Friday, October 31, 2014

Welcome to the Weekend!

Begin your new weekend with some very good looking ladies, including a Jennifer Love Hewitt gif.

MLive: Eight things to know about new interim athletic director Jim Hackett

Shandra Martinez talks about new interim athletic director Jim Hackett, who takes over for the departed David Brandon (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few girls showing a little bit of skin.

Dele' Harding, Wolverine

Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy linebacker Dele' Harding
Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy linebacker Dele' Harding committed to Michigan on Friday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Tennessee and USC, among others.

ESPN: 3-star inside linebacker
Rivals: 4-star, #5 inside linebacker, #186 overall
Scout: 3-star, #29 outside linebacker, #286 overall
247 Sports: 3-star, 84 grade, #17 inside linebacker

Harding is a 6'1", 232 lb. prospect. As a junior this season, he has 67 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 4 fumble recoveries.

Harding was a high school teammate of a couple current Michigan freshmen, wide receiver Freddy Canteen and safety Brandon Watson. He has been high on Michigan, visited over the summer for the past couple years, and was offered by the Wolverines this past June. A couple other big programs came calling, too, but he always seemed to have an affinity for the Wolverines.

I had not seen video on Harding until this evening, and it appears this was posted just after Harding committed. Without any visual evidence, it was hard to gauge whether such an early offer to a 2016 prospect was warranted or not. Now having seen the video, it leaves me scratching my head a little bit. I'm not quite sure what a team like USC - which practically has its pick of players on the west coast - sees in Harding in order to offer him so early.

From my perspective, Harding is a solid tackler once he gets his hands on ball carriers, and he seems to create a lot of turnovers. Otherwise, I don't see a ton of positives. He plays upright, is a little slow to diagnose plays, takes poor angles, does not change direction well, and lacks great speed. There are some nice hits on his highlight reel, but not many remarkable plays. However, ECA does play a very good schedule - Cleveland (OH) St. Edward's, Paramus (NJ) Catholic, Washington (DC) Friendship Collegiate - so perhaps his lack of big plays should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, the raw athleticism expected of someone with his caliber of offers seems to be missing.

Harding reminds me a little bit of former Michigan linebacker John Thompson. There is obviously time to improve, but that's what I see right now. He is the third commit in the 2016 class, joining quarterback Messiah DeWeaver and offensive tackle Erik Swenson. I would expect that Michigan goes hard after several linebackers, because Joe Bolden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Desmond Morgan, and James Ross III are all scheduled to graduate after the 2015 season.

TTB Rating: To be determined

Dave Brandon is going away?

There is supposed to be a press conference at 1:30 p.m. today, reportedly to announce the firing/resignation of athletic director Dave Brandon. Thoughts?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

MLive: Hoke insists players are being properly developed

Many Michigan fans would disagree with Brady Hoke, who says his players are being developed properly (LINK).

Hit the jump for three good looking ladies.

Visitors: Michigan vs. Indiana

John Kelly
John Kelly - S - Oak Park (MI) Oak Park: Kelly is a 5'9", 191 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Minnesota, along with some MAC schools. This will be his first post-offer visit to Michigan, since he was just offered earlier this week. Kelly is good friends with running back commit Mike Weber - who will not be at the game - but is probably considered a Michigan State lean at this point.

Tyrone Miller - S - Saline (MI) Saline: Miller is a 6'0", 178 lb. prospect with offers from Buffalo, Central Michigan, and Eastern Michigan. He has yet to receive much big-time interest, but he has visited Michigan several times now, including for a camp this past summer. Miller is the high school teammate of running back coach Fred Jackson's son, Joshua.

Hit the jump for 2016 and 2017 prospects.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MLive: 5 things to watch - Can Michigan bounce back one more time?

Nick Baumgardner looks at five things to watch this week (LINK).

Hit the jump for an Asian Princess Leia and a couple girls at the beach.

Recruiting Update: October 29, 2014

Oak Park (MI) Oak Park safety John Kelly (image via
Richmond (VA) St. Christopher's cornerback Garrett Taylor decommitted from Michigan. Taylor had committed to Michigan (LINK) this past spring, but in recent weeks, he had set official visits to Ohio State and Penn State. Taylor tore his ACL prior to the beginning of his senior season, so he hasn't played and won't play this year. However, he is still getting attention from heavy hitters, and he will not be considering Michigan going forward. He's currently a 247 Composite 4-star, the #12 cornerback, and #107 overall.

Oak Park (MI) Oak Park safety John Kelly was offered by Michigan. He's a 5'9", 191 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan State, Minnesota, and some MAC schools. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #63 athlete, #661 overall, and #9 in-state. Kelly was offered after cornerback Taylor's decommitment, but Michigan wants Kelly as a safety. He also plays running back in high school. Kelly claims a 4.6 forty and while he's not a burner, he is a good all-around player. Initial readings have him leaning toward Michigan State, and his comments upon receiving the Michigan offer were not particularly overwhelming in favor of the Wolverines. He may visit this coming weekend for the game against Indiana.

Lawrenceville (GA) Central Gwinnett outside linebacker Adonis Thomas decommitted from Florida. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #10 outside linebacker, and #171 overall. Thomas has never shown much interest in Michigan, seems to like Alabama, and has scheduled visits to Oregon and LSU.

Hit the jump for players who committed elsewhere and some other miscellaneous tidbits.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Detroit News: Enough is enough, Michigan must fire Brady Hoke

Bob Wojnowski has jumped on the bandwagon of people wanting Brady Hoke fired (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few pictures of Dianna Dahlgren.

MGoVideo: Inside Michigan Football - Episode 10

Check out the newest "Inside Michigan Football" episode (LINK).

Here's a mid-day dose of good looking women, including a Brooklyn Decker gif.

Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards

Jake Ryan
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Devin Gardner running the ball. Gardner is the best runner on the team. Better than Devin Funchess, better than Justice Hayes, better than De'Veon Smith, better than Dennis Norfleet, better than a healthy Derrick Green. Gardner sprained his ankle against Penn State, so I guess I understand if the coaches were trying to protect him against Michigan State. Regardless, this team can't pass the ball consistently, and there's very little running game. Gardner ran the ball 4 times for -18 yards (including 2 sacks). He has to be a part of the rushing attack if Michigan wants to find success.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . A.J. Williams. He's not a good blocker, he's too slow to be any kind of running threat, and he doesn't have good hands. If Michigan can't put a better tight end out there - if Keith Heitzman really can't do it, if the coaches are set on redshirting Ian Bunting - then they should just spread defenses out more and hope the running backs or Gardner can find creases. Williams is a liability.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Raymon Taylor at safety. I think the time has come to make an adjustment in the defensive secondary. I do not believe this will actually happen, but Michigan needs better safety play. Jeremy Clark is a liability, and Delano Hill isn't ready to play safety at this level. Hill got completely lost in man coverage when he allowed MSU wide receiver Tony Lippett a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown, and Hill got trucked by quarterback Connor Cook. The Wolverines need more consistent play at safety, and Clark/Hill aren't going to give it to them this year.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Delano Hill. I have never been a fan of Hill, and he has yet to make a play that seems to warrant his playing time. He did luck into a fumble recovery after Jarrod Wilson forced the ball out and it bounced into Hill's hands, but that's not enough.

Play of the game . . . so few options. I'll go with Chris Wormley's 8-yard sack on Connor Cook. It was Wormley's only entry on the stat sheet, but it was a somewhat impressive bull rush right through the Michigan State offensive guard, pushing him back into Cook.

MVP of the game . . . Jake Ryan. He had 12 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. That's the best I can come up with. Nobody stood out. The quarterback was bad, the offensive line was bad, the wide receivers dropped all kinds of balls, the defensive line got pushed around, and the secondary couldn't tackle.

Monday, October 27, 2014

MLive: Pettiness in UM-MSU rivalry a bad look for both sides, but worse for Wolverines

Nick Baumgardner takes down both teams for their behavior in the rivalry (LINK).

Hit the jump for three good looking women.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Oregon tight end Pharaoh Brown (image via Statesman Journal)
Former DT Richard Ash: Ash had 6 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks in Western Michigan's 42-21 win over Ohio. He helped hold the Bobcats to 88 yards on 36 rushing attempts (2.4 yards/carry).

Former TE commit Pharaoh Brown: Brown caught 2 passes for 30 yards and 2 touchdowns (21 and 9 yards) in Oregon's 59-41 win over Cal on Friday night. Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota finally threw his first interception on the year.

Former CB commit Dallas Crawford: Crawford had 2 tackles and .5 tackles for loss in Miami's 30-6 win over Virginia Tech.

Former S Josh Furman: Furman had 8 tackles and 1 tackle for loss in Oklahoma State's 34-10 loss to West Virginia.

Former RB commit Demetrius Hart: Hart had 13 carries for 87 yards and 1 catch for 21 yards in Colorado State's 45-31 victory over Wyoming.

Former linebackers coach Jay Hopson: Hopson and his Alcorn State Braves improved to 7-2 on the season with a 77-48 win over Prairie View A&M. Alcorn State gained 699 total yards (337 rushing, 362 passing) in a balanced attack, but they also gave up 545.

Former RB Thomas Rawls: Rawls had 3 carries for 4 yards in Central Michigan's 20-14 victory over Ball State.

Former head coach Rich Rodriguez: Rodriguez and his Arizona Wildcats beat Washington State by a score of 59-37. Arizona was outgained (543 to 491) in total yardage, but they returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown and also returned a late WSU onside kick for a touchdown. Meanwhile, quarterback Anu Solomon threw for 294 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions.

Former S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal had 7 tackles and 1 tackle for loss, but Pitt lost to Georgia Tech by a score of 56-28. Five players for Georgia Tech had more than 50 yards rushing, and the Yellowjackets averaged 7.3 yards/carry.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

MLive: Instead of an upset, Michigan squanders opportunities

Here's Brendan Quinn's post-game column (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few good looking women.

Michigan State 35, Michigan 11

Devin Gardner (image via MLive)
Farewell, Brady Hoke. The last four games of the season can be considered Hoke's farewell tour. I had maintained that he could save his job by winning out or perhaps going 5-1 in the second half of the year, but this was the final nail in the coffin. Whatever happens from game nine onward doesn't matter. Michigan played uninspired football yet again, they looked disorganized, and they looked poorly coached. The guys on the opposite side were the opposite. Class of 2015 tight end commit Chris Clark might as well decommit now, because there's no point in pretending that Hoke has a shot at returning next year.

Coaching tip #1: Stop punting. If you're down by 25 points in the fourth quarter and you have a 4th-and-3, it doesn't really matter where you are on the field. You don't punt. Brady Hoke punts, though.

Coaching tip #2: Recover the onside kick. After scoring a touchdown to narrow the score to 28-11, Michigan elected to onside kick. Matt Wile kicked a pretty decent onside attempt, but Michigan's players barely seemed aware of where the ball was going. Their heads were down and looking at the Spartans' return team. Granted, you usually have guys designated to take out the returners and guys designated to get the ball, but everyone needs to be aware of the ball's location. Nobody was even close to challenging MSU wide receiver Tony Lippett for the ball.

Coaching tip #3: Stop calling so many timeouts. The number of timeouts Michigan wastes because of disorganization is mind-boggling. They wasted two early timeouts in the second half yesterday, which meant they only had one remaining late in the game when MSU was running down the clock. It really isn't that difficult to get the right people on the field and get them lined up properly. If you have so many problems with it, then you're either not coaching it properly or you're making personnel changes/formations/play calls too complicated.

Let your play do the talking. For some stupid reason, Michigan junior linebacker Joe Bolden stabbed a stake into the "S" in the middle of the field before the game. Much like Rich Rodriguez's homage to Josh Groban, it was a completely tone-deaf move by Bolden. Michigan is in the middle of a stretch of being dominated by the Spartans. They don't need to be incited further. When I was watching the game, it seemed like Bolden was the target of quite a bit of extra pushing, shoving, extracurricular activity, etc. in the pile. Once this news came out after the game, it didn't surprise me. And you know what? I don't blame the Spartans. Good for them. They were defending their own turf, and they were letting Bolden know that he was a moron for that move. Even going back to Mike Hart's "little brother" comments after the 2007 game, I hate it when players and coaches think their words are more important than their actions on the field.

Mark Dantonio is a pompous tool. He and Bret Bielema are the two coaches I hate most in college football. Dantonio commented going into halftime that running back Josh Langford "had to score twice" and "It doesn't get better than that" after the original touchdown run was ruled down at the half-yard line. Just play the game and don't be a smart-ass, especially when you're wrong.

Spartan fans are special. After MSU backup linebacker Chris Frey was ejected for targeting Amara Darboh on a punt return, Frey proceeded to get a standing ovation on his way to the tunnel. Only in East Lansing does one get a standing ovation for nearly decapitating an opposing player.

The wide receivers are ew. For a few years, I thought wide receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski had the best track record of player performance. He was a guy who developed Junior Hemingway into a clutch receiver, Jeremy Gallon into a record-setter, and several other guys in an upward direction. Then 2014 came along. Michigan dropped at least five catchable passes in this game, including 3 by #1 jersey wearer Devin Funchess and redshirt sophomore Amara Darboh. Funchess lacks concentration, drops too many passes, and doesn't seem to have broken a single tackle since the Appalachian State game. Meanwhile, Darboh runs crappy routes on a weekly basis and gets zero separation. No offensive position group is playing well, so I can't blame everything on the receivers, but Devin Gardner is getting no help.

Speaking of Devin Gardner, can anyone say "Notre Dame 2013"? The guy looked as clueless as he did 1.5 years ago. His mechanics are consistently screwed up, like they were on the R.J. Williamson pick-six that he floated in the middle of the field. And he consistently makes terrible decisions, like the shovel pass to no one that was intercepted by linebacker Taiwain Jones. Unfortunately, Gardner is the best quarterback on Michigan's roster. He finished the game 13/28 for 121 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He also carried the ball 4 times for -18 yards.

Why Shane Morris for one snap? Late in the game, Gardner was yanked for one play. Hoke said in the post-game press conference that the coaches were going to make a change, but then they thought better of it because Gardner is a senior. Morris threw one incomplete corner route before being pulled. That just shows once again that the coaches are clueless and indecisive. You have an MSU possession to decide who your quarterback is going to be on the next drive, you decide on the backup, and in the 25 seconds it takes for him to run a play, you change your mind.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Some pictures to cheer you up

Well, that was an ugly game. Here are some pretty girls in various stages of undress to make you happier.

If you don't like pretty girls, this post isn't for you.

The Postgame: Dave Brandon "Broke" Michigan Athletics

John U. Bacon posted a piece on Dave Brandon's failures as U of M's athletic director (LINK).

Hit the jump for cleavage.

Preview: Michigan at Michigan State

Rush Offense vs. Michigan State Rush Defense
Michigan is in the middle of the pack in rushing. They rank #66 in yards per game (164) and #46 in yards/carry (4.67). Starting running back Derrick Green is out for the season, so default starter De'Veon Smith stepped in last week and carried the ball 12 times for 24 yards against a very good Penn State front. Overall, he averages 5.2 yards/carry but will cede some time to third down back Justice Hayes (4.7 yards/carry). Michigan State is #10 in rush defense, allowing just 102 yards/game, and they are #36 in giving up 3.46 yards/carry. Fifth year senior safety Kurtis Drummond (6'1", 202 lbs.) leads the team with 33 tackles, 29 of them solo. Redshirt junior strong safety R.J. Williamson (5'10", 200 lbs.) is second with 30 tackles, but freshman Montae Nicholson (6'2", 209 lbs.) has stepped up lately and has 21 solo tackles. Senior linebacker Taiwain Jones (6'3", 232 lbs.), redshirt junior Ed Davis (6'3", 220 lbs.), and senior end Marcus Rush (6'2", 250 lbs.) are also up near the team lead in tackles. Jones, Davis, and redshirt junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun (6'4", 240 lbs.) all share the team lead with 7.5 tackles for loss each, while Rush has 6.0 himself. Average size for the starting defenders is fairly light for ends (245 lbs.), tackles (278 lbs.), linebackers (222 lbs.), and corners (178 lbs.); the safeties all hover around 200 lbs., which is pretty normal. However, they are aggressive and know how to tackle.
Advantage: Michigan State

Pass Offense vs. Michigan State Pass Defense
Michigan is #110 in passer efficiency rating and overall passing yardage with 176 yards/game. Quarterback Devin Gardner is completing 63% of his passes, but he has thrown 6 interceptions and 8 picks this year. The offensive line has been questionable (tied for #83 in sacks allowed), and his receivers have been unable to gain separation. The most accomplished target is Devin Funchess (36 catches, 461 yards, 4 touchdowns), but he has been limited by an ankle injury and double coverage. The other guys all have limitations worse than a bum ankle. On the Spartans' side, Davis (6 sacks) and Calhoun (5 sacks) are Michigan State's top pass rushers, but there are roughly five guys who pose a big threat to get to the quarterback. The defensive line gets penetration, and the linebackers make quick reads and blitz often. The Spartans are #5 in sacks with 26 altogether. As a team, they allow 192 yards/game (#19 nationally) and are #21 in passer efficiency rating defense. Drummond and redshirt junior corner Trae Waynes (6'1", 175 lbs.) lead the team with 2 interceptions apiece while the team is tied for #32 with 8 picks overall; both players were pre-season all-conference picks. This will not go well for Michigan.
Advantage: Michigan State

Rush Defense vs. Michigan State Rush Offense
The Michigan Wolverines are actually #4 nationally and give up just 94 yards/game on the ground, with a 5th-best 2.73 yards/carry allowed. Linebackers Jake Ryan (56) and Joe Bolden (51) lead the team in tackles, while Ryan (9.0) and defensive end Frank Clark (8.5) each have a respectable number of tackles for loss. The Wolverines do a good job of keeping things contained and swarming to the ball. The Spartans run for 261 yards/game (#15 overall) and average 5.45 yards/carry (#21 overall), and they're second overall in rushing touchdowns with 25 total. Senior starter Jeremy Langford (6'1", 208 lbs.) has 664 yards and 7 touchdowns on 5.3 yards/carry, and senior backup Nick Hill (5'8", 196 lbs.) has 475 and 6. Even third-stringer Delton Williams, a sophomore, has gotten into the domination act with 7.2 yards/carry and 5 touchdowns. The tackles for MSU are over 300 lbs., but the interior guys average 289 lbs. None comes with a lot of accolades, but they get the job done. When teams are on such opposite ends of the spectrum statistically, it seems like they never meet in the middle - either Michigan State will run all over Michigan, or Michigan will completely shut down MSU's run game. Due to the recent history of this series, I have to imagine that the Wolverines will be on their heels.
Advantage: Michigan State

Pass Defense vs. Michigan State Pass Offense
Michigan gives up 207 yards/game, which is good enough for #36 nationally. However, they're #70 in passer efficiency rating defense, which underscores their inability to create turnovers or make plays on the ball. Sophomore Jourdan Lewis has 2 interceptions, but he and defensive tackle Willie Henry are the only players to record picks this year. The Wolverines are tied for 111th in interceptions. They do have 18 sacks, which is tied for #33, but no one player shows a consistent ability to get to the quarterback. The most dynamic pass rusher is Clark (2.5 sacks), but Brennen Beyer leads the team with 4. Short and intermediate routes have been a problem for the defense. Michigan State is #42 nationally with 265 passing yards/game, and they are #8 in passer efficiency rating. Redshirt junior Connor Cook (6'4", 215 lbs.) completes 61% of his passes and has thrown 16 touchdowns, compared with just 5 picks. Fifth year senior Tony Lippett (6'3", 192 lbs.) leads the team by a wide margin with 39 catches for 786 yards (20.2 yards/catch) and 8 touchdowns. The next best numbers on the team are 15, 244, and 4, which all belong to redshirt sophomore tight end Josiah Price (6'4", 238 lbs.). Otherwise, the receivers have been pretty pedestrian. Cook has benefited from excellent protection, as the Spartans have allowed just 4 sacks all season, which is tied for #1 overall.
Advantage: Michigan State

Roster Notes
  • Players offered by Michigan include WR Aaron Burbridge, LB Ed Davis, S Kurtis Drummond, OT Dennis Finley, LB Mylan Hicks, LB Shane Jones, WR Monty Madaris, DE Malik McDowell, S Montae Nicholson, LB Jon Reschke, DE Marcus Rush, and DT Lawrence Thomas
  • TE Dylan Chmura is the son of former Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura
Last Time They Played . . .
  • Michigan State won by a score of 29-6 in 2013
  • Michigan scored 2 field goals in the first half
  • The Wolverines had -48 yards rushing, including 7 sacks of Devin Gardner
  • Jeremy Langford ran 26 times for 120 yards and 1 touchdown

  • Michigan gains more than -48 yards on the ground
  • Devin Gardner gets knocked out of the game due to injury
  • Connor Cook gets a maddening amount of time to throw the ball
  • Michigan State 32, Michigan 14

Friday, October 24, 2014

Welcome to the Weekend!

Start your weekend off properly with some very good looking ladies.

MLive: Ask Nick - Talking NFL coaches coming to college, the trouble with offensive lines

Nick Baumgardner answers some mailbag questions about Michigan football (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few pretty women.

Visitors: Michigan at Michigan State

Detroit (MI) King wide receiver Donnie Corley (image via
It's a big visit weekend for the Spartans, since it's against the Wolverines. The nature of the game means that a lot of prospects also have interest in/from Michigan, too. Here's a list of some expected visitors to East Lansing for the game:

Christopher Hart - DE - Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas

Tyler Higby - OG - Houston (TX) Kinkaid:
John Kelly - S - Oak Park (MI) Oak Park:
Brian Lewerke - QB - Phoenix (AZ) Pinnacle:
Noah Listermann - OT - Cincinnati (OH) Winton Woods:
Grayson Miller - S - Georgetown (KY) Scott County:
Larry Scott - RB - Hubbard (OH) Hubbard:
Kyonta Stallworth - OG - Detroit (MI) King:

Tyriq Thompson - LB - Detroit (MI) King: Michigan offer; Michigan State commit
Raequan Williams - DE - Chicago (IL) DePaul:

Jonathon Cooper - DE - Gahanna (OH) Lincoln:

Donnie Corley - WR - Detroit (MI) King: Michigan offer
Carter Couglin - RB - Eden Prairie (MN) Eden Prairie:
Desmond Fitzpatrick - WR - Farmington (MI) Farmington:
Tobias Gilliam - CB - Huber Heights (OH) Wayne:
Daelin Hayes - LB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Michigan offer
Lavert Hill - CB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Michigan offer
Michael Jordan - OT - Plymouth (MI) Plymouth: Michigan offer
Khalid Kareem - DE - Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison:
Jeremy Larkin - RB - Cincinnati (OH) La Salle:
Kordell Looney - DT - Springfield (OH) Springfield:
Jalen Martin - WR - Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park Academy:
Michael Onwenu - DT - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech:
 Michigan offer
Jordan Overton - CB - Lyndhurst (OH) Brush:
Martell Pettaway - RB - St. Clair Shores (MI) South Lake:
Auston Robertson - DE - Fort Wayne (IN) Wayne: Michigan offer
Sam Schlueter - OT - Victoria (MN) Mayer Lutheran:
Ethan Tucky - LB - Delaware (OH) Hayes:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

MLive: Devin Funchess #13 on SI's Big Board

Devin Funchess is still a highly touted draft pick, despite Michigan's struggles (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few good looking women.

Recruiting Update: October 23, 2014

Saline (MI) Saline placekicker Ryan Tice (image via Saline Post)
Saline (MI) Saline kicker Ryan Tice committed to Michigan as a preferred walk-on. He's going to enroll in January, when he will presumably start competing for the jobs that will be vacated by seniors Matt Wile and Will Hagerup.

Cleveland (OH) Benedictine linebacker Jerome Baker flipped from Florida to Ohio State. I was a bit surprised when he committed to the Gators over the Buckeyes, anyway, so this makes a little sense, especially in light of Florida's struggles and Ohio State's success. Meanwhile, Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier linebacker and Ohio State commit Justin Hilliard is taking another visit to Iowa, where his older brother is a running back. These two things may or may not be related, but Urban Meyer might gain Baker while losing out on Hilliard.

Last week I posted a look back at Michigan's 2007 defensive end recruiting (LINK).

Over on Recruiting Season, I posted a profile of Farmington Hills Harrison DE Khalid Kareem.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Detroit News: Michigan's Devin Gardner beaten, but not broken

Angelique Chengelis writes a piece on the trials and tribulations Gardner has gone through as Michigan's quarterback (LINK).

Hit the jump for three good looking women.

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Denard Robinson

Denard Robinson (image via
In Denard Robinson's third start for the Jacksonville Jaguars this year, he carried the ball 22 times for 127 yards and 1 touchdown. Jacksonville won the game against the Cleveland Browns by a score of 24-6.

Honorable mention: Oakland Raider Charles Woodson made 7 tackles, 1 pass breakup, and 1 interception, which he returned for 30 yards; Oakland lost to the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 24-13; on the other side, linebacker Larry Foote made 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 sack. Linebacker David Harris notched 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and 1 quarterback hurry in the New York Jets' 27-25 loss to the New England Patriots; Patriot quarterback Tom Brady completed 20/37 passes for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns.. Stephen Schilling made his first career start for the Seattle Seahawks at center, but it was a 28-26 loss to the St. Louis Rams. New York Giants running back Michael Cox returned 3 kickoffs for 87 yards (29 yards/return) in a 31-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MLive: 5 things to watch for Michigan

Nick Baumgardner looks at five keys for Michigan leading up to the game against the Spartans (LINK).

Hit the jump for four good looking ladies, including a tantalizing gif.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Pharaoh Brown (image via Daily Emerald)
Former DT Richard Ash: Ash made 1 tackle in Western Michigan's 26-14 victory over Bowling Green.

Former TE commit Pharaoh Brown: Brown had 3 receptions for a career-high 99 yards in Oregon's 45-20 victory over Washington. He has 18 catches for 314 yards (17.4 yards/catch) and 3 touchdowns on the season.

Former CB commit Gareon Conley: Conley made 2 tackles and 1 pass breakup in Ohio State's 56-17 dismantling of Rutgers.

Former S Josh Furman: Oklahoma State suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of TCU, 42-9. Furman made 5 tackles and 1 tackle for loss in the defeat. He now has 39 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 interception, 3 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble.

Former RB commit Demetrius Hart: Hart's Colorado State team beat Utah State by a score of 16-13. Hart ran the ball 12 times for 60 yards (5.0 yards/carry) and 1 touchdown, and he caught 1 pass for 9 yards.

Former linebackers coach Jay Hopson: Hopson, now the head coach at Alcorn State, went to 6-2 with a 40-25 win over Texas Southern. The two losses came against Southern Mississippi in week two and Grambling State on October 11th. Hopson is 19-12 as a head coach in two-plus seasons.

Former RB Thomas Rawls: Rawls nearly continued his streak of 200+ yard rushing games, but alas, he ended this week's contest with 37 carries for 181 yards (4.9 yards/carry) and 1 touchdown. He also caught 1 pass for 6 yards, but Central Michigan lost to Ball State by a score of 32-29. Rawls passed the 1,000-yard barrier for the season and now has 1,007 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal had 3 tackles and 2 pass breakups in Pitt's 21-16 victory over Virginia Tech.

Monday, October 20, 2014

SB Nation: We finally got to watch Bob Stitt's offense. It was spectacular.

Bill Connelly pens a piece on Bob Stitt, the head coach at the Colorado School of Mines who is viewed as such an offensive innovator (LINK).

Hit the jump for pictures of Michelle Lewin and Anna Faith Carlson, plus a Miranda Kerr gif.

What I've Been Reading

Die Trying
  by Lee Child. I read Killing Floor  over the summer and enjoyed it enough to come back for some more Jack Reacher. In another edition of unbelievable coincidences, Reacher finds himself caught up in a kidnapping attempt that has nationwide implications. The multi-talented Reacher gets to use his sniper skills on several occasions, including a far-fetched competition with a criminal mastermind. If you can get past the premise of the whole story, it's an intriguing confluence of events. These are the cheap page-turners that are a reprieve from reading the daily newspaper, websites, or books like . . .

Columbine  by Dave Cullen. Like much of the country, I didn't learn a ton about the Columbine shootings after the national media moved on to other topics. What I took away from the story at the time was that a couple of bullied students took it upon themselves to avenge their unjust treatment, so they hunted down the jocks and preps that held them down in school. That's a bit of an oversimplification, but that was the general story line passed down at the time. From reading Cullen's account, that story is not only oversimplified, but totally inaccurate. The book talks about the erratic behavior of both Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold; the climate of the school before and after the event; the attack itself; and the community's response. Throughout the reading, I had an irrational hope that somebody would catch on to Harris and Klebold's plan and turn them in ahead of time. It's impossible to make sense of violence like this.

Outliers  by Malcolm Gladwell. This is the book that popularized the "10,000 Hour Rule," which suggests that people become great at something if they spend roughly 10,000 hours honing their skill. The most interesting chapter, to me, was "The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes," which reveals that the language used in airline cockpits can severely hamper the abilities of a flight crew. Korean co-pilots deferred to their superiors so much that when they noticed things going poorly, they would merely hint at something going wrong, rather than directly saying, "We need to take action now!" People were dying because Korean co-pilots were too polite. This was a great read.

The Tipping Point  by Malcolm Gladwell. This was another fascinating read from which all kinds of people with leadership positions might benefit. It talks about how small changes can cause sweeping improvements, supported by the story of how a cleanup operation of New York City's subway system helped deter crime citywide. I also enjoyed "The Stickiness Factor: Sesame Street, Blue's Clues, and the Educational Virus," which talks about how children can learn from educational television programs. Personally, I have never watched an episode of Blue's Clues, but it's interesting how much research goes into such a show.

What the Dog Saw  by Malcolm Gladwell. I really liked the other two Gladwell books, but I probably connected best with What the Dog Saw, a collection of articles. The book title stems from an article written about Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer," and talks about how small movements and postures can be interpreted by dogs. I think this applies to humans, too, and a good first impression goes a long way. That first impression idea is also addressed in "Most Likely to Succeed." I am in the process of reading Blink  and I have yet to read David and Goliath, but Gladwell has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I held off on reading his stuff for a long time, but now I'm hooked.

You can check out some other reading suggestions in past installments of What I've Been Reading (LINK).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Michigan Daily: You don't know Scott Sypniewski, and he hopes you never do

Max Cohen wrote a piece on redshirt freshman long snapper Scott Sypniewski (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few pictures of Joanna Krupa.

Grantland: The Quiet Genius

Michael Weinreb has a piece on Oregon head football coach Mark Helfrich, who took over Chip Kelly's machine and has kept it humming at a high pace (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few pictures of very, very good looking women.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Welcome to the Weekend!

Start your weekend off with some pictures of good looking ladies. plus a Katy Perry gif.

Review of 2007 Recruiting: Defensive Ends

Michigan recruited Devon Still back in the day (here pictured with his cancer-stricken daughter, Leah;
image via Christian Post)
Tim Jamison, Sr.
Brandon Graham, So.
Greg Banks, RS Fr.
Adam Patterson, RS Fr.
Will Heininger, Fr.

Ryan Van Bergen
High school: Whitehall (MI) Whitehall
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #18 SDE
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue
Scoop: Van Bergen redshirted as a true freshman. As a redshirt freshman in 2008, he started one game, made 13 tackles, and broke up 1 pass. He moved inside to start twelve games at defensive tackle in 2009, making 40 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 4 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. Then as a redshirt junior in 2010, he moved back to defensive end and made 37 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 1 pass knockdown. He achieved all-conference Honorable Mention status in 2011 with 45 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 3 fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumble. He signed with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent but never played a game in the NFL.

Kourtnei Brown
High school: Charlotte (NC) Victory Christian
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #12 WDE
College: Clemson
Other notable offers: Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia Tech
Scoop: Brown played in eleven games as a freshman and made 12 total tackles, including 1 sack. As a sophomore in 2008, he made 16 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Brown redshirted in 2009. Then in 2010, he made 17 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss as a redshirt junior. Finally, he finished his career with 22 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception returned 20 yards for a touchdown, 1 fumble recovery returned 26 yards for a touchdown, and 3 pass breakups. He went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft but found his way into the league with the San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, and St. Louis Rams.

Jared Glover
High school: Bixby (OK) Bixby
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #29 WDE
College: Oklahoma State
Other notable offers: Nebraska, Texas A&M
Scoop: Glover redshirted in 2007. As a redshirt freshman in 2008, he was a backup linebacker and played in six games, making 5 total tackles. He left OSU prior to the 2009 season due to injury.

Everson Griffen
High school:
 Avondale (AZ) Agua Fria
Ratings: Rivals 5-star, #1 SDE, #6 overall
College: USC
Other notable offers: Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon
Scoop: As a freshman in 2007, Griffen started two games and finished with 21 tackes, 5.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 pass deflections on the season; for his efforts he was a First Team Freshman All-America. In 2008 he made 18 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks as a backup. He earned the starter's job in 2009 and responded with 45 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 pass deflection, for which he was named Second Team All-Pac 10. He left school after his junior year and entered the 2010 NFL Draft, where he was picked in the 4th round (#100 overall) by the Minnesota Vikings. Since becoming a pro, he has had a few run-ins with the law. However, he has totaled 85 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 1 interception (returned 29 yards for a touchdown), and 3 forced fumbles as a backup for the Vikings and was re-signed this past off-season.

Devon Still
High school:
 Wilmington (DE) Howard
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #10 SDE
College: Penn State
Other notable offers: Miami, Ohio State
Scoop: Still redshirted as a freshman in State College. Between a torn ACL and a broken ankle, he missed almost all of the 2007 and 2008 seasons. As a redshirt sophomore backup  in 2009, he made 19 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. When I attended a coaching clinic at Penn State in the spring of 2009, Still was physically the most impressive guy I saw in practice. He started twelve games at defensive tackle in 2010, making 39 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 1 pass breakup. He came into his own as a 6'5", 310 lb. senior in 2011, when he made 55 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass breakup; he was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. The Cincinnati Bengals picked him in the 2nd round (#53 overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft. In two-plus professional seasons, he has made 28 tackles, .5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. The Bengals recently made news by signing him so that his daughter's cancer treatments would be covered by their medical insurance.

John Stokes
High school:
 Memphis (TN) University School
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #13 WDE
College: Vanderbilt
Other notable offers: Alabama, Ole Miss, Stanford
Scoop: As a freshman in 2007, Stokes earned the long-snapper duties and made 7 tackles as a backup outside linebacker. He became the starting outside 'backer in 2008 and finished with 31 tackles and 4 tackles for loss. He platooned at OLB in 2009 and made 44 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. As a senior in 2010, he won the job outright and made 78 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 3 pass breakups. He was not drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft but spent some time with the Tennessee Titans as a long snapper before getting cut before the season began. As far as I can gather, he has not played in a regular season game and his football career appears to be finished.

Chris Strong
High school:
 Batesville (MS) South Panola
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #3 SDE, #53 overall
College: Ole Miss
Other notable offers: Florida, Miami, Ohio State, USC
Scoop: Strong signed with Ole Miss in 2007 but had issues with his weight as he bounced back and forth between defensive end and middle linebacker. He started three games that year and made 19 tackles, but he quit football prior to the 2008 season and was not heard from again in the football world.

Martez Wilson
High school:
 Chicago (IL) Simeon
Ratings: Rivals 5-star, #2 WDE, #26 overall
College: Illinois
Other notable offers: Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC
Scoop: Wilson was a backup outside linebacker in 2007 and made 29 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 pass breakup on the way to being named a Freshman All-America. He became a starter in 2008 and ended the year with 73 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, and 3 pass breakups. He suffered a herniated disc early in 2009 and was given a medical hardship waiver after making 9 tackles in limited time. He returned with a vengeance in 2010 and started at middle linebacker, where he made 112 tackles (4th in the Big Ten), 11.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 4 pass breakups, and 1 blocked kick. He was named First Team All-Big Ten and entered the NFL Draft after the year, foregoing his final year of eligibility. Wilson was picked in the 3rd round (#72 overall) by the New Orleans Saints in the 2011 NFL Draft and has played for the Saints, Oakland Raiders, and Dallas Cowboys since then, totaling 33 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 2 pass breakups over the last three seasons. He was cut by the Cowboys in August and has not signed on with another team.

Defensive end always seems like a questionable position to recruit, because so many players end up outgrowing the position or never filling out their frames. You can see in this class that a few guys remained as outside linebackers, while Still turned into a huge defensive tackle.

Biggest miss: Devon Still. The lean Rich Rodriguez years may have been improved a little bit with someone like Still in the middle, pairing with a guy like Mike Martin. Imagine that duo in the center of those defensive lines. Michigan fans may not have had to deal with watching Adam Patterson play nose tackle.

Biggest bust: Chris Strong. Strong didn't really have a position, and he was out of football after just a short college career. That's underwhelming for the #53 player nationally.

Best in class: Von Miller. Miller attended Texas A&M, where he played 4-3 outside linebacker, 4-3 weakside end, and 3-4 outside linebacker. His ability to rush the passer never waned, though. He had 17 sacks as a junior in 2009 and another 10 sacks in 2010. He was a 1st round pick (#2 overall) by the Denver Broncos in 2011, for whom he has 191 tackles, 41 sacks, 1 interception, and 11 forced fumbles in two-plus seasons. He's a two-time Pro Bowler and has 6 sacks so far this season.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

MLive: After not knowing role last year, LeVert enters 2014-2015 as leader

Here's a Brendan Quinn piece on Caris LeVert as basketball season approaches (LINK).

Hit the jump for four good looking ladies.

Recruiting Update: October 16, 2014

Detroit (MI) King wide receiver Donnie Corley
(image via
Detroit (MI) King wide receiver Donnie Corley was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'2", 172 lb. player with offers from Arizona State, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Pitt, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #43 wide receiver, #238 overall, and #5 in-state. Corley transferred from Wyandotte (MI) Roosevelt after his sophomore year, so he has increased his exposure while also playing with better talent. Michigan has not forayed into Detroit King often over the last several years, as they have offered (and received a commitment from) just two players since 2008, current slot receiver/kick returner Dennis Norfleet and 2015 Michigan State commit Tyriq Thompson. Corley is a physical wideout who I think can be a solid player at the next level, but I believe Michigan is probably playing slightly from behind in his recruitment.

Hit the jump for an addition to the 2017 recruiting board, some recent commitments elsewhere, and some miscellaneous bits.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Big Ten Blog: ESPN's midseason All-Big Ten team

ESPN put together a midseason All-Big Ten team (LINK). Spoiler alert: there are no Michigan players on it.

Fair or not?

Hit the jump for three hot women, plus an intriguing gif.

Highlights: Michigan 18, Penn State 13

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Tom Brady

Tom Brady (image via Big House Report)
Tom Brady had his best game of the year so far when he went 27/37 for 361 yards and 4 touchdowns in New England's 37-22 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Honorable mention: Carolina Panther Jason Avant caught 5 passes for 47 yards in a 37-37 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals. Michael Cox was called up from the practice squad to return 2 kicks for 53 yards in the New York Giants' 27-0 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles; on the other side, Brandon Graham made 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. Taylor Lewan made his first career start, which was at left tackle in the Tennessee Titans' 16-14 win over Jacksonville. In that same game, Denard Robinson had 5 carries for 22 yards and 3 catches for 14 yards on the losing side.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Big Ten Blog: B1G Roundtable - Lowlights from first half

ESPN writers come up with a list of lowlights from the first half of the season. Unfortunately, Michigan is mentioned in several of them (LINK).

Hit the jump for three good looking ladies.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Thomas Rawls (#34, image via NW Herald)
Former DT Richard Ash: Ash made 6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup in Western Michigan's 42-38 victory over Ball State.

Former TE commit Pharaoh Brown: Brown caught 5 passes for 84 yards and 1 touchdown in Oregon's 42-30 victory over UCLA. That's a season high in receptions and yards, and it's his third touchdown reception of the season.

Former CB commit Dallas Crawford: Crawford made 4 tackles in Miami's 55-34 win over Cincinnati.

Former S Josh Furman: Furman made 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, and the game-clinching interception (returned for 35 yards) in Oklahoma State's 27-20 victory over Kansas.

Former RB commit Demetrius Hart: Hart carried the ball 23 times for 90 yards and 1 touchdown in Colorado State's 31-24 win over Nevada.

Former RB Thomas Rawls: Rawls had a second straight 200-yard game on Saturday when Central Michigan beat Northern Illinois by a score of 34-17. Rawls carried the ball 40 times for 275 yards (6.75 yards/carry) and 2 touchdowns. On the season he has 153 carries for 842 yards (5.5 yards/carry) and 9 touchdowns.

Former head coach Rich Rodriguez: Arizona ascended to #10 in the rankings before getting knocked off by USC by a score of 28-26 on Saturday night. The team managed just 77 yards on 29 carries, so Rodriguez resorted to calling 72 passes. Quarterback Anu Solomon was 43/72 for 395 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions. Kicker Casey Skowron was just 2/5 on field goals. Arizona is now 5-1.

Monday, October 13, 2014

MLive: Michigan defense sits among nation's leaders, offense lays among worst

We all knew this, but Michigan's offense is terrible and the defense is pretty good (LINK).

Hit the jump for Paige Hathaway, who has quite a nice body.

Michigan vs. Penn State Awards

Devin Gardner (image via CBS Detroit)
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Justice Hayes. Hayes adds a speed element that's no longer present in the offense without Derrick Green. Any outside rush attempt by De'Veon Smith is doomed from the beginning, and Hayes has the quickness to hit some of the holes that Smith can't. Michigan doesn't have a complete back on the roster, so Hayes is the relative "home run" threat. That is to say that he can occasionally run for 6 or 7 yards before first contact brings him down.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Russell Bellomy. Bellomy is just as bad as when we saw him throwing 4 interceptions in 2012. His two passing attempts included a near pick six to middle linebacker Mike Hull and nearly a second interception for defensive tackle Anthony Zettel. As a redshirt junior, I hope Michigan thanks Bellomy for his hard work and lets him move on with his life or transfer after this year. His career numbers are like this: 4-for-23, 46 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions. I cannot remember a second-string quarterback at Michigan that was so ineffective, and the team can surely trot out a walk-on who can do just as poorly.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Willie Henry. Henry obviously hurt his hand while sacking Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova last week, and he was reportedly in uniform but sidelined and wearing a cast against Penn State. The Wolverines struggled on the interior to start the game, and Henry is a difference-maker. Unfortunately, his strength of using his hands will probably be impaired by the injury. Michigan needs him if they want to beat the quality teams on their schedule, beginning with Michigan State in two weeks.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody. Michigan's defense was mostly excellent on Saturday night.

Play of the game . . . Devin Funchess's 43-yard touchdown catch. Quarterback Devin Gardner chucked a deep ball that had every intention of getting intercepted by Penn State safety Ryan Keiser. Like a middle schooler with ADHD, Keiser attempted to field the ball like a punt with his hands at waist level. And like a good athlete with a shred of good coaching, Funchess swooped in front of him with his arms extended to snag the ball. He pulled it right out of Keiser's limp hands, bobbled it for a second, and then reeled it in as he crossed the goal line.

MVP of the game . . . Devin Gardner. I really want to give this to Matt Wile for hitting all three field goal attempts (from 45, 42, and 37 yards), including the go-ahead score to make it 16-13. However, we all saw how poorly the offense moved without Gardner on the field, and I'm confident in saying that Michigan would have lost that game if Gardner did not return. Bellomy was extremely close to turning it over on a couple occasions in just two drives. Luckily, cornerback Jourdan Lewis picked off a pass in Penn State territory, close enough for Wile to drive in a field goal despite Bellomy being behind center. Without Gardner, Michigan loses the game. Without Wile, perhaps a backup kicker or some lucky plays by the offense would have earned the Wolverines enough points to prevail.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Michigan 18, Penn State 13

Devin Funchess scored Michigan's lone touchdown (image via CBS Detroit)
So this is what a victory feels like. It seems like it has been a long time since Michigan won a game, and I guess that's pretty accurate. Michigan went almost a full month, from September 13th to October 11th, between victories. For the previous couple weeks, I had some optimism. This week I was steeling myself for another disappointment. But this makes my weekend a little bit happier, and now we have two weeks to revel in the glory of beating a mediocre Penn State team before facing Michigan State.

Devin Gardner needs bubble wrap. I just received a couple orders from Amazon, so I would be glad to donate some bubble wrap to protect Michigan's only competent quarterback. He did not have a great game (16/24 for 192 yards, 1 touchdowns, 1 interception), but the other quarterbacks on the roster look downright terrible this year. I think Michigan needs to seriously look at any grad-year transfers this off-season and see what they can find. Brady Hoke said after the game that second-stringer Shane Morris - who was concussed two weeks ago - could have played, but it was Russell Bellomy who entered the game when Gardner injured an ankle. Bellomy - whose career numbers were 4/21, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions prior to the game - promptly handed off several times and then nearly threw two interceptions, including a certain pick-six to middle linebacker Mike Hull if only Hull could have held onto the ball.

The whole team needs bubble wrap. The list of injuries keeps growing, and it seems every game involves a series of scares. Let's run through the injuries that have occurred over the past week or so:
  • Starting quarterback Devin Gardner (probable sprained ankle)
  • Starting running back Derrick Green (broken collarbone)
  • Starting wide receiver Devin Funchess (aggravated sprained ankle)
  • Starting wide receiver Jehu Chesson (undisclosed lower leg injury)
  • Starting kickoff/punt returner Dennis Norfleet (undisclosed injury, but returned to game)
  • Starting defensive tackle Willie Henry (probable broken hand)
  • Backup tight end Khalid Hill (torn ACL)
Gardner, Funchess, and Norfleet all returned to the game, but the former two seemed hobbled. That list doesn't include virtual starting linebacker Desmond Morgan, starting left guard Erik Magnuson, and virtual starting nickel corner Jabrill Peppers, all of whom have been injured for several weeks and whose returns from injury are in question. I also did not see backup nose tackle Ondre Pipkins on the field last night. Football is a tough sport, and injuries happen to every team. But Michigan was down six starters for the entire evening (Green, Chesson, Henry, Morgan, Magnuson, Peppers) and three more for stretches of time (Gardner, Funchess, Norfleet). Michigan has enough troubles when healthy, but it's tougher to stay competitive when so many people are missing.

Penn State's offensive line is approximately as bad as Michigan's. The Wolverines held the Nittany Lions to 54 rushing yards on 35 carries (1.5 yards/carry), including 6 sacks of quarterback Christian Hackenberg. This is either the best Michigan's defensive front has looked in a long time, or PSU is just bad up front. Unfortunately, it's probably the latter. Regardless, the Wolverines made 11 tackles for loss and those 6 sacks in the game, both of which are reminiscent of opponents' statistics against the Maize and Blue. I have to give credit to the likes of Brennen Beyer (4 tackles, 2 sacks), who doesn't do anything flashy but has held his ground enough to lead the team in sacks so far this season. Penn State was running the ball decently at the beginning of the game when Michigan was missing Ryan Glasgow (who appeared to miss the first quarter, perhaps because of some undisclosed disciplinary issue) and Henry, their two starting defensive tackles. After that the line really seemed to shut them down.

Christian Hackenberg did not impress me. Maybe I'm looking for reasons not to be impressed by Hackenberg, but he has never looked good to me. He does a decent job of checking down to open receivers, and he has a strong arm. I will admit that his touchdown pass to DaeShawn Hamilton was very well done, and there was not much Blake Countess could have done on that play. Otherwise, I would say his best quality is fending off would-be tacklers to create extra time, kind of like a slower Ben Roethlisberger. I would take him at Michigan right now, but I just don't see the reason for the hype. I didn't see it last year, either, because I thought he was a guy getting bailed out by his receivers. Time will tell, I guess.

Michigan's rushing struggles continue. Penn State has one of the best run defenses in the country, so maybe this was bound to happen. But Michigan just couldn't run the ball with any consistency last night. Other than a 25-yard zone read keeper by Gardner, Michigan had 20 carries for 47 yards from their backs (and slot receiver Dennis Norfleet). With Green out, the new starter is De'Veon Smith (12 carries for 24 yards), who is too slow to do anything outside the tackles. The next guy is Justice Hayes (7 for 20), who has speed but doesn't break tackles. Drake Johnson did not touch the ball. Furthermore, they barely attempted any runs to the right, presumably to avoid running behind right tackle Ben Braden.

Hooray for Matt Wile. A week after getting a potential game-tying field goal blocked, Wile looked pretty darn solid as the placekicker. He went 3/3 on field goals from 45, 42, and 37 yards. The first two were right down the middle, and the go-ahead, 37-yarder was squeezed tightly inside the right upright.

The uniforms weren't bad. I'm a traditionalist, and I really like Michigan's regular uniforms. But I have to say that I thought the one-off uniforms looked pretty good. The navy blue jersey-and-pants combination looked slick, and I liked the maize shoes. I wouldn't mind seeing something like them again, but I have not been impressed with most of Michigan's alternate uniforms. My one problem with these was that some of the 6's looked like 8's, so I thought Jourdan Lewis was #28, Jack Miller was #80, Ryan Glasgow was #98, etc.

Thank goodness for a bye week. These guys need a week off, and hopefully Brady Hoke will give them a chance to rest and recuperate. Several of the guys listed above should be better by the October 25th game against Michigan State. Add to that the fact that it's a tough opponent, and the Wolverines really need this preparation time. I do think Hoke can work his way out of the hot seat with a strong finish to the season, but that probably has to include a victory against the rival Spartans.

Go Blue! Yeah.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Happy 16,000,000th Pageview!

I've been too busy this week to complete the PSU preview by this morning. It should be up by tomorrow morning. But hey, in the meantime, TTB passed 16,000,000 pageviews this week. In my special way of saying thanks, here are 25 good looking ladies.

Preview: Michigan vs. Penn State

Rush Offense vs. Penn State Rush Defense
The Wolverines are now #57 nationally with 181 yards/game on the ground, and they're #32 in rushing average (5.1 yards/carry). They were unable to find a consistent running game against Rutgers last week, but they did improve as the game went along, particularly behind left guard Graham Glasgow and left tackle Mason Cole. The top rusher is Derrick Green (471 yards, 5.7 yards/carry, 3 touchdowns), who will miss the rest of the year with a broken collarbone. Default starter De'Veon Smith (282 yards, 6 yards/carry, 4 touchdowns) is a somewhat ponderous but hard-running back, and we will probably see more Justice Hayes (5.3 yards/carry, 0 touchdowns) and Drake Johnson (3 carries, 28 yards). Quarterback Devin Gardner had a couple rushing touchdowns last game and is a potential game-changer when scrambling out of the pocket. Meanwhile, Penn State has a stingy run defense and gives up just 60 yards/game, good enough for #2 in the country behind Louisville. Teams average 1.99 yards/carry against them, which is best in the nation. Their leading tackler is middle linebacker Mike Hull with 53 stops, while the next best on the team is strong safety Ryan Keiser with 23. That's a huge dropoff from #1 to #2, so Hull is the main cog in the defense. Ends C.J. Olaniyan (6'3", 252 lbs.) and Deion Barnes (6'4", 255 lbs.) are not big but have a fair amount of talent, and redshirt junior Anthony Zettel (6'4", 274 lbs.) starts at three-tech. The only defensive lineman with impressive size is redshirt sophomore nose tackle Austin Johnson (6'4", 313 lbs.). The loss of Green removes an element of explosiveness from the running game, and an already stingy PSU front will probably feast on an improving but underperforming Michigan line.
Advantage: Penn State

Pass Offense vs. Penn State Pass Defense
Gardner has - finally and mercifully - been named the permanent starter at quarterback. His numbers are not great (63% completions, 5 touchdowns, 7 interceptions), but he's the best Michigan has. Top target Devin Funchess (29 catches, 392 yards, 3 touchdowns) looks to be recovering from a high ankle sprain, but he has not scored a touchdown since the season opener against Appalachian State. The other wide receivers are not noteworthy, so it seems like tight ends Jake Butt (7 catches, 96 yards, 1 touchdown) and Khalid Hill (4 catches, 37 yards) will factor in more and more. Slot receiver Dennis Norfleet can't catch the ball downfield, but he's somewhat effective on short passes. Michigan is tied for #92 in sacks allowed, which is not as bad as it could have been following a game against Rutgers. Penn State is #58 in the country in giving up just under 229 yards/game. No opponent has completed even 57% of their passes against the Nittany Lions, and they picked off 5 Gary Nova passes in their contest against Rutgers. Junior cornerback Trevor Williams (6'1", 188 lbs.) and senior safety Adrian Amos (6'0", 209 lbs.) are tied for the team lead with 2 interceptions each, but the team has just 5 return yards on 6 interceptions. The front has accrued 13 sacks, which is tied for #37 in the country, and they're led by Zettel (3.0), Barnes (2.0), and Olaniyan (2.0).
Advantage: Penn State

Rush Defense vs. Penn State Rush Offense
The Wolverines are decent against the rush, ranking #12 at a fraction over 100 yards/game. They're tied for #15 in the country in allowing just 2.93 yards/carry. Linebackers Joe Bolden (48) and Jake Ryan (46) lead the team in tackles by a wide margin. Meanwhile, defensive end Frank Clark (6.5) and Ryan (6.0) lead the squad in tackles for loss. The unit has improved this year, especially on the interior, where defensive tackles Ryan Glasgow and Willie Henry are significantly better than last season. Meanwhile, Penn State is #115 in rushing the ball and averaging 101 yards/game on 3.1 yards/carry. Starting running back Bill Belton (5'11", 204 lbs.) averages 3.9 yards/carry, and bruiser Zach Zwinak (6'1", 233 lbs.) averages 2.8. The only back to reach even 80 yards in a single game was third-stringer Akeel Lynch (6'0", 215 lbs.), and that came against UMass. The offensive line is fairly young with two redshirt juniors (LT Donovan Smith, C Angelo Mangiro), one redshirt sophomore (RG Brian Gaia), and two redshirt freshmen (LG Brendan Mahon, RT Andrew Nelson). This should be Michigan's most advantageous matchup.
Advantage: Michigan

Pass Defense vs. Penn State Pass Offense
Michigan's secondary is reeling a little bit after last week's disaster, when they allowed 404 yards to Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova. That performance dropped them to #40 against the pass (215 yards/game) and #82 in passer rating defense. The Wolverines have been banged up in the secondary, including safety Delano Hill, safety Jeremy Clark, and cornerback Jabrill Peppers. Furthermore, Michigan's secondary has created just one turnover, an interception from Jourdan Lewis. Michigan ranks #51 and has 12 sacks on the season, but nobody has stood out as a pass rusher; backup end Taco Charlton leads the team with 2.5 quarterback takedowns. On the flip side, Penn State is tied for #102 in giving up sacks (14 so far). Even so, they are #25 in throwing the ball (307 yards/game), albeit with the #82 passer efficiency rating. Sophomore starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg (6'3", 234 lbs.) is completing just 58% of his passes for 4 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and he's coming off of a poor performance against Northwestern (48%, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, 4.8 yards/attempt). The surprise star on offense has been redshirt freshman wideout DaeSean Hamilton (6'1", 203 lbs.), who has three 100+ yard games this season and leads the team with 36 catches. On the opposite side, redshirt sophomore Geno Lewis (6'1", 199 lbs.) averages 17 yards/catch. Tight end Jesse James (6'7", 254 lbs.) could be a matchup problem with his size, but outside of their win against Akron, he has averaged just 9.3 yards/catch with 0 touchdowns. Belton is also someone to watch out of the backfield (14 catches, 129 yards, 1 touchdown). It doesn't make sense to me, but based on what Rutgers did to Michigan, I have to give this category to . . .
Advantage: Penn State

Roster Notes
  • Players recruited by Michigan include S Marcus Allen, DE Deion Barnes, RB Bill Belton, WR Saeed Blacknall, TE Adam Breneman, LB Ben Kline, OT Brendan Mahon, DE C.J. Olaniyan, and DT Anthony Zettel
  • Defensive end Brad Bars is the older brother of Michigan redshirt sophomore OG Blake Bars
  • Players from the state of Michigan include FB Charles Idemudia, DE C.J. Olaniyan, and DT Anthony Zettel
Last Time They Played . . .
  • Devin Gardner ran 24 times 121 yards
  • Fitzgerald Toussaint ran 27 times for 27 yards
  • Devin Funchess caught 37- and 59-yard touchdown passes
  • Brendan Gibbons was 4/7 on field goals, including having one blocked
  • Christian Hackenberg completed 23/44 passes for 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, but he was clutch when throwing to Allen Robinson (5 catches, 84 yards, all seemingly over Channing Stribling) late in the game
  • Bill Belton scored an easy 2-yard touchdown to win the game in four overtimes by a score of 43-40
  • Michigan once again comes out looking somewhat competent on offense
  • Michigan unveils the power read option for the first time this season
  • The Wolverines intercept Hackenberg twice
  • Penn State 24, Michigan 21

Friday, October 10, 2014

ESPN: Rich Rod building a winner at Arizona

Ted Miller has a piece on Arizona's Rich Rodriguez, the former Michigan head coach (LINK).

Hit the jump for four good looking women.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

MLive: Hoke says Michigan will use Gardner a tad differently

It sounds like Michigan will be deploying quarterback Devin Gardner in some new ways this weekend (LINK).

Hit the jump for Hannah Polites in some swimwear.

Visitors: Michigan vs. Penn State

Keisean Lucier-South (image via MaxPreps)
Brian Cole - WR - Saginaw (MI) Heritage:
 Cole committed to Michigan in July (LINK).

Javarius Davis - CB - Jacksonville (FL) Ed White: Davis, the country's #40 running back according to 247's Composite rankings, was scheduled to officially visit Michigan this weekend but canceled.

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

Tyree Kinnel - S - Huber Heights (OH) Wayne:
 Kinnel committed to Michigan in August 2013 (LINK).

Darrin Kirkland, Jr. - LB - Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central: Kirkland committed to Michigan in May (LINK).

Keisean Lucier-South - DE - Orange (CA) Lutheran: Lucier-South is a 6'5", 225 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, and USC, among others. He's a 247 Composite 5-star, the #2 weakside end, and #23 overall. Lucier-South called Michigan a "dream offer" when he got it, but teams like Oklahoma and USC have been making a push since then. While both teams have been the victim of upsets this season, neither is going through a 2-4 season and/or potential coaching change. This is Lucier-South's official visit.

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

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

Tyrone Miller - S - Saline (MI) Saline:

Mook Reynolds - CB - Greensboro (NC) Northern Guilford:
 Reynolds is a 6'0", 175 lb. prospect who is committed to Virginia Tech. He also has offers from Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Tennessee, among others. He took an official visit to Knoxville last weekend, and this is his official visit to Ann Arbor.

Zach Robertson - OG - Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco: Robertson was originally scheduled to take an official visit to Ann Arbor for the Penn State game, but he has since canceled. He's the #319 player in the class, according to the 247 Composite.

Auden Tate - WR - Tampa (FL) Wharton: Tate is a 6'4", 215 lb. Florida State commit; he also has offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, and numerous others. Michigan was an early favorite and was in his top group before he committed to the Seminoles, so there's an outside shot that Michigan could flip him if things go in the right direction for Michigan. Unfortunately, he's an early enrollee, so an iffy coaching situation would likely spell doom for Michigan's chances.

Ahmad Wagner - WR - Huber Heights (OH) Wayne: Wagner is a 6'6", 190 lb. prospect with an offer from Kentucky. A teammate of Kinnel's, he's also a high level basketball prospect (Iowa and Minnesota have offered). He may fit the profile of the jumbo wide receiver Michigan likes if they find themselves scrounging for wideouts.

Mike Weber - RB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Weber committed to Michigan in August (LINK), but he is looking to take other official visits, considering Michigan's current situation.

Hit the jump for 2016 and 2017 prospects.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Grantland: Birds of Prey

Robert Mays profiles the Arizona Cardinals' secondary. It's not related to Michigan football, but it's interesting nonetheless (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few good looking women.

Recruiting Update: October 8, 2014

2015 tight end commit Chris Clark appears unlikely to stick to his Michigan commitment (image via USA Today)
Here is where I'll attempt to handicap Michigan's chances of keeping each 2015 commit in the class:
OG Jon Runyan, Jr.: 99%
K Andrew David: 98%
QB Alex Malzone: 95%
OT Grant Newsome: 90%
S Tyree Kinnel: 80%
WR Brian Cole: 75%
RB Mike Weber: 60%
LB Darrin Kirkland, Jr.: 50%
CB Garrett Taylor: 30%
TE Chris Clark: 10%

Cincinnati (OH) Elder offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer committed to Notre Dame. Michigan was way late to offer him, so the Wolverines were playing from behind. Combine that with Michigan and Notre Dame's diverging trajectories, and something like this was pretty much inevitable.

Over on Recruiting Season, I've added a profile of Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice's Brian Fortin and updated the profile of Detroit King's Donnie Corley.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Detroit News: Michigan players understand fan ire but ask for support

Personally, I find it very frustrating that Michigan "fans" are reacting so negatively by staging protests, promoting boycotts, avoiding games, booing, etc. Now the players have been reduced to pleading for support (LINK).

Hit the jump for a few good looking ladies.

Ex-Wolverine Updates

Thomas Rawls
Former DT Richard Ash: Ash made 2 tackles in Western Michigan's 20-19 loss to Toledo.

Former TE commit Pharaoh Brown: Brown had 1 catch for 15 yards, but Oregon lost to Arizona by a score of 31-24. He has 10 catches for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns on the year.

Former CB Cullen Christian: Christian made 1 tackle in West Virginia's 33-14 victory over Kansas.

Former CB commit Gareon Conley: Conley made 1 tackle in Ohio State's 52-24 win over Maryland.

Former CB commit Dallas Crawford: Crawford made 1 tackle in Miami's 28-17 loss to Georgia Tech.

Former S Josh Furman: Furman made 10 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks in Oklahoma State's 37-20 win over Iowa State. (See comments below for further details.)

Former RB commit Demetrius Hart: Hart had 11 carries for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns in Colorado State's 42-17 win over Tulsa. Hart now has 61 carries for 453 yards (7.4 yards/carry) and 4 touchdowns on the season.

Former RB Thomas Rawls: Rawls had 40 carries for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 1 catch for 16 yards, in Central Michigan's 28-10 victory over Ohio. He now has 572 yards and 7 touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards/carry.

Former head coach Rich Rodriguez: Rodriguez and his crew of Arizona Wildcats walked into Autzen Stadium and beat #2 Oregon by a score of 31-24. Running backs Terris Jones-Grigsby and Nick Jones combined for 40 carries, 207 yards, and 3 touchdowns. The defense sacked Marcus Mariota 5 times, although they failed to intercept him (Mariota has yet to throw a pick this year) and allowed him to catch a 26-yard touchdown pass from running back Royce Freeman. Arizona is now 5-0.

Former S Ray Vinopal: Vinopal had 6 tackles and 1 pass breakup in Pitt's 24-19 loss to Virginia.

Monday, October 6, 2014

MLive: With Derrick Green out, Michigan turns to De'Veon Smith

The bad news is that Derrick Green will miss the rest of the year with a broken clavicle. The good news is . . . well, there is no good news. I guess we'll see what Smith, Justice Hayes, and Drake Johnson can do (LINK).

Hit the jump for some pictures of Jessa Lynn Hinton and Jessica Burciaga.

Highlights: Rutgers 26, Michigan 24

Michigan vs. Rutgers Awards

Jarrod Wilson (#22) broke up this dangerous pass
(image via College Football)
Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Da'Mario Jones. Jones is reportedly one of the faster players on the team, and Michigan is lacking a deep threat. Devin Funchess is being bracketed, Amara Darboh doesn't have great speed, and Dennis Norfleet doesn't know how to catch a ball that's thrown at him. It doesn't necessarily have to be Jones - it could be Freddy Canteen or Maurice Ways - but Michigan needs to find someone else to stretch the field besides a hobbled Funchess.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . A.J. Williams. He is slow and does not have good hands. Devin Gardner threw a quick out to him on Saturday night, and the results were sad. The tight ends running those routes should be Jake Butt or Khalid Hill. We know Butt is good, but Hill is a guy who seems to be improving steadily.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . Jarrod Wilson at free safety. I guess I don't see the rationale behind playing the more inexperienced Jeremy Clark back there in loads of open space, while the more experienced Wilson is covering the flats or stopping the run. Those roles should be flipped. Clark has size and speed, but he lacks field awareness. Meanwhile, Wilson's jarring hit on Leonte Carroo was the first of its kind for Michigan this season, and - surprise! - it came when Wilson was playing deep.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . tentative Joe Bolden and Frank Clark. On separate occasions, these guys seemed afraid to hit Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova. Bolden lacked his improving aggressive nature on a scramble up the middle, and Clark seemed to pull up on a pass rush that allowed Nova to side-step him and throw a touchdown to a diving John Tsimis. Were they tentative because of the week-long discussion about quarterback safety after the Shane Morris hit? Was it a coincidence? I don't know. Maybe Gary is just a super Nova. (Sad people make sad jokes.)

Play of the game . . . unlike last week, there are a couple choices. The highlight reel choice was obviously the one-handed snag by tight end Jake Butt. The more meaningful play was Devin Gardner's 19-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. On a bootleg, he juked the outside contain guy and outran the Rutgers defense to the pylon, all along gliding like only he and a few other quarterbacks can do. He really is fun to watch when he gets in open space. Not many 6'4", 216 lb. guys can move like he does.

MVP of the game . . . Gardner. He didn't have a great game, but nobody really stood out for Michigan. Gardner finished the game 13/22 for 178 yards, and 1 interception; he also ran the ball 10 times for 40 yards and 2 touchdowns. For the most part, he managed the game well, especially once he got comfortable in the second half. I also thought Joe Bolden played pretty well - he made 10 tackles, including 9 solo stops, several of which stopped Scarlet Knights in their tracks.