Friday, February 27, 2015

Michigan Friday: The Michigan Staff is Starting To Make Up Ground With Instate Recruits

One of the biggest gaps when the new staff arrived in Ann Arbor was in instate recruiting.  The likes of Dantonio and Meyer have been recruiting these guys for a couple of years.   The Michigan staff hasn't and now has to put on a full court press to gain ground on the other programs.   The good news is neither OSU or MSU has any instate Michigan recruits committed yet. 

Michigan has been hosting guys for basketball games and now football practice.  

  • 4 star Cass Tech OG/DT Michael Onwenu who used to have OSU as his leader has cooled on the Buckeyes after the Mike Weber situation.  He has been visiting A2.

  • 4 star Detroit King WR Donnie Corley who hasn't had Michigan in his top 5, has visited A2 and now is warming to the coaches and the situation in A2.  Donnie has a list of offers including the likes of Alabama, LSU, OK, ND, OSU and many others.

  • 3/4 Star Farmington WR Desmond Fitzpatrick and Louisville commit as been to A2 twice recently and will be back for the Spring Game.

  • 4 star Plymouth OT Michael Jordan is a priority for the Michigan staff and is planning on camping in A2 for a day this summer.

  • 4 star Southfield RB Matt Falcon will visit A2 for a practice today. This will be his second visit in 2 weeks.
This seems like a very deep instate recruiting class. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Michigan Thursday: Nothing But Quarterbacks!

I remember the famous SNL kit "Da Bears", where the fellas joked about who would win a game, if the Packers played a team full of Ditka's.   That skit jumped into my mind when Jimmy said, this at his press conference on Tuesday:

Is there a point where there’s too many [quarterbacks] and you have to pare that down?
“I don’t know that there’s an exact number. Right now we’re throwing the balls out there and letting the fellas compete, and the more good ones you have the better.”

Got me thinking that Jimmy probably would love nothing but a roster full of QB's.  He signed two in the recruiting class and took a transfer from Houston QB John O'Korn.  There are also rumors floating around that current Iowa QB Jake Rudock is considering Michigan as a graduate transfer this spring/summer.   Jake has played in 25 games in two years at Iowa, completes 60% of this throws and has thrown 34 TD's to 18 INT's.   He is 6'3 and 208 pounds and went to the same high school (St. Thomas Aquinas) as O'Korn.  

With walk-on's Jimmy has 7 QB's in Spring Ball, with two or three still coming on board. 

  • If you haven't noticed, Michigan has a very unique non-conference schedule next season.   They open the college football season on a Thursday night at Utah.  They then come home to play Oregon State, UNLV and BYU.   You would think we are playing a PAC 12 schedule.  Couple of notes:  Oregon State has former Wisconsin head coach Gray Anderson, UNLV hired Snoop Dog's son High School head coach (who was a large part of ESPN's show on Snoop's son senior year) and BYU is tired of being independent and wants to join a Big 5 conference. 

  • Today is the second day of Spring Practice. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wolverine Wednesday: Great With a Capital G

That is how Jimmy described (in a Bo style hat) the first practice of the Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan.  Of course he came from the Bo coaching school and won't give the media much. 

For example, the spring roster had Ross Douglas moving back to CB (from RB) and Brady Pallante moving to FB (from DT).  He said, nothing is written in stone right now and take all that information with a grain of salt. 

He also mentioned that Sione Houma, Khalid Hill and Drake Johnson are not expected to participate in spring practice.

Coach also thought the team is in good shape: “Yes. Team’s in very good shape. Kevin Tolbert and his staff did a very nice job and the fellas did a nice job. You could see that throughout practice that the team’s in good condition and that gives us a fighting chance.”

Speaking of shape, Mgoblog over looks at the spring roster to find if any weight gain jumps out.  Here is my take:

  • Ty Isaac is up 15 pounds and now at 240.  Positive
  • Derrick Green has added 14 pounds to 234.  TBD (looked good in the video below)
  • AJ Williams is up 25 pounds to 285.  TBD - He is more of a tackle now then a TE.
  • Ian Butting up 16 to 243.  Positive
  • Jehu Chesson and Mo Ways up 10 pounds each.  Both Positive
  • LTT is up 19 pounds to 309.  I assume that is positive
  • Willie Henry is up 18, Pewee up 11 and Bryan Mone is up 13.  Probably Positive
  • Jared Wangler is up 11 to 230 and now can play LB.

In the video below, my favorite shot is Jimmy working with the QB's. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Michigan Tuesday: Today is The First Day Of Spring Practice

Today, it goes down for real.  The press conferences will continue, the pictures with celebrities will continue and recruiting never stops but today it's all about football.  Today is the first day in Jimmy's Michigan career, he will get to put on his whistle and step on to a football field as the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines.    A day I hope he never forgets. 

It's like Thanksgiving. It's like New Year's Day. It's like a family reunion. And having it all rolled into one. Most people think of January 1st as the start of a new year. To people who espouse to Catholicism and Christianity, they might correlate that with the birth of Christ. Us in football, the start of spring practice and the first day of summer training camp are what you look at as the New Year with fireworks going off, it's your birthday. It's being born back into football, it's a happening.

Coach what emotions are you feeling for the start of spring practice?

I'm sure it will be a big thrill. I'm sure I'll be feeling the same emotions that everyone will be -- the players, coaches, managers, trainers, equipment personnel and the whole staff. It's that first day of school. I will lay my clothes out tonight. I will triple-set my alarm, and be here attacking it with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. And I'll be encouraging myself and others to see if we can't bottle that -- that feeling and emotion, that excitement and enthusiasm -- because there is going to come a time when you are going to want to re-open it and have it bottled up to make tomorrow better than today and today better than yesterday.

  • The Spring Roster is up if your interested in guys weight gain or loss.  

  • The early enrolled numbers are as follows:  Malzone #12 and Cole #81.  Brian now is for sure going to take a shot at playing WR.  

  • Instate 4 star WR Desmond Fitzpatrick will visit for the first practice.  Desmond is currently committed to Louisville.

  • Well that was a quick turnaround for Thomas Wilcher:   "I understand the ambition Urban Meyer has, I understand the integrity of Urban Meyer and I understand that he's about the welfare of the child and the wholeness of what the athletes need at the university. He instilled in me that no child will be left behind in his program. "We did meet. We did talk. And he is the person I thought he was and the person I believe him to be. I believe our relationship is stronger now."  I guess Urban has changed his ways at OSU because the welfare of the child at UF seemed to been one of his biggest weakness.   One of his highest profile players at UF is currently on trial for a very high profile crime.   I understand not closing your doors to a major program but I don't think you should ignore the recent and past examples.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Michigan Monday: Who Stopped The Presses?

The Michigan Football program has been on quite a ride for the past 6 months or so.   It all started with the team underachieving during the year and the first sign of that was the blow out loss to a mediocre Notre Dame team in September.

Throw in the two Cokes for a ticket promotion, concussion-gate, Brandon's emails and the eventual Brandon firing.   You could write a book just on David Brandon and how he failed at his job (btw: I'm pretty sure John U. Bacon is) and most of the content would have come from the 2014 season.  

With Michigan's season in decline the Wolverines couldn't beat Maryland at home which guaranteed them staying home for the holidays.    That also pretty much guaranteed Brady Hoke and staff would be looking for a new gig.   That happened soon after the Ohio State game.  

The courting of Jimmy began and took most of December.  Every NFL insider said it wasn't happening and thank goodness Duke's David Cutcliffe turned down the job!!  Jimmy and the 49'ers separated and Michigan hired it's man.  

Then it was all hands on deck to hire a staff in the recruiting dead period.   Once the staff was in place, it was a scramble to fill the 2015 class in just a few weeks.  With a couple surprises on signing day, the Michigan staff did a decent job in filling out the class with recruits and a couple of transfers. 

We have been on a wild ride folks and now the news is very light coming out of Schembechler Hall.  Spring practice is on deck and 2016 recruiting is underway.  News will be probably light for awhile and thank goodness it is.  It think we all appreciate the program back on solid ground and not making headlines any longer.

NFL Wolverine Combine News

Jake Ryan, Devin Funchess and former Wolverine Frank Clark were the only three invited to the combine in Indy this past weekend.   I was a very big supporter of Frank Clark before his domestic violence charge.   I'm also torn on him being at the combine.  I know he isn't guilty of anything yet, but he took a spot over someone who deserved it.

Jake had a good 40 time at:  4.65, did 20 reps at 225 pounds and was the top performer in the 60 yard shuttle. 

Frank ran a 4.79, did 19 reps at 225, was the top performer in the vertical jump, 3 cone drill, 20 and 60 yard shuttle.

Devin ran a 4.70 and did 17 reps at 225.  Which were disappointing for the projected first rounder.  His hybrid position might help or hurt his overall draft ranking.   Nobody expected him to be fast but a 4.7 is very slow for a WR (was the slowest time for WR at the combine).   His vertical of 38.5 is not bad but teams might now consider him more of a TE then a WR. 

BBall Beats Ohio State

Michigan finally beat a top 25 team this year when they upset Ohio State at Crisler yesterday.   This was bit of ray of sunshine in a cloudy season.   Michigan continues to be on the bubble of the NIT as they sit at 14-13 overall and will need to stay above .500 to get the NIT bid. 

  • Russell Bellomy will play for Larry Coker at University of Texas-San Antonio next year.   They play in Conference USA.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Michigan Friday: Having A Rockstar Head Coach

I've been a Michigan fan for a very long time and one of my biggest complaints was that Michigan never had a "rockstar" head coach.  The closest thing was Bo Schembechler, he was a legendary head coach and really turned up the heat on the Michigan - OSU rivalry.   But that was a time when Bo could sign as many athletes as he wanted and Michigan might be on TV a few times a year.   It's much different now. 

We have had "good guy" coaches with the likes of Lloyd Carr or Brady Hoke but neither of these guys were considered top of their profession and both preferred to coach their teams and leave the other stuff outside Schembechler Hall.  In fact, one of the knocks on the Lloyd was that he couldn't beat the Pete Carroll's or Mac Brown's of the world in the Rose Bowl. 

The closest we have come to landing a rockstar was when Rick Pitino accepted the Michigan job for about 5 minutes before his wife talked him into going to Louisville.  Coach B is a heluva coach and were lucky to have him, but he is not signing Duke, NC or Kentucky type of classes each year.   He still has to develop talent where those coaches recruit it. 

Michigan tried to hire an "American Idol" graduate in Rich Rodriguez but he wasn't a headliner yet and preferred smaller arenas and clubs.  After the RR train crashed,  Michigan tried to hire Brady Hoke a former band member/drummer that had some success with his solo career.  He flamed out as fans started to lose interest.  He is now looking for a new band, probably as a drummer.  

The only way to turn around Michigan football was to hire a rock star coach.   A guy other coaches want to learn from, a guy recruits know can get them to the league, a coach celebrities want to know.   Michigan got that guy in Jim Harbaugh, it was a grand slam homerun hire.  It's like Roy Williams going back to UNC, Saban taking over Bama or I hate to say it Urban taking over at OSU. 

Bob, he has been in role like two months how can you say things have changed?

First is the use of social media.  It's a necessary evil right now and I never saw Hoke do anything on it.  Second, is the respect Jimmy is getting from people outside the program.    We have two examples, just this week:

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

For the record, that is a Baylor QB, FSU Heisman Trophy winning QB, and a former Nebraska and current NFL free agent defensive tackle visiting with Harbaugh.   It's a great example of using twitter and how people with no connection to the program are coming to Schembechler Hall to meet the new lead singer.

It's a great message to recruits, fans and alumni.   There is a new lead signer in town and he isn't over his head.  His 2015 tour opens in Utah on September 3rd, you don't want to miss it. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Michigan Thursday: Hits The Links

  • Michigan seems in good shape with instate prospects and new offers RB Matt Falcon and WR Desmond Fitzpatrick.

  • Brian at Mgoblog takes Brandon to the wood shed again.

  • Doesn't sound like Walton, Jr. is coming back anytime soon.

2016 New Offers:
  • New Offer:  Texas OL Chris Owens

  • New Offer: PA Safety Andrew Pryts

  • New Offer: CA OT Frank Martin