has been improving incrementally in the passing game and now sits at #95 with 201 yards/game; quarterback Devin Gardner has been the impetus for that rise, and he threw for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns against Iowa last week.  Wide receivers Jeremy Gallon (34 catches, 617 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Roy Roundtree (25 catches, 461 yards, 2 touchdowns) have stepped up their games recently, and tight end Devin Funchess has been a productive red zone target.  The Buckeyes are #84 in pass defense (250 yards/game), but #28 in pass efficiency defense.  Simon has made 9 sacks and Shazier has made 4.  Meanwhile, cornerback Travis Howard has 4 interceptions on the season, although 3 of them came in the Buckeyes' first two games.  Michigan will have to pay extra attention to Simon and roll Gardner out to get him on the edge, but Gardner should be able to find some success with crossing routes and play action.
Advantage: Michigan

Rush Defense vs. Ohio State Rush Offense
The Wolverines give up 151 yards/game, good enough for 51st in the country.  However, that stat has been dropping since a couple rough outings early in the year.  The middle of Michigan's defense has been stout, but starting defensive tackles Quinton Washington and William Campbell have combined for just 3 tackles for loss.  They don't get consistent penetration, but they do hold their ground pretty well, which allows the inside linebackers to flow to the ball and make tackles.  Teams can gain yards running the ball, but usually in small increments.  Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have the #9 rushing offense and gain 245 yards/game, with quarterback Braxton Miller running for 110 yards/game and running back Carlos Hyde pretty close behind with 91 yards/game.  They like to run the option with Miller, who is very adept at pulling the ball out of Hyde's belly and making things happen on the edge.  Michigan should keep Hyde pretty well in check early, until/unless Miller starts to gash them.  Miller is also very adept at tucking the ball and scrambling, which hurt Michigan last year; that will continue to be an issue, because the Wolverines don't really have the athletes at defensive end to keep Miller hemmed in.
Advantage: Ohio State

Pass Defense vs. Ohio State Pass Offense
Michigan is #1 in overall pass defense (152 yards/game), but #30 in pass efficiency defense.  Free safety Thomas Gordon and cornerback Raymon Taylor each have 2 interceptions to tie for the team lead, but nobody in the secondary is known as a true ball hawk or a shutdown player in coverage.  The linebackers are pretty solid in coverage, but Michigan lacks a strong pass rush.  Defensive end Craig Roh has 4 sacks, outside linebacker Jake Ryan has 3.5, and safety Jordan Kovacs is next with 2.  The Buckeyes are the #100 passing offense with 180 yards/game and they're #57 in passing efficiency, but they still have dangerous players on the outside.  The Buckeyes abused Michigan's back seven in last season's matchup, although that was a different offensive system and they had DeVier Posey.  Wideout Corey Brown (52 catches, 574 yards, 2 touchdowns) is more of a possession guy, but Devin Smith (28 catches, 555 yards, 6 touchdowns) has some explosive abilities and might be just as good as Posey was.  Poor quarterback play has prevented Michigan from getting beaten too badly on the outside, but I've been dreading the moment when it would hurt Michigan; there's a very good chance that the Wolverines' shortcomings on the outside will be exposed on Saturday.  I don't think Taylor and his counter J.T. Floyd will be able to stick with Smith for the entire game, and Michigan's safeties are just so-so in coverage.  The Buckeyes will run the ball a lot, so they probably won't sit back there and throw 50 times to win, but they'll get some big plays through the air.
Advantage: Ohio State

Roster Notes
  • Michigan recruited OG Darryl Baldwin, RB Warren Ball, DT Michael Bennett, S Devan Bogard, CB Corey Brown, WR Corey Brown, S Christian Bryant, OT Taylor Decker, OT Kyle Dodson, RB Bri'onte Dunn, DT Garrett Goebel, LB Curtis Grant, CB Doran Grant, DT Joel Hale, RB Jordan Hall, OT Marcus Hall, DT Johnathan Hankins, TE Jeff Heuerman, QB Cardale Jones, QB Braxton Miller, DE Steve Miller, OG Joey O'Connor, LB David Perkins, DE Se'Von Pittman, CB Armani Reeves, DT Tommy Schutt, LB Ryan Shazier, WR Devin Smith, RB Rod Smith, DE Noah Spence, TE Jake Stoneburner, S Ron Tanner, TE Nick Vannett, and DT Adolphus Washington
  • Players from Michigan include Grosse Pointe (MI) Grosse Pointe Farms OT Reid Fragel and Detroit (MI) Southeastern DT Johnathan Hankins
  • Denard Robinson starts at running back but gets a couple chances to throw
  • Devin Gardner gets flustered by the pass rush and forced into a couple bad throws
  • Ohio State makes some big plays over top of the defense
  • Michigan holds down Carlos Hyde well, but Miller wins the game with his feet
  • Ohio State 24, Michigan 17
A Look Back . . . 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Steve Everitt stuck with Michigan

Jessica Burciaga
This article by Tom VanHaaren tells the story of how former Michigan center Steve Everitt committed to Michigan.

Recruit Tracker: Wyatt Shallman

Wyatt Shallman with Tom VanHaaren
August 24, 2012: Shallman's Novi (MI) Catholic Central team beat Detroit (MI) Cody by a score of 35-0. Shallman had 4 carries for 50 yards and 1 touchdown, along with 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 1 sack on defense.

August 31, 2012: Catholic Central lost to Toledo (OH) Whitmer by a score of 19-7.  The running back/defensive end had 7 tackles and 2 tackles for loss but missed some time with cramps.  Shallman's team is now 1-1 on the year.

September 8, 2012:  Catholic Central lost to Cincinnati (OH) Moeller by a score of 61-33.  Shallman did not play due to an injury sustained in practice.  Catholic Central is now 1-2 on the year.

September 14, 2012:  Catholic Central ended their two game losing streak by beating up on Lincoln (Ontario) Niagara Academy, 42-0. No statistics appear to be available for Shallman, who may still be nicked up. Catholic Central faces off against Warren De La Salle next week. The Shamrocks are now 2-2.

September 23, 2012:  Catholic Central edged a Morris-less Warren De La Salle, 31-30, in overtime.  Shallman did not play for the third straight game due to injury and was described as "frequently hobbled the last two years," but expected back "before the end of the season."  The Shamrocks are now 3-2.

September 29, 2012:  Catholic Central won their third game in a row on Saturday, beating University of Detroit Jesuit by a score of 42-6.  Shallman had 6 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception, which was returned for 20 yards.  According to his twitter account, Shallman is "watching Rice film" getting ready for Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice next week.  Detroit Catholic Central is now 4-2.

October 6, 2012:  Catholic Central was defeated by Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice by a score of 20-14.  Shallman had eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.  Things only get harder for Shallman and Catholic Central, as they host 6-1 Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's next week.  Catholic Central is now 4-3.

October 12, 2012:  Catholic Central won impressively, 35-13, over Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's.  No statistics appear to be available for Shallman, but Ace put together a scouting report from the game.  The Shamrocks are now 5-3.

October 20, 2012: Catholic Central lost to Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's by a score of 27-10.  The Shamrocks are now 5-4.

October 26, 2012: Catholic Central beat Hartland (MI) Hartland by a score of 21-15. The Shamrocks are now 6-4.

November 2, 2012: Catholic Central beat Walled Lake (MI) Northern by a score of 45-17.  Catholic Central is now 7-4.

November 10, 2012: Catholic Central beat Plymouth (MI) Plymouth by a score of 28-7.  Shallman had 7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack.  Catholic Central is now 8-4.

November 17, 2012: Catholic Central beat Rockford (MI) Rockford by a score of 40-17.  Shallman had a 1-yard touchdown run and 6 tackles.  Catholic Central is now 9-4.

Recruit Tracker: Jaron Dukes

Jaron Dukes
August 24, 2012:  Dukes' Columbus (OH) Marion-Franklin team beat Columbus Brookhaven by a score of 20-14.  Dukes described his performance as the "worst game I've ever had."  Marion-Franklin is now 1-0.

August 31, 2012:  Marion-Franklin lost to Michigan commitment Taco Charlton and Pickerington (OH) Pickerington Central by a score of 45-24.  Dukes caught 5 passes for 42 yards.  Marion-Franklin is now 1-1.

September 7, 2012:  Marion-Franklin beat Canal Winchester (OH) by a score of 28-3.  Dukes recorded "over 100 yards and 1 TD," according to his twitter account.  His team is now 2-1.

September 14, 2012:  Marion-Franklin routed Columbus (OH) Briggs, 72-6.  Dukes caught 4 passes for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game.  Marion-Franklin is now 3-1.

September 21, 2012:  After a weather delay caused the game to be postponed to Saturday morning, Marion-Franklin took down Columbus (OH) Independence by a score of 36-30.  Dukes caught 2 passes for 24 yards.  Marion-Franklin is now 4-1.

September 28, 2012:  Marion-Franklin overcame five turnovers to beat Columbus (OH) Walnut Ridge by a score of 7-6.  Jaron Dukes "didn't see many passes thrown his way" but did make a nice play on the ball in the fourth quarter for a 10-yard game-winning touchdown reception.  His team is now 5-1.

October 5, 2012:  Marion-Franklin dominated Columbus (OH) Africentric Early College, 73-20.  Dukes had two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown.  His team is now 6-1.

October 12, 2012:  Marion-Franklin defeated Columbus (OH) West by a score of 53-14.  Dukes had one reception for 38 yards in the game.  Marion-Franklin is now 7-1.

October 19, 2012: Marion-Franklin beat Columbus (OH) Eastmoor Academy by a score of 6-0.  Marion-Franklin is now 8-1.

October 26, 2012: Marion-Franklin beat Columbus (OH) South by a score of 43-21.  Marion Franklin is now 9-1.

November 2, 2012: Marion-Franklin beat Licking Heights (OH) Licking Heights by a score of 46-14.  Marion Franklin is now 10-1.

November 9, 2012: Marion-Franklin beat Canal Winchester (OH) Canal Winchester by a score of 44-14.  Dukes had 3 receptions for 38 yards and 1 touchdown.  Marion-Franklin is now 11-1.

November 16, 2012: Marion-Franklin lost to New Albany (OH) New Albany by a score of 32-30.  Dukes caught 2 passes for 28 yards and a two-point conversion.  Marion-Franklin ends the year 11-2.

Final stats: 31 receptions, 553 yards, 9 touchdowns

Attractive Michigan Girls of the Week

If you have any other pictures of girls wearing Michigan gear, drop me an e-mail.  Go Blue!

Recruit Tracker: Jake Butt

Jake Butt (#84)
August 24, 2012: Butt's Pickerington (OH) North team beat Columbus (OH) St. Charles by a score of 50-22.  Butt had 1 reception.  North is now 1-0.

August 31, 2012: North beat Cincinnati (OH) Princeton by a score of 41-20.  Butt's team rushed for 439 yards.  They are now 2-0.

September 7, 2012: North beat Fremont (OH) Ross by a score of 41-13.  Butt now has 7 receptions for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns.  His team is now 3-0.

September 14, 2012: North beat Newark (OH) Newark by a score of 56-0.  Butt had 3 catches for 45 yards and 1 touchdown.  North is now 4-0.

September 21, 2012: North beat Lancaster (OH) Lancaster by a score of 45-14.  Butt had 6 catches for 105 yards and 1 touchdown, along with 6 tackles on defense.  North is now 5-0.

September 28, 2012: North beat Pickerington (OH) Central by a score of 37-0.  Butt had 7 catches for 80 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown reception; he also had 6 tackles and a quarterback sack.  North is now 6-0.

October 5, 2012: North beat Reynoldsburg (OH) Reynoldsburg by a score of 49-27.  Butt had 7 receptions for 95 yards, including 3 touchdown catches, from 22, 17, and 11 yards.  He also had 6 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.  North is now 7-0.

October 12, 2012: North beat Groveport (OH) Groveport-Madison by a score of 35-7.  Butt had 8 catches for 117 yards, along with 4 tackles and 2 tackles for loss.  North is now 8-0.

October 19, 2012: North beat Gahanna (OH) Gahanna by a score of 42-0.  Butt had 6 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 1 reception for 8 yards.  North is now 9-0.

October 26, 2012: North lost to Grove City (OH) Grove City by a score of 13-10.  North is now 9-1.

November 3, 2012: North beat Pickerington (OH) Central by a score of 24-0.  North is now 10-1.

November 10, 2012: North beat Hilliard (OH) Darby by a score of 24-14.  Butt had 6 receptions for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 6 tackles on defense.  North is now 11-1.

November 17, 2012: North beat Hilliard (OH) Davidson by a score of 21-0.  Butt had 6 catches for 102 yards and 8 tackles.  He now has 62 receptions for 946 yards and 11 touchdowns.  North is now 12-1.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Big Ten week 13 preview

Paris Roxanne
Here's a look at the slate of Big Ten games coming up on Saturday.

Video: Inside Michigan Football 2012 - Episode 13

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Chad Henne

"In command"
Chad Henne is once again a starting quarterback in the NFL following his 354-yard, four touchdown relief performance against the Houston Texans.  Henne gets the starting nod for the Jaguars over Blaine Gabbert, the tenth overall selection in the 2011 Draft.  Gabbert has been unimpressive during his limited time in the league and holds a not-so-good 77.4 passer rating this year.
"[Henne] took command of the offense," Jacksonville's head coach Mike Mularkey said.  He's been a starter in the league.  He's had some success at that position." 
But truth be told, Henne hasn't had much success.  Over the course of his four year career, he has failed to end a season with a passer rating above 80 or finish a year with more touchdowns than interceptions.  Nevertheless, Henne has never lacked for talent -- as Michigan fans well know -- and is surely aided by his four years of NFL experience.  He's been performing much better this year with his new team, currently holding a 96.5 passer rating.

Honorable Mention:  David Molk isn't the best Michigan center in the NFL just yet; that distinction belongs to Jonathan Goodwin.  He starts for the division leading 7-2 San Fransisco 49ers, and his team beat up on the 7-3 Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football last week.  49er teammate Mario Manningham had 2 catches for 45 yards in the game.
  • A bye week is the only force that can prevent Stevie Brown from dominating the world.
  • Brady threw for 331 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions his 59-24 schooling of Andrew Luck and the Colts.
  • Brandon Graham didn't register any stats as his struggling Eagles team lost to the Redskins.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grantland: The Big, Dumb, Greedy Ten

Jessica Jane Clement
Michael Weinreb talks about how the Big Ten is stupid and will be dominated by Ohio State for the rest of the decade.  Agree or disagree?

Video: Sixty Minutes - Michigan Football Feature

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Dallas Crawford (#4), who committed to play cornerback at
Michigan, is now a running back at Miami
Former Michigan RB Michael Cox: Cox had 13 carries for 31 yards and 1 touchdown, along with 1 reception for 1 yard, in UMass's 29-19 loss to Buffalo.

Former Michigan CB commit Dallas Crawford: Crawford had 3 rushes for 10 yards and 1 special teams tackle in Miami's 40-9 victory over South Florida.

Former Michigan S Carvin Johnson: Hampton ends the season at 3-7 with a 27-17 win over Morgan State.  Johnson started at safety in the final game, but didn't accrue any statistics.  He ends his college season with 57 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 5 pass breakups, and 3 fumble recoveries.

Former Michigan DT commit DeQuinta Jones: Jones had 2 tackles in Arkansas's 45-14 loss to Mississippi State.

Former Michigan RB Sam McGuffie: McGuffie had 6 receptions for 53 yards in Rice's 36-14 victory over SMU.

Former Michigan WR/CB commit Dewayne Peace: Peace had 5 catches for 44 yards in Houston's 44-41 loss to Marshall.

Former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez: Rodriguez is 7-4 at Arizona after a 34-24 win over Utah.  Running back Kadeem Carey, who had 366 yards and 5 touchdowns last week, followed up last week's performance with 204 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Former Michigan CB commit Adrian Witty: Witty had 2 tackles in Cincinnati's 10-3 loss to Rutgers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rivals: Mind of Mike - Wideouts wide open

Gemma Lee Farrell
Rivals' Mike Farrell discusses several players with heavy Michigan interest, including Derrick Green, LaQuon Treadwell, Leon McQuay III, and Da'Shawn Hand.

Schools in the News: Maryland, Rutgers, Cal, and Tennessee

Stefon Diggs took a very roundabout way of playing for a Big Ten team
I was going to put together two separate pieces on the guys who are committed to the Big Ten's newest members (Maryland, Rutgers) and the two FBS teams who recently fired their coaches (Jeff Tedford at Cal, Derek Dooley at Tennessee).  Instead, I'll just combine the two separate posts into one.

First of all, let's take a look at the guys Michigan could poach from Cal and Tennessee's 2013 recruiting classes:

Cal: No current commits have Michigan offers
Tennessee: QB Riley Ferguson from Matthews (NC) Butler, WR Paul Harris from Upper Marlboro (MD) Frederick Douglass

Ferguson might not be a bad addition considering how thin the quarterback ranks are at Michigan, but Michigan likely won't bring in a second quarterback to pair with Shane Morris.  Harris would be a welcome addition, and he has said that he would reconsider Michigan, but I don't see him getting interested enough to commit to the Wolverines.  Cal has pulled in a few Michigan offerees over the past couple years, but generally, Michigan doesn't compete against the Golden Bears very often.

Now I want to take a look at the recruiting classes and rosters for Maryland and Rutgers.  I don't expect that Michigan will pull any of these guys away from the two new additions, but these are the types of kids Michigan has lost to these teams over the past few years:

2013 Maryland commits: QB Shane Cockerille from Baltimore (MD) Gilman
Current Maryland roster players: RB Wes Brown, WR Stefon Diggs, LB Clarence Murphy,

2013 Rutgers commits: ATH Nadir Barnwell from Piscataway (NJ) Piscataway
Current Rutgers roster players: S Johnathan Aiken, WR Leonte Carroo, OT J.J. Denman, DE Darius Hamilton, RB Savon Huggins, OT Chris Muller, S Sheldon Royster, WR Miles Shuler

I don't really care about the money behind the additions of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten, because I care about the game of football, not the business.  I understand that the Big Ten is trying to grab viewers and markets in D.C., Baltimore, New Jersey, and New York.

However, I think these new entries dilute the strength of the football product on the field.  The Big Ten already gets all kinds of flak for not winning enough bowl games, not winning BCS championships, etc.  Rutgers was a totally irrelevant football program prior to Greg Schiano, who is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; this year they're hovering toward the bottom of the top 25 and it remains to be seen what they'll do as Schiano's recruiting classes filter through.  Maryland had a few good years under Ralph Friedgen recently, but Randy Edsall has them floundering at 4-7 after winning just two games last year.

Maryland puts very few guys in the NFL (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Shawne Merriman, Vernon Davis, uhhhh...) and Rutgers is in the same boat (Ray Rice, Kenny Britt, Mohamed Sanu, uhhh...).  So they're mediocre teams who produce good NFL talent only occasionally.

Meanwhile, I think this potentially hurts the traditional Big Ten teams' recruiting in those areas, including Michigan's.  Some kids from those areas used to want to play in the Big Ten rather than the Big East or ACC, which is partly why they considered teams like Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State.  Now those kids won't have to leave their home states for the big stage.  Kids from the recruiting hotbeds of the District of Columbia, Baltimore, and various New Jersey cities will be able to stay home, play nationally televised games, and attempt to beat the Michigans and Ohio States of the world.

I also hate the overall idea of expanding the Big Ten to 14 teams.  It's ridiculous to have a conference with that many teams, because there will literally be decade-long gaps when Michigan won't play a team in its own conference.  Michigan has no history of playing against Maryland or Rutgers; the Wolverines are 3-0 against Maryland (games were played in 1985, 1989, and 1990) and have never played the Scarlet Knights.  Excluding fledgling Big Ten member Nebraska, I have great memories of games against every team in the Big Ten, even including watching Antwaan Randle-el at Indiana.  Traditions will be created and "Big Ten" fans in 2030 might have fond memories of the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights, but for the next 20 years, these games will seem out of place.

Overall, I'm probably just a curmudgeon who hates change.  Older Big Ten fans probably hate the presence of Penn State in the conference, but I grew up with it, so the Nittany Lions don't bother me (except, you know, Jerry Sandusky).  But I can't help wondering what the future of college football holds.  It seems like it's headed in the direction of a major fracture.  These conferences will continue to get larger and larger until perhaps the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC create their own beta version of the NCAA, while conferences like the ACC and the Big East could create a pseudo-Divison II.  The one constant is change, but the problem is that we want things to stay the same.

Scouting Report: Denzel Ward

Chicago (IL) Hales Franciscan offensive tackle Denzel Ward
If you want the bare bones of Chicago (IL) Hales Franciscan offensive tackle Denzel Ward's October commitment to Michigan, you can check out his commitment post.  At that time he hadn't released any film to evaluate, so I couldn't really say much about him.  But now he has released his junior highlights, so let's get down to business with this film.

Strengths: Huge body, listed at 6'9", 295 lbs. . . . Long arms should aid in keeping defenders out of his body . . . Instinctively active feet . . . Moves feet beyond initial contact . . . Impressive knee bend for his height . . . Uses hands fairly well for such an inexperienced player . . . Very athletic . . . Runs well downfield . . . Should be effective on perimeter and at second level . . . Good attitude on finishing drive blocks

Weaknesses: Sometimes takes a false initial step before engaging defender . . . Occasionally overstrides when drive blocking . . . Can get off balance in pass protection, though long arms negate this issue slightly . . . Shows occasional tendency to be a waist bender . . . Leans a little too much in pass protection and can get feet crossed up . . . Needs to stick with pass blocks a little longer and play to the whistle

Projection: Left offensive tackle.  Ward is a prototypical left tackle, but his footwork leaves a little to be desired.  He has the athleticism to be great but is inconsistent with his technique.  That's understandable because he didn't start playing organized football until his junior year.  The potential is there, but it will take some refinement of his technique and some good coaching to help him reach his potential.  I could see him developing into an All-American, but the biggest question is: Will he work at it?  Some guys who start playing football late in high school don't necessarily show the long-term commitment to the sport.  Obviously, nobody knows how much he loves the sport except him, but he could be a premier left tackle if he stays committed to his craft.

Reminds me of: Andrus Peat (freshman offensive tackle at Stanford)

TTB Rating: 86 (rating system)

Video: Pre-Gaming with Pat - Iowa

Video: Hoke, Robinson, Kovacs, Demens, Gardner, Roundtree press conference

Recruiting Update: November 20, 2012

Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice linebacker Jon Reschke
Bloomfield (MI) Brother Rice linebacker Jon Reschke was offered by Michigan.  Reschke is a 6'2", 230 lb. prospect who committed to Michigan State back in February.  This is a bit of an odd offer because Michigan told guys like E.J. Levenberry, Alex Anzalone, and Shane Jones that they were done recruiting linebackers after Ben Gedeon committed.  I do not think the coaches would go back on their word, so this likely means that a 2013 commit is wavering or a current player is going to wrap up his Michigan career earlier than expected.  Reschke himself is a Michigan State legacy, but MSU's season has gone downhill; he's also friends with incoming quarterback Shane Morris.  I was not high on Reschke's junior film, but his senior highlights below show a kid who has improved significantly since his junior year.

Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott was offered by Michigan.  Scott is a 5'11", 180 lb. prospect with offers from Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and South Carolina, among others.  He's also the teammate of fellow 2014 offeree Mason Cole, an offensive lineman who said that the offer to Scott helps Michigan's chances.  Both Cole and Scott have visited Michigan this year, which is significant since they came all the way from Florida.

Check out the Recruit Tracker series to see how Michigan's 2013 and 2014 commits are doing.

In case you're interested, Duluth (GA) Peachtree Ridge offensive tackle Orlando Brown - the 6'9", 375 lb. behemoth - finally has a highlight film posted.

Also, Chicago (IL) Hales Franciscan offensive tackle Denzel Ward, who is committed to Michigan for 2014, released his film yesterday.  The kid is very athletic, and it's immediately obvious why Michigan offered him.