Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Michigan Daily: Brady Hoke must be fired

When the student newspaper calls for your firing, things have gone downhill. Uh-oh. (LINK)

Hit the jump for three mighty fine looking women.

Some Notes on Concussions

To offer some perspective, I hope it might be helpful to relay the concussion protocol in my school district. Coaches are required by the state to take concussion awareness training prior to each and every season. The training includes medical explanations, symptoms to look for, actions to take, and protocol for allowing players to return. I am not qualified to diagnose a concussion, but sometimes it's obvious. However, a large part of the obviousness is in that I know my players' mannerisms, how they react to hard hits, where they look when returning to the huddle, how they walk, how quickly they move, etc. That is one advantage that I have when watching my own players. Any player who shows concussion-like symptoms is automatically sent to an athletic trainer for an evaluation. He is not allowed to return to practice unless the trainer determines that he does NOT have a concussion. The initial test - which I have been present for numerous times - typically includes questions about symptoms, some long-term questions (Who's the president? When's your birthday? What's the date today?), some short-term questions (repeat this sequence of numbers or items to me), and an examination of eye dilation/focus (How many fingers am I holding up? Can you follow my fingertip with your eyes?).

I watched the game on television, and the fact that Shane Morris was still in the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter was extremely frustrating. Not only was he ineffective, but in the middle of being ineffective, he sprained his ankle. And not only did he sprain the ankle in the middle of being ineffective, but Michigan also had a better option waiting on the sideline the whole time in the form of Devin Gardner. When Morris originally took the hit from Minnesota defensive end Theiren Cockran, I said, "And now our quarterback just got killed." Upon a closeup review of the play, however, I noticed a couple things. First of all, the initial force of Cockran's helmet hit the bottom bar of Morris's facemask, which snapped his neck back. Secondly, the majority of the blow seemed to be taken by Morris's upper left chest area. Is it possible that a concussion occurred from the blow to the helmet? Yes. Is it also possible that a concussion could occur from a hit to the chest/shoulder? Absolutely. Not all concussions require a hit to the head. Knowing that Morris had a bum ankle, his stumble into Ben Braden did not necessarily indicate to me that he had a concussion. Furthermore, the deep breath of air taken and released by Morris on camera did not seem consistent with concussions I have seen. I have seen concussions that ended high school seasons and careers, and breathing deeply is not something I associate with the injury. That looked more to me like a guy who may have had the wind knocked out of him and was trying to gather his breathing back together. When Morris finally retreated to the sideline, his behavior while sitting on the bench and being examined also did not indicate to me that he had a concussion. Again, people react differently, and I am unqualified to play doctor from my living room, but I'm just comparing it to what I have seen in my daily life.

I believe much of the heat he has taken has been unwarranted. First, we have seen his staff remove players for various injuries in the past, such as Taylor Lewan last season. Numerous players have missed time due to injuries of all kinds, and I have never seen or heard him challenge players to man up or play through injury. Just this season, players like Devin Funchess, Jarrod Wilson, Jabrill Peppers, and Raymon Taylor have missed significant time with injuries. Despite a strong need for Jake Ryan and Jake Butt, the Michigan staff has held to their plan of working them slowly back into games by using a predetermined number of snaps. Second, what would Hoke gain by keeping Morris in the game despite injury? Morris is not the best quarterback on the roster, and he had been playing terribly. Literally every other player listed above is/was more valuable to this team than Shane Morris is this season, so it's nonsensical to believe that Hoke would put Morris in serious harm's way while being cautious with Peppers, Butt, Ryan, etc. Third, this overwhelming vitriol directed toward Hoke does not support what we have seen on a regular basis from him. While many have questioned his ability to coach the sport of football, it has been widely acknowledged that he's a man of high character who cares about his players. What sense would there be in risking his players and his reputation in order to keep his backup quarterback in the football game at that point? Fourth, this whole discussion would not have reached such huge proportions if not for Michigan's current record. If Michigan were 5-0 or 4-1, Michigan fans would have let this incident slide already. It would have been a footnote or a follow-up question at a press conference or maybe an issue that would die soon. In its current state of disarray (a 2-3 record, a paltry offensive output, a quarterback controversy, dwindling attendance, etc.), the Michigan program has invited widespread criticism. But with issues like this, I think it's important to think about "What would this look like if Michigan were winning?" and then calibrate accordingly.

I say that's hogwash. It absolutely does matter. As I mentioned above, coaches know their players. Just like you know your coworkers and your mom and your son and your wife, coaches spend hours upon hours with their players in very difficult situations. I could tell by the way my dad walked in the door whether he had a good day or not. I can tell by watching my players if they have a slight hamstring pull. When they walk in the locker room, I can sometimes tell which player it is just by the sound of their footsteps. There were numerous players and coaches watching the game, and whether the two main guys (Hoke and Doug Nussmeier) saw his behavior or not, some people thought Morris was okay to continue. When Morris came to the sideline for a short stretch, he was still deemed ready to return for an "emergency" play when Gardner had to be removed. Fans and people watching on television thought he was concussed, but the people who know him best - the people on the sideline - thought Morris was okay to go. If the as yet unreleased medical results show that Morris was indeed lacking a concussion, then there are some people who owe Hoke an apology. According to Monday's press conference, Morris would have practiced on Sunday if not for the ankle injury. That indicates that his head is not a hindrance to him playing at this time.
UPDATE: Dave Brandon released a statement revealing that Morris was evaluated during and immediately after the game, and no concussion was detected. A third test has determined that he indeed has a mild concussion. So it took three tests for medical professionals to determine that he had a concussion.

At this point there are too many people shooting first and asking questions later. People are smearing Hoke's reputation and/or pleading for his firing when there's at least a decent chance that what he did was completely fine. However, I do believe Michigan has mishandled the press up to this point. Athletic director Dave Brandon has failed to step forward with any authoritative take on the situation, and Hoke himself has been evasive. The easiest way to handle this would have been to release a statement saying "Shane Morris does not have a concussion." Whether Michigan is trying to stick to its own policy about discussing injuries, trying not to violate HIPAA laws, or simply misjudging the public response, they are losing in the court of public opinion. The University of Michigan's response has been subpar. As for Hoke himself, perhaps he should be fired. Michigan's win total has been declining from 2011-2013, and it does not appear they will improve on their 7-6 record from last year. The offense is inadequate. Special teams and overall player development have been questionable. If you want to say that a 9-9 record over the last 18 games is unacceptable, that's someone's prerogative. I can't make a good case for Hoke remaining at this point, even though I'm not exactly in favor of firing him right this moment. But I also believe the Shane Morris incident should not be the deciding factor, especially if Morris is not concussed.

Monday, September 29, 2014

MLive: Brady Hoke defends handling of Shane Morris situation

Nick Baumgardner reviews the Monday press conference in which Hoke sort of addressed the Shane Morris situation (LINK).

Hit the jump for three good looking girls.

Michigan vs. Minnesota Awards

Devin Gardner (image via ToledoBlade.com)
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Devin Gardner. Not for one second has Shane Morris given the slightest inkling that he's a better quarterback than Gardner. Unless he's hurt - as he was for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl last season - Gardner should be the starter at Michigan until he runs out of eligibility. Sometimes people can't accept that a mediocre player can be the best one available. Commenters keep throwing out bizarre questions like "Are we going to win with Gardner at quarterback?" but that's not even remotely the point. No quarterback can guarantee you victories, particularly behind a mediocre offensive line with a questionable running game. Gardner gives Michigan the best chance to win, and that's all you can really ask for right now.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Shane Morris. The kid has a 0-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and he's absolutely careless with the football. Gardner fumbles the ball when he's fighting for extra yardage. Morris fumbles the ball when he's just standing in the pocket and has nothing better to do. Looking ahead to 2015, Michigan should be exploring transfers and planning an open competition between Morris, Wilton Speight, and even Alex Malzone. The situation is dire.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Jabrill Peppers. Rumors were circulating that Peppers was hurt. Rumors were circulating that he didn't play because of a disciplinary issue. Maybe it was a combination of both. I don't know. What I do know is that Peppers has seen the field very little in his first five weeks as a college football player, and that's extremely frustrating. There's nothing the coaches can do about injuries, I guess, but he's a playmaker on a team largely devoid of playmakers. If the defensive backfield is too jam-packed with veterans and talent, then play Peppers at slot receiver or running back or wideout or wildcat quarterback. The kid needs to be on the field if he's healthy.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Dymonte Thomas. Thomas was the one who appeared to blow the coverage on Maxx Williams on Saturday, which led to a touchdown. Against Utah the week before, he blew the coverage that led to a touchdown for Dres Anderson. Opponents keep finding a way to attack him, and he's not up to the challenge. Maybe Peppers should move ahead of Thomas in the safety rotation.

Play of the game . . . Frank Clark and Taco Charlton's sack of Mitch Leidner. Give me a break. There are so few good plays to choose from. Clark leaped over a cut block from a running back before charging ahead to sack Leidner for a loss of five yards. Charlton latched on to help take Leidner down. It's sad when this is the highlight.

MVP of the game . . . Devin Gardner. Again, the pickings are slim. Gardner entered the game with under eight minutes remaining, immediately leading a touchdown drive. He went 3/6 for 39 yards, and he ran the ball 5 times for 23 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown run. Yes, he took a sack, and he almost threw an interception (or took a safety) from his own endzone. However, the team got a spark from his appearance. Any further heroics or shenanigans were thwarted by Brady Hoke's inexplicable decision to punt with four minutes remaining while down by two scores.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

MLive: Hoke releases statement on handling of Shane Morris injury

Brady Hoke (a.k.a. the University) released a statement about the staff's handling of Shane Morris's injury against Minnesota on Saturday (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few pictures of Jen Selter, who's well known for her posterior. Oh, and a gif of one of her workouts.

Grantland: The Last Temptation of the Ol' Ball Coach

Here's an article from Matt Hinton on the evolution of Steve Spurrier (LINK).

Hit the jump for some good looking ladies.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Minnesota 30, Michigan 14

Should we go with the guy who was bestowed with Tom Harmon's jersey, or the guy with zero career touchdowns?
(image via 247Sports.com)
End the Shane Morris experiment now. We have seen Shane Morris play a fair amount of football now that we're five games into his sophomore season. In 2013 he played a respectable number of snaps against Central Michigan, Michigan State, and Kansas State; this year he has seen an appreciable amount of time against Appalachian State, Utah, and Minnesota. What have we learned? He's not good at football right now. He can't progress through his reads quickly, he's careless with the football, and he's not accurate, especially when throwing to his right. He finished the game 7/19 for 49 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception (returned for a touchdown), and 3 fumbles (1 lost). He now has a career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 0-to-5. The kid should have redshirted in 2013, or maybe even this season. He's not even to the point where he should be an option for a big-time program like Michigan right now.

How about now? Devin Gardner has been the starting quarterback since 2012 for a reason. He is one of the best athletes in the country at his position, he has good (not great) arm strength, and he has the ability to put the team on his back for entire games (for example, last year against Notre Dame, Indiana, and Ohio State). He certainly has flaws - the interceptions, the fumbles, the ill-advised throws from his own endzone - but that's not the point. The question Brady Hoke should be asking himself on a weekly basis is this: Which quarterback gives this team the best chance to win right now? The answer to that question is Gardner. The switch to Morris should never have been made in the first place. Sometimes you have to tell fans and media to suck an egg, that you're going to stick with your guy. It's okay to be Grady Little once in a while. In another dimension, Pedro Martinez held onto the lead.

Michigan should have recruited a quarterback in 2012. This doesn't have much to do with this game in itself, but I just feel the need to point out that the Wolverines whiffed on a couple quarterbacks in the 2012 class and then said, "Eh, who cares? We've got Shane Morris in the pipeline." I care, and I said so at the time. I was appalled that Michigan didn't go after another signal caller, and that mistake is rearing its ugly head as the Wolverines are trying to field a competent starter and/or backup. This exact situation is evidence that a quarterback should be recruited in every class. They want to bench their fifth-year senior, the redshirt junior was terrible, the sophomore is in over his head, and the freshman is probably maizeing his pants in fear of playing behind Michigan's offensive line.

Coaching tip #1: Put your damn helmets on. In the fourth quarter, Shane Morris was knocked out of the game with one or more injuries (more on that later). Devin Gardner was inserted for a couple plays, upon which his helmet came off and he was forced to sit out one play. Third-string quarterback Russell Bellomy, caught totally unaware, had no clue where his helmet was. He tried on one that didn't fit, then another that didn't fit, then turned to all his friends and said, "No, guys, don't you remember Nebraska?!?!?!" Then everyone nodded and gently nudged the (allegedly) concussed guy out there for another play.

Coaching tip #2: You can't punt when you're down by 16 with four minutes left. I don't give a hoot if it's 4th-and-36 from your own 1-yard line. If you're down two scores with roughly four minutes remaining, you go for it, especially with only one timeout left. Minnesota is a ball control offense who can certainly run the ball and keep the clock running for the remainder of the game. And that's exactly what they did. That showed me that Brady Hoke didn't want to win the game, and it also showed that he didn't have faith in his team to make a game of it. He was trying to save face and prevent the team from giving up 37 points. If they don't get the first down, everyone in that locker room knows that the final seven points wouldn't really matter. There's no discernible difference between a 37-14 loss and a 30-14 loss. At least if you go for it, you show your team that you believe in them and will keep clawing for victory until the end.

Shane Morris may or may not have been concussed. I know there's a lot of hand wringing about concussions these days, and I know Morris took a nasty shot from Theiren Cockran (that should have resulted in an ejection, by the way). I have seen a fair number of concussions, and I have to say that Morris did not look concussed on the sideline. I know people saw him stumble and nearly collapse on the field, but I got the vibe that it was because of the obvious pain in his left ankle. The kid could barely put pressure on his left leg from the third quarter onward, and I'm sure the hit from Cockran was not pleasant. Morris's demeanor on the sideline afterward appeared to be that of a coherent young man who needed an ice bath, a massage, and some pictures to make him feel better. I could be wrong, and there's no way to play doctor from my seat on the couch, but that was my interpretation of what I saw. . .

[Note: Before anyone jumps on me for my thoughts on Morris, I should state that I am extremely cautious as a coach when it comes to concussions. Standard protocol is to remove a kid's helmet if there is any suspicion of a concussion, until such time as he is cleared to return. I have forced several kids out of practice/games for precautionary reasons when they complained of head pain, only to find out that it was dehydration, a blow to the nose, etc. At the very least, Morris should have been examined by a trainer.]

However, Morris should have been removed from the game permanently. On top of the fact that he never should have started the game in the first place, Morris twisted his ankle and/or knee early in the third quarter. He was limping noticeably. It seemed to affect his play negatively. He then took a couple more hits and came up limping even worse. In my years of sports experience, people who limp are generally worse at sports than those who are not limping. If that weren't the case, Verbal Kint would be in the Hall of Fame. Michigan fans can rest easy knowing that a sixth year of Brian Cleary eligibility is still a possibility.

What about Minnesota, though? They're not bad. They have a very good offensive line, they have some hard-running backs, they have a quarterback who fits their system, and they have a fundamentally sound defense. Other than running back David Cobb (32 carries, 183 yards), nobody wowed me. Cobb is just a guy who refuses to go down on first contact, and he has some burst that a guy like De'Veon Smith lacks. Tight end Maxx Williams might be able to squeeze into that category of "wow" guys, too, but he wasn't a game-changer in this one. When a guy - whether it's a star or a scrub - makes a diving, one-handed catch like he did down the sideline while being well covered by safety Jeremy Clark, you just have to tip your hat and acknowledge that there are other guys who can make plays, too.

Who starts at quarterback? It has to be Devin Gardner. Even if Shane Morris travels to Elysium and gets back in time for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition  on a Sunday night in 2003, Gardner should be the starter. Always and forever. He's wearing the #98 jersey for a reason. (The reason is that Dave Brandon is a greedy bastard; I didn't say it was a good reason.) Unless he re-breaks his foot or tells everyone in the MUG to "f*** her right in the p****", Gardner should be the one fumbling Michigan's season away.

Who starts at head coach? I don't know. I think every coach hits a point where you say, "Yeah, this just isn't going to work out." For whatever reason, I think Rich Rodriguez's moment was "You Raise Me Up," even though his defenses sent up warning flags. This game may have been Hoke's moment. I'm not saying that I think he'll be fired on Monday (who would you promote to interim head coach?), and I'm not saying that a 9-3 finish (hey, it's possible) couldn't save Hoke. But the handling of Gardner, the handling of Morris, and curling up into the fetal position at the end of game is a potentially lethal combination. If Doug Nussmeier or Jeff Hecklinski is the head coach sometime soon, I will not be surprised.

We're totally going to beat Rutgers. This was all a ploy to sucker them in, like a McDonald's with free wi-fi. They step inside, check their e-mail, order a sweet tea, and BOOM! That's right. The cashier gave you herpes. Oh, and diabetes. You gotta watch out for that diabetes sneaking up on you like an, I dunno, Mitch Leidner bootleg. Wait, what was I talking about?

Rutgers has herpes.

Falcoholic: Mike Kenn on the Hall of Fame, his career, and the game today

Former Michigan Wolverine and Atlanta Falcon talks about, well, the Hall of Fame, his career, and the game today (LINK).

Hit the jump for some enticing pictures of Lauren Hanley.

Some pictures to cheer you up

This is happening way too often now, but here are some pictures of good looking women - and a Salma Hayek gif - to make you feel better about the fact that you are a Michigan fan.

Preview: Michigan vs. Minnesota

Rush Offense vs. Minnesota Rush Defense
Michigan is #39 in the country with 211 rushing yards/game and tied for #26 with 5.6 yards/carry. Starting running back Derrick Green (391 yards, 6.1 yards/carry, 3 touchdowns) seems to have taken a pretty strong lead in the running back race, but he comes with faults - indecision, spotty vision, and the like. De'Veon Smith (194 yards, 6.9 yards/carry, 2 touchdowns) is the short yardage back who doesn't often get short yardage carries, and Justice Hayes (86 yards, 6.1 yards/carry) is the third down back who gets 3rd-and-long draws just about every time there's a 3rd-and-long. Michigan has run the ball passably this season, but they lack a home run threat or the physical identity they seek. Minnesota is #51 against the run by giving up 132 yards/game on the ground, and they're #57 in yardage allowed/carry. Senior linebacker Damien Wilson (6'2", 240 lbs.) is the stud with 44 tackles (tied for #8 nationally), 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a pick. Fifth year senior Cameron Botticelli (6'5", 290 lbs.) takes over for Ra'Shede Hageman as the Gophers' most productive interior lineman and has 12 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss. The linebackers are all a shade under 240 lbs., and the defensive tackles are roughly 290 lbs., but they are a little light at defensive end, where the starters are a shade over 250 lbs. Derrick Green may find the sledding to be tough against such stout linebackers.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Offense vs. Minnesota Pass Defense
Your guess is as good as mine here. Fifth year senior Devin Gardner got yanked last week after another rough performance, and his replacement, sophomore Shane Morris, was equally inept. Michigan keeps delaying naming a starting quarterback, and it will supposedly be a "game-time decision." One theory suggests that head coach Brady Hoke is dragging his feet only because they're going to make a change. Another theory is that Minnesota has to spend time preparing for both quarterbacks, so it could just as feasibly be Gardner who takes the first snap. Neither direction would surprise me. Michigan is tied for third-worst at throwing interceptions (8) so far this year, and they're #97 in passer rating. Gardner is the most experienced and has actually had stretches of success in college. Morris has a career 0-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Ugh. Michigan's best receiver, Devin Funchess, is 6'5", 230 lbs. of gimpy ankle, and nobody else has stepped up as a go-to guy in his partial absence. Meanwhile, Minnesota is #85 against the pass (252 yards/game) but #24 in passer rating against. It helps that three of their opponents have been Eastern Illinois, Middle Tennessee State, and San Jose State. The pass rush is led by Wilson, sophomore defensive end Hendrick Ekpe (6'5", 251 lbs.), and redshirt junior defensive tackle Robert Ndondo-Lay (6'5", 250 lbs.). The Gophers have picked off 7 passes altogether, including 2 from redshirt junior Briean Boddy-Calhoun (5'11", 190 lbs.). The secondary is filled with third- and fourth-year players, plus sophomore Jalen Myrick, who had a 31-yard pick-six against MTSU.
Advantage: Minnesota

Rush Defense vs. Minnesota Rush Offense
Michigan is #8 in rush defense (80 yards allowed/game) and #9 in average yards allowed (2.5 yards/carry). The defensive linemen and linebackers do not make a ton of plays in the backfield, but they are stout at the point of attack and they tackle well. Starting linebackers Jake Ryan and Joe Bolden lead the team with 33 and 28 tackles, respectively. Redshirt sophomore nose tackle Ryan Glasgow (6'4", 296 lbs.) has started to assert himself as a clogger in the middle, and classmate Willie Henry (6'2", 306 lbs.) has been forceful as a 3-tech defensive tackle and even as a defensive end in some looks. The Wolverines are #40 in tackles for loss, led by Frank Clark (4.5) and Jake Ryan (4.0). On the other side of the ball, Minnesota is #30 in rushing (236 yards/game) and #38 in rushing average (5.1 yards/carry). Senior David Cobb (5'11", 220 lbs.) carries the load (92 carries, 539 yards, 5.9 yards/carry, 4 touchdowns) and can run through some tackles, but he's not a burner. The primary backup is Berkley Edwards (5'9", 190 lbs.), who has just 12 carries in the last three games. The most dangerous runner other than Cobb is possible starting quarterback Chris Streveler (6'2", 219 lbs.), who would be filling in for injured redshirt sophomore Mitch Leidner (6'4", 237 lbs.). Streveler carried the ball 18 times for 161 yards and a touchdown last week. The Gophers' offensive line averages 312 lbs. and the team is designed to run the ball. The left side of the line was honorable mention all-conference last season, right tackle Ben Lauer was a Freshman All-American, and there are a few Academic All-Big Ten performers. This is a ball control outfit that could wear down Michigan's defense if the Wolverines' offense can't sustain some drives.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Defense vs. Minnesota Pass Offense
Michigan is #28 against the pass (181 yards allowed/game) and #61 in passer rating against, but the only bad performance was against Notre Dame in a 31-0 loss. Otherwise, Michigan has been putting pressure on the quarterback - without necessarily getting there for sacks - and covering fairly well. Michigan is #61 in sacks, and defensive end Brennen Beyer is the only player with multiple quarterback takedowns. On the back end, sophomore corner Jourdan Lewis is the only one with a pick; Michigan's only other interception came from defensive tackle Willie Henry, who returned it for a touchdown last week against Utah. Some sources are saying that Leidner will start, and he's the better passer of the two quarterbacks. He has completed just over 48% of his passes for 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. If Streveler is behind center, he's 4/11 for 37 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The receiving corps isn't anything special, particularly if redshirt sophomore tight end Maxx Williams (6'4", 250 lbs.) remains sidelined with an injury. Sophomore Donovahn Jones (6'3", 200 lbs.) has 6 catches for 92 yards and 1 touchdown, but he has been blanked the past two weeks. Junior K.J. Maye had 2 catches for 65 yards but did not record a catch in Minnesota's other three games. Overall, Minnesota is #124 in passing (119 yards/game) and #122 in passer rating.
Advantage: Michigan

Roster Notes
  • C Brian Bobek is a transfer from Ohio State
  • RB Berkley Edwards is the son of Stan Edwards and brother of Braylon Edwards, both of whom played for Michigan
  • Twin linemen Kyle and Luke McAvoy are the younger brothers of former Michigan lineman Tim McAvoy
  • Players who were offered by Michigan include RB Jeff Jones and OT Jonah Pirsig
  • The two native Michiganders on Minnesota's roster are Edwards and Port Huron LB Dominic Schultz
  • H-backs/tight ends coach Rob Reeves attended Saline High School and went to college at Grand Valley State University
Last Time They Played . . . 
  • Minnesota TE Maxx Williams gave the Wolverines trouble with 5 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown, and QB Mitch Leidner ran the ball 18 times for 66 yards
  • Fitzgerald Toussaint (2), Derrick Green (1), and Devin Gardner (1) each ran for at least one touchdown
  • Devin Funchess caught 7 passes for 151 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Blake Countess returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown
  • Michigan 42, Minnesota 13

  • Derrick Green goes over 100 yards rushing
  • Shane Morris starts at quarterback
  • Devin Gardner relieves Shane Morris at quarterback
  • Michigan's run defense stifles Minnesota's offense
  • Michigan 20, Minnesota 10

Recruit Tracker: Michael Weber

Michael Weber
September 26, 2014: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) Denby by a score of 44-6. Weber ran the ball 12 times for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cass Tech is now 5-0.

September 19, 2014: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) Douglass by a score of 50-0. Weber did not play in the game. Cass Tech is 4-0.

September 12, 2014: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) Southeastern by a score of 48-0. Cass Tech is 3-0.

September 5, 2014: Cass Tech beat Detroit (MI) Pershing by a score of 31-2. Cass Tech is 2-0.

August 29, 2014: Weber ran 23 times for 150 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 70-yard touchdown, in Detroit (MI) Cass Tech's 27-26 win over Oak Park (MI) Oak Park. Cass Tech is 1-0.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Welcome to the Weekend!

Get ready for the weekend with some girls who are probably out of your league, including a Katy Perry gif.

Grantland: The It Factor

This Bill Barnwell piece was posted on August 27, but it's still kind of a funny-because-it's-true exploration of the evasive "it factor" (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few good looking women.

Visitors: Michigan vs. Minnesota

Reisterstown (MD) Franklin offensive tackle Patrick Allen is a Georgia commit (image via 247Sports.com)
Patrick Allen - OT - Reisterstown (MD) Franklin: Allen is a 6'5", 286 lb. prospect who committed to Georgia in early August. He also holds offers from Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, and USC, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #27 offensive tackle, and #277 overall. This is his official visit to Michigan, the school that supposedly finished #2 to the Bulldogs, despite the fact that he has never been to Ann Arbor before.

Jack Dunaway - DE - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Dunaway is a 6'3", 212 lb. prospect who committed to Michigan as a preferred walk-on. His father, Craig, is a former Michigan tight end.

Alex Malzone - QB - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Malzone committed to Michigan back in May (LINK).

Tyrone Miller - S - Saline (MI) Saline: Miller is a 6'0", 178 lb. prospect with offers from Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan, among others. He camped at Michigan back in June.

Grant Perry - WR - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Perry is a 6'0", 185 lb. prospect with offers from several MAC schools. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #130 wide receiver, and #1054 overall. He would almost certainly commit to Michigan if an offer comes, but the Wolverines have a small projected class and a pretty good stable of receivers at this point. Statistically, he's currently the state's top receiver.

Mike Weber - RB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Weber committed to Michigan in August (LINK).

Hit the jump for 2016 and 2017 prospects.

Gregg Henson: Ex-Michigan players want Dave Brandon out as athletic director

Gregg Henson now has sources and some seemingly concrete info to back up his claim that Dave Brandon will be gone soon (LINK).

This article is too interesting to wait until tonight to post, so here's an extra dose of good looking women.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

SI: How can Michigan football return to its glory days?

Andy Staples discusses how far Michigan has fallen and how they can get back to where they started (LINK).

Hit the jump for three good looking ladies, plus an interesting gif.

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Ryan Mundy

Ryan Mundy (#21 in white)
In his first year with the Chicago Bears, safety Ryan Mundy made 2 tackles against the New York Jets and then picked off a Geno Smith pass, which he returned for a 45-yard touchdown in Chicago's 27-19 victory.

Honorable mention: Tom Brady was 24/37 for 234 yards and 1 touchdown as the New England Patriots beat the Oakland Raiders. In that same game, Charles Woodson made 4 tackles and broke up 2 of Brady's passes for the Raiders. Tim Jamison made 5 tackles for the Houston Texans, but they lost to the New York Giants by a score of 30-17.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Grantland: QB Curve - Is there still time to fix Devin Gardner?

Matt Hinton, now of Grantland, explores the odd career arc of Devin Gardner (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few great looking ladies.

Highlights: Utah 26, Michigan 10

Recruiting Update: September 24, 2014

Janarius Robinson (image via varsitypreps.com)
QB: Michigan is set with Alex Malzone.
RB: Michigan is set with Mike Weber, although he's one to keep an eye on because of some questionable loyalty comments. The Wolverines also have Ty Isaac redshirt, who will be a redshirt sophomore in 2015.
TE: Michigan is fine with Chris Clark in the mix, but he's another guy with questionable loyalty issues.
WR: Michigan should be fine with Brian Cole, since the Wolverines have several receivers redshirting from the 2014 class.
OL: I would like to see the Wolverines add one more player to the mix, along with Grant Newsome and Jon Runyan, Jr.
DE: Michigan needs a weakside end in this class, but they should be set with strongside end Darian Roseboro. The most likely option is Keisean Lucier-South, who has several suitors (UCLA, Oklahoma, etc.). If he is no longer an option, Michigan will probably need to expand its offer board.
DT: Michigan does not need a true defensive tackle in this class, and Roseboro might fill that need in the long run, anyway.
LB: Michigan is stacked at linebacker, and Darrin Kirkland, Jr. adds depth at middle linebacker. Only elite options should be considered, and not many seem to have interest in Michigan at this point.
CB: Michigan is solid at cornerback with Garrett Taylor (though he tore his ACL) and the crew already on the roster, but Marcus Lewis remains a somewhat likely option.
S: Michigan has some good young players at safety, and Tyree Kinnel is having a solid senior year. The Wolverines could use a difference maker here, but otherwise, their numbers are solid.
K/P: Michigan's kicker (Matt Wile) and punter (Will Hagerup) are both graduating, but the punting job will almost surely be taken over by walk-on Kenny Allen. Meanwhile, Andrew David should take Wile's spot.

Summary: Michigan is set at most positions with a need at weakside end. Offensive line and cornerback are not needs but desires, and the tight end/running back positions are question marks because the two players committed at those spots are somewhat soft in their pledges.

Cedar Hill (TX) Cedar Hill wide receiver Damarkus Lodge decommitted from Texas A&M. Michigan has no chance here. Interestingly, in the aftermath of the decommitment, Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin talked about how they rotate receivers and publicly said "If you're scared, you don't need to play here." It doesn't sound like that fence will be mended anytime soon.

Panama City (FL) Bay defensive end Janarius Robinson committed to Florida State. You can't really blame him after they win a national championship and then beat a pretty good Clemson team with their backup quarterback. Of course, it helps that you can go there, allegedly sexually assault women, allegedly shoplift crab legs, and still win a Heisman trophy with a staff that reluctantly suspends you - finally - for a game only because the national media crushes the staff. Not that young Mr. Robinson would ever be interested in doing those things, but . . . you know . . . those protections in place don't hurt.

Over on Recruiting Season - which has taken a bit of a back seat with football season in full swing - I updated the profiles of Wes French, Demetric Vance, and Donnie Corley. Corley, in particular, is one that Michigan fans should watch going forward. He's a 2016 wide receiver prospect with very good skills, although he's probably headed to MSU.

Here's a list of visitors from the game against Utah (LINK).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MLive: Dennis Norfleet passionately defends Brady Hoke

Some players and ex-players are stepping up and defending Brady Hoke, including Dennis Norfleet (LINK).

Hit the jump for some good looking ladies.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Jay Hopson has Alcorn State chugging along pretty nicely.
Former DT Richard Ash: Ash made 1 tackle in Western Michigan's 45-14 victory over Murray State.

Former TE commit Pharaoh Brown: Brown had 3 catches for 38 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown in Oregon's 38-31 win over Washington State. The game was tied 31-31 until the Ducks scored the go-ahead touchdown with 5:33 left.

Former CB Cullen Christian: Christian had 1 tackle in West Virginia's 45-33 loss to Oklahoma.

Former CB commit Dallas Crawford: Crawford made 3 tackles in Miami's 41-31 loss to Nebraska.

Former K Matt Goudis: Goudis sat out Miami's loss to Nebraska with an injury.

Former LB coach Jay Hopson: Hopson, the head coach at D-II Alcorn State, moved to 3-1 with a 52-9 win over Mississippi Valley State. His only loss this year came at the hands of Southern Miss, an FBS school, by a score of 26-20. Against D-II opponents, the Braves have scored 50+ points in each game and they have allowed 6, 7, and 9 points.

Former defensive coordinator Greg Robinson: Robinson is now the defensive coordinator at San Jose State, a team that is #99 nationally with 31 points per game allowed. They're also #59 nationally by giving up 375 yards/game, which isn't terrible considering two of their opponents have been Auburn and Minnesota.

Former head coach Rich Rodriguez: Arizona won a ridiculous game against Cal by a score of 49-45. Arizona was down 28-6 at halftime, but they outscored Cal 43-17 in the second half. The game was finally won on a 47-yard Hail Mary from Anu Solomon to Austin Hill as time expired. Solomon was 47/73 for 520 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Receiver Cayleb Jones caught 13 passes for 186 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Hill caught 8 passes for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns. It's interesting to watch from afar as Rodriguez has gone from a run-heavy spread offense at West Virginia and Michigan to a passer-friendly one in Arizona, although they usually still run the ball well.

Former S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal made 7 tackles in Pitt's 24-20 loss to Iowa.

Monday, September 22, 2014

MLive: Gardner-Morris situation a tricky one

Nick Baumgardner discusses the Devin Gardner vs. Shane Morris "controversy" (LINK).

Hit the jump for some cleavage, some sideboob, and some underboob.

Michigan vs. Utah Awards

Willie Henry celebrates his touchdown (image via Zimbio)
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . nobody. I am growing weary of people who think the guy on the bench is better. Shane Morris is not better than Devin Gardner. Justice Hayes is not better than Derrick Green/De'Veon Smith. Michigan needs to keep "pounding the rock" and improvement should come. Michigan has outgained the opponent in every game so far, so there should be a breakthrough at some point.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Shane Morris. I don't know the rationale behind inserting Morris into the game last night. Personally, I thought it seemed like a reaction to public presssure. Gardner was obviously pressing again, but he's still the most experienced, most athletic, and best quarterback on the team. If Gardner was pulled as a punishment for bad decision-making . . . okay. If Gardner was pulled in order to keep him healthy . . . that's lame in a two-score game with about a quarter to go. If Gardner was pulled because the coaches think Morris is his equal . . . that's dumb. I realize that Gardner isn't getting the job done, but sometimes that guy is still the best guy.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Jarrod Wilson. Wilson hadn't been a standout this year, but safety was the huge question mark on defense this year because he was the only experienced guy back there. Of course, he got hurt and has missed the last two games. Now Michigan is left with redshirt sophomore Jeremy Clark, who is prone to fundamental breakdowns; sophomore Dymonte Thomas, who is a decent tackler but needs work in coverage; and sophomore Delano Hill, who played exclusively on special teams last year and has missed a large chunk of time with a broken jaw this fall. Michigan needs him back healthy.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody. Other than the mish-mash of young safeties mentioned above, the defense is doing a good job. They only allowed one offensive touchdown and five field goal attempts, and the main reason they got that many chances to score was because the offense couldn't drive deep into Utah territory.

Play of the game . . . Willie Henry's interception and touchdown. Near his own goal line, backup quarterback Kendal Thompson - temporarily replacing starter Travis Wilson, who had suffered a worse-than-it-seemed, face-first crash landing on the sideline - dropped back to pass. Smelling blood, Michigan's defensive line tore through Utah's front five, and Jake Ryan wrapped him up. Thompson tried to chuck it short over Henry's head, but Henry got vertical (a little bit), bobbled the ball (a little bit), and then made a visible attempt to truck Thompson on his way into the endzone. Honorable mention in this category goes to Jourdan Lewis, who came all the way across the field to track down Utah running back Bubba Poole on a 67-yard screen catch-and-run.

MVP of the game . . . Jake Ryan. Ryan had 13 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 1 sack in the game. He's coming around as an inside linebacker, and he even played both options on a power read option play, making the tackle on quarterback Travis Wilson for a loss.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

MLive: Grading the Wolverines

Nick Baumgardner hands out some pretty harsh (but fair?) grades from Michigan's performance against Utah on Saturday (LINK).

Hit the jump for three hot women.

Utah 26, Michigan 10

This is a sad sight in so many ways.
Shane Morris is no better than Devin Gardner. There is a large contingent of fans who always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. They clamored for Shane Morris, and they finally got him in the fourth quarter. What was the result? An interception, a fumble, and a sack. It's the difference between a Ford Explorer and a Mercury Mountaineer. Until Michigan can establish a consistent running game, pressure will be on the quarterbacks. And if the Wolverines can't find another solid receiving target outside of Devin Funchess, things are going to get even worse. When times get tough, the only thing Michigan does is script throws from Devin Gardner to Devin Funchess. Another receiver has to step up, the offensive line has to block better, and/or the running backs need to improve.

Willie Henry was your leading scorer. Michigan scored ten points altogether, with six coming on Henry's awesome interception return for a short touchdown. I like that Michigan is scoring some non-offensive touchdowns (Ben Gedeon returned a blocked punt for a touchdown against Appalachian State, remember), but it's sad that the defense scored more points than 4-star recruit Devin Gardner, Biletnikoff Award watch list receiver Devin Funchess, Rivals 5-star running back Derrick Green, and so on.

In some ways, Funchess hurt the team. The most glaring example of this was when Gardner threw a skinny post to Funchess in the second quarter. Perhaps because of a bum ankle or laziness or inexperience at playing the wide receiver position, Funchess threw one paw out to try to catch a slightly overthrown pass. He could have stuck out both hands, and some guys would have dove. Instead, the ball bounced up to safety Brian Blechen, who pulled it in for the interception (and a nice return, which was negated by a questionable block-in-the-back penalty). Less obviously, Gardner seems more democratic with the football when Funchess is not on the field. The favorite target becomes Amara Darboh, but Darboh's not so overwhelmingly athletic that Gardner thinks he can beat triple coverage. With Funchess on the sideline, Gardner has to scan the whole field and will throw to Darboh, Jehu Chesson, Dennis Norfleet, Jake Butt, Khalid Hill, anyone. I'm not suggesting that the 6'5", 230 lb. guy with the #1 jersey should stay off the field altogether, but his presence - especially when he's limping - makes Michigan more of a one-dimensional team than they should be. That's the coaches' job to sort out.

The defense played great overall. Some people might point to the way-too-easy touchdown by Dres Anderson or the 67-yard screen pass to Bubba Poole as reasons that the defense underachieved in this one, but I don't think that was the case at all. Sure, those were flubs, but those happen in every game. Anderson's touchdown was a blown coverage, seemingly at the hands of sophomore safety Dymonte Thomas. The screen pass to Poole was a great call by Utah offensive coordinator Dave Christensen - and a terrible play by redshirt sophomore safety Jeremy Clark. Clark had no idea what to do and got caught up in the wash of a couple offensive linemen releasing downfield, rather than trying to get on top of Poole's route to slow him down. Overall, though, Michigan held Utah to 286 total yards (6 more than they allowed to Notre Dame), one offensive touchdown, and 13 first downs. Utah averaged 2.2 yards/carry as a team, including just 3.7 yards/carry by the running backs. If you told me before the game that Michigan would hold Utah to just one offensive touchdown and four field goals, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.

Are injuries a problem? I feel like injuries are a problem. I know every team goes through injuries, but it seems that Michigan's star player(s) get hurt every year. Devin Funchess got hurt in the second game and was still limping around in this one with an ankle injury that may linger for a while. Starting tight end Jake Butt is playing less than the ideal number of snaps because of his ACL recovery. Jabrill Peppers got hurt in week one, missed the Notre Dame game, and seemed to disappear for a stretch this game. Starting cornerback Raymon Taylor got hurt against the Fighting Irish and has yet to return. Both guys who were presumed to start at safety - Jarrod Wilson and Delano Hill - have missed extended time due to injuries. "Starting" linebacker Desmond Morgan has missed the last couple games, too. I would not say that the Wolverines have been devastated by injuries, but they aren't at full speed, either.

Derrick Green, you are not Darren Sproles. You are a 220 lb. former high school offensive guard. Run like it. I like that you have learned to pick up your feet in traffic, and I like that you are improving your vision. What I do not like is you tiptoeing through a hole on a straight-ahead run, getting planted on your butt by cornerback Tevin Carter, or running out of bounds when you have the choice to truck a defensive back or two. They say discretion is the better part of valor, but they also say "More yards good, less yards bad."

Derrick Green, you might be Darren Sproles. After years of eschewing passes to anyone other than Vincent Smith, the tailbacks finally got a chance to be involved in the passing game. Derrick Green had 2 catches - including a one-hander - for 26 yards, and Justice Hayes had 2 for 25. I don't think Green has the ability to become the next Eric Metcalf or Larry Centers, but Doug Nussmeier showing a willingness to throw to the running backs might set up other plays in the future.

What's Devin Gardner's problem? If I knew how to fix Gardner, I wouldn't be writing this here blog post. But as a blogger, it's my job to pretend I know.

  1. Gardner has an inherent - or coached - fixation on whoever his favorite target is from year to year. In 2012 it was Jeremy Gallon. In 2013 it was Jeremy Gallon. This year it's Funchess. Gardner locks onto his favorite receiver too quickly, and he throws to him even when he's well covered. This results in some amazing catches that make us think Gardner, Gallon, and Funchess are awesome. It also leads to lots of interceptions.
  2. Gardner has played for two coordinators who don't understand him. Both Nussmeier and Al Borges call too many play action waggles because they like to run the ball with lots of people stacked inside. Meanwhile, Gardner turns his back to the defense without having a good understanding of what's going on behind him, and it cuts the field in half. He generally keeps the ball or dumps it over the head of the unfoolable outside contain man to a fullback or tight end in the flat. Michigan has I-formation or under center tendencies with a quarterback - in my opinion - who should be running a pro-style shotgun/pistol offense the majority of the time.
  3. Michigan has yet to develop a solid complementary receiver to Funchess. Darboh is not a great route runner. Jehu Chesson does not have great ball skills. Dennis Norfleet seems comfortable only on bubble screens and swing passes. Jake Butt has been hurt. In yesterday's game, the big-play guy for Utah was Dres Anderson, but quarterback Travis Wilson was just as comfortable going to possession guy Kenneth Scott on any given play.
  4. The offensive line and defensive coordinators are in his head. Much like what we expected, the interior offensive line has improved its pass protection and blitz pickups, but the young/inexperienced offensive tackles are barely treading water. If any defensive coordinator fails to run an edge blitz on a critical down, it's probably because he feels sorry for Ben Braden and Mason Cole. Gardner's internal clock is screwed up because of it, so he spooks early.
How about a spread punt? No? Okay. We didn't need to tackle that Kaelin Clay guy, anyway.

To all the people who looked sideways at me in Friday's preview: thppppppppppppppbt. Some of you automatically assumed that Michigan would blow out Utah, and I have no idea why. Yes, their oodles of points in the first two games came against crappy opponents, but Michigan scored 52 and 34 points against crappy opponents. Utah has a solid blitzing defense and a capable, fast-paced offense. I think a lot of fans are falling prey to the whole "This is Michigan" mindset without looking at what's happening between the lines.

Minnesota is a threat. Every team is a threat now. There are no "gimme" games on the schedule. Minnesota, Rutgers, Indiana, Northwestern, Maryland, they're all capable of beating Michigan. If you are not absolutely terrible on defense, Michigan might not be able to get into the red zone. I do think things will improve because I believe in Doug Nussmeier, and Devin Gardner improved throughout the 2013 season as well. Like the Notre Dame game, Michigan outgained the opponent (308 to 286) but couldn't find the consistency to put together a touchdown drive. At some point the plays will come together consistently enough to put offensive touchdowns on the board against decent teams, but if Brady Hoke wants to keep his job, it has to happen soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Some pictures to make you feel better

Well, that was ugly. Here are some good looking ladies to make us all feel slightly better, including a mesmerizing gif.

Visitors: Michigan vs. Utah

Donnie Corley
Deshawn Baker-Williams - DT - Westland (MI) John Glenn: Baker-Williams is a 6'4", 300 lb. prospect who committed to Central Michigan in June. That was and is his only offer so far.

Brian Cole - WR - Saginaw (MI) Heritage: Cole recently was awarded his Under Armour All-American jersey (LINK), although he was suspended for Heritage's most recent game after receiving two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties last game. He is committed to Michigan.

Jack Dunaway - DE - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Dunaway, a teammate of Alex Malzone's, is a 6'3", 212 lb. prospect who recently committed to be a walk-on at Michigan. His father was a tight end at Michigan in the mid-1980's.

Alex Malzone - QB - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: On Friday night, Malzone went 14/20 for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 28-21 win over Shane Morris's old team, the Warren (MI) De La Salle Pilots. He is committed to Michigan.

Jalen Martin - WR - Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park Academy: Martin is a 6'1", 192 lb. prospect with offers from Akron, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #65 wide receiver, and #390 overall. He attends the alma mater of former Michigan wide receiver Csont'e York.

Jon Runyan, Jr. - OG - Philadelphia (PA) St. Joseph's: Runyan, Jr. committed to Michigan in June 2013 (LINK).

Mike Weber - RB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Weber sat out last night's 50-0 win over Detroit (MI) Douglass. He is committed to Michigan.

Hit the jump for 2016, 2017, and 2018(!) visitors.

Welcome to the Weekend!

Start your weekend off properly with a gallery of good looking ladies, including an Arianny Celeste gif.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grantland: What is the NFL's "Corner 3"?

Robert Mays looks at what NFL play might be as efficient as a three from the corner in the NBA (LINK).

Hit the jump for a girl running up some stairs, a girl in some shorts, and a bikini.

Preview: Michigan vs. Utah

Rush Offense vs. Utah Rush Defense
Michigan has taken a step forward this season and comes into this game #30 in rushing (242 yards/game) and tied for #14 in yards per carry (6.26). Of course, the best performances have come against Appalachian State and Miami, but most teams have played a patsy or two by now. Leading the pack is sophomore Derrick Green (332 yards, 6.6 yards/carry, 3 touchdowns), who put the rushing game on his back last weekend. Backup De'Veon Smith (189, 7.9, 2) has also been effective at times, but has some athletic limitations. The offensive line has improved with the return of Graham Glasgow, who has taken over the right guard position from Kyle Kalis. Utah is #39 against the run and #22 in rushing average against (2.79 yards/carry), but they have yet to play a quality opponent in their two games. The Utes' leading tacklers are senior safety Eric Rowe, redshirt junior linebacker Jared Norris (6'2", 237 lbs.), and senior defensive end Nate Orchard (6'4", 255 lbs.). Walk-on defensive tackle Clint Shepard (6'2", 276 lbs.) has made some plays in the backfield, but is obviously undersized. The Utes run a base 4-2-5 defense that might leave them a little undersized against a decent sized offensive line and a couple running backs who are 220+ pounds.
Advantage: Michigan

Hit the jump for the remainder of the preview.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

MLive: Hoke - "Hopefully those boos were at me"

Michigan fans let some boos rain down last Saturday before Michigan pulled away for the victory (LINK).

Hit the jump for three pictures of good looking women, plus a GoPro video of a girl during and after her workout.

Video: Brian Cole receives his Under Armour jersey

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Larry Foote

Larry Foote (#17)
Larry Foote - who seemed on the verge of retirement - is now starting at inside linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals, and he's doing a pretty good job there. In their 25-14 win over the New York Giants, he had 8 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 pass breakup. That's his second straight game with 8 tackles and a pass breakup, and he added the pick this week. That's a great start to the 2014 season. In that same game, teammate Kenny Demens made 2 tackles on special teams and forced a fumble.

Honorable mention: Carolina Panther wide receiver Jason Avant caught 5 passes for 54 yards and a touchdown in a 24-7 win over the Detroit Lions. Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall made 6 tackles, 1 interception, and 2 pass breakups in a 24-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Oakland Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson made 8 tackles, but they lost to the Houston Texans, 30-14.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grantland: Need for Speed

Bill Barnwell looks at the fastest teams in the NFL - and whether that even matters (LINK).

Hit the jump for two girls in bikinis and some underboob.

Recruiting Update: September 17, 2014

Cincinnati (OH) Elder offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer
Cincinnati (OH) Elder offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'5", 305 lb. prospect with offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, and Tennessee, among others. He's an early 247 Composite 5-star, the #4 offensive tackle, and #18 overall. Kraemer has pretty good feet and overall technique, and he looks like a tackle at the next level. He's not a mauler but he gets the job done and reminds me a little of Erik Magnuson. The relationship between Michigan and Kraemer has reportedly been somewhat strained. He didn't want to visit Michigan without having an offer, and the coaches don't like to offer regional prospects (Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, etc.) who don't show their interest by visiting. It appears that the coaches have ceded their position a little bit for the #18 player in the class, and he is considering a visit for the game against Penn State.

Hyattsville (MD) DeMatha offensive tackle J.P. Urquidez was offered by Michigan. Urquidez is a 6'6", 299 lb. prospect with offers from Baylor, Florida State, LSU, Maryland, Penn State, Texas, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #15 offensive tackle, and #164 overall. Urquidez looks like a guard to me, because he doesn't have the best feet. He does have a good initial punch and could play right tackle, too. He moved to Maryland from Texas, so any regional allegiance to the east coast may be non-existent.

Memphis (TN) University School offensive tackle Drew Richmond committed to Ole Miss. Richmond tweeted out that Ohio State will always be #1 in his heart, but he chose Ole Miss instead. He's headed to the same school as LaQuon Treadwell. You may be able to draw your own conclusions.

Here's the list of visitors from the Miami-OH game (LINK).

You can check out the Recruit Tracker posts (LINK), which give updates on Michigan's current commits in the 2015 and 2016 classes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MGoBlue: Miller talks family, reveals meaning behind tattoos

Here's a background story on Michigan redshirt junior center Jack Miller (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few good looking ladies.

Recruit Tracker: Brian Cole

Brian Cole
September 12, 2014: Heritage lost to Midland (MI) Dow by a score of 56-6. Cole sat out the first quarter for disciplinary reasons and got two unsportsmanlike penalties once he entered the game. That required an ejection and will result in a one-game suspension. Prior to being ejected, he had 3 carries for 19 yards, 1 tackle, 1 kickoff return for 15 yards, and a 62-yard punt. Heritage is now 1-2.

September 5, 2014: Heritage lost to Flint (MI) Powers Catholic by a score of 32-2. Cole had 8 carries for 31 yards, 7 tackles, 1 extra point block, and 1 tackle for loss that resulted in a safety. Heritage is now 1-1.

August 28, 2014: Cole's Saginaw (MI) Heritage team beat Saginaw (MI) Arthur Hill by a score of 28-6. Cole had 11 carries for 114 yards and 1 touchdown; 2 receptions for 56 yards and 1 touchdown; 4 tackles, 1 interception (returned 30 yards for 1 touchdown), and 1 fumble recovery; and 3 punt returns for 122 yards. Heritage is now 1-0.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Josh Furman (#14) had 2 sacks this week
Former DT Richard Ash: Ash had 2 tackles in Western Michigan's 45-33 win over Idaho.

Former TE commit Pharaoh Brown: Brown had 4 catches for 46 yards in Oregon's 48-14 victory over Wyoming.

Former CB commit Gareon Conley: Conley had 1 tackle as Ohio State beat Kent State by a score of 66-0.

Former CB commit Dallas Crawford: In Miami's 41-20 win over Arkansas State, Crawford had 5 tackles from his safety position.

Former S Joshua Furman: Furman had 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 pass breakup in Oklahoma State's 43-13 victory over the University of Texas-San Antonio. He's been impressing as a starting outside linebacker for the Cowboys.

Former RB commit Demetrius Hart: Hart's Colorado State team beat UC-Davis by a score of 49-21. Hart had 8 carries for 38 yards, 3 catches for 34 yards, and 2 punt returns for 4 yards.

Former RB Thomas Rawls: For undisclosed reasons, Rawls did not play in Central Michigan's 40-3 loss to Syracuse. UPDATE: Rawls allegedly was involved in stealing a purse at a casino and subsequently using the stolen credit card to buy gasoline and sub sandwiches.

Former head coach Rich Rodriguez: Arizona eked out a 35-28 win over Nevada, which moves the Wildcats to 3-0. Anu Solomon completed 22/26 passes for 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Running back Nick Wilson had his second straight performance of 170+ rushing yards, with 28 carries for 174 yards and 2 scores.

Former S Ray Vinopal: In Pitt's 42-25 win over Florida International, Vinopal had 3 tackles and 1 quarterback hurry.

Former CB commit Adrian Witty: Witty had 3 tackles in Cincinnati's 58-34 win over Toledo.

Former WR Csont'e York: York has enrolled as a student at Toledo, but he is not yet a part of the football program. I imagine he will play football at some point unless the court throws the book at him for the assault that got him kicked out of Michigan.

Monday, September 15, 2014

MLive: Utah, by the numbers

Michigan has a formidable opponent coming to town in the form of the Utah Utes (LINK).

Hit the jump for some good looking ladies, including a patriotic woman with a nice derriere.

Highlights: Michigan 34, Miami-OH 10

Michigan vs. Miami-OH Awards

Derrick Green
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Derrick Green. He saw plenty of action this past Saturday, but he looked pretty darn good. Green ended the game with 22 carries for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns. Granted, Michigan has played two patsies so far in the form of Appalachian State and Miami, but Green is on pace for 200 carries, 1,228 yards, and 12 touchdowns. That pace won't hold up, but he showed nifty feet and improved vision from the past couple weeks. He also got stronger as the game went on and started to run through some tackles. I was okay with the distribution of carries in this game, but it seems like Green is separating himself from De'Veon Smith. On a side note, Smith's body language suggested to me that he is none too happy about playing second fiddle to Green. I think that dynamic may be interesting to watch as their careers develop.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Amara Darboh. I only say this because I want Devin Funchess back on the field. Darboh is a complementary receiver, and while he led Michigan in receptions and yardage, he just looks raw in several ways - route running, running after the catch, etc. He will improve over time, just like Jehu Chesson did last year, but Darboh's not ready to be a featured receiver.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Blake Countess at nickel corner. My current feeling on the cornerback situation is that Michigan needs guys on the outside who can play press coverage, like Jourdan Lewis, Jabrill Peppers, and perhaps Raymon Taylor. It's tougher to play press man on slot receivers because of their alignment and such, so perhaps Countess would be better off inside.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Delonte Hollowell. Hollowell didn't play a lot against Miami, but he played enough to get beaten for another touchdown on an out route. That's the second week in a row, and teams are probably going to continue to test him out there. He's best deployed as a special teamer, and he just doesn't have the quickness to be effective at corner, in my opinion.

Play of the game . . . Jake Butt's 29-yard touchdown catch. On a fake tunnel screen, Butt hit the corner and then turned upfield. Miami's secondary bit on the pump fake, and Gardner's pass was a wee bit too far. Butt was able to tip it to himself and jog into the endzone with no RedHawks in sight. That was the first time Michigan has shown the play so far, and they probably would have liked to have saved it for later in the year against a more formidable opponent, but Michigan was up just 17-10 at the time and it helped the Wolverines pull away.

MVP of the game . . . Derrick Green. There aren't many choices here on a team that was missing several key players - safety Jarrod Wilson, wide receiver Devin Funchess, and cornerback Raymon Taylor - and couldn't put away a MAC team on an 18-game losing streak. The Wolverines had some trouble getting open, protecting Gardner in the pocket, and getting Gardner on the edge, so Green's running was a big key in helping Michigan pull away in the second half.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MLive: Critical questions remain after win over Miami-OH

Nick Baumgardner says that critical questions remain for the Wolverines after the unfulfilling win over Miami (LINK).

Hit the jump for three good looking women.

Recruit Tracker: Alex Malzone

Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice
quarterback Alex Malzone
Stats through 3 games: 47/79 passing, 814 yards, 10 touchdowns, 1 interception

October 3, 2014: Malzone went 29/42 for 419 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brother Rice beat Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's by a score of 28-20.

September 12, 2014: Malzone was 20/36 for 338 yards and 4 touchdowns in Brother Rice's 28-7 win over Pickerington (OH) North. Brother Rice is now 3-0.

September 5, 2014: Malzone went 7/9 for 113 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception in Brother Rice's 31-7 win over Toledo (OH) St. John's Jesuit. Brother Rice is now 2-0.

August 30, 2014: Malzone was 20/34 for 363 yards and 4 touchdowns, including an 80-yarder to Grant Perry, in Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice's 40-34 win over Chicago (IL) Brother Rice. Malzone's team is now 1-0.

Michigan 34, Miami-OH 10

Derrick Green (image via 247Sports.com)
That was too close. The final score said 34-10, but it was 10-10 in the second quarter, 17-10 at halftime, and Michigan didn't get separation until tight end Jake Butt caught a touchdown pass with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter. The offense was inconsistent once again. The Wolverines had 460 yards of total offense to Miami's 198, which should indicate a whooping. But Devin Gardner threw an interception through the hands of Jehu Chesson, Amara Darboh fumbled, and the kickoff return team botched a short kick, all in the second quarter. Maybe the Wolverines were still in shell-shock from last week's 31-0 loss, but Miami was on an 18-game losing streak and gave Michigan a scare. This game won't do much to alleviate the pressure on Brady Hoke.

We have running back answers? Derrick Green was the workhorse back on Saturday afternoon with 22 carries, 137 yards (6.2 yards/carry), and 2 touchdowns. Michigan had a stretch in the second half where they needed to run the ball and take some pressure off of quarterback Devin Gardner, which they did. Green was the guy they looked to, and he produced. The offensive line also did a decent job of opening up some holes, but Green seemed to find the creases that he missed last week. He showed some nifty feet and decent burst, and he started to run through some tacklers. He also had zero negative-yardage plays. Meanwhile, De'Veon Smith had 9 carries for 44 yards (4.9 yards/carry), and while he can still power through some tackles, his speed on a couple outside zone plays was once again lacking. Third down back Justice Hayes had 5 carries for 24 yards, and that's a fitting role for him.

Big plays are lacking without Devin Funchess. Devin Funchess missed the game due to the injury he suffered late in the Notre Dame contest, and it's unclear whether he'll be back next week or not. Michigan's receivers seemed to struggle getting separation from Miami's secondary at times, and I don't see anyone who can stretch the field or gain yards after the catch consistently. Jehu Chesson has some speed, Amara Darboh has the strength and decent size, and Dennis Norfleet has the ability to run after the catch, but nobody has all those qualities rolled into one. Darboh (6 catches, 88 yards, 1 touchdown) appears to be Gardner's go-to guy without Funchess available. The longest plays on the day were a 29-yard touchdown pass to Jake Butt and 27-yard runs by Green and backup quarterback Shane Morris.

I like Michigan's corners. Jabrill Peppers (3 tackles) played quite a bit on the outside, and while he looked raw in some aspects of coverage, he clearly has the speed, strength, and hips to be a very good corner. It's just a matter of time with him. Jourdan Lewis (1 interception) also looked like a good man coverage guy, which we already knew. They both seemed to get a little more playing time than Blake Countess, although I could be wrong about that. Once Raymon Taylor comes back, I think Michigan will be in good shape. Miami quarterback Andrew Hendrix was completing 48% of his passes but for 338 yards/game coming into this one, and he finished 12/26 for 165 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 pick.

Where's the pass rush? Michigan is getting some pressure on quarterbacks, but they're not getting home. Brennen Beyer got Michigan's lone sack on Saturday, basically by outworking Miami right tackle Collin Buchanan - who had 3 false starts on the day, if I remember correctly. Michigan didn't roll out the exotic blitzes they showed against Notre Dame, but they didn't sit back and rush four defensive linemen all day, either. The Wolverines just aren't beating guys off the line like you think they would once in a while. The pass rush improved as the 2013 season wore on, so hopefully that becomes the case once again. The Wolverines have just 4 sacks in three games this year.

The run defense still looks good. Miami isn't a good running team, but Michigan did well against Notre Dame on the ground and held Miami to 33 yards on 24 carries (1.4 yards/carry). The defensive linemen aren't getting a ton of penetration, but they're not losing ground, and the linebackers are doing a good job of cleaning up behind them. Joe Bolden even made a nice pass breakup on a post route, which is probably the first time I can say that during his career. The linebackers are pretty solid all-around.

WHY, JEHU CHESSON II, WHY?!?!?! When he got his hands on the Shane Morris pass in the endzone that would have made it 37-10 (before the extra point), I really thought my score prediction of 38-10 was going to come true. Chesson must read my blog - and he must not be a fan - because he made the Wolverines settle for a field goal that made it 34-10.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

MLive: Braylon Edwards says Michigan football lacks identity

The (too) outspoken Braylon Edwards has some opinions on Michigan football and Brady Hoke (LINK).

Hit the jump for some girls in two-pieces (which is not the same as "girls in two pieces," which would be gross).

Visitors: Michigan vs. Miami-OH

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech cornerback Lavert Hill
Brian Cole - WR - Saginaw (MI) Heritage*

Jack Dunaway - DE - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice

Tyree Kinnel - S - Huber Heights (OH) Wayne*

Darrin Kirkland, Jr. - LB - Indianapolis (IN) Warren Central*

Alex Malzone - QB - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice*

Grant Perry - WR - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice

Michael Weber - RB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech*

Lavert Hill - CB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech#

Joshua Jackson - QB - Saline (MI) Saline

Michael Onwenu - DT - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech#

Justin Rigg - TE - Springboro (OH) Springboro

Eric Rogers - LB  - Warren (MI) De La Salle

Dylan Stackhouse - LB - Oak Park (MI) Oak Park

Johnathan Berghorst - DE - Zeeland (MI) East

Carter Dunaway - TE - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice

Rodney Hall - QB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech

Donovan Peoples-Jones - WR - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech

Joshua Ross - LB - Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's#

*Committed to Michigan
#Offered by Michigan

Friday, September 12, 2014

Welcome to the Weekend!

Start your weekend off with a cadre of quality (looking) women.

MLive: Ask Nick - Michigan's struggles and the appearance of a lack of speed

Nick Baumgardner answers some questions about the current state of Michigan football (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few good looking ladies.

Attractive Michigan Girl of the Week

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

Preview: Michigan vs. Miami-OH

I don't understand this picture.
Rush Offense vs. Miami Rush Defense
Michigan ran roughshod over Appalachian State, but they had a little more trouble against Notre Dame (35 carries, 100 yards). Redshirt junior Graham Glasgow returned from suspension to play right guard, and the rest of the line will likely stay the same. Sophomore Derrick Green has some vision issues but leads the team with 195 yards on 28 carries (7.0 yards/carry). Fellow sophomore De'Veon Smith (15 carries, 145 yards, 9.7 yards/carry) can break tackles but lacks breakaway speed, and he is reportedly a little gimpy right now. Miami is #56 against the run after games against Marshall and Eastern Kentucky, giving up 3.7 yards/carry. Leading tackler Kent Kern is a 6'1", 238 lb. inside linebacker with 23 tackles and 3 tackles for loss. Redshirt sophomore ophomore defensive end J'Terius Jones (6'3", 245 lbs.) has 11 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. The defensive tackles are 6'5", 288 lb. Mitchell Winters and 6'2", 285 lb. Jimmy Rousher, who have combined for 8 tackles and 0 tackles for loss. Coming off a standout rushing performance against Appalachian State and at least a decent showing against Notre Dame, Michigan should be able to handle Miami's front with a little trouble from Kern.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Offense vs. Miami Pass Defense
Michigan looked great passing the ball for the first 1.5 games of the season. The second half of last Saturday's game against Notre Dame was a horror show. So far Devin Gardner is completing 70% of his passes for 362 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Notre Dame threw a barrage of blitzes at him, and Michigan's offensive line couldn't handle them. Star wide receiver Devin Funchess has caught 16 passes (out of 35 team completions) for 202 yards and all 3 of the team's receiving touchdowns. The Wolverines have several other solid options in Jehu Chesson (5 catches, 52 yards), Amara Darboh (3 for 49), and Dennis Norfleet (6 for 46), plus the return of budding tight end Jake Butt from a torn ACL. Miami is tied for #13 nationally with 7 sacks, including 2 each from Kern and Jones. They're still #76 against the pass (230 yards/game) and #99 in passer rating defense. Their lone interception comes from fifth year senior cornerback Quinten Rollins, who played point guard for the RedHawks for four years before joining the football team in the spring. Rollins led the MAC in steals last season and could be just as dangerous on the football field. Also in the secondary is sophomore cornerback Heath Harding (3 interceptions last season) and nickel corner Lo Wood, a transfer from Notre Dame.

Rush Defense vs. Miami Rush Offense
Michigan gives up a little under 104 yards/game (#36 nationally) and 3.1 yards/carry (#38). The Wolverines had some trouble against Appalachian State in the opener, but Notre Dame did not run the ball well with a talented stable of running backs. Despite the absence of injured run-stopper Desmond Morgan, Michigan's linebackers improved in week two and the defensive linemen held their ground well. The Wolverines have been running a lot of 4-2-5 nickel looks, and linebackers Joe Bolden (15 tackles) and Jake Ryan (14 tackles) lead the way. Defensive tackles Ryan Glasgow, Ondre Pipkins, and Willie Henry all played pretty well last week. The RedHawks have been a pass-happy football team, so the running game isn't much of a threat. The leading rushers are sophomore Spencer McInnis (5'9", 196 lbs.) and junior Spencer Treadwell (5'10", 208 lbs.), who have combined for 21 carries, 101 yards, and 0 touchdowns in two games. Senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix (6'2", 221 lbs.) has 36 carries (only 9 of which have been sacks) for just 7 total yards. The offensive line averages 305 lbs., so they are not small, but Michigan should have both a quickness and strength advantage up front.

Pass Defense vs. Miami Pass Offense
Michigan is #36 in passing yardage defense and #68 in passer rating defense. They did a very good job against Appalachian State in week one, but Notre Dame's offense was clicking last week, and they completed a lot of quick throws. The Wolverines have failed to make any interceptions, and they have 4 pass breakups so far. Senior cornerback Raymon Taylor is questionable for this week with a knee injury suffered against Notre Dame, freshman Jabrill Peppers injured his ankle against Appalachian State, and redshirt junior Blake Countess had a rough week last week. Defensive tackle Chris Wormley and defensive ends Brennen Beyer and Taco Charlton each have a sack, and while Michigan got a decent pass rush last week, they couldn't get to the quarterback before Everett Golson got the ball off. Meanwhile, Miami is #18 in passing yardage (338 yards/game) but #107 in passer rating, so they throw the ball a lot but not very well. Quarterback Andrew Hendrix - another Notre Dame transfer - has completed 48.5% of his passes for 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The leading receiver is 6'0", 180 lb. David Frazier, who has 13 catches for 215 yards (16.5 yards/catch) but zero touchdowns, and second is 6'1", 204 lb. sophomore Rokeem Williams, who averages 22.7 yards/catch (9 catches, 204 yards). Slot receiver Jared Murphy, at 5'10" and 180 lbs., also averages over 16 yards/catch. Senior tight end Alex Welch, formerly of the Fighting Irish, is a 6'4", 247 lb. target with 6 catches for 51 yards and a score.

Roster Notes
  • Michigan recruited QB Andrew Hendrix, TE Alex Welch, and CB Lo Wood
  • Redshirt freshman QB Tom Tupa is the son of former Ohio State and NFL quarterback/punter Tom Tupa
  • Redshirt junior RB Spencer Treadwell is the son of Don Treadwell, former head coach at Miami-OH, and the brother of Blake Treadwell, former offensive lineman at Michigan State
  • Players from the state of Michigan include OL Collin Buchanan (Southfield), LB Brad Koenig (Ann Arbor Pioneer), RB Spencer McInnis (Orchard Lake St. Mary's), LB Grant Niemiec (Orchard Lake St. Mary's), RB Spencer Treadwell (East Lansing)
  • Head coach Chuck Martin is the former head coach at Grand Valley State University, as well as the former offensive coordinator at Notre Dame
  • Miami's running backs coach is former Notre Dame running back Autry Denson
  • Defensive line coach Corey Brown - no relation to the Ohio State duo of the same name - was a starting defensive tackle for Iowa in the late 1990's
  • Graduate assistant Israel Woolfork is not related to former Michigan defensive back Troy Woolfolk

Last Time They Met . . .
  • Michigan is 5-0 all-time against Miami-OH, including a 16-6 win in 2008 under head coach Rich Rodriguez, his first win at Michigan
  • Sam McGuffie was Michigan's leading rusher with 17 carries for 74 yards
  • Brandon Minor carried the ball once for a 15-yard touchdown, Steve Threet had a 9-yard touchdown run, and kicker K.C. Lopata hit two field goals
  • Nick Sheridan and Steve Threet combined to go 10/18 for 103 yards and 0 passing touchdowns
  • Brandon Harrison and John Thompson led the team with 8 tackles each
  • Brandon Graham, Terrance Taylor, and Mike Martin each had a sack

  • Michigan's defense tries to make a statement. They get 3 sacks and 2 interceptions.
  • Michigan runs for 220 yards.
  • Shane Morris plays the whole fourth quarter.
  • Michigan 38, Miami-OH 10