Friday, December 31, 2010

RR's Gator Bowl Press Conference Notes

News from RR's press conference this morning:

- Devin Gardner is the #2 QB for the Gator Bowl

- Tate is back in Ann Arbor and his status as a U of M student is unclear. 

Gator Bowl Preview

Location: EverBank Field Jacksonville FL
Time: New Year’s Day 1:30 EST
Line: Mississippi State -4.5
Weather: Sunny 75 with a few clouds

Michigan is back in a bowl game after a two year hiatus under Rich Rodriguez rebuilding of Michigan's Football program. The last time Michigan played in Florida was under similar circumstances when Michigan was an underdog against an SEC opponnet the Florida Gators lead by Tim Tebow, the Wolverines stepped up and sent Coach Carr out a winner in his last game.

Michigan will meet a ranked Mississippi State team tomorrow in the Gator Bowl. Both teams run the spread offenses and prefer the ground game over the pass any day. The Bulldogs have had a positive season under coach Dan Mullin who was rumored to be the leading candidate for the Florida job but didn’t even seem to get a sniff from the Florida AD. The Bulldogs are led by their dynamic spread QB Chris Relf who has been rumored to be more of a runner than a passer but in his last game against Mississippi he threw for 288 yards in a 31-23 win in the Egg Bowl.

During the year MSU won the games they should of and lost the games where they were out matched. With maybe one of their best performances coming in a 17-14 loss to Cam Newton and Auburn. MSU beat Memphis, Georgia, Alcorn State, Houston, Florida, UAB, Kentucky, and Mississippi. Loses were to Auburn, LSU, Alabama and Arkansas. The Florida win was a 10-7 score in the Swamp.

Gator Bowl Tale of the Tape:

Michigan Offense vs. MSU D= Advantage Michigan

Michigan D vs. MSU Offense = Advantage MSU

Special Teams = MSU and it isn’t close. They have a good kicker name Derek DePasquale who basically beat UAB with his leg and 4 field goals.

Intangibles = Michigan

MSU has a highly rated defense and has faced some good opponents this year like Auburn’s Cam Newton. They won’t back down to the “Denard factor” and it’s defense will plan to be fast and get an number of defenders to the ball. Though in week 2 when Auburn played MSU Cam Newton was trying to be Denard Robinson. Whoever runs the spread best will win this game. Michigan has a balanced attack between running and passing and an effective Denard throwing the ball will be key factor in the Wolverines success. MSU will keep a number of guys in the box and see if Denard can beat them with his arm. Denard’s accuracy and the ability for Michigan’s wide receivers to CATCH THE BALL will be important to keep drives alive.

Michigan will have the same strategy in trying to stop MSU’s offense. Michigan’s defense main problem this year has been stopping the run when they know the other team is going to run. I expect the defense has worked for two weeks on tackling and staying in their gaps. Will the senior linebackers Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton have their best games of their careers? They will need to for a Michigan win. I expect these two seniors will play early and often.

Sing Hail to the Victors if…………..

• Denard goes off for 250 in the air and 150 on the ground

• The Michigan defense is improved with two weeks of practice

• Rich Rod runs a more complicated spread

• Michigan never lines up for a field goal

• A Michigan RB goes for over a 100 yards

• The Michigan secondary fills holes in the running game and covers WR deep in the pass game.

Say I need a lot less F’ing Cow Bell if…………………….

• If MSU figures a way to stop Denard

• The Michigan defense can’t stop the run and gives up a number of big plays

• Michigan continues to turn the ball over and not get TO’s on defense

• MSU has an effective passing game

• Michigan is trying to kick field goals

I have a theory that Michigan plays well when they have more than two weeks to prepare for an opponent. Michigan under RR has played well in all 3 season openers with blow out wins over UConn and Western Michigan and a two point loss to a Utah team then went undefeated that year. Many experts expected UConn and Western to give Michigan problems and they didn’t. Michigan is 23-5-1 over the SEC and 7-3 in bowl games. Michigan also plays well when their coach is on the line. I expect the Wolverines to play inspired on both sides of the ball in support of Rich Rodriguez. I hope and expect them to come out prepared like they were for the UConn game and not dazed and confused like they were for the Penn State game.

I also believe this offense plays better in warm weather then they do in cold weather. The temperature at game time will be in the 70’s and the Florida boys will be excited to play in their home state in front of their friends and family. Vegas have the Bulldogs as a 4.5 favorite. I disagree. Michigan 42 Mississippi State 28

(I wrote this before the Foricer news broke, so if Denard goes down reverse the score and all bets are off)

Go Blue!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Breaking News: Tate Forcier Ruled Ineligible for Gator Bowl

If your a Michigan fan, I wouldn't suggest going to Vegas with Rich Rodriguez any time soon.  He is really un-lucky when it comes to this team and program.  Michigan got dealt another blow this evening as Tate Forcier has been ruled ineligible to participate in the Gator Bowl and most suspect its due to academics. 

Tate has had an interesting year; seeing Denard take over his limelight as he has struggled on and off the field with issues during summer work outs and threatening to transfer after the UConn game.  He has also seen the highs of leading Michigan in an overtime win that qualified the Wolverines for this very bowl game. 

What now is the question for the team and player?

For team, what happens if Denard goes down? Like he has in pretty much every game this year.  Do you burn Devin's possible medical redshirt to save the game and maybe his job?  Or do you play 4th string QB Jack Kennedy?  Or maybe it's Jeremy Gallon who has been running the scout team these past two weeks so the Wolverines could prepare for MSU's offense?  All of those plans stink.

For the player, have we seen Tate in a Michigan uniform for the last time?  Is this the last straw and Tate is heading to D1A school like Montana or maybe another D1 school because he still has his redshirt available?  Does his academic issues make it more difficult for him to transfer?  I guess that has been the problem with Tate this year, there have been more questions then answers. 

I really thought Tate would be important in the Gator Bowl because I expect MSU to focus on stopping Denard running the ball and would be wide open to a passing attack.  I guess all that rides on Denard now and his ability to play the full game.  

Michigan Thursday: Denard Supports Coach Rod

Before the David Brandon "quiet period" took effect for the future status of Michigan's head coach he said that more then win and losses would go into his assessment of current head man Rich Rodriguez.  Things like grades, player feedback, and recruiting would also be decision fators. 

Recruiting has been pretty good the last month and now the Wolverines star QB chimes in with his support:  "If it was up to me, I'd tell them he has to come back," Robinson said. "We had a pretty good season, and our future's really bright. We've got a young team and we're just starting to jell now.

"I see us in the future winning a national championship or moving in the top 10."

  • The Big Ten has started an impressive 2-0 in Bowl Games so far.  Let's hope that streak continues, mostly at 1:30 on Saturday.  I know the Big Ten is happy with it's new bowl selections, but I'm wondering how effective it is to split the Big Ten viewing audience 3 ways on Saturday at 1:00.  They used to start the Outback Bowl at 11:00 EST to try to balance that a bit.  This year the Big Ten has 2 games kicking off at 1:00 and another at 1:30.  

  • Desmond Green, a 6'4 225 pound 3 star DE from PA is down to 4 schools and will visit them all.  Those schools are  Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Texas Tech.

  • Sam Webb takes a look at next weeks Under Armour All American Game.  If Michigan fans picked one All Star game to watch they should tune into the Army All American game with a number of Michigan recruits playing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wolverine Wednesday: Zettel's Decision leaves The Michigan Nation Unsettled

By now you know instate OL/DE 4 star prospect Anthony Zettel picked Penn State last night over long time favorite Michigan.   Michigan had been Anthony's leader since his recruiting process started and AZ had been to just about every Michigan home game this year and a number of other events like the Big Chill and Barbecue at the Big House.

So what happened?  How did he pick Penn State over Michigan during the quiet period when he had publicly stated his announcement was coming in January just days ago?

This is what AZ had to say about Michigan after his last visit earlier this month"I felt really good with the players and really enjoyed all the people," Zettel said. "They gave me insight on all of it and I asked every question I could about the school, whether it was a good fit for them, what they like about the school and what they don't like."

As you know, I like to do a Tale of the Tape when it comes to previewing a Michigan opponent.  Let's use that same format to weigh some the "recruiting factors" into Anthony decision between the 2 schools. 

Zettel's Tale of the Tape:  Michigan vs Penn State:

Head Coaching Stability:  Push.  One program is run by an 84 year old figure head that was rumored to be in the hospital all week.  The other program has a coach the needs AD David Brandon to "Lift him up or out" after the Gator Bowl.

State of the Program:  Push.  Yes, Penn State handled Michigan in Happy Valley this year but both finished 7-5.  Depending on what happens with the Bowl Games, I expect them both to be improved next year.

Location:  Advantage Michigan.  U of M is hours from home and of course in Ann Arbor, ranked one of the best places to live in the US routinely.  Penn State is in a Valley of happiness that got nearly 2 feet of snow this week or to quote the widely known wordsmith Terrelle Pryor, "The middle of nowhere".

Academics: Both are good schools but the advantage has to go to Michigan if that was an important factor to Anthony.  Some recruits talk about academics being a key factor but truly it isn't that important.

Playing Time:  Advantage Michigan:  Michigan is losing seniors on the defensive line (rumored to be where he wants to play) and would probably looking at a redshirt if he picked the offensive line.  I'm not familiar with PSU's depth chart but from a quick count of their roster they have 14 DE's or DT's that are currently Juniors or below.  There are also 2 other DE's in the 2011 class.

2011 Recruiting:  Advantage Michigan.  Penn State got off to a very slow start but has benefited from a coaching change at Pitt.  It should be a close race to signing day.   Tim at Mgoblog ranks the Big Ten recruiting classes and currently has Michigan at #4 and Penn State at #12 (he includes ND in the rankings due to ND fishing for the same pond as many Big Ten schools).

So to net it out, Anthony picked Penn State over a place that is closer to home so his family could attend every home game, has a quicker path to playing time, been a lifelong fan of, and currently has a better 2011 recruiting class.  Makes sense to me, does it to you? 

I'm guessing the status of Rich Rod and staff played a big role in his decision, that couldn't have waited 7 more days.   Which is too bad.  Maybe after the coaching situation clears up the Wolverines can take another run at the young man.  Penn State we are now even for Michael Shaw. 

Another alarming trend is that 4 top instate prospects (Thomas, Arnett, Zettel, and Showers) all have either gone out of state or Thomas to the Spartans.  Michigan has 5 instate kids in it's 2011 recruiting class including Rivals #84 player in Justice Hayes and 4 star prospect Brennen Beyer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Michigan Tuesday: Still Chilly at the Gator Bowl and the Big Ten Kicks Off Today

The Wolverines are used to the cold but not in Florida.  The guys (and the rest of us in Florida) was hoping for lots of warm weather.  We got the sun but Midwest type of weather with morning temperatures in the 30's and afternoon temperatures in the 50's. At least there isn't any snow and the sun is out.  So we have that going for us, which is nice.  The good news is warmer temperatures are on the way and the game time temps should be around 72 degrees.

The only thing news worthy coming out of practice (besides the cold) is that Tay Odoms might be ready to play on Saturday after breaking his foot in the Michigan State game. 

"It felt good to run around and I feel like I can play when the game comes," Odoms said. "I cut but I don't cut as hard. It's a mind thing. I think I can't do it, but I probably can. I'm not trying to push it. That's the hardest part — trusting it and cutting on it like how I used to cut."

Breaking News: 4 star instate recruit Anthony Zettel is planning to announce his commitment tonight at 7:30.  Anthony is a DE or OL prospect from West Branch, Michigan and has been a life long Michigan fan.  He originally was planning on announcing in January so I'm not sure what changed.  I expect this is good news for the Wolverines and RR.  If he doesn't pick Michigan this would be a huge loss for the Wolverines. 

Anthony was invited to play in the Army All American game but declined due to the rule you can't play any other high school sports if you accept the invitation.  I believe it's due to the AAA organization playing for the travel and expenses to the game.

If AZ goes blue tonight, the Michigan coaches will have had a really good month in recruiting in getting commitments from an instate LB, a highly rated place kicker and basically two 4 star Army All Americans in Zettel and Countess.

Michigan Basketball News:

Today kicks off the Big Season for John Beilein's club.  So far the young Wolverines have over achieved with a 10-2 record with the 2 loses coming in back to back games in Atlantic City.   Michigan plays a ranked Purdue team at 2:00 at Crisler Arena.   Today's game will be a good test to see where the Wolverines really are and if they will be able to compete in the highly competitive Big Ten this year.  If Michigan wants to get to the post season they will need to protect their home floor in the Big Ten.  Kansas also makes a trip to Crisler in a couple of weeks. 

Michigan will have one extra body available in today's game with Jordan Dumars, son of Detroit Pistons President and former shooting guard Joe Dumars becoming eligible to play for the Wolverines.  Don't expect Jordan to crash into the line-up quickly as he needs to get into game shape. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Michigan Monday: He Said, Harbaugh Didn't

It's officially bowl game week in chilly Florida for the first time in two years and nobody really notices.  The talk of the town and the sporting world is who is the better NFL MVP candidate: Tom Brady or Mike Vick.  I think you know which candidate this blog supports!  Whoops, sorry I meant whether or not Jim Harbaugh will be Michigan's next head coach or not.

Jim himself has basically only said that he hasn't talked with Stanford's AD about a contract extension yet.  Which is rumored to be $3M a year.

"I haven't even discussed it," Harbaugh told the San Jose Mercury News in a story published Friday.   Speaking about the AD and the extension:  "Maybe he misspoke," Harbaugh said.

Those comments are the closest thing Jim has said regarding the Michigan job or any other job outside of his current one.  Both NFL insiders Adam Schefter from ESPN and CBS Charlie Casserly both reported yesterday that sources are linking Jim to Michigan.   I happen to believe Adam because he is a Michigan Alum and won't spread a rumor just to spread it.  I would expect that his sources have to be pretty solid to run with a story about his favorite college football program. 

Is it a done deal?  Maybe or maybe not.  An NFL job just opened up in his backyard last night with the the 49'ers.  Would Jim be more interested in that job?  Who knows but it would seem like he might.   Not too many college coaches have been successful in transiting to the NFL.  The last one most can remember is Jimmy Johnson.  With that said, Jim was a in the NFL for many years and I think his brother could give him some pretty good advice.   So Jim isn't exactly high risk (compared to other college coaches) when it comes to an NFL job. 

I guess we will have to see how this one plays out next week. 

Funny Story:  We drove down to Florida last night and staying in Orlando for a couple of days before heading to the Gator Bowl.  We pulled up to the hotel in Orlando today to find the Spartans are staying here.  They are running all types of plays in the ballrooms due to the cold weather.   I'm getting a few strange looks in my Michigan gear.

Speaking of cold weather and getting to Florida:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all Michigan fans everywhere! 

I hope you enjoy the day and get to spend some time with your family. 

Don't forget its officially Game Week!  Go Blue!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Michigan Friday: Get's a Kick Start to the Holiday

What are the 2 things Michigan and Boise State have in common?  They were both just kicks away from being in the Rose Bowl.  Ok, Michigan was much more then 3 points from a BCS game, but it sounds good doesn't it?

The two things are; they both have high powered offenses and both programs really needs a kicker next year.  Well, it seems Michigan has grabbed Boise State's plans for next year by getting California place kicker Matt Goudis to change his verbal commit from Boise to Michigan. 

Matt was selected as the first team place kicker in his league and is rated two stars by Rivals and 3 stars by Rivals.  Chris Sailer a kicking expert rates Matt has the #2 kicker in the entire 2011 class (the photo punting above is also from Chris's site).  Here is his write up:  Matt is simply an outstanding all around kicker.  He has a huge leg, makes FG's with ease off the ground, and kickoffs with the best of them.  Mentally he is very strong showing great maturity to kick at the next level.  Can also punt.  Has all the tools to dominate the D1 level.  Definite scholarship pick.

This is an important pick up for the Wolverines for the 2011 class.  Michigan wasn't planning to offer a kicker this year but it became a very important need during the season.  As you know by now this 2011 class is filling up fast.   Michigan now has 14 verbals commitments which leaves only 6 spots left.

In the past week, Michigan has landed an Army All American DB, an instate LB, and now a kicker.  Antonio's Kinard the 2010 LB that worked hard at Hargrave Military to become eligible is still a question mark if he will be part of this class or not.   A couple things to consider regarding Antonio:  Are there any issues with him coming from a prep school (usually not - but you never know - It's difficult for junior college transfers to get into Michigan but coming from a prep school seems less problematic)?  If he enrolls in January, Michigan could use a 2010 (if they have any left) or a 2011 scholarship.  Michigan had plenty of extra scholarships available in the 2010 class but did the coaching staff give those out to walk on's?  If they do have a 2010 left that would probably be good news for Mr. Kinard.    

Below is a 54 yard field goal and Matt kicking the ball out of the stadium on a kick-off.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Michigan Thursday: Recuriting and The Wolverines Holiday Plans

There is a Jack Tabb recruiting update from Sam Webb at the Detroit News.  Rich Rod just did an in home with Jack last week:  "It was definitely good to have him here," Tabb said regarding the Wolverines' head man. "He stayed for a good long time. He talked again about how they need me and how they'd use me in their offense."  Jake and his mom visited Ann Arbor in November and really enjoyed their experience.   Jack was thinking about making a decision this week but is going to hold off until after the holidays.  If I had to guess it is because he wants to see what happens with RR job situation.

It's interesting to see RR and staff recruit TE's in this class.  When RR came to Michigan he really didn't use Tight Ends but with the talent Michigan had at that position he has found a nice place for them in his offense.  Let's hope Jack makes a decision to Go Blue in the new year.

  • Breaking News: Is that Antonio Kinard a 2010 LB recruit who went to prep schools to get his grades up and a qualifying test score has qualified.   There is some question whether the Michigan coaches would give him 1 of the 7 remaining spots in the 2011 class but he is an athletic 6'4 210 pounds LB and Michigan sure does need those.  I expect Antonio is trying to contact the Michigan coaches right now to give them the good news.  If Michigan sures everything up with Antonio he plans to enroll at Michigan in a couple of weeks.  This is good news!

  • Michigan Players are probably heading home for Christmas and will jump on the charter flight on the 26th to head down to Jacksonville.  Some of players will meet the Wolverines in Florida.  The Wolverines will be practicing at Jacksonville University during the week. 

  • Alabama says there is nothing to see here - regarding the story about them putting thousands of dollars into Dr. Phillips field and locker room.    Ok, I get that but I'm pretty sure Ha'sean Clinton-Dix was quoted as saying he was going to take in an Alabama practice while they are at his school, which would be a recruiting violation.   So I guess the "gray area" is what happens if Ha'sean and Dee stop by and watch but weren't invited or they don't speak to anyone. 

  • 2012 CB from Washington DC, Kenny Crawley has a Michigan offer.

  • Jim's brother John (head coach of the Baltimore Ravens), thinks Jimmy is focused on the Orange Bowl, having a baby and wants to stay at Stanford. 

  • Is Michigan's next coach on TV tonight?  I highly doubt it.  But Brady Hoke and his San Diego State squad takes the field/pool against Navy tonight.  The reason I say "pool" is because due to high rains in San Diego the field and parking lot are flooded.  They expect the game to go ahead as planned tonight.  

  • This site thinks Tony Gibson is over paid at $231,000 a year since he coaches the special teams and the Michigan secondary.  Both units are ranked very low nationally.  I tell you one thing, the guy can recruit!

  • Darian Cooper, DT will wait to see what happens before he seriously considers Michigan or dropping them from his list.

  • Michigan Basketball plays Bryant tonight on the BTN at 6:00.  This win will increase the Wolverines record to 10-2 with it's only two loses coming in a bad weekend in New Jersey.   This will be the last game before the Wolverines start their Big Ten season.  When the holidays are behind us, please go to the games and support this young exciting team.
I really don't want to touch the Ohio State Tattoo thing.  It seems Kansas State basketball was caught with something similar.  These things happen at all big time programs.  It really does.  So take it for what it's worth.  On a side note, stretching and having QC staffers coach is a worth 3 years of probation.  As they say on ESPN's NFL Countdown:  Come On, Man!

I also don't want to touch the Rex Ryan feet thing but there aren't any truth to the reports/rumors that he is interested in signing former Michigan linebacker Larry Foote.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wolverine Wednesday: Answers your Burning Questions about Michigan Football

Q:  Many Michigan fans are concerned about Alabama practicing for the Citrus Bowl at Dr. Phillips High School which also happens to be Dee Hart's school.  What kind of contact can Saban and Alabama have with Dee during the quiet period? 

A: None.  If any Alabama players or coaches have contact with Dee or Ha'sean Clinton-Dix during this time, those players will be ineligible at Alabama.  If they go to a Bowl Game (Gator or Capital One) they will have to buy a ticket and can't be hosted by any University.  The NCAA Bylaw is  .  The news about Alabama upgrading Dr. Phillips football fields, locker rooms, etc are pretty bush league in my opinion.  Saban and Alabama seem to play by their own rules;  if its finding unique ways to pay a high school or signing a class of 30 kids each year and taking scholarships away from other kids on the team.

Q: What does your gut say about Rich Rod and his future at Michigan?

A: All insider information says that coaches are looking for new jobs and that RR and staff are most likely out.  I don't feel that way.  If David Brandon has a deal in place with Jim Harbaugh it is the most "inside" job ever.  Things like new jobs, contracts at a big time programs are never kept quiet, someone always leaks something.  RR and staff are recruiting hard and telling kids that they expect to be back.  Michigan just landed a Army All American DB and there seems to be more commits coming in early January.   I right now expect Rich Rod and staff to be back.   The upside on offense next year is huge and Michigan just needs to get the defense up to say "average".  

Q: Speaking of recruiting how do you think this class will end up?

A: I will assume 2 things.  #1 RR stays as head coach and #2 Michigan doesn't lose any commits from the current verbals  (It's pretty well known that if RR is gone, so is Dee Hart).  Michigan has 13 verbals right now:  3 DE's, 2 OL's, 1 RB. 1 Slot WR, 2 LB's, 4 DB's.   That should leave 7 spots open in this class.  Michigan needs 1 QB, 1 TE, 1 Safety, 1 WR, 2 DT's, 1 RB, and 1 Kicker. (yes, I realize that is 8 spots of need)  I think the biggest question marks in this class are at QB, DT and Kicker.   I think Michigan looks good for Anthony Zettel, Kris Frost, Thomas Rawls, Raymon Taylor, and Chris Bryant.  I think Michigan has a good shot at landing one TE and a high profile DB like Wayne Lyons.   I don't think Michigan has big enough pool of recruits right now at defensive tackle, kicker, or QB.  It is really going to be difficult to find a QB that wants to sit behind redshirt freshman Devin Gardner and two high profile Juniors.  Michigan of course would also take a WR like Devin Lucien and one TE between Jack Tabb and Frank Clark.

Q: Don't give me your highly anticipated Gator Bowl preview yet but give us a couple of nuggets to consider as we set up toys and put together bikes?

A: Here is something I have been thinking about.  RR and staff seem to do well when they have more then a couple of weeks to prepare for a game.  Michigan's most complete game of the year was their 1st game of the year against UConn.  They only gave up 10 points on defense.  In RR's first year, Michigan played a pretty sloppy game but only lost to Utah (who ended up going un-defeated that year) by 2 points. 

Did you realize this is RR's 4th trip to the Gator Bowl as a head coach? He is actually only 1-3 in Gator Bowl games.  The good news is RR has won his last 3 bowl games (if you include the Fiesta Bowl when he left for Michigan). His teams bowl record is 3-3 (which includes the Fiesta Bowl).   Let's hope his winning bowl streak continues. 

Q: Can the Defense improve since the Ohio State game?

A: Yes, it can and I expect to see improvements in WR coverage by the young DB's and overall tackling.  The way bowl practice is set up: you get 15 practices and basically you work on fundamentals while in Ann Arbor and then work on game plan for Mississippi State while in Jacksonville.   These two weeks really help the young kids and look for the real benefits to show up next year with guys like Jake Ryan, Richard Ash and Josh Furman.

Q: Ok, do you expect the defense will be better next year and why?

A:  Yes, I do expect big improvements in the defense next year. The freshman DB's that played this year will have a full year of experience.  Mike Martin will be a pre-season All American candidate.  Michigan will get back a 5th year senior DB Troy Woolfolk to stabilize that area.

I'm also hoping for big improvements from young players on the defensive line like Richard Ash (who is over 300 lbs.) and Q Washington (who is now officially a defensive tackle).   The linebacker play should be better with an experienced Kenny Demens.

Q:  I assume your in some type of Bowl Picking Pool.  How do you have the Big Ten doing?

A: Yes, I am.  Just for fun of course.  Never for money.  Winning I have: Iowa, Nebraska, and Ohio State.  Losing I have: Northwestern, Penn State, and Michigan State.  (You will have to wait for the Gator Bowl Preview on my Michigan pick! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Michigan Tuesday: It's the Recruiting Quiet Period

Today marks the recruiting "quiet period" for football recruits.  This period allows coaches and recruits to take a break from the recruiting trail and enjoy the holidays or focus 100% on bowl preparation.  The quiet period runs from 12/21 - 1/3 and coaches are not able to contact kids pro-actively.  Kids can contact coaches on their own, but that is the only contact that is allowed. 

That means the recruiting news should be pretty light the rest of the year.  Michigan's next big official recruiting weekend will be January 7th.   Don't forget January 8th is the Army All American game and Michigan has a number of prospects in that game including: Dee Hart, Ha'sean Clinton-Dix, Wayne Lyons, Kris Frost, and Blake Countness.

It will be key to have RR status "cleared up" by 1/3 for Michigan to save players like Dallas Crawford and Dee Hart in this class.

  • Past Michigan visitor 2011 WR Hakeem Flowers just visited Oregon and is also looking at MSU, NC State, UCLA, and GA Tech. 

  • I know there has been alot of questions regarding a QB in class after Kevin Sousa changed his mind and elected to go to Wake Forrest which had a better path to playing time.  One of the QB targets is QB Tanner McEvoy from NJ who just visited South Carolina this past weekend and will visit Ann Arbor on January 7th as well.   Tanner won't list a leader until after all his visits are completed.   He is also visiting North Carolina and Rutgers.  Spurrier seems pretty high on this kid and has already done a in-home visit with him.

  • Other visitors expected on 1/7 include: WR Devin Lucien, TE Frank Clark, DB Sheldon Royster, DB Dallas Crawford, and DE Deion Barnes.
  • 2011 TE prospect Jack Tabb from NJ might announce his decision this week, as of right now I don't expect a Michigan decision. 

  • Roderick Ryles, a 2011 safety and teammate of Dee Hart's at Dr. Phillips has been talking to the Michigan coaches and might make a visit to Ann Arbor in January.  A dream scenario for the Wolverines would be Hart, Clinton-Dix, and Ryles.  I know, I said it was a dream scenario! 

  • Michigan 2011 Verbal RB Justice Hayes will be playing in the Offense - Defense Bowl in Myrtle Beach on 12/31. 

  • Former Michigan LB Doug Mallory was named co-defensive coordinator for Indiana yesterday.

  • It is clear the Michigan coaches want one TE in this class.  The latest guy to be offered is Dallas, TX TE Andrew Peterson who is rated a 2 star prospect from Rivals but has a nice offer list which includes: Tennessee, Utah, Texas AM, Nebraska, and Arkansas. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Michigan Monday: Early Week Recruiting Buzz

The Dee Hart watch is on again:  Dee didn't have a very good weekend.   His Orlando Dr. Phillips team lost in the State of Florida Championship game to Miami Central 42-27 and Dee came in second in the Mr. Florida voting.   Florida seems to be coming on strong for both Dee and his teammate Ha'sean Clinton-Dix who is rated one of the top safties in the 2011 class.  Both guys are expecting to play together in college.  Here is some new information from Orlando Sentinel:  
Clinton-Dix said there was an 85-percent chance he and Hart could end up playing together. Hart upped the ante on that projection.

"Oh yeah, we're still hearing from Florida, Florida State and yeah, it's still 85 percent ... probably 90," Hart said.

Florida is not the only school making a push. He had a visit from Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson, a visit from Muschamp, who also called Hart the night before the big game, and he said he has also been in contact with Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett.

One thing that raised eyebrows Saturday night was Hart's confirmation that he still plans to enroll early, a plan that was in limbo for awhile, as the 5-foot-9, 185-pound runner was waiting out the situation with Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. Hart said his plan is to leave for college Jan. 21, but most schools are well into spring semester by then.

Not sure I understand the leaving for college on 1/21.  I guess we will see what happens as this one plays out.  At least we should know who Michigan's head coach is by then.  Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson was down to see Dee this past week and Dee and Ha'sean are planning a Florida visit in January.  I hope Dee is planning to be at the Gator Bowl on 1/1 and not in Orlando for the Citrus Bowl or Tampa for the Outback Bowl. 

  • Former IU verbal commit and instate CB Raymon Taylor who is rated 3 or 4 stars by the recruiting services was at Michigan's practice on Saturday and received an offer for the 2011 class. Raymon had 5 Big 10 offers.   This offer seems like a big deal for Raymon and I expect he might commit in the next few weeks to the Wolverines. 

  • Michigan continues to recruit Kris Frost hard.  Listen to the video in this article and how he talks about Michigan and his love for the Wolverines.   He is still planning on annoucing at the Army All American Bowl. Kris is rated the #39 player in the US by   Here is an update from the All Star Shrine Bowl this past weekend:  Kris Frost finished second on the North Carolina team with seven tackles, including three for loss, and the Matthews (N.C.) Butler prospect was all over the field tracking down running backs and making some violent hits.

  • Former Michigan 2010 recruit at DB Tony Grimes has flammed out at Ole Miss and is no longer on the team.

  • Chris Mortenson from ESPN says that Andrew Luck might not go to the NFL if Jim Harbaugh stays at Stanford.  Chris reports that Jim prefers to stay on the West Coast.  Maybe the 49'ers?

  • The Michigan coaches were in to see Darian Cooper last week which maybe kept the Wolverines in his recruitment. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Breaking News: Michigan adds a Army All American on Defense!

Michigan has added Army All American cornerback Blake Countess.  This is the person I hinted to earlier this morningI just fell in love with the school, the facilities, and everything the University has to offer really.

This his a huge commitment for Wolverines and a solid 4 star corner to all 3 services.  Here is his write up from the Army All American game:  Countess has the smooth hips and backpedal ability to be the prototypical cover corner. Despite his size, he loves to hit and is strong enough to jam a receiver at the line or come up and assist in run support. Countess has the speed to stay with receivers in man-to-man coverage and has an advanced understanding of zone defenses. Countess’ speed is also an asset in the return game.

Countess is an intelligent player who does a great job of reading the quarterback’s eyes. He throws his weight around, playing aggressive against the run and displaying excellence in bump-and-run coverage. Countess is superb at quickly diagnosing run versus pass plays.

Blake is 5'10 and 171 pounds and a huge pick up after the loss of Avery Walls.  Michigan seems to be gaining some ground on the recruiting trail with this huge pick up and both instate CB's Raymon Taylor and Valdez Showers at practice on Saturday.

This is the 13th 2011 verbal commitment for the Wolverines.  Which should leave 7 more spots available.

More on BC at Mgoblog.

Michigan Friday: Recuritng Updates

Dee Hart is a candidate for Army All American High School Player of the Year and was on ESPN's First Take yesterday.  Go Blue Dee!  I hope Dee will be able to drive a few hours and catch the Wolverines at the Gator Bowl in two weeks.  Dee got to attend the Heisman trophy presentation with a fun weekend in NYC.  He is also a Nascar fan.  (photo to the right from AJC and standing next to Dee is Michigan recruit Ray Drew)

You know how I love Walk On's.  Here is another story of what it takes to be a Michigan Man:  Lineman Zac Ciullo has been playing on the scout team, living a dream playing for the Wolverines and now heading to Law School.  Congratulations Zac, that is a wonderful story.

Here is an update from Dallas Crawford's coach from TomVH:  Dallas may take another visit to another school, but that's it. He asked me what I thought about everything, and I told him I think Michigan is an outstanding institution to play at either way. He's said in the past that he'd go there either way.

Former Indiana commit Raymon Taylor and current Florida commit Valdez Showers are both expect to attend Michigan's bowl practice on Saturday.  I would love to get both of these guys.  We need to depth at corner and they both are instate guys.  Valdez was player of the year and Raymon is a very physical corner. 

RR made an in home visit to NJ TE Jack Tabb. Monday is the start of the quiet period, where there can't be any pro-active contact from any coaching staff.  Recruits can call coaches but that is the only way that communication can take place.   

The rumor mill is churning today that Michigan might receive a defensive player commit this weekend.   I will have the news up as soon as I hear!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Michigan Thursday: 1/8/2011 is a Make or Break Date for the Wolverines 2011 Recruiting Class

Why you ask?  Well, first of  I assume that the Michigan coaching situation will be decided by then.  Michigan plays in the Gator Bowl on New Years Day and Stanford plays in the Orange Bowl on 1/3. 

So what's so special about the 8th?  January 8th is the day of Army All American Game where top 2011 recruits like to pick a hat for their school of choice on National TV.   By this game, Michigan should know if RR will continue his head coaching duties or another head coach has been hired.  If RR is retained Michigan has a legitimate shot at these following Army All Americans:

  • RB Dee Hart of course
  • Safety Wayne Lyons
  • WR/LB Kris Frost
  • CB Blake Countess
Bowl Practice:  RR gave us an update on Bowl Practice and how it's progressing.  They have had 5 practices so far and basically working on fundamentals (freep): "You get the timing back, you get some of the conditioning back a little bit, you can see the first couple days we were a little bit rusty, especially throwing the football, but as we went along, we've been getting better,"

"I can see from all the guys their legs are fresh, and Denard is obviously the healthiest he's been since the season started," Rodriguez said. "He's running a little faster, which you'd expect."

Austin in Austin?  There are rumors that former Michigan assistant coach Teryl Austin will be Texas's new defensive coordinator.  I have also heard Randy Shannon former Miami head coach name as well.

Hands off the MAC!  In less then 2 weeks, three BCS programs have picked off coaches from the MAC.  First it was Jerry Kill going to Minnesota, then Al Golden at Miami and now it's another coach from Miami but this time it's Miami of Ohio.   Pitt has hired Mike Haywood who turned around the Miami program from a 1 year win season a year ago to MAC Champions this year.  Mike was a former assistant under Charlie Weis at ND.   In a related story the MAC is looking for some good young coaches. 

Does anyone else think that the situation at West Virgina next year is going to be awkward? Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen has been hired as WVU's OC and "coach in waiting" for current coach Bill Stewart for one year.  Bill is planing to resign or retire after the 2011 season.  Does this make any sense to anyone?  I'm guessing they had a small window to hire Dana or they were going to lose him to Pitt.  So they put this plan together so that Bill could coach the bowl game and step down after.  I don't see any upside for Bill Stewart to coach next year.  Pay him his salary and let him go find another job or head to Florida.  There are a couple of openings in the MAC. 

Max Issak a 6'3 240 DE from NJ and current Pitt commit is re-thinking his verbal and might be interested in re-considering Michigan.

Information about Miami's coaching search:  It seems they contacted Jim Harbaugh and he wasn't interested.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wolverine Wednesday: Quick Recruiting Blitz

  • Dee Hart is one of 8 finalist for Florida's Mr. Football Award.

  • California kicker Connor Loftus now has a Michigan offer.

  • Michigan is no longer in Darian Cooper's final 4 schools.  DT has become an urgent need for the Wolverines in this class.  Which you can add to the list with cornerbacks and safeties.  Side Note: The Michigan coaches are just trying to get to the "quiet period" with out losing too many more players on the recruiting trail.  They will resume recruiting visits in January when hopefully the entire coaching drama is past us.   

  • If you enjoy pain, here's an article on the Avery Walls decision. 

  • More Bad News for Vlad at Colorado:  Embree also informed potential transfer Vlad Emilien, who last played at Michigan, that the CU depth chart was already full at the safety position and needs more cornerbacks. Emilien is now considering Maryland and Southern Mississippi.
    Emilien was hoping former secondary coach Ashley Ambrose would be retained. When he learned that didn't happen, Ambrose told him he should still consider CU because Greg Brown was returning to the program and had served as Ambrose's position coach in the NFL and coaching mentor at the college level. But then Emilien said Embree called to tell him the bad news. "They need corners so I'm looking at other options," Emilien said.  Good luck to Vlad and I hope his knee continues to heal.

Speaking of Darian Cooper, JoPa told him he plans to coach maybe 4-5 more years.  If you haven't heard it yet,  below is JoPa's radio interview that didn't go so well.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Tuesday Mailbag

    There is a lot of activity in the comments field today, so I thought I would share the question with the bigger BHB Inmate audience.

    Ricky asked: 
    Bob, if Dave Brandon's plan is to keep RR this is a horrible situation. But if his plan is to fire RR it really isn't THAT bad. First this recruiting class is already HORRIBLE. Michigan perennially signs top ten classes. Yet since last year we've been so happy to get 3 and botterline 4 star players. Last year's class was already kinda unspectacular. This year's class is downright embarrassing.

    Even if Dave Brandon affirmed RR's status as coach after the Ohio State game, what is the potential for this recruiting class? 20th to 30th ranked?

    With the being said, if the plan is to fire RR, the new coach will bring new excitement and by Feb the classes will probably be about the same. We'll lose some RR recruits get some new recruits that never considered Michigan.

    My belief is the lower buyout after Jan 1 is the main factor. What do you think?
    Go Blue

    I have faith in David Brandon but this process is a head scratcher for me.  My hope is he has some "special plan" in mind and we are just waiting to get to the final chapter of the book.   I do think this recruiting class has the ability to be good, if we could just get this coaching situation resolved.  The Avery Walls loss today was a big one but there are a number of big recruits still out there that could make this a top 20 class.  Kris Frost, Blake Countess and Anthony Zettel could really help the over all class rankings.

    I don't think the $1.5M is a huge factor.  If I was RR I would want to be let go so I can put my hand in the air for these other jobs that are getting filled quickly.  After 1/1 there won't be many head coaching jobs available.  So if I was going to be fired, I would of settled at say $3M so I could look for a new gig earlier rather then later.  Couldn't you let him go and make it effective 1/1 anyway?

    Here are the list of my concerns either way:

    Keeping RR:

    • For how long?  Is he a dead man coaching for another year?
    • Did we miss out on good DC candidates?
    • Sure we will save some of this class but did we miss out and will we miss out on some top recruits if RR doesn't get a firm recommendation from Brandon.
    Firing RR:
    • New guy would have to build a recruiting class in less then a month.
    • It could set the program back a few years if the new coach brings a new strategy.
    • Potential loss of current offensive players.
    • Loss of current players and small window for 2011 class - sounds really bad for the program in 2-3 years out.
    • Paying RR $4M to $2.5M to leave is a lot of green.   I expect Harbaugh would be a $4M a year man as well.
    • What is the window of getting Harbaugh if Michigan really wants him?

    Michigan Tuesday: Michigan Adds a LB to the 2011 Class and a New DC Candidate

    If your a 2011 recruit and you want to commit to the Wolverines right now, you love the Michigan football program and really don't care who is coaching the Wolverines.   That is the case for 6'1 225 pounds inside linebacker from Holland, Michigan Desmond Morgan.  He hopes his head coach is Rich Rod, but if it isn't he is still going to the University of Michigan.  This is your classic smart physical player that is built to stop the run and maybe cover a tight end every once in awhile.  

    He is rated 3 stars by all 3 services and carries a 4.0 grade point average.  ESPN really likes Desmond and believes he could contribute on special teams as a freshman as he learns how to be a D1 player.   It would be great to redshirt Desmond which would mean Kenny Demens and Mike Jones have the LB role locked up.  Still this was a good pick up in an area of need for the Wolverines.

    For more info on Desmond "don't call me Howard" Morgan, check out Mgoblog. 

    New DC Candidate? If RR is still the Michigan coach in January, most believe he will be looking for a new Defensive Coordinator and now it seems he might have the opportunity to get a familiar face because: West Virgina's head coach, Bill Stewart will be fired resigning after the bowl game.  Making RR's former DC who stayed at WVU, Jeff Casteel presumably available for hire.  The rumor mill already has Dana Holgorsen, current offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State replacing Stewart.  Wow, that was fast.  Does this mean AD's actually hire or have hiring conversations with other coaches before their current coach is let go?  That is strange.  :) 

    I guess those Big 12 assistant coaches know what they are doing.  If my count is right that would make 3 Big 12 assistants getting head coaching jobs so far. 

    Yes, I know what 32% of Michigan fans are thinking right now.  Why doesn't WVU just wait a few more days and they can have Rich Rod back?  Very funny 32% very funny.

    • The Avery Walls decision is in and it's:  CAL, surprisingly.

    • Dallas Crawford is being recruited by USC right now.  This is another decision that depends on the future of RR.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Michigan Monday: Ponders Coaching Hires and How They affect the Wolverines

    Since we don't know what David Brandon's plan is, we only have our thoughts to ponder on what will happen after the Gator Bowl.  In fact, here is David's reaction on waiting to make a decision.

    Q: People are saying, "Why is he waiting? This is ridiculous. Recruiting is a mess."

    A: I don't think recruiting is a mess. I met with recruits last weekend. I'm going to meet with recruits (before the Big Chill). The coaches are actively recruiting. Coach Rodriguez and I are just fine. We spend a lot of time together. He has a very clear understanding, and has from Day One, as to what the plan is. What I want is for everyone to focus on the fact we still have a game to play. It's a real important game. Everybody whines for the last two years because we haven't gone to a bowl game. Well, now we're going to a bowl game. I sense that's important to people.

    And it's an important game and we've got to go play it, and the focus should be on, "Leave the coaches alone and let them coach. Leave the players alone and let them prepare and let's go finish our season." And then once the season has finished, we'll go through the evaluation process, as I do with all the sports, as we should.

    To create a lot of distractions and stir right now, while we're getting ready to play one of our biggest games, to me, makes no sense. And to me the only people who are stirring the pot are people who are trying to create controversy because controversies are fun to write about. They get people stirred up and people start to worry, and I understand all that. But I'm doing my job.

    Some interesting "coaching" things happened this weekend that got me thinking about Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan situation:

    • Florida hired Texas - coach in waiting Will Muschamp.  This seemed to be an inside job and that Florida might have only offered the job to Will.  Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino signed a new 7 year deal on Saturday on strong rumors that he was a candidate for the Florida job.  The Florida job might be the best job in the country right now, but with that comes high expectations and big shoes to fill.

    • Miami, FL - Picked up Temple head coach Al Golden.  Temple went 8-4 this year but was not invited to a Bowl Game.  The thing that surprised me was that Al was rumored to be the next head coach at Penn State or even the open Pitt job. 

    • Vanderbilt looks to be hiring Auburn's OC Gus Malzahn.

    So here are my random thoughts on all those hiring and how they might relate to Michigan:

    • What percentage of Michigan fans would have thought in August, if Michigan was playing in a January 1st bowl, RR's job would still be in question?  I'm guessing about 90% would of thought his job was safe.

    • If Jim Harbough is such a hot "prospect/candidate" why wasn't his name linked to either the Florida or Miami jobs?  I suspect this means he is either a lock to come to Ann Arbor, he has his sights firmly on the NFL or maybe the guy just wants to stay at Stanford. 

    • I wonder if Mitch Mustain current USC backup QB has any eligibility left to join his former high school head coach at Vandy? 

    • Remember when Michigan was looking for a coach 3 years ago?  A couple of things we sort of knew was that:  Michigan wouldn't hire a head coach without head coaching experience - well that wasn't a factor for Florida and a coach in the MAC wasn't really qualified enough to coach the Wolverines.  Well that wasn't a factor for Miami either.  
    Does Harbaugh's name not coming up in the Miami or Florida searches lend credibility to the rumor of him coming to Michigan?  It might a little.   These coaching searches are done through intermediaries and agents.  Do these guys know something we don't?  Most Michigan insiders believe, Michigan's head coach in January will either be Rodriguez or Harbaugh.  That there isn't a plan B.

    Does Miami hiring a MAC coach give some credibility to Brady Hoke as a Plan B?  I doubt it.

    Michigan Head Coaching Situation and 2011 Recruiting 

    • Speaking of Bobby Petrino, on Saturday he pulled a scholarship offer from Dr. Phillips defensive back Roderick Ryles.  Roderick is a current teammate of Dee Hart and a Michigan recruit. 

    • Saturday's visitors to Ann Arbor, Anthony Zettel, James Richardson, and Chris Bryant were all impressed by the Big Chill and will all wait to make a decision until January when the Michigan coaching situation is cleared up.   Michigan is looking good for all 3 prospects if they agree with the direction of the leader of the program in January.

    • Avery Walls a 4 star DB will make his decision on Tuesday.  Avery was a strong Michigan lean all year but the coaching un-certainty and a recent trip to Oregon will probably make Avery choose the Ducks.

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Michigan Friday: More Hardware for Denard

    Last year, Brandon Graham won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award which is basically known as the Big Ten's MVP award.  This year Denard Robinson has won the award barley edging out Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor.  Congratulations Denard!

    Speaking of Pryor and if you watched the College Football Awards show last night, Cam Newton might be on your mind as well.  Aren't you glad Denard is at Michigan?  I'm sure am.  We all know about Cam and his potential problems but Pryor seems to seriously need a PR class or 2.  There was his comments a couple years ago about Mike Vick, his recent attack on former Buckeye QB Kirk Herbstreit, and now this:

    "I'll put it like this: You put me in any of their offenses — any of them — and I'd dominate," Pryor said, when asked about the attention afforded the likes of Newton, Robinson and Persa. "I'd dominate the nation. What those guys do, that's what they're supposed to do in their offense."

    Really?  I guess he forgot that he had an opportunity to be in any of those offenses and decided that "the Vest" gave him the best chance to be an NFL QB.  TP has been successful at Ohio State and has lost 4 games in 3 years.   So you have been successful but if your passing doesn't approve next year, you might be a WR/TE at the next level.

    I know that TP picking OSU might have put Michigan's program back at least a year, but I would rather have Denard right now.

    --Should the Gator Bowl be re-named the "Lame Duck" Coaches Bowl:  Both Rich Rodriguez and Dan Mullen were in Jacksonville yesterday to do the Gator Bowl Press Conference.  All the media wanted to know was if Dan was going to Florida and if Rich was still going to be in Ann Arbor in January.   RR even used humor to lighten up the situation: 

    Rodriguez laughed heartily when apparently asked about his interest in the Florida job.
    "There may be some people who want me to be interested," Rodriguez said, laughing.

    "I'd personally like to thank Dan, my good friend, for taking all the heat on speculation off of me, putting it squarely on his shoulders," Rodriguez said. "That's good."

    Rodriguez also joked when asked about Mullen moving on to another job.

    "How dare you put me on that spot," Rodriguez said. "I think Dan ought to leave tomorrow. Somewhere.

    • Former Michigan kicker Brandon Kornblue who now trains high school kickers is having his annual kicking competition on 12/18 in Florida.  Last year, more than 30 kickers and punters went on to sign with NCAA Divison I schools after attending a Kornblue event. More than 50 of the country’s top-rated kickers fro Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Georgia and Florida are scheduled to attend.  Any chance a Michigan coach or two might be on hand for this event?  They better be. 

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Michigan Thursday: Big Chill Recruiting Weekend

    Boy there is a lot recruiting news going around lately.   This weekend will be a big recruiting weekend for the Michigan football program with the "Big Chill" Hockey Game at the Big House. 

    Here are a list of visitors:

    IL OL Chris Bryant
    MI DE Anthony Zettel
    MI LB Desmond Morgan
    Commit OH OL Jack Miller
    Commit MI OL Jake Fisher
    Commit OH DL Chris Rock
    2012 DT Danny O'Brien

    The only guys on "commitment watch" are Chris Bryant and Desmond Morgan.  Zettel is planning to announce after January 1 and after the coaching situation is cleared up.

    • Michigan 2011 CB/S Recruit Avery Walls is planning to announce his decision next Tuesday.   He was a strong Michigan lean before he visited Oregon.  Michigan really needs this young man but I think he might be a Duck.

    • Tim Jernigan a big time DT prospect from Florida has seemed to have dropped the Wolverines from his list.

    • Michigan verbal Shawn Conway will enroll at Grand Rapids Community College. 

    • Former Michigan QB recruit Kevin Newsome might be transferring from Penn State.

    • Michigan has offered a new TE/LB from Ohio Frank Clark, yes he plays for Glenville.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Wolverine Wednesday: More Recruiting News

    The Prince of Ann Arbor?:  It sounds like 3 star Slot WR Prince Holloway has Michigan very high on his list: (freep link) Dallas is my cousin and for a month we planned on committing to Michigan,” Holloway said.

    Crawford committed to U-M last month, but Holloway has not had the right opportunity to offer his pledge to the Wolverines. He has yet to visit the Ann Arbor campus, but has been given a preview by his cousin, who took two trips to the school in the last eight months. “He says it is very nice and he loves it up there,” Holloway said. “If he can love it up there, I know I can.”

    Michigan recently took the surprise commitment of instate running back Justice Hayes, who many believe was offered as a slot WR.   Does Michigan have room for Prince at this point?  That is a valid question.  I wonder if the Prince can play corner. 

    • Do you wonder if Quality Control staff coached players at Michigan before RR got there?  Dave Hutchinson was just hired as Glenville State's head coach.  He was the offensive quality control coach at Michigan under Lloyd Carr in 2007.   On the ironic side of this, RR was the Glenville State head man from 1990 to 1996.   The key words above are that Dave should not have been "coaching" in his QC role at Michigan.

    • Desmond Howard and his million dollar smile went into the College Hall of Fame last night!  Congrats Des!

    • Dave Molk is a finalist for the 2010 Rimington Trophy for the best center in the country.  It seems Dave will get a free trip Disney World this week to see if he is the winner.    

    • It seems the Michigan players will receive a watch, Oakley sunglasses, a leather duffel bag, ring and commemorative football for participating in the Gator Bowl.  The players in the Citrus Bowl get a $420 shopping spree to Best Buy.  Players are allowed $500 in Bowl Gifts from the hosting Bowl.  

    • 4 star instate CB/Athlete from Highland Park Raymon Taylor who verbally committed to Indiana is re-thinking his college choice after IU let go the gum throwing Bill Lynch.  He seems to be interested in the Wolverines, but currently doesn't have an offer.   Are the Wolverines interested in this 4 star athlete?  We should know soon. 

    • Recruits do read blogs! 4 Star WR Devin Lucien was impressed by the feedback from the readers on Mgoblog on him considering Michigan. 

    • Jack Tabb a TE that Michigan is recruiting visited North Carolina last weekend and had a "great time".  He is visiting Arkansas this weekend and has one more visit left.  Maybe to Rutgers or BC.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Michigan Tuesday: Recruiting Blizzard

    Another update on Dee Hart:  The Orlando Sentinel traded texts with Dee Hart and he says that he will stick with his Michigan commitment as long as RR and staff are there, or he might not.  If RR is no longer at Michigan he says he will select Florida over Alabama due to Florida running the spread.

    Here is what I think, Dee is having a bit of fun with the media so he can announce his official decision at the Army All American game.  I don't believe Alabama is out (they are also practicing at Dr. Phillips when they are in Orlando for the Capital One Bowl - wow what luck for Michigan fans!) and it now seems Dee might not be enrolling early.  So this recruitment is far from over and when the RR situation clears up, so might his recruitment.

    Conway is Out:  It looks like Shawn Conway instate WR will have to attend a JUCO next year.  It seems he won't qualify at Michigan.  I guess this is why Michigan has been recruiting the WR position so hard lately.

    Kevin Wilson, Oklahoma's Offense Coordinator will take over the Indiana Hooisers.

    Some Michigan coaches took in Ray Drew's basketball game last week.  Let's hope the Wolverines are still in his recruitment.

    With Sousa out, who is Michigan recruiting at QB?  Here is one:  QB Tanner McEvoy (6-6 205) of Oradell, N.J who will visit Ann Arbor on 12/17.

    How about a kicker?  It seems Michigan has strongly been recruiting Connor Loftus from California and he may take a visit to Ann Arbor this winter.

    It seems last weekend visitor Blake Coutness is still very high on the Wolverines.  Blake is a 4 star CB and will announce at the Army All American Game in a month.  This is a high priority recruit for the Wolverines, mostly after Avery Walls recruitment seems to have been pretty quiet for awhile now.

    Instate RB Thomas Rawls gives us his visits plans:  He’ll take an official visit to Central Michigan — the school that first expressed interest — next weekend. Then it’s off to the University of Michigan the following week, with a stop due in Toledo sometime in January. Cincinnati is in the process of setting up a date as well, said Rawls.  Thomas head coach is the son of Michigan RB Coach Fred Jackson and also former Wolverine Andre Weathers also coaches at his school.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    2 Michigan Men Get Contract Extensions

    Question: If your a head football coach, how do you get a contract extension?

    Answer: Be linked in anyway to replacing the current Michigan Football coach. 

    It worked for Les Miles and now it has worked for Brady Hoke and Jim Harbaugh.  Both have gotten contract extensions today and both have seemed to agree to the the terms.  

    Brady will get a raise and a new 5 year deal, Jim's is rumored to be getting more years and a raise.  These are clear attempts to keep both away from "other" jobs.   Harbaugh is of course rumored to be the next Michigan coach or an NFL candidate next year.   Hoke was a candidate for the Minnesota and Indiana jobs. Others had speculated that if Jim said "no thanks" to Michigan, Brady was the next Michigan Man up. 

    I disagree with that.  I think Michigan's head coach next year will be Rich Rodriguez or Jim Harbaugh.  I don't believe there is a Plan B.   I believe if David Brandon wants to make a change it's Harbaugh or bust.  Brandon will not fire RR if he doesn't have Harbaugh locked up.   If Brandon wants to make a change and Jim says no, he will stick with RR.   Brady on the other hand made a good decision.  I would much rather coach in San Diego then at IU or Minnesota. 

    I also believe both of these guys probably have "A Michigan Clause" that would get them out of any mega contract if they really wanted the Michigan job.

    Recruiting News:

    • Instate OL/DE Anthony Zettel won't make a decision until after the holidays, so the Michigan coaching situation should be resolved by then.

    • Cass Tech's Delonte Hollowell is going to Michigan no matter who the coach is. 

    • Instate recruit Damon Knox picked MSU today.  Michigan had offered him but there was some concerns on his academic eligibility.  It sounds like Damon wasn't feeling the love from the Wolverines and pick the Spartans today.

    Michigan Monday: Michigan vs Mississippi State

    Is that enough "M's" for you in one title?  Yes, the Wolverines got a favorable bowl last night as they accepted an invitation to play in the Gator Bowl on New Years Day.  I know NYD isn't what it used to be but after two years of not watching the Wolverines at all during the holidays, I think the Gator Bowl was a nice choice for the Wolverines.

    Mississippi State was some what of a surprise as an opponent for the Wolverines.  Most expected a Michigan - Florida match up but the Outback Bowl decided they rather snatch up the Gators.   Then the rumor floating around was Tennessee but that didn't happen either and now the Wolverines face a top 30 defense in Dan Mullen's Mississippi State squad. 

    Even though Michigan State didn't get a BCS Bid they are playing a very difficult Alabama team in what should be re-named as the Saban Bowl.   Iowa seemed to get the short end of the stick having to play Missouri a 10-2 Big 12 Team on December 28.   I don't think MSU has the talent to say to Bama but I think Iowa can beat Missouri. 

    More News and Notes From This Weekend:

    • Change of Hart?  Too bad to see Mike Hart limp off the field on Sunday with another ankle injury but it seems Dee Hart might be re-thinking his de-commit to Michigan.  Rod Smith was reportedly down in Orlando on Friday to talk with Dee and watch his game.   It seems Rod got him off the ledge a bit but Dee still has some decisions to make, like enrolling early or not and if Michigan stays with RR long term.  Let's hope he stays Maize and Blue.  I'm thinking he probably wants to do the "hat thing" at the Army All American Game.  Michigan needs players like this young man.

    • Kevin Sousa - Has de-committed from the Wolverines and verbally committed to Wake Forest.  Kevin is a young QB that "needed some work" to play at Michigan and probably saw a depth chart that listed guys like Denard, Tate, and Devin.  Which didn't really equal early or even late playing time.  So he decided to go a different direction, which seems to make a lot of sense for him.  Good Luck Kevin!

    • Tommy Two Times?  Not on Saturday.  Michigan beat Tommy Amaker's solid Harvard team with some clutch second half shooting by Stu Douglass.  Tommy beat the Wolverines a couple of years ago when they traveled to Harvard.

    • Kill The Gophers?  This line reminds me more of Caddy Shack then Big Ten Football but it seems the Minnesota Golden Gophers have hired Jerry Kill of Northern Illinois as their next head coach.  Jerry is also the former Saginaw Valley State head man and his team just lost to Miami (OH) in Ford Field over the weekend in the MAC Championship Game.

    • TomVH from Mgoblog reports: That 4 star WR Devin Lucien will visit Ann Arbor on January 7th.

    • Looks like Jim Harbaugh is about to sign an extentsion at Stanford.   Is there a Michigan clause?

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    RR's Michigan Football Bust Speech

    Listen here and you be the judge if it was inspirational or a plea for a desperate coach hoping for a second chance.

    Michigan Friday: Is Dee's Heart with Michigan?

    One of the things that Michigan fans were worried about in David Brandon's timetable to make a decision on Rich Rodriguez and the future of this program is it's impact on recruiting to the 2011 class.  When people say "impact" they are really talking about *Dee Hart.   The reason this timetable effects Dee more then any other recruit are a few things
    1. Dee plans to enroll early
    2. Dee believes he fits the RR spread very well
    3. Dee's best friend is going to Alabama
    4. Dee has been invited to play in the Army All American game 
    If David Brandon plans to make a decision in early January that means Dee would have to make a "leap of faith" and enroll early and hope RR stays.  Or he waits until Summer to enroll at Michigan.  He also has to decide if he wants to play in the Army All American Bowl which is on January 8th. 

    The last point is that Dee was interested in the commitment of Michigan RB Justice Hayes.   RR had a conversation with Dee this past weekend that Justice was coming to Michigan as a slot WR or cornerback. 

    With all that said, it seems Michigan is losing it's commitment on Dee Hart.  The rumor mill is running wild that Dee is planning on committing to Alabama today.  The Hart family has shut down all communications with all Michigan insiders.  Which is not a good sign. 

    Michigan last hope is an in-school visit with Dee today to try to change his mind.  Which seems unlikely at this point.

    Here is a quote from an ESPN article after he committed (bold is mine):  There was some speculation that one of the reasons Hart didn't commit to Michigan earlier was due to the tenuous job status of Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez. But Hart dismissed that line of thinking.

    "I liked Michigan either way and if he were to leave it wouldn't affect me because I think I can play in any offensive system," Hart said. "So it really wasn't my concern.

    "That being said I wanted to make sure everything came together. He's winning ball games right now and the future looks good, so it's coming together."

    David Brandon's timeline on this process seems to come under heavy scrutiny and I agree.  If he keeps RR he has potentially killed the recruitment of some of the "big name" players that the staff has been working on for years.   Which basically effects the future success of the program.   If he makes a change, he gives the new coach little to no time to build his class.   Not sure if I fully understand how this "lame duck" status can benefit either situation. 

    What are the coaches telling recruits when they come to Ann Arbor the next two weeks?  If I was a recruit, the only person I would want to talk to is David Brandon.

    *There are two other guys that also could be enrolling early on Michigan's list.  Those two guys are Avery Walls and Kris Frost.  Both would have to be enrolled at Michigan before they would play in the All Star games where they plan to annouce. 

    Michigan had it's Bust last night (which seems to be the appropriate word).

    Some of the second hand information on the night:
    • Denard told the seniors that they were going to get a Win in the bowl game and send the seniors out right.

    • AD Dave Brandon on bowl destination: "Frank (Beckmann) thinks we might be going west, I think we might be going in a different direction." (BHB:  I hope that direction is up.)

    • RR was emotional talking about they were building something special here at Michigan and that he was honored to be Michigan's head coach.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Michigan Thursday: Football Recruiting Blitz

    The one thing Michigan fans all seem to agree with is that David Brandon is the best person to running the Michigan athletic department.  He is the former CEO of Domino's Pizza and former Wolverine football player under Bo Schembechler.   He is the perfect mix of business and football experience.  

    One of the decisions some of the Michigan fans has questioned is why not give RR and staff the thumbs up or thumbs down now so it doesn't effect recruiting for the class of 2011.  His line is "everything" effects recruiting and he is going to make the right decision for the program long term. 

    The other thing to think about is the "silent period" which is coming up in a couple of weeks.  I believe it starts around the 17th and last until after New Years Day.   During this time there can't be any pro-active contact from coaches or staff members to recruits. 

    So if you were a lame duck head coach or thought you might be, how hard would you be recruiting right now?

    The Michigan coaches have been on the road this week for in home visits and trying to nail down some important recruits still on their board.

    The past two days they have been out to see Anthony Zettel and Avery Walls for in home visits.

    Big Visit Weekend:

    Michigan is expecting a number of prospects in this weekend.   The uncommitted guys on the radar are Florida 4 Star Safety Wayne Lyons and Army All American CB Blake Countess.   Verbals coming in for officials include:  Greg Brown,  Delonte Hollowell, and Brennen Beyer.

    Big Chill Weekend Visitors include:  Zettel, Chris Bryant, Cardale Jones and Shane Wynn (Cleveland Glenville) , Desmond Morgan; and Ryan Petro.

    • Chris Bryant seems to be down to Arizona and Michigan.  I think he will wait until the coaching situation is cleared up at U of M before he makes a decision.  Other schools like Wisconsin and Ohio State are also starting to show interest in this young man.

    • Michigan seems to be waiting on offering two instate kids until they get their grades or test scores in line.  Those two kids are DE Damon Knox from Muskegon and Flint RB Thomas Rawls.  Both are rated 3 star but many believe Thomas is the best RB in the state for 2011.

    • Kris Frost will announce his decision at the Army All American game.  He is down to Michigan and Auburn. 

    • Is Darin Cooper off the board for the Wolverines?  Maybe. There is talk that his top 2 are Michigan State and Georgia Tech.    From what I hear he is still trying to set up his visits.

    • Michigan has recently offered Rob Trudo at the DT position (who is currently verballed to Syracuse).   Here is a guy of the mgoblog message board on Rob:  Robert Trudo is western PA kid (Farrell High School). I coach at Sharon High School (Marlin Jackson's alma mater) and we played Farrell first game of the season. This kid is a beast. I have seen him play 3 games this year and he dominated every one of them. With that being said, I'm not sure if he is Michigan worthy but he possesses a lot of positive qualities. He is big, strong, and fast for his size. He plays in single A which is the lowest division of football in PA so the competition level isn't great. From what I heard from the guys around the valley, he loves Syracuse and probably will not decommit.

    • Sam Webb's Detroit News article today profiles 2012 Cass Tech LB Royce Jenkins-Stone.  As you know Cass Tech is a friendly U of M high school program.

    • 2011 KY LB Lamar Dawson still could be considering the Wolverines and a January visit.

    • Indiana has 20 verbals commits for the 2011 class.  Which includes a 4 star LB from Ohio and 3 players from the state Michigan.  IU is currently with out a head coach.