Saturday, February 20, 2021

Ben VanSumeren, Spartan

 Normally I wouldn't devote a whole post to the commitment of a former Michigan Wolverine to another school, but this one is special. Because former Michigan fullback/running back/linebacker Ben VanSumeren committed to transfer to the Michigan State Spartans.

Is it okay to dislike VanSumeren now?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Sports are built around rivalries and competition, and VanSumeren could have gone to 127 other programs without much of an issue, anywhere except Michigan State or Ohio State. Instead, he chose to go to the in-state rival. It's understandable to an extent that an in-state kid (VanSumeren is from Garber High School in Essexville, MI) would want to stay close to home, but if you're truly a proponent of the University of Michigan, you don't transfer to Michigan State or Ohio State.

VanSumeren was a man without a position in Ann Arbor. He should have been a fullback, except Michigan basically got rid of that position with the hiring of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis in 2019. Michigan tried him at running back, but 9 carries for 20 yards and 1 touchdown didn't show much. Michigan tried him at linebacker (7 tackles in 2020), but he was lost. Maybe he would have been better if he hadn't played three different positions in three seasons.

I don't wish ill upon Ben VanSumeren or his family, but I do hope he loses every remaining game of his college career.


  1. You might be reading too much into this.
    My only concern is the quality of coaching and play at Michigan. I don't know how he became a starting LB, other than Mary-Jean might not really know enough about coaching at a P5 level, and was hurting things more than helping.
    I don't think he chose MSU in some sort of vengeance. And if he did I'm not concerned because he isn't a good enough player to make Michigan pay. Besides, Michigan gave him a huge opportunity, Jay Harbaugh, or whoever it was that was really behind getting him on the team, gave him a shot at a big time school. He should be feeling happy and privileged about that. But, it wasn't working out. MSU can have him, and his brother. Michigan needs a higher caliber of player.
    I am far more concerned about landing Walter Nolan. I read Michigan's entire coaching staff did a zoom call with Nolan and his family. It sounded promising, in that I read his family hit it off well with the staff. But apparently Alabama wants him pretty badly. His signing day is a long way off yet. And when it comes right down to it, I'm not sure that Shean Nua is an attractive enough coach to a player like Nolan. You can be sure Nick Saban would only have the best coach DLine. If Walter Nolan was my son, I would very likely point him toward Nick Saban every time we talked about where to go.

    VanSumeren going to State is yawn reaction to me. Nua still coaching DLine, and Gattis still coaching the offense, are the real concerns at Michigan foitball. I honestly had even forgotten about the VanSummeren brothers.

  2. We'll always have Gattis decision for a pitch to the slow white fullback, to the short side of the field ...

    Couldn't hold on to the ball - and lacked the speed for 'speed in space,' and looked lost at LB

    The only loss is that his brother is now likely to end up playing for a rival

  3. Oh yeah - going to go ahead and hate on BVS for sure. And AVS while we're at it too.

    The position switch thing - let's ask Chase Winovich if that's a good excuse.

    Gattis put the last nail in the FB coffin but Hamilton moved away from using a FB pretty hard when he moved the offense to majority shotgun in 2018. Per mgoblog heading into 2019 "the adoption of the arc blocking system saw [Mason] dropped from his fullback role." He was as much a RB as anything for much of that year. This happened in BVS' freshman year so he probably should have left then. Michigan's offense has been evolving to a more modern approach every year.

    The real mystery is why BVS played LB at all. Maybe to help with landing his little brother. So much for that. Now they're headed off to Little Brother.

    Anyway the players don't seem too bothered. Bring on the spice.


  4. Players find the move amusing

    This isn't a knock on BVS - not a player's fault when they're not good enough, and definitely when scheme changes. Players and most fans see this is as no big loss

    1. The link isn't working. What did Michael Barrett say?

    2. Just a brush off, with a reference to 💩

      The BVS move is looked at as "whatever"

    3. Im wondsring what the players thought of Jean-Mary

  5. Now thats there's a new QB coach it's making some questions arise in me. Because, Jim Harbaugh is the QB coach, and what I read said he is going to continue to ciach QBs. So why fill the last coaching spot with a second QB coach. I'm a big believer in redundancy. But in this case, there isn't room for redundancy, especially with the need for a LBs coach. So, a question arising in me is this, is Josh Gattis on the way out, with this new coach poised to become OC? Or if Gattis is let go at any time during the season, is this new coach a safety net, again, ready to be made the OC?

  6. So after reading a little more about this new coach, I am expecting that he could take over the OC spot if Gattis doesnt start with some high flying scoring. In other words, if 'speed in space' doesn't happen, right now, Gattis will be out. Im thinking Gattis is not just on a short leash, but on no leash. It's make it happen, now, or be replaced by someone who is primed, right now, to run an offense.
    And if that happens, I won't have a problem with it.

    Now, as for the defensive line......

    1. So either Gattis is getting forced out or we're worried about him jumping to a HC job I don't think either is all that likely.

      Gattis has been a fast riser so far but right now he has about half a season's worth of good work as an OC on his resume against a season's worth of bad. So he would need a really good 2021 to even get on the radar at a lower tier school as a head coach. Given the uncertainty at QB and OL I wouldn't be worried about Gattis' imminent departure right now.

      As for replacing him - if Gattis fails in 2021 I doubt Harbaugh will be given the opportunity. Harbaugh put all his eggs in the Gattis basket when he told Warriner to walk. Most of them were already there anyway.

      Anyway, nobody else on the current staff is really qualified to be an OC at a program of Michigan's status. But hey - that's true for our current DC and co-DC (whatever that arrangement means) as well.

      I think it's as simple as Weiss was a guy Harbaugh values and trusts. When BMJ jumped ship suddenly it was a relatively pain-free move to make, even if it required some shuffling of position assignments.

      Weiss continues the theme of hiring coaches who are 40 or less. The staff just got even younger. Harbaugh the vampire.


    2. Wasn't Gattis WR coach at Alabama? Maybe that will be his main emphasis now. I know JJMcArthy is a precioys commodity, and this new QB coach may have been hired to focus on him. But this new coach has proven to be an excellent RB coach too. It rrally does look like he is ready to try his hand at being an OC. And maybe he is going to have a foot in the offensive coordinators door. And I think he should. Jim Harbaugh needs winning niw. I read he cant sleep well from how the team is doing. He is a winner. Winners need to win to sleep good.