Thursday, October 31, 2013

MLive: Michigan State personal for Fitzgerald Toussaint

Fitzgerald Toussaint said some fightin' words about MSU. Uh-oh.

Hit the jump for a good looking lady in a black outfit of sorts.

Poll results: Who will be Michigan's leading tackler in 2013?

Desmond Morgan (#48) and James Ross III (#15) are the top two tacklers so far.
Prior to the season, I asked which player would lead Michigan in tackles. So far the voting has been pretty accurate for the leader, although cornerback Raymon Taylor - whom I didn't even put on the list - is close to the lead with 44 total takedowns.

James Ross III: 56%
After seven games, Ross has 50 total tackles.

Desmond Morgan: 27%
Morgan has 47 tackles at this point.

Joe Bolden: 6%
Bolden has 23 tackles as the main backup inside linebacker.

Thomas Gordon: 3%
T. Gordon sits at 25 tackles.

Cameron Gordon: 2%
C. Gordon has just 13 tackles right now.

Brennen Beyer: 1%
Beyer has made 18 tackles through seven contests.

Other: 1%
The "other 1%" have made 257 tackles altogether.

Blake Countess: 0%
Countess is the third-leading tackler among defensive backs with 27.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Grantland: College Football, Week 9 - You Wanna Live Forever?

Holly Anderson runs down the ninth week of college football.

Hit the jump for a sweaty girl.

Class of 2013 Redshirts

Derrick Green (#27) carries the ball against Central Michigan
Here's an updated list of the freshmen who have played thus far in 2013 and the freshmen who are on pace to redshirt. Offensive guard Kyle Bosch, who is expected to start at left guard against Michigan State, is the most recent addition to the first list.

OG Kyle Bosch
TE Jake Butt
DE Taco Charlton
LB Ben Gedeon
RB Derrick Green
S Delano Hill
WR Da'Mario Jones
CB Jourdan Lewis
QB Shane Morris
RB De'Veon Smith
CB Channing Stribling
S Dymonte Thomas
WR Csont'e York

OG David Dawson
FS Reon Dawson
CB Ross Douglas
WR Jaron Dukes
OT Chris Fox
TE Khalid Hill
DT Maurice Hurst, Jr.
C Patrick Kugler
LB Mike McCray
DT Henry Poggi
OG Dan Samuelson
FB Wyatt Shallman
LS Scott Sypniewski
OT Logan Tuley-Tillman

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grantland: The Architect - Art Briles and Baylor

Chris Brown from Smart Football  profiles the improvements that Art Briles has made to Baylor's football program.

Hit the jump to find Ellie Gonzalves smiling at you.

2013 High School Butkus Award Watch List

Michael Ferns
The 2013 High School Butkus Award Semi-Finalists were released, and there are a number of familiar names on the list. All of the following players have been offered by Michigan:

Kyle Berger - LB - Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius: Committed to Ohio State
Dante Booker - LB - Akron (OH) St. Vincent-St. Mary: Committed to Ohio State
Michael Ferns - LB - St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville: Committed to Michigan
Nyles Morgan - LB - Crete (IL) Monee: Undecided
Dwight Williams - LB - Junipero (CA) Gardena Serra: Undecided

Poll results: Which school record from the Indiana game is most impressive?

Apopka (FL) Apopka quarterback Jeremy Gallon has turned into a
record-setting receiver
Jeremy Gallon's 369 receiving yards: 79%
This was my vote, too. You just don't see guys get this many receiving yards, even in the pass-happy modern era. Calvin Johnson had 329 yards in the Lions' Sunday win over the Dallas Cowboys, so clearly, Gallon is better than Megatron.

Michigan's 751 total yards on offense: 8%
This is a crap ton of yards.

Devin Gardner's 503 passing yards: 7%
The rest of the top five:
2. John Navarre, 389 yards (Iowa, 2003)
3. Tom Brady, 375 yards (Ohio State, 1998)
4. Chad Henne, 373 yards (Florida, 2007)
5. Scott Dreisbach, 372 yards (Virginia, 1995)

Devin Gardner's 584 total yards: 4%
It's tough to imagine a quarterback putting up many more yards unless he's running a hurry-up offenses that maximizes the number of plays.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Grantland: Boring Old Unbeatable A.J. McCarron

A.J. McCarron isn't the flashiest quarterback in the country, but Brady Hoke wants to emulate Alabama so hard.

Hit the jump for a girl lounging on the beach.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Former Michigan cornerback Greg Brown (pictured here from high school) is now at Iowa Central Community College
S/LB Isaiah Bell: Bell had 3 tackles and .5 tackles for loss in Lake Erie's 48-27 loss to Findlay.

CB Greg Brown: Brown did not ring up any statistics this past weekend, but for Iowa Central Community College this year, he has 29 tackles, 13 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and 1 touchdown on a 30-yard INT return.

TE Pharaoh Brown: Brown had 2 catches for 21 yards in Oregon's 42-14 win over UCLA.

CB Dallas Crawford: Crawford had 7 carries for 35 yards in Miami's close 27-24 win over Wake Forest.

S Vladimir Emilien: Emilien had 2 tackles and 1 tackle for loss in Toledo's 28-25 win over Bowling Green.

K Anthony Fera: Fera was 3/3 on field goals (from 36, 37, and 43) and 2/2 on extra points in Texas's 30-7 win over TCU.

K Matt Goudis: Goudis was 3/3 on extra points, made a field goal from 34 yards, and missed one from 40 yards. Miami won 27-24 over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

S Carvin Johnson: Johnson had 4 tackles and 1 pass breakup in Hampton's 30-7 win over the Delaware State Hornets.

LB Mike Jones: Jones had 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in Western Michigan's first win of the year, a 31-30 victory over UMass.

LB Kaleb Ringer: Ringer had 1 tackles in Ferris State's 30-27 win over Michigan Tech.

WR Jerald Robinson: Robinson had 3 catches for 44 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown, in Walsh University's 30-29 victory over Tiffin.

S Marvin Robinson: Robinson had 8 tackles in Ferris State's 30-27 win over Michigan Tech.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez: Rodriguez and his Arizona Wildcats beat Colorado by a score of 44-20. Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker ran for 192 yards on 15 carries without scoring a touchdown, but running back Ka'Deem Carey had 4 scores and 119 yards on the ground. Arizona is now 5-2 on the year.

WR Je'Ron Stokes: Stokes had 1 catch for 8 yards in Norfolk State's 27-24 loss to Old Dominion.

S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal had 6 tackles and 2 pass breakups in Pitt's 24-21 loss on a last-second field goal to Navy.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sports Illustrated: Oklahoma State Football - Part 3: The Drugs

Here's the third part of the series on Oklahoma State, this time on the alleged drug usage.

Hit the jump for Chrissy Teigen in a bikini smiling directly at you.

Attractive Michigan Girl of the Week: NSFW Michigan Girl

Hit the jump for a scantily clad Michigan fan. Make sure no children, wives, or bosses are around.

Poll results: Who will be Michigan's leading receiver?

This is a poll I took over the summer, prior to the season. Then things got busy and I didn't have a chance to post the results.

Who do you think Michigan's leading receiver will be in 2013? All statistics are through seven games.

Jeremy Gallon: 79%
Gallon took a pretty commanding lead with his 369-yard performance against Indiana, but as of now, he has 45 catches for 831 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Amara Darboh: 10%
Darboh suffered a foot injury shortly before the season began, has not played, and is expected to miss the rest of the year.

Devin Funchess: 3%
Funchess has 23 catches for 492 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was pushing Gallon for the lead, but now he's 339 yards behind.

Drew Dileo: 1% (6 votes)
Dileo has 8 catches for 99 yards and 1 touchdown. I expect him to catch a few more passes down the stretch, but he's obviously out of the running.

Jehu Chesson: 1% (5 votes)
Chesson's 7 catches for 98 yards and 1 touchdown aren't particularly impressive, but the physical skills are there to be a leading receiver someday. He needs to work on his hands and on adjusting to balls in the air.

Jeremy Jackson: 1% (4 votes)
Jackson has notched 5 catches for 53 yards.

Da'Mario Jones: 1% (4 votes)
Jones has yet to see time on offense, although he has played on special teams.

Joe Reynolds: 1% (4 votes)
Reynolds has 3 catches for 56 yards after being passed up for playing time by Chesson.

Csont'e York: 1% (4 votes)
York has played sparingly this season and has yet to make a catch.

Other: 0% (2 votes)
I don't know who else might have received a vote. Maybe Dennis Norfleet's parents stopped by to vote.

Jaron Dukes: 0% (0 votes)
Yeah, nobody voted for him.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sports Illustrated: Oklahoma State Football - Part 2: The Academics

Here's part two on Oklahoma State's alleged academic infractions.

Hit the jump for a girl using a computer.

Recruiting Update: October 24, 2013

Belmont (NC) South Point linebacker Tanner Muse
I haven't posted one of these updates in a while because, well, not a whole lot has been going on in the recruiting world. So here's an update that covers the last month and a half.

Belmont (NC) South Point linebacker Tanner Muse was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'3", 207 lb. prospect with offers from Clemson, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Northwestern, and Virginia, among others. He looks like he could play either SAM or MIKE for the Wolverines if he commits down the road. He's a very athletic kid who has plenty of room to fill out.

Philadelphia (PA) St. Joseph's Prep cornerback John Reid was offered by Michigan. He's a 5'10", 170 lb. prospect with offers from Arizona, Miami, Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, and West Virginia, among others. 247 Sports' Composite ranking places him as a 4-star, the #9 cornerback, and the #93 player overall. Reid is the teammate of offensive tackle commit Jon Runyan, Jr.

Phoenix (AZ) Mountain Pointe wide receiver Jalen Brown committed to Oregon on October 7. Brown visited Michigan over the summer, but Michigan's coaches kind of slow-played him and didn't give him the red carpet treatment. He left Ann Arbor feeling like they had other guys ahead of him on their list, so there was never really a shot of him committing to the Wolverines. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Arizona during his junior season.

Tampa (FL) Jefferson linebacker Juwuan Brown committed to South Florida all the way back in July, but it slipped past me. It's unclear whether he actually had an offer from Michigan at any time, but he wanted to stay close to home, anyway.

Arlington (TX) Martin defensive end Myles Garrett committed to Texas A&M on October 18. Garrett is slated to play in the Under Armour All-America game and is 247 Sports' Composite ranking's #16 player overall. He attends the alma mater of injured Michigan quarterback Russell Bellomy.

Fort Lauderdale (FL) American Heritage wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie committed to Notre Dame on October 19. Or he didn't. There are mixed reports. Either way, he's expected to commit to Notre Dame if he hasn't already.

El Cerrito (CA) El Cerrito cornerback Adarius Pickett committed to UCLA on September 3. 247 Sports' prognosticators picked him 100% for USC, but that didn't pan out so well. He never showed much interest in his Michigan offer.

Jacksonville (FL) Raines cornerback Lamont Simmons committed to Rutgers. Simmons stayed off the radar and is the country's #967 player overall, according to 247's Composite ranking.

Englewood (NJ) Dwight Morrow wide receiver Juwann Winfree committed to Maryland on September 27. Winfree mentioned several times that he had high interest in Michigan, but a visit never transpired. On a side note, Dwight Morrow was an American ambassador to Mexico during the Coolidge administration. You're welcome.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grantland: Thank You for Not Coaching, Week 7

Bill Barnwell runs down the best and worst NFL coaching moves of week seven.

Hit the jump for a girl in a bikini.

Sports Illustrated: Oklahoma State Football - Part 1: The Money

Here's the beginning of the SI report on Oklahoma State's alleged infractions.

Hit the jump for Giorgia Palmas wearing leg warmers.

Recruit Tracker: Jared Wangler

October 24, 2013: De La Salle beat Detroit (MI) Consortium by a score of 42-20. Wangler did not play due to an injured shoulder. De La Salle is now 5-4.

October 18, 2013: De La Salle lost to Novi (MI) Catholic Central by a score of 20-14. Wangler had 13 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery; on offense, he caught 6 passes for 30 yards. De La Salle is now 4-4.

October 11, 2013: De La Salle beat Detroit (MI) U of D Jesuit by a score of 49-7. Wangler had 6 tackles. De La Salle is now 4-3.

October 4, 2013: De La Salle beat Dearborn (MI) Fordson by a score of 36-0. Wangler had 4 receptions for 95 yards and 1 touchdown, plus 6 tackles on defense. De La Salle has shut out its last two opponents and is 3-3 on the year.

September 27, 2013: De La Salle beat Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's by a score of 7-0. Wangler had 5 tackles and 1 pass breakup in the game. De La Salle is now 2-3.

September 20, 2013: De La Salle lost to Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice by a score of 26-24. Wangler had 7 tackles and 1 sack, plus 9 receptions for 111 yards. De La Salle is now 1-3.

September 13, 2013: De La Salle beat Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park Academy by a score of 42-14. Wangler had 4 tackles and caught a 5-yard pass. De La Salle is now 1-2.

September 6, 2013: De La Salle suffered a forfeit loss. They are now 0-2.

August 31, 2013: Wangler's Warren (MI) De La Salle team lost to Toledo (OH) Central Catholic by a score of 21-14. Wangler had 13 tackles and 1 sack, plus 3 receptions for 16 yards on offense. De La Salle is 0-1 on the year.

Recruit Tracker: Brady Pallante

November 8, 2013: Barron Collier lost to Naples (FL) Lely by a score of 14-12. Barron Collier finishes the year 3-6-1.

November 1, 2013: Barron Collier lost to Naples (FL) Naples by a score of 30-14. Pallante had 3 tackles. Barron Collier is now 3-5-1 on the year.

October 18, 2013: Barron Collier lost to Estero (FL) Estero by a score of 35-31. Pallante had 8 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. Barron Collier is now 3-4-1 on the year.

October 4, 2013: Barron Collier lost to Palmetto (FL) Ridge by a score of 18-16. Pallante had 8 tackles in the game. Barron Collier is now 3-3-1 on the season.

September 27, 2013: Barron Collier lost to Fort Meyers (FL) Fort Meyers by a score of 34-12. Pallante had 12 solo tackles and a 31-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Barron Collier is 3-2-1 on the year.

September 20, 2013: Barron Collier lost to Immokalee (FL) Immokalee by a score of 26-3. Barron Collier is 3-1-1 on the year.

September 13, 2013: Barron Collier beat Naples (FL) Golden Gate by a score of 42-13. Pallante had 8 tackles and 1 sack. Barron Collier is 3-0-1 on the year.

September 6, 2013: Barron Collier fought Punta Gorda (FL) Charlotte to a 0-0 tie. Barron Collier is now 2-0-1.

August 30, 2013: Barron Collier beat Miami (FL) Braddock by a score of 50-6. Pallante had 13 tackles. Barron Collier is now 2-0.

August 23, 2013:
 Pallante's Naples (FL) Barron Collier team beat Englewood (FL) Lemon Bay by a score of 14-0. Barron Collier is 1-0 on the year.

2013 Midseason Awards

Devin Gardner
Offensive Player of the Midseason: Devin Gardner, QB. Gardner has had lots of ups and downs, but he has kept Michigan in some games - especially with his feet - when things looked like they were going south. So far this season, he's 107/175 passing for 1,779 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He is also second on the team in rushing with 520 yards on 95 carries (5.5 yards/carry) and 9 touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Midseason: Blake Countess, CB. Receivers have beaten Countess a couple times over the top, but unfortunately for them, the quarterback hasn't been able to hit them. Regardless, Countess is bouncing between cornerback and slot corner fairly well, coming in fifth in total tackles (27) with 2 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, and 3 more pass breakups; one of those picks was returned 72 yards for a touchdown against Minnesota.

MVP of the Midseason: Taylor Lewan, OT. Aside from being an outstanding pass blocker, Lewan has been a stellar run blocker as well. Of course, it doesn't show in the rushing statistics. But Michigan tries to run off left tackle or flip Lewan to the right side if they want to go right. The guy is tough and works hard, and I think his mentality helps the team almost as much as his physical skills.

Rookie of the Midseason: Jake Butt, TE.No freshmen are making a huge impact at this point, but tight end Jake Butt is quietly having a solid debut season with 7 receptions for 67 yards and some solid blocking. He has shown some nice body control in catching some low passes, but he probably has a couple jump ball-type passes he would like to have another chance to catch.

Coach of the Midseason: Mark Smith, linebackers coach. The linebackers might be the strongest unit on the team. Weakside linebacker James Ross leads the team with 50 tackles and has 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. Middle linebacker Desmond Morgan is second on the team with 47 tackles, adding 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, and 2 pass breakups. Morgan turned in a spectacular one-handed interception and 29-yard return against UConn. Meanwhile, converted defensive end Brennen Beyer (18 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks) has been splitting time with Cam Gordon (15 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks) at SAM linebacker while Jake Ryan (5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss) has been returning from his ACL tear. The SAM trio has combined for 31 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks, which are some pretty good numbers for the position.

Disappointing Player of the Midseason: Devin Gardner, QB. The hype for Gardner was off the charts in the off-season, with coaches, analysts, and players talking about how good he was going to be. At times Gardner has looked excellent (against Notre Dame, second half against Penn State, flashes in every game), but overall, the numbers and ball security have been unimpressive. With 10 interceptions and numerous fumbles after just six games, he's been extremely frustrating to watch if you're a Michigan fan.

Disappointing Coach of the Midseason: Al Borges, offensive coordinator. Borges, who doubles as the quarterbacks coach, has lacked creativity in his play calling recently. The Penn State game was extremely vanilla except for some odd unbalanced formations that included using poor blocking tight end A.J. Williams as a left tackle and generally running to the strength in some very obvious formations and situations. Borges has struggled to make his quarterback comfortable, and that has resulted in turnover after turnover. Overall, the team is averaging just 4.2 yards/carry, even though the most consistent rusher (Gardner) averages 5.5 yards/pop. Michigan's scoring average is good enough for #11 in the country, but the sky would be the limit if they had a consistent running threat aside from Gardner.

Game of the Midseason: Penn State. Michigan is yet to have a completely dominating performance where both the offense and the defense clicked. I refuse to choose the 59-9 win against Central Michigan, since both the starting running back and starting quarterback for the Chippewas were injured early in the game. The Penn State game was exciting for lots of wrong reasons (overtimes, missed field goals, blocked field goals, interceptions, big plays, etc.), but it was nonetheless exciting. Michigan lost 43-40 in four overtimes, unfortunately.

Play of the Midseason: Desmond Morgan's interception against UConn. Quite possibly the most exciting play of the year was Desmond Morgan's one-handed pick against the Connecticut Huskies. He got depth to get underneath a post route, leaped up, and pulled the ball down with his right hand. A 29-yard return ensued in which he showed some nice vision, if not some decent speed for a MIKE linebacker.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Grantland: College Football, Week 8 - The Fault in Our Footballs

Holly Anderson runs down the happenings of week eight of the college football season, although she fails to mention the BEST TEAM IN THE UNIVERSE, the 6-1 Michigan Wolverines. People these days . . .

Hit the jump for a girl in a blue bikini standing in front of some graffiti. You won't regret it. Hot 100 seniors - Anthony Barr of UCLA rises to the top

Gil Brandt looks at the top 100 prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft, including Taylor Lewan (#3) and Michael Schofield (#51).

Hit the jump for a girl.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Safety Marvin Robinson had 17 tackles for Ferris State
LB Isaiah Bell: Bell had 1 tackle and 1 pass breakup in Lake Erie's 55-50 loss to Malone.

CB Dallas Crawford: Crawford had a great game on Thursday night with 33 carries for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the game-winner against North Carolina on Thursday night. He also caught 2 passes for 17 yards in the 27-24 victory.

S Vladimir Emilien: Emilien had 2 tackles in Toledo's 45-44 win over Navy.

Defensive coordinator Ron English: English is now the head coach at Eastern Michigan, and the Screaming Eagles suffered a tragedy last week when junior wide receiver Demarius Reed was murdered. The Eagles lost 56-28 to Ohio. Former Detroit Tiger Mickey Tettleton's son Tyler had 375 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception for the Bobcats.

K Matt Goudis: Goudis was 2/3 on field goals (made from 20 and 22, missed from 43) and 3/3 on extra points in Miami's 27-24 victory over UNC.

S Carvin Johnson: Johnson had 11 tackles and 1 interception returned for 18 yards in Hampton's 27-17 win over Norfolk State.

WR/TE Ricardo Miller: Miller had 2 catches for 24 yards in UMass's 32-3 loss to Buffalo.

WR Jerald Robinson: Robinson had 2 catches for 36 yards in Walsh University's 14-6 loss to Ashland.

S Marvin Robinson: Robinson had 17 tackles and .5 tackles for loss in Ferris State's 45-38 loss to Hillsdale. He leads the team with 60 tackles and has 1 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 5 pass breakups.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez: Rodriguez's Arizona Wildcats beat Utah by a score of 35-24. Running back Ka'Deem Carey had 40 carries for 236 yards and 1 touchdown. Arizona is now 4-2 and got their first win in the Pac-12.

Defensive coordinator Scott Shafer: Shafer's Syracuse Orangemen got waxed by the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets, 56-0. Georgia Tech had 394 rushing yards, while Syracuse had just 208 total yards. Shafer is now 3-4 as their head coach.

CB Anthony Standifer: Standifer was dismissed from the Ole Miss football team for undisclosed reasons.

WR Je'Ron Stokes: Stokes had 1 punt return for 9 yards but did not catch a pass in Norfolk State's 27-17 loss to Hampton.

Defensive line coach Steve Stripling: Stripling, now at Tennessee, helped the Volunteers upset South Carolina in a 23-21 game.

S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal led the Pitt Panthers with 7 tackles and had 1 pass breakup and 1 interception returned for 20 yards in a 35-24 win over Old Dominion.

CB Adrian Witty: Witty started at free safety for Cincinnati and had 6 tackles and 1 pass breakup in their 41-16 win over UConn.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Grantland: College Football Midterm Shootaround

The writers at Grantland review the first half of the college football season.

Hit the jump for a jiggly gif.

Phil Steele's Midseason All-Big Ten Team

Jeremy Gallon and Devin Funchess were named by Phil Steele as some of the conference's best performers
Phil Steele released his Midseason All-Big Ten squad, and there are several Michigan performers on his list:

TE Devin Funchess
OT Taylor Lewan
CB Blake Countess

WR Jeremy Gallon

OT Michael Schofield
LB Desmond Morgan

Michigan vs. Indiana Awards

Devin Gardner passed for 503 yards and ran for 81, totaling 5 touchdowns.
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Erik Magnuson. Magnuson started at right guard on Saturday afternoon, and things went fairly well (248 team rushing yards, 7 touchdowns). His body still needs some work, but he's suited just fine for guard if Michigan is going to run a lot of spread looks. The left guard spot still looks questionable, but I thought Magnuson looked solid for Michigan's "new look" offense.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Jeremy Jackson. Slot receiver Drew Dileo appeared to have been injured and spent much of the game on the sideline with a headset (why does a slot receiver need a headset?), and Jackson stepped in with 2 catches for 23 yards. I have never been a fan of Jackson, largely because of his lack of speed. Here's hoping that Dileo comes back for the next game, because he's a superior target who can run a little bit after the catch.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Jourdan Lewis. Lewis played as a backup cornerback yesterday and ended the day with 5 solo tackles. He was beaten on a long pass, but the coverage was almost perfect. He also nearly had a pick on a late throw by Tre Roberson, tipping it into the hands of safety Thomas Gordon. Michigan might need not need him for a few weeks, but Lewis could be valuable against up-tempo teams like Northwestern.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Channing Stribling. Cornerback Stribling started the game because Michigan spent almost the entire day with at least five defensive backs, moving Blake Countess into the slot. It looked like Stribling blew a coverage on Indiana slot receiver Shane Wynn's 5-yard touchdown catch, and Stribling also got out-muscled and out-techniqued by Kofi Hughes on a 67-yard touchdown. Instead of leaping with his fingers up to get the ball at its highest point, Stribling tried to cradle the ball into his chest - a high school-level technique issue - and allowed Hughes to come over the top for a catch. The coaches seem to like Stribling more than Lewis, perhaps because of the difference in size and strength; but Lewis seems to be more ready for the speed of the college game.

Play of the game . . . Jeremy Gallon's first 70-yard catch. In an unbalanced set, quarterback Devin Gardner ran a play fake to the left. As he turned around, Indiana's backside end came bearing down on him, forcing Gardner to sidearm the throwback to Gallon. Gallon caught it in stride, came inside his block, dodged a couple tacklers, and started racing downfield. Meanwhile, center Graham Glasgow was almost stride for stride with Gallon for about 40 yards before finally realizing that he's supposed to be slow. Safety Greg Heban eventually chased down Gallon on the right sideline, but it was a pretty play up to that point.

MVP of the game . . . Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon. I can't pick just one, so they share the trophy. Without Gallon, Gardner doesn't have a record-setting day. And without Gardner, Gallon doesn't have a record-setting day. Take away either one, and this likely would have gone down as a loss. Gardner had the second-best total yardage performance in Big Ten history (503 passing, 81 rushing), set a school record for passing yards, and totaled 5 touchdowns. Gallon had the best receiving yardage total in Big Ten history (369 yards) while catching 14 passes and scoring 2 touchdowns; he also had two 70-yard receptions in one game, similar to Roy Roundtree's 246-yard performance against Illinois in 2010 in which he had two 75-yarders.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Grantland: Thank You for Not Coaching, Week 6

Bill Barnwell looks at the best and worst coaching decisions in the NFL from last week.

Hit the jump for Claudia Sampedro showing off her assets.

Michigan 63, Indiana 47

Tight end Devin Funchess was the embodiment of Michigan's high-flying offense (image via MGoBlog)
Offense wins games. Defense is stupid. The total of 1,323 yards in this game was the most ever in a Michigan game. Michigan had a team record 751. Indiana only had 572, those slackers. Just imagine if Michigan were a hurry-up offense like Indiana instead of a team that huddles before every play.

Devin Gardner is the best Michigan quarterback ever! Gardner was 21/29 for 503 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had 15 carries for 81 yards and 3 touchdowns. That total of 584 yards left him one yard short of the Big Ten record for total yardage, which is 585 and was set by Dave Wilson of Illinois back in 1980. Two of Gardner's completions went for 70 yards (to Jeremy Gallon both times), and if not for a couple failures to throw away the ball, Gardner basically played as well as anyone could ask. He had zero interceptions, although there was a fumbled snap between center Graham Glasgow and himself (the third week in a row in which that has happened).

Jeremy Gallon is the best Michigan receiver ever! Gallon had 14 catches for 369 yards and 2 touchdowns (along with 1 carry for -5 yards). That set a new Big Ten record for receiving yardage and rests second all-time behind Louisiana Tech's Troy Edwards and his 21 receptions for 405 yards and 3 touchdowns against Nebraska in 1998. The previous Big Ten yardage record (301) had been held by Purdue's Chris Daniels since 1999, and the previous Michigan record (246) was Roy Roundtree's since the triple-overtime game against Illinois in 2010. Former Michigan wide receiver Marquise Walker had 15 receptions twice (against Ohio State and Washington in 2001) to set the receptions record, so Gallon's school receptions mark is one less than Walker's; however, Walker had 160 and 159 yards in those games, respectively, so Gallon had a much more explosive day.

Kyle Bosch burned his redshirt and I don't really care. The coaches decided to switch things up again this week and start Joe Burzynski at left guard and redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson at right guard. That didn't last long, since Burzynski tweaked his knee early. But instead of calling redshirt freshman Kyle Kalis or redshirt sophomore Chris Bryant off the bench, Michigan went with true freshman Bosch. It was only Indiana - a smallish and bad defense - but I thought Bosch did pretty well. His size is college-ready, and I thought he was the most talented lineman in Michigan's 2013 class. Michigan only allowed sacks when Gardner held onto the ball too long, and Fitzgerald Toussaint ran 32 times for 151 yards and 4 touchdowns. It doesn't matter where the solution comes from, as long as the problem on the interior gets fixed. Some people were bothered about Bosch burning his redshirt halfway through the year, but if a true freshman plays half the year - especially when all other options have been exhausted - I don't see how anyone can have a problem with it.

Channing Stribling got torched again. I really don't care what Stribling does in practice. He's a true freshman and the game is moving too fast for him. Last week he got beaten twice on jump balls he should have been able to intercept or knock down, once by Brandon Felder and once by Allen Robinson; that resulted in a loss. This week he used poor technique again and got beaten for a 67-yard touchdown by Kofi Hughes. Instead of going up for the ball, Stribling tried to cradle the ball into his chest, which allowed Hughes to come over the top. Add that to several missed tackles, and I think Stribling needs to be demoted. He has a good future, but the speed of the game is one reason why most freshmen redshirt.

Hello, Thomas Gordon. Gordon had a weird stat line. It consists of the following: 2 interceptions returned for 41 yards. That's it. No tackles, no pass breakups. And those were his first two picks of the year. Opposing quarterbacks have been testing Michigan's cornerbacks more than the safeties this year, but I've been a little surprised that Gordon hasn't been more involved up to this point.

Good for Indiana. I have a soft spot for the underdog, and I somewhat hope that Indiana gets a few good years here. Obviously, I hope they lose to Michigan whenever the two meet. But as long as another team takes a dip to replace Indiana near the bottom of the conference, it would be nice to see the long-suffering Indiana fans have a little fun. They're 3-4 right now, but I think head coach Kevin Wilson has them going in the right direction. They've also been doing a good job on the recruiting trail. By the way, Michigan starting cornerback Raymon Taylor was once an Indiana commit.

What does this mean for Michigan? Well, Michigan might have earned some confidence offensively, which would be nice. I also suggested prior to this game that Michigan would go to more of a spread offense with Bryant and Kalis benched, and that appears to have been the case. Al Borges's play calling seemed to shy away from running power and zone stretch constantly and incorporated some more misdirection, draws, etc. out of the run game. Michigan can't expect to blow people off the ball, so this is what Michigan's offense should look like for the remainder of the year.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sports Illustrated: Cardinals' gamble on Tyrann Mathieu netted them an every-down weapon

Doug Farrar looks at Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, whose troubles at LSU got him booted from the team . . . but who is finding success in the NFL so far.

Hit the jump for a girl in a colorful bikini.

Poll results: Will Al Borges return as Michigan's offensive coordinator in 2014?

Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges
After yet another weak performance running the ball against Penn State last week, offensive coordinator Al Borges's name started to be tossed around (if it wasn't already) as a potential target for firing. A poll asked if readers thought Michigan would be fired before 2014, and below are your results:

Yes: 34%

No: 42%

To be determined: 23%


Visitors: Michigan vs. Indiana

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech running back Mike Weber
Trevon Avery - CB - Grand Blanc (MI) Grand Blanc: Avery is a 6'1", 165 lb. cornerback for the class of 2015. He does not have any offers at this point.

Kei Beckham - S - Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison: Beckham is a 6'0", 155 lb. prospect for the class of 2015. He has offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and some MAC schools. He's a former teammate of freshman Michigan linebacker Mike McCray.

Hjalte Froholdt - DE - Warren (OH) Harding: Froholdt is a 6'4", 282 lb. prospect for 2015 with offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State, among others. According to 247 Sports' Composite rankings, he's a 4-star, the #9 DT, and #44 player overall in his class. Froholdt attended Harding - which has sent guys like Prescott Burgess, Mario Manningham, Davion Rogers, and D.J. Williamson to Michigan in recent years - but is a native of Denmark, which is where he has been living this fall and playing in a Danish semi-pro league. He plans to return to the United States for his senior year.

Lavert Hill - CB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Hill is a 5'9", 150 lb. prospect for 2016 with no offers at this point. He's the younger brother of freshman Michigan safety Delano Hill and has visited campus numerous times.

Joshua Jackson - QB - Saline (MI) Saline: Jackson is a 6'1", 180 lb. prospect for 2016 with no offers at this time. He played quarterback for Ann Arbor (MI) Huron to begin the year but transferred schools mid-season and is now ineligible due to MHSAA rules. He is also the son of Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson and the younger brother of wide receiver Jeremy Jackson.

Tyree Jackson - QB - Muskegon (MI) Mona Shores: Jackson is a 6'2", 180 lb. prospect for 2015 with a lone offer from Western Michigan. As a sophomore in 2012, he completed 116/209 passes for 1,806 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.

Joshua Ross - LB - Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's: Ross is a 6'2", 190 lb. prospect for 2017 with offers from Michigan State and Oklahoma. He suffered an ankle injury that could very well cause him to miss the rest of the season, but regardless, he's picking up some big-time offers as a youngster. He's the younger brother of sophomore Michigan linebacker James Ross III and has visited campus for almost every Michigan home game.

Mike Weber - RB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Weber is a 5'10", 190 lb. prospect for 2015 with offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, among others. According to 247 Sports' Composite rankings, he's a 4-star, the #21 running back, and the #268 player overall. As a sophomore in 2012, he had 1,700 yards and 21 touchdowns. He's the former teammate of current Michigan players David Dawson, Delano Hill, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Jourdan Lewis, and Terry Richardson.

Preview: Michigan vs. Indiana

Rush Offense vs. Indiana Rush Defense
Michigan is #80 nationally in averaging 4.1 yards/carry altogether, but the top two running backs - Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green - are averaging 3.5 and 3.2 yards/carry, respectively. Quarterback Devin Gardner leads the team in rushing yards with 439 and is gaining 5.5 yards/carry, but he has taken a beating recently and is starting to look a little worn down. The same could be said for left tackle Taylor Lewan, who missed the second half of last week's game due to an undisclosed injury. The rest of the offensive line is/was in flux, too, with left guard Chris Bryant getting replaced by Joey Burzynski, Graham Glasgow learning to play center on the fly, right guard Kyle Kalis getting replaced temporarily by Burzynski, Michael Schofield flip-flopping across the line to fill in for Lewan, and Erik Magnuson stepping in at right tackle. Meanwhile, Indiana is #110 in the nation in rushing yardage allowed per game, giving up almost 217 yards weekly. The patchwork offensive line will face off against redshirt junior defensive end Ryan Phillis (6'3", 260 lbs.), sophomore defensive end Nick Mangieri (6'5", 260 lbs.), junior 3-tech Bobby Richardson (6'3", 281 lbs.), and sophomore nose tackle Alex Todd (6'3", 301 lbs.). Mangieri leads the team with 5.5 tackles for loss. Three of the top four tacklers are defensive backs, with redshirt junior linebacker David Cooper (6'1", 235 lbs.) tied for the team lead at 45 tackles.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Offense vs. Indiana Pass Defense
Michigan is #72 nationally in passing yards with 222.5 per game but ranks #45 in passer rating. Gardner is 86/146 for 1,276 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Michigan's pass protection has generally been solid, but he has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long and/or lock onto receivers, which has resulted in too many turnovers. Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon is the team's leading receiver with 31 catches for 462 yards and 5 touchdowns, but tight end/U-back Devin Funchess has come on strong the past two weeks with 11 catches for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns. The other receivers have been uninspiring so far. Indiana gives up 240 yards/game through the air, good for #76 in the nation. Fifth year senior safety Greg Heban (6'1", 205 lbs.) has 2 picks, and three other guys have 1 each. Junior cornerback Tim Bennett (5'9", 175 lbs.) has 14 pass breakups and 1 of those interceptions, so I would expect Michigan to attack redshirt sophomore corner Michael Hunter (6'1", 190 lbs.). Redshirt junior defensive end John Laihinen (6'4", 255 lbs.) leads the team with 3.5 sacks, and the team has 12 total, good enough for 52nd nationally. Funchess will be a matchup problem for anyone, and Gallon should be tough to handle if used properly. If Michigan can run the ball a little bit and keep Gardner from getting happy feet, the Wolverines should be able to make some more big plays in the passing game.
Advantage: Michigan

Rush Defense vs. Indiana Rush Offense
Michigan is #9 overall, giving up 89.5 yards/game on the ground; and they're #10 at 2.86 yards/carry allowed. They don't get a ton of penetration, but the linebackers diagnose plays quickly, the team swarms to the ball, and they're mostly sure tacklers. Middle linebacker Desmond Morgan and weakside linebacker James Ross III share the team lead with 42 tackles, and defensive end Frank Clark leads the team with 5 tackles for loss. Outside linebacker Jake Ryan returned to action last week, which could help out even more. Indiana is #64 with 173 yards/game and #49 with 4.7 yards/carry. Sophomore tailback Tevin Coleman (6'1", 205 lbs.) has 557 yards and 8 touchdowns, and fifth year backup Stephen Houston (6'0", 230 lbs.) averages 6.6 yards/carry. Sophomore starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld (6'5", 230 lbs.) is the throwing quarterback, while redshirt sophomore Tre Roberson (6'0", 200 lbs.) is the runner with 27 carries for 97 yards and 4 touchdowns. It might be tougher sledding this week with Indiana down to its third right guard and second right tackle, due to a few season-ending injuries. It's a fairly light crew up front with the five starters averaging 6'4" and 291 lbs. Sophomore left tackle Jason Spriggs (6'7", 297 lbs.) was All-Big Ten Honorable Mention last season. I expect Michigan to be able to do a solid job against the run because they almost always do, but they are going to get gashed at times due to the nature of Indiana's high-tempo offense.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Defense vs. Indiana Pass Offense
The Wolverines have been susceptible to the passing game this year, giving up a lot of short passes and an occasional deep ball. The Wolverines are tied for #64 nationally at 229.7 yards/game allowed through the air. However, they're holding opponents to a 52.6% completion percentage (18th overall) and a 109.98 rating (24th). The Wolverines have racked up 14 sacks (38th), and Clark has 4 in the last three games. Meanwhile, cornerback Blake Countess has 4 interceptions, and both cornerback Raymon Taylor and free safety Jarrod Wilson have 2 picks each; the Wolverines have 9 total (17th). The short completions have been frustrating, but the numbers suggest that Michigan is getting the job done. Both Sudfeld and Roberson complete approximately 60% of their passes, but Sudfeld has five times as many attempts. Combined, they have 18 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while throwing for 1,960 yards, and they've been taking just 1.5 sacks/game. They're #13 nationally with 331.5 yards/game through the air. The starters at wideout are junior Cody Latimer (6'3", 215 lbs.), senior Kofi Hughes (6'2", 217 lbs.), and junior Shane Wynn (5'7", 170 lbs.). Those three have combined for 75 receptions, 1202 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Fifth year senior Ted Bolser (6'6", 252 lbs.) is the top red zone target with 5 touchdowns while averaging 10.8 yards/reception. Even though Michigan has harassed teams into low completion percentages, I think they're going to have a tough time getting to the quarterback, and Michigan doesn't have enough talent at defensive backs to keep all of Sudfeld and Roberson's targets in front of them. The Hoosiers will probably put up a good deal of yardage and some points on the board, although it may not be enough to win.
Advantage: Indiana

Roster Notes
  • Players who held scholarship offers from Michigan include DT Darius Latham and WR Shane Wynn.
  • Run game coordinator/offensive line coach Greg Frey coached the offensive line under Rich Rodriguez at Michigan from 2008-2010.
  • Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/safeties coach Doug Mallory played at Michigan from 1984-1987. As a safety, he recorded 182 tackles and 6 interceptions for his career and was named team captain in 1987.
  • Native Michiganders on the roster include redshirt junior OT Bill Ivan (Charlevoix), freshman K Dong Kim (Okemos), junior OG Bernard Taylor (Detroit Dakota), and redshirt junior FB Matt Zakrzewski (Traverse City St. Francis).
Last Time They Played . . . 
  • On October 2, 2010, Michigan beat Indiana in Bloomington by a score of 42-35.
  • Denard Robinson passed for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns; he also had 217 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. The last touchdown came with 17 seconds left on a 4-yard run to break the tie.
  • Roy Roundtree and Junior Hemingway combined for 8 catches, 255 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
  • Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell completed 45/64 passes for 480 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 pick.
  • Indiana WR Tandon Doss had 15 catches for 221 yards.
  • Then-free safety Cameron Gordon had 15 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup, and an interception that he returned 19 yards.
  • Michigan has a one-week aberration where it looks like they can run the ball. Toussaint goes for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Al Borges ditches the unbalanced line after it lost its effectiveness against Penn State.
  • James Ross makes his first career interception, and Courtney Avery gets his first of the year.
  • Michigan scores a special teams touchdown.
  • Michigan 41, Indiana 28

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Grantland: Vote of confidence

Bill Barnwell talks about where each of the NFL's teams stand after six weeks of football.

Hit the jump for a good looking woman.

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: David Harris

David Harris
New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris had 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and 1 quarterback hurry in a 19-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. On the season, he has 51 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 3 quarterback hurries.

Honorable mention: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was 25/43 for 269 yards, 1 interception, and 1 game-winning touchdown in a 30-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Alan Branch had 6 tackles and 1 tackle for loss in the Buffalo Bills' 27-24 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley had 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and 2 quarterback hurries in the Steelers' win over the Jets. Oakland Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson had 3 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery in a 24-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Grantland: Thank You for Not Coaching, Week 5

Bill Barnwell runs down the NFL coaching decisions made during week five.

Hit the jump for a lady by the pool.

Recruit Tracker: Freddy Canteen, Brandon Watson

Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy wide receiver Freddy Canteen
November 1, 2013: Eastern Christian Academy lost to Lakewood (OH) St. Edward by a score of 41-40. ECA is now 7-2.

October 18, 2013: Eastern Christian Academy beat Phoenixville (PA) Renaissance Christian by a score of 34-0. ECA is now 7-1.

October 11, 2013: Eastern Christian Academy beat Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius by a score of 32-29. Canteen had 5 receptions for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. Watson had 4 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 pass breakup. ECA is now 6-1 on the year.

October 4, 2013: Eastern Christian Academy beat Philadelphia (PA) Imhotep Charter by a score of 36-28. Canteen had 2 catches for 45 yards. Watson had 3 tackles and 1 interception, which gives him 21 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 1 fumble returned for a touchdown on the year. Eastern Christian Academy is now 5-1.

September 27, 2013: Eastern Christian Academy beat Nashville (TN) Maplewood by a score of 60-20. Canteen had 5 receptions for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Watson had 4 tackles on defense. ECA is now 4-1.

September 13, 2013: Eastern Christian Academy lost to Jersey City (NJ) St. Peter's Prep by a score of 35-32. Canteen had a 48-yard touchdown reception and a 10-yard touchdown. Watson had 3 tackles and 1 interception returned for 30 yards in the loss. St. Peter's features 2014 Michigan running back offeree (and Rutgers commit) Jonathan Hilliman, who had 204 yards and 4 touchdowns. Watson has 14 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 1 fumble returned for a touchdown. ECA is now 3-1.

September 6, 2013: ECA beat Madison (FL) Madison by a score of 36-6.  Canteen had 2 receptions. Watson had 6 tackles and now has 11 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 fumble returned for a touchdown. ECA is now 3-0.

August 29, 2013: ECA beat College Park (GA) Banneker by a score of 56-13. Watson had a 3-yard fumble return for a touchdown. ECA is now 2-0.

August 24, 2013:
 Eastern Christian Academy beat Hialeah (FL) Champagnat Catholic by a score of 40-6. Canteen had 5 catches for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. ECA is 1-0 on the season.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson is helping out a Texas team that was thought to be sliding downward.
TE Pharaoh Brown: Brown had 1 catch for 18 yards in Oregon's 45-24 victory over Washington.

K Anthony Fera: Fera was 3/3 on field goals, including makes of 50, 43, and 31 yards. He was also 3/4 on extra points with the fourth attempt being blocked. His Texas Longhorns beat Oklahoma by a score of 36-20.

Linebackers coach Jay Hopson: Hopson's Alcorn State team moved to 5-2 after a 48-0 destruction of Grambling. The team rushed for 288 yards and passed for another 254

S Carvin Johnson: Johnson had 6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup in Hampton's 31-26 victory over North Carolina A&T. That's Hampton's first win of the year.

LB Mike Jones: Jones had 14 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, and 1 pass breakup in Western Michigan's 33-0 loss to Buffalo. Western is 0-7 on the season, but Jones is having a decent year with 63 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass breakup.

Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson: Don't look now, but Greg Robinson - recently hired as Texas's defensive coordinator - helped the Longhorns to their 36-20 upset win over Oklahoma. Oklahoma managed just 263 total yards and quarterback Blake Bell got picked off twice, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

WR Jerald Robinson: Robinson had 3 catches for 33 yards and 1 touchdown in Walsh University's 38-28 win over Malone. He now has 24 catches for 306 yards and 5 touchdowns on the year.

S Marvin Robinson: Robinson started at safety and had 5 tackles in Ferris State's 54-44 win over Grand Valley State.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez: Arizona fell to 3-2 after a 38-31 loss to USC. The Wildcats were down 28-3 at one point, but they recovered to make it a one-score game. Quarterback B.J. Denker had a career day with 363 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air.

WR Je'Ron Stokes: Stokes had 1 catch for 8 yards in Norfolk State's 14-7 loss to Delaware State.

S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal had 6 tackles in Pitt's 19-9 loss to Virginia Tech.

CB Adrian Witty: Witty had 6 tackles and 1 tackle for loss in Cincinnati's 38-20 win over 0-6 Temple.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Big Ten Blog: Q&A - Michigan's Taylor Lewan

Chantel Jennings does a question-and-answer session with offensive tackle Taylor Lewan.

Hit the jump for a nice blue bikini.

Michigan vs. Penn State Awards

Devin Funchess had 4 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Dennis Norfleet. If Norfleet's going to be a slot receiver, he needs to be on the field. And not just in special packages where it's a near certainty that he'll get the ball. I somewhat understand not putting him out there a ton if he's your full-time returner, but now that Drew Dileo has taken over the punt return duties, Norfleet's duties have essentially been cut in half. Michigan needs to spend more time in the spread and less time with two or three tight ends and a fullback. And if that happens, Michigan will have to spell some guys with the likes of Norfleet.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . a fullback. Whether it's Joe Kerridge or Sione Houma, I don't really care about whether this team employs a fullback anymore. The offensive line is too porous to make a fullback relevant, and Kerridge isn't a threat to run or catch the ball. His role is to lead block on run plays that result in zero yards. There's just no point. Spread teams out horizontally and hope that Toussaint can find some alleys.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Delonte Hollowell. The junior cornerback has lost playing time this year to freshmen Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis, but Hollowell is the feistiest of the bunch. I've never been impressed with his athleticism or ball skills, but he is physical and seems to be in position most of the time. At the end of regulation, I would have preferred to have seen Hollowell in there instead of Stribling.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Channing Stribling. Stribling's a freshmen, and I'm fairly on him. But the bottom line is that the game moves very quickly for true freshmen, especially in clutch situations. In my opinion, he's not the guy you want in there during crunch time. He mistimed a couple jumps and flat-out whiffed on a couple passes completed to Brandon Felder and Allen Robinson, allowing the Nittany Lions to march down the field and tie the game. Stribling has to take some responsibility for that, but so do the coaches who chose to put him out there.

Play of the game . . . Frank Clark's fumble return for a touchdown. It wasn't just the return, either. Defensive end Keith Heitzman got some great penetration to slow up Penn State running back Zach Zwinak, who cut back only to be tackled by linebacker James Ross III. Ross reached across with his right hand to punch out the ball, Clark scooped it up, dodged PSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg, and raced 24 yards for the score. Prior to that play, Michigan was down 21-10 and looking for a spark, and Clark helped to provide it.

MVP of the game . . . Devin Funchess. I was very close to picking Devin Gardner for this award, but Gardner's two interceptions gave Penn State short fields that resulted in 14 points. Instead, I'm picking the tight end who had 4 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns, from 59 and 37 yards, respectively. Gardner has had a hard time hitting anyone over the top except Funchess, who has proven to be more of a deep threat than wide receivers Jeremy Gallon or Jehu Chesson.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

MLive: Rich Rodriguez vents about violations at Michigan

Rich Rodriguez vented recently about Michigan's infractions/sanctions, and I can't say that I blame him.

Hit the jump for a fit girl in a sports bra.

Penn State 43, Michigan 40 in four overtimes

(image via Penn Live)
Michigan deserved to lose. You win when you deserve to win, and Michigan didn't deserve to win. From the offensive play calling to the offensive line's incompetence to the quarterback's decision making to the defense's inability to get pressure and cover short passes to the special teams' inconsistency, Michigan didn't deserve a victory. Penn State didn't play their best football, either, but they looked less incompetent.

The coaches have lost confidence in Devin Gardner as a passer. There was a time when Brady Hoke and Al Borges would have let quarterback Devin Gardner air it out in a game like this, but instead, they chose to curl up into the fetal position - almost literally - and try to luck their way into a victory. Despite averaging just 2.8 yards/carry on fifty-four  rushing attempts, Michigan turned overtime into mostly an unproductive rushing effort. Michigan ran for 1, 1, 0, 3, -3, 8, 0, 0, and 7 yards in overtime, with that last 7-yarder coming on a Gardner scramble. The biggest offense came in the first overtime, when the play call/execution resulted in Gardner running from the 23-yard line on the left hash to the 23-yard line on the right hash on 3rd-and-8, presumably in an effort to "center" the ball for kicker Brendan Gibbons. Gibbons's subsequent 40-yard field goal was blocked by defensive tackle Kyle Baublitz.

The offensive line is/was a mess. All-American left tackle Taylor Lewan left the game in the second quarter with what looked like an injury to his left side, perhaps a hip or a rib. He was replaced by right tackle Michael Schofield. Left guard Chris Bryant was presumably replaced for poor performance after some poor blocking; in came walk-on guard Joey Burzynski. Redshirt sophomore Graham Glasgow was playing left guard two weeks ago and has had several mental mistakes in his two games at center. Right guard Kyle Kalis took a senseless 15-yard penalty and was replaced for a short time by Burzynski before returning. The right tackle for the second half was redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson. Another walk-on, Erik Gunderson, also saw significant playing time in certain packages. Overall, by the end of the game, the only guy in the same spot as two weeks ago was Kalis. Meanwhile, running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green were swarmed in the backfield the entire game, totaling 30 carries for 28 yards.

Offensively, the lone bright spot was Devin Funchess. Tight end Devin Funchess had his second consecutive 100-yard game with 4 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had a couple key drops, but a tight end with 263 yards and 3 touchdowns in two games is pretty impressive.

Damn freshmen. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but a huge chunk of this loss falls on the shoulders of freshman cornerback Channing Stribling and whichever defensive coach was responsible for putting him in there. At the end of regulation, Stribling entered the game and was beaten on two long passes by the average Brandon Felder and Penn State standout receiver Allen Robinson. On both occasions, Stribling had chances to knock down or intercept the passes, but he mistimed his jumps and/or misjudged the ball, failing to get even a finger on either pass. The game was just moving too fast for him, which is why I hate having to play so many young players. In a year or two, those will be picks or knockdowns for Stribling. The same thing goes for Jake Butt's failure to catch a back shoulder fade from Gardner in overtime; Butt showed his hands too early and failed to plant and go up for the ball. Instead, he settled for trying to catch it with his momentum going away from the ball and into the sideline. Both of things contributed to linebacker Mike Hull being able to bat the pass away at the last second despite not turning around for the ball.

Michigan can't run the ball, and that's not going to change. At this point in the season, I feel pretty confident in saying that nobody but Gardner will be able to run the ball effectively. Gardner even carried the ball 24 times, and he's not going to hold up with that type of responsibility on his shoulders. I hate to say this, but Michigan needs to ditch the runs from under center and become a team that throws the ball 40-45 times a game. They need to get creative with their screen game, including bubbles and slip screens; they also need to find a way to get Dennis Norfleet on the field in regular packages and incorporate him into the offense, both as a scatback third-down replacement for Toussaint and as a slot receiver.

Despite the 43 points, I thought the defense played pretty well overall. Nine of those 43 points came in overtime. Additionally, two of Penn State's touchdowns came after Gardner interceptions, which gave the Nittany Lions the ball on the 14- and 20-yard lines, respectively. They ran the ball 44 times for 85 yards (1.9 yards/carry) and 2 touchdowns, from the 1- and 2-yard lines, respectively. Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg completed 23/44 passes for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he was also sacked 4 times and intercepted twice, while a large chunk of that yardage (79) came on the final drive in regulation when they beat Stribling.

Frank Clark is coming on. Clark had 3 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 2 fumble recoveries, one of which he picked up and ran 24 yards for a touchdown. He's had a little bit of a fire lit under him after the first couple games of the season, and hopefully that fire stays lit. After barely showing up on the stat sheet early, he's now sitting at 15 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 5 quarterback hurries, 2 fumble recoveries, and the aforementioned touchdown return.

What does this all mean? Well, I don't think Michigan has a shot at winning the Big Ten this year. They've been playing with fire all year in close games with Akron and UConn, not to mention Notre Dame or the closer-than-it-should-have-been game against Minnesota last week. It finally bit them in the butt. The closest thing remaining to a team Michigan should  beat easily is Iowa, but they always seem to play Michigan tough, especially in Iowa City. Michigan also has Indiana's number over the years, but the Hoosiers can put some points up on the board (41.7 points/game). Michigan State is going to feast on Michigan's running game, Nebraska's tough, Northwestern is good when healthy, and Ohio State is probably going to crush us. This is probably going to be ugly down the stretch.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Esquire: Jacksonville Jaguars have one hope against Denver Broncos

Kenneth Gagnon argues that the Jaguars should start Denard Robinson at quarterback. Which won't happen. But hey, who really cares? If nothing else, it would get me to watch the Jaguars.

Hit the jump for a girl with haunting eyes.

Preview: Michigan at Penn State

Rush Offense vs. PSU Rush Defense
Michigan altered its rushing offense last week, moving from mostly a zone team to a gap blocking scheme with the insertion of mammoth left guard Chris Bryant. Starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint had his second best rushing effort (17 carries, 78 yards, 2 touchdowns) of the year as the Wolverines showed a new look by running "tackle over," putting two tackles and a guard to one side of the ball. The Nittany Lions have a couple of small-ish defensive ends, much like the Minnesota Gophers; redshirt junior C.J. Olaniyan (6'3", 244 lbs.) and sophomore Deion Barnes (6'4", 244 lbs.) have combined for 31 tackles and 5 tackles for loss, mostly from Michigan native Olaniyan. Redshirt junior Kyle Baublitz (6'5", 292 lbs.) and senior DaQuan Jones (6'3", 318 lbs.) man the interior defensive line, with Jones totaling 30 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. Senior strongside linebacker Glenn Carson (6'3", 235 lbs.) leads the team with 39 tackles. Overall, Penn State's opponents have averaged 3.2 yards/carry and scored 6 touchdowns on the ground. Jones in particular will be a load to handle for Michigan's young interior offensive linemen, and Penn State always has some of the most technically sound linebackers in the country. I think Michigan will have to resort to some more designed runs for quarterback Devin Gardner (56 carries, 318 yards, 6 touchdowns) if they want to have regular success on the ground.

Pass Offense vs. PSU Pass Defense
Gardner (71/118 passing, 1036 yards, 8 touchdowns, 8 interceptions) took a step forward with his passing last week, but his numbers still aren't stellar, especially in the turnover department. The star of last week's game was tight end Devin Funchess (7 receptions, 151 yards, 1 touchdown against the Gophers), but the leading receiver is still wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (24 catches, 367 yards, 4 touchdowns). Wideouts Jehu Chesson (6 catches, 89 yards, 1 touchdown) and Drew Dileo (7 catches, 86 yards, 1 touchdown) round out the crew of frequent targets. The Nittany Lions have allowed just 5 touchdowns and made 5 interceptions on the season. Sophomore cornerback Trevor Williams (6'1", 187 lbs.) spent last year as a wide receiver and now has 6 pass breakups and 1 interception as a starting corner; on the opposite side is sophomore Jordan Lucas (6'0", 193 lbs.) with 7 pass breakups. The safeties have been solid with senior Malcolm Willis (5'11", 215 lbs.) and junior Adrian Amos (6'0", 215 lbs.) combining for 37 tackles and 2 interceptions. Jones and Baublitz each have 2 sacks, and the Lions have 11 quarterback takedowns altogether. Michigan's offensive tackles should hold up fairly well against Penn State's edge rushers, but the interior will be susceptible to a push up the middle, and PSU isn't shy about sending blitzers from the secondary (3 sacks from defensive backs). I'm not particularly concerned about Michigan matching up with the secondary, but if PSU can put rushers in Gardner's face, his turnover issues might reappear.

Rush Defense vs. PSU Rush Offense
Redshirt junior converted fullback Zach Zwinak (6'1", 240 lbs.) leads the team in rushing with 369 yards, 4.4 yards/carry, and 8 touchdowns. Junior Bill Belton (5'10", 205 lbs.) has 284 yards on 6.6 yards/carry and redshirt freshman Akeel Lynch (6'0", 211 lbs.) has 270 yards and 7.7 yards a pop; altogether, those three have 923 yards, 5.7 yards/carry, and 11 touchdowns, which are some pretty formidable statistics. From left to right, PSU's offensive line goes redshirt sophomore Donovan Smith (6'5", 322 lbs.), redshirt junior Miles Dieffenbach (6'3", 295 lbs.), fifth year senior Ty Howle (6'0", 293 lbs.), redshirt senior John Urschel (6'3", 301 lbs.), and redshirt junior Garry Gilliam (6'6', 303 lbs.). Urschel was a First Team All-Big Ten selection last year, while Gilliam started eight games at tight end. Michigan has allowed just 3.1 yards/carry so far and 0 touchdowns to opponents. Sophomore backup nose tackle Ondre Pipkins tore his ACL last week and will miss the remainder of the season, but Michigan stops teams more by gang tackling and solid linebacker play than dominating the line of scrimmage. The top two tacklers for Michigan are the two inside linebackers, junior Desmond Morgan (34) and sophomore James Ross III (32); the other linebacker position has been manned by junior Brennen Beyer and fifth year senior Cam Gordon while Jake Ryan recovers from ACL surgery, and those two have combined for 27 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. Fifth year senior nose tackle Quinton Washington should see more playing time this week against Penn State's pro-style offense, and while I don't think Michigan will hold them to 3.1 yards/carry, I think Michigan matches up pretty well up front.

Pass Defense vs. PSU Pass Offense
Penn State starts a true freshman quarterback in Christian Hackenberg (6'3", 220 lbs.) who completes 59.9% of his passes for 1,367 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. Outside of junior wide receiver Allen Robinson (6'3", 210 lbs.), PSU doesn't have many downfield threats. Robinson has 38 catches for 621 yards and 5 touchdowns, which represents 44% of the total receiving yardage on the team. Senior Brandon Moseby-Felder averages just 8.4 yards/catch and redshirt sophomore tight end Kyle Carter (6'3", 243 lbs.) has caught just 11 balls for 147 yards. Michigan has allowed 7 touchdowns through the air and has made 7 interceptions, 4 of which have come from cornerback Blake Countess (1 for a 72-yard touchdown). Michigan has 5 sacks from its outside linebackers and 3.5 from weakside ends, but the interior rush has been somewhat lacking on standard downs. In obvious passing situations, Michigan will put undersized defensive tackle Jibreel Black at nose tackle, and his quickness allows him to put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks to the tune of .5 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries, and 1 forced fumble. Those numbers don't tell the whole story of the pressure Black can create, but it will be interesting to see how much defensive coordinator Greg Mattison can mess with freshman Hackenberg's head.

Roster Notes
  • Players who had scholarship offers from Michigan include DE Deion Barnes, RB Bill Belton, TE Adam Breneman, LB Ben Kline, OG Brendan Mahon, DE C.J. Olaniyan, and DE Anthony Zettel.
  • Redshirt junior linebacker Brad Bars is the older brother of Michigan redshirt freshman offensive guard Blake Bars.
  • Native Michiganders include redshirt freshman LB Charles Idemudia (Grosse Pointe North), Olaniyan (Warren Mott), junior WR Allen Robinson (Orchard Lake St. Mary's), and Zettel (Ogemaw Heights).
  • Linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden coached at Michigan from 1979-1980.
  • Devin Gardner gets sacked twice on pressures up the middle.
  • Greg Mattison pulls out some blitz packages to confuse Christian Hackenberg into 3 sacks and 2 interceptions.
  • Michigan still struggles to run the ball and requires some big plays in the passing game.
  • Dennis Norfleet scores a touchdown.
  • Michigan 28, Penn State 24
Last Time They Played . . . 
  • It was Rich Rodriguez vs. Joe Paterno back in 2010.
  • Denard Robinson had 27 carries for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns.
  • Penn State running back Evan Royster broke out of his slump for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin threw for 250 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Penn State 41, Michigan 31


  • La Grange (OH) Keystone TE C.J. Conrad
  • Jersey City (NJ) St. Peter's Prep CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier LB Justin Hilliard
  • Pittsburgh (PA) Baldwin OT Sterling Jenkins