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Varsity Blue

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Brief Draft Recap

Monday, April 30, 2007 by Tim

School-record 7 draftees, though it certainly didn't feel like a great draft, mostly because a couple should-be first rounders (Branch, Harris) slid into the second, and Hall was taken as the second CB off the board.

Wolverines taken in the NFL Draft:
Leon Hall 18 Cincinnati Bengals
Alan Branch 33 Arizona Cardinals
Lamarr Woodley 46 Pittsburgh Steelers
David Harris 47 New York Jets
Steve Breaston 147 Arizona Cardinals
Prescott Burgess 207 Baltimore Ravens
Tyler Ecker 216 Washington Redskins

The Surprise is obviously Tyler Ecker, who most people didn't see getting drafted at all. Breaston and Burgess will spend their early years on special teams, while the top 4 will likely be early contributors in some regular capacity.

Undrafted Free Agents:
Rondell Biggs Carolina Panthers
Mark Bihl San Diego Chargers
Jerome Jackson Cleveland Browns
Rueben Riley Carolina Panthers
Garrett Rivas Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matt Gutierrez New England Patriots

Obviously Gutierrez didn't spend his final year of eligibility with Michigan, but once a Wolverine, always a Wolverine.

UPDATE: J-Jack to the Browns
TUESDAY UPDATE: Rivas to Tampa Bay

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Here is a Youtube Video I made

Friday, April 27, 2007 by Tim

Sorry for the crappy quality. I am too lazy to make it better.

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Spring Practice Photo Album

Thursday, April 26, 2007 by Tim

This is just a greastest hits post, because there are 200-some photos, many of them redundant. Unfortunately, Paul is retarded and didn't take many action shots during the scrimmage.

Best pictures: Mario Manningham stares into your soul, and Johnny Sears in closeup (so you can still see is russet-colored dreadfro, made famous by my first ever link from mgoblog. Note - I am still this creepy).

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Mallett to stay at Michigan

by Tim

Though Tom Beaver said not to worry about it a ways back, there has been enough rumbling about the situation to add fuel to the potential-Mallett-transfer fire.

However, sources, including this snide Texarkana blog, say that Mallett has made his decision to stay (this despite all but encouraging it a week ago). Bob Lichtenfels has also said that Toney Clemons was informed by Ryan himself that a transfer will not happen.

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More Mealer

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 by Tim

From the Toledo Blade:
"Michigan was my number one school for a long time, and after I talked it over with my family and then slept on it, the decision to go there felt great," Mealer said. "All signs pointed north for me. And as far as my room and all the Ohio State stuff - I'll just have to figure that out."
Bo used to live on the Ohio guys who grew up OSU fans, and always played with an extra chip on their shoulder all year, especially in the third weekend of November.

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OH OL Elliot Mealer Commits

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 by Tim

OH Offensive Lineman Elliot Mealer has committed to Michigan. He is a lifelong Ohio State fan, but did not have an offer.

Mealer is an honorable mention on Jim Stefani's top offensive linemen, putting him outside the top 75, but in the next approximately 4000. HOWEVER, Jim said his OL rankings are old, and Mealer is among his top 75 prospects now, as he has had a big boost after his film has gone around.

Some film 4 u.

Mealer has implied that TE Kevin Koger, one of his good friends, may have his mind on committing to Michigan as well. Koger currently holds an offer from Michigan.

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Spring Game Comparisons

Monday, April 23, 2007 by Tim

Michigan has 5500 fans show up at its (free) spring game.
Ohio State has 50,000+ pay $5 for theirs
Alabama has to turn people away at the gates.

So why the differences?

It's obvious at least in the case of Alabama. In a football-crazy state, one of the two big schools gets a new coach with national-championship and NFL credentials. Ohio State, on the other hand, was on the cusp of the national championship, and have similar success in the recent past.

Michigan: the last three year, lose the last two games, one being to their biggest rival and the other being in a bowl game, and with 3 of them (OSU2004, NEB, USC) being upset losses. On top of simply not being as football-crazy as people in Alabama or Ohio State (be honest, Michigan is a basketball state), that can't fully explain a discrepancy of 10-to-20 times as many people.

Weather is another explanation. The weather for Michigan's "game" was really shitty. It was not bad for either OSU or Bama. However, would there have been THAT many more peopel with better weather? Doubt it.

The main issue is the publicity and the selling of the program. Most schools other than Michigan have a real spring game, on TV, with a lot of publicity. Michigan does not. Obviously, with injuries this year, it wasn't really feasible, but that hasn't been true in the past, still without a spring game. Michigan should move forward, and get its publicity machine going, and move into the 21st century, to generate a buzz about the program.

This helps in every facet of the game, from recruiting, to simply winning over fans in your own state, and so on.

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We deserve an OSU rematch

Friday, April 20, 2007 by Tim

Fuck you, Brian Cook.

More Spring Practice

by Tim

I promise Paul will eventually post the photo gallery (last I spoke to him (last night) he was trying to decide how to post thumbnails in the most aesthetically pleasing manner possible). Depth charts have been updated with the new information from spring practice (click the "important posts" tab on the right).

Some analysis, most of it from the scrimmage:

QB: Henne looked pretty good, though he obviously wasn't giving 100% effort the whole time. His throws to the left (a point of struggling in the past) looked much more accurate. Tacopants was nowhere to be found. Mallett looked very good (see Paul's video extravaganza below), and certainly appears to be ready to step in as the quarterback of the future. He didn't have any trouble handling snaps from under center, and there were no shotgun snaps taken. Cone looked like career backup material (which shouldn't be surprising, because he was recruited as such, and came in knowing the situation). Walk-on Nick Sheridan looked good, but will obviously never play a down.
OL: The run game struggled most of the day, but this was also without a few starters playing, and with a mix-and-match assortment of lineups. The starting line will almost assuredly be Long-Kraus-Boren-Mitchell-?, with ? representing the best of Dorrestein, Schilling, and Zirbel. Boren and Moosman both looked good snapping.
TE: Sucky. Martell Webb and Steve Watson had better be able to come in and play, and Mike Massey should have crafted himself (shoulder especially) out of a material other than glass. Criswell could block for the run and pass pretty well, but couldn't catch a pass to save his life. McLaurin could do neither.
RB: Minor only played 2 downs in the scrimmage, thrown to twice. No news there, though he certainly looked like an imposing physical specimen. The FBs carried the load in the scrimmage, and looked like FBs doing so. The surprise of the spring was RS Freshman Mark Moundros, a preferred walk-on who has the smart money for being the starter come fall. Vince Helmuth has a little more developing to do, but he looked like a future badass.
WR: Walkon central, as Greg Mathews and LaTerryal Savoy were the only scholarship WRs there. Manningham was in attendance wearing street clothes, and Arrington was not present. Judging by the fact that there are only 2 scholarship WRs right now, hopefully both can come back and contribute. There will definitely be playing time opportunities for multiple freshmen here, as well. Mathews looked good, though he's definitely not a burner (overthrown a couple time by both Mallett and Henne - on passes Manningham would have easily run under). Unlike last year, Savoy looked like crap, so I hope he just confuses "final spring practice" with "opposite day." Walk-on David Middleton looked decent, though there's a reason he's a walk-on.

DL: A ton of guys played here. Brandon Graham looked good, even if his step isn't as fast as I was expecting from a former LB. Will Johnson looked really fast off the line for his size, which is good. Adam Patterson was solid if unimpressive. Jason Kates looked to be in terrible condition. There is more depth on the DL than I was expecting, which can only be a good thing.
LB: If the season started today, I'd have to think your starting LB lineup would be (weak to strong) Mouton-Ezeh-Crable. Johnny Thompson and Chris Graham both didn't practice, but Mouton and Ezeh looked good. Mouton especially, as he was the best LB on the field, in terms of speed and big hits. Crable did not scrimmage. Austin Panter was OK, but he got run over in the run game a couple of times. He needs to work on his lower body strength a lot in the off-season if he wants to be a big contributor in the fall.
DB: Stevie Brown is really good at the football. Johnny Sears looked bad, which can't be a good thing. It's not even that he didn't have the skills and mental abilities, it just seemed like he wasn't even playing attention during the scrimmage. Hopefully it was just a bad practice for him. Brandon Harrison was as expected, Charles Stewart looked like a good backup SS, as did (surprisingly) career special-teamer Anton Campbell. Morgan Trent was beaten more times than I am comfortable with at this time.

ST: Punting will still be handled by Zoltan. He boomed a couple but was inconsistent (I probably could have said that without even attending the practice). The Place kicker battle will be between K.C. Lopata and Bryan Wright. Wright has the bigger leg, but was more inconsistent. Lopata was more accurate, but dinged an extra point of the back of an O-Lineman's helmet. This one will be settled in the fall, and don't be surprised if they split duties a bit during the season.

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New Indoor Football Facility Planned

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 by Tim

According to the Ann Arbor News, a new indoor football facility is planned for the area where the current outdoor practice fields are.

In the ongoing facilities race, this is a step in the right direction for year-round practice, and recruits always love shiny news things. The project is expected to cost $26.1 Million. Link to Regents Action Request.

Downsides: Soccer field moving down by the varsity tennis center, too far to walk. Obviously attendance at soccer games is too high as it is.

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Basketball Coach Welcome Rally Recap

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 by Tim

Overview: Waste of time

Fun Bill Martin Pythagorean Theorem: A2 + B2 = C2 (Ann Arbor + Beilein, Borseth = Championship, Championship)

Number of raffles and lame contests: Approx. 15

Notably Absent: Ekpe Udoh

Mary Coleman's size as a proportion of Bill Martin: 1/2

Things said that have not been already mentioned at at least one press conference: 0

Number of recent Kevin Borseth recruiting trips to Virginia: 1

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So There's This Freshman QB

Sunday, April 15, 2007 by Paul

Ryan Mallett is one of the most talked about recruits Michigan has had in a while. Luckily for us, he decided to enroll early, which meant we could see him in the Spring. A couple commenters asked for video on Mallett's throwing mechanics. Well... without further ado:

The final slow motion throw is just the first one. I'm not exactly an expert on mechanics, and this is just warm up throwing, so I can't really draw a huge amount of conclusions. One thing is that he seems to have a fairly high release point which is something that, despite being about the same height, John Navarre did not.

Next, it has been rumored that Mallett's arm has been replaced with a rocket launcher a la Grindhouse. To examine this, we have a couple shots of Mallett throwing downfield (there was one that was deeper than both of these, but the snuck it in right after some special teams practice).

During that second throw, all I could think of is replacing Greg Mathews (I'm pretty sure) with Mario Manningham, who, if he stay for his senior year, could be running under a ton of Mallett bombs. He looked like he has good touch on the deep balls, but just like most freshman quarterbacks, a year under an experienced, senior quarterback will help him develop even more.

As brief as it is, we have Ryan Mallett's Michigan career highlight reel. Look for it up on YouTube with more slow motion than 300 and the most NSFW rap song I can find:

It looks like he is pretty comfortable with the staple DeBord play action waggle to the TE (assuming Michigan has TEs...). Also, I was really hoping that either Mathews or Savoy would have caught the touchdown pass from Mallett, so I could say something cliche like "You'll be hearing that combo a lot in the future!" The TD pass was caught by David Middleton, who looked good for a walk-on, but probably won't see the field with Manningham, Arrington (fingers crossed), Matthews, Savoy, Hemingway, Clemons, etc.

Finally, there were those who saw the vitals on Mallett (6'6", 247lbs) and immediately started complaining about how Michigan always recruits statuesque quarterbacks that can't escape pressure. In defense of most Michigan fans, most of these people were on the espn.com message boards. Anyway, in response to that, here is Mallett using his legs. Please note the hilarious stiff arm conveniently slow-mo'd for added bad ass-ness (despite my previous snide 300 remark):

What makes the stiff arm so funny is that the defense isn't allowed to tackle the quarterback, so they just had to touch Mallett for him to be down. So by stiff arming he's touching which might make him technically down. Ignoring the obvious hold, he showed he's not slow, although he might be a loper, but he has some moves. Don't expect Vince Young, but don't be looking for Mt. Rushmore either.

I have some pictures as well, but I think I will just put those up on flickr and link since this is already fairly heavy from the video.

In the coming days we'll have interview wrap ups as well as scrimmage footage from people other than Ryan Mallett. I know a lot of people were curious, so I'd love to hear your observations or thoughts on how he looked, so use that comment section.

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Spring Practice Roll Call

by Tim

Yeah, we're going to try to milk this for all it's worth.

Guys who weren't there:
Adrian Arrington
Marques Slocum
Jason Forcier

Guys who were there, but didn't dress:
Mike Hart
Kevin Grady (crutches)
Jamar Adams
Carlos Brown
Johnny Thompson
Chris Graham
Terrance Taylor

Dressed but only participated in position drills:
Jake Long
Shawn Crable

Recent ex-players in attendance:
David Harris
Steve Breaston
Alan Branch
Rondell Biggs

I think that's about it, if I missed anyone you saw, drop it in the comments.

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Spring Practice Review Preview

Saturday, April 14, 2007 by Paul

Unfortunately, we had some technical difficulties, so we don't have any audio on our interviews. All the players said basically the same thing, so we'll try to get a loose paraphrase up at least. If anyone can read lips and wants to do a transcript, let us know.

We're kind of tired and ready for a standard Saturday night in Ann Arbor, so look forward to the full review tomorrow or monday complete with pictures and moving pictures!

Just to whet your appetite, here's a picture of the wide receivers with Verne Troyer:

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Spring Practice Preview

Friday, April 13, 2007 by Tim

T-minus one day until spring practice. Finally, the public gets a chance to review what the 2007 Wolverines will look like.

However, keep in mind that the impressions you get aren't always going to be accurate. A year ago, Carlos Brown and LaTerryal Savoy looked like they were going to be world-beaters. At the end of 2006, Brown had 16 carries for 41 yards, Savoy had a statistically-anomalous 0 catches for 7 yards (he recovered a fumble).

Here are some things I'll be looking for at spring practice (some of them suggested by commenters, and I encourage you to continue making suggestions):

Things to ask players/coaches:
  • Upperclassmen's opinions of Ryan Mallett
  • How the defense will react after losing 6 starters
  • Ask everyone around if they think Beilein will recruit the PSL
Things to observe, take pictures, gather footage of:
  • Young guys coming in (Mallett, Panter, Helmuth, Chambers)
  • Recruits attending the final spring practice
  • Effectiveness of the D-Line
  • Presence of Grady, Carlos Brown, Arrington
If there is anything else specific that you want to hear, speak now or forever hold your peace.

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Recruiting Update: Fred Smith

Thursday, April 12, 2007 by Tim

Ironically, though I follow recruiting to a near religious degree, I rarely post about it on this here internet blogsite. This is for various reasons (i.e. what am I going to post that isn't either easily available elsewhere or premium information from a recruiting site). However, I'll hopefully start getting a little more recruiting info out there, starting with this piece on Detroit WR Fred Smith, in which he speaks glowingly of Michigan.

Interesting things: He holds a Michigan offer, and loved Michigan growing up (read: it's not unlikely he ends up a Wolverine). This article didn't appear in a Detroit paper, or even a Michigan paper, for that matter. Rather it is in USA Today, so maybe Smith is a higher-profile recruit than some are giving him credit for, especially since they say he is one of the top wideouts in the nation. However, in four batches of "elite wide receivers," Jim Stefani has yet to mention Smith, and he's not in Scout or Rivals early top lists.

However, at a 4.4 (reported) 40 time, and with his size (6-3, 215), he certainly has some potential.

SIDE NOTE: Don't forget to comment in the post below with your questions for spring practice.

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Spring Practice Questions

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 by Tim

Paul and I will be attending the final spring practice this Saturday, armed with cameras (video and still) and our comprehensive note-taking abilities. There is a high likelihood that we are able to interview a player or two, especially among those who won't be participating in full (Nobody important: Hart, Long).

If you have anything that you want us to take a closer look at, something you want video or pictures of, or any questions you want us to ask, post them in the comments and we'll do our best to accommodate you.

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Bill Martin Blowin' up

by Tim

Bill Martin has been in the media a lot lately (makes sense, seeing as how he, you know, just hired a new basketball coach or two). Some highlights from his interview with the Monroe Street Journal:

On accusations that luxury boxes threaten the tradition of Michigan Stadium:
“Think about Fielding Yost when he built Michigan Stadium in 1926… Many of the Alumni clubs fought him and said, "You're going away from the traditions of Michigan". He recognized the reality that Michigan must be up with the times. You know, you're either moving forward or backwards in life… Minnesota is building a new stadium right now and for the next 30 years every student will be paying a $30 -$45 student fee each semester to help build it. We are going to do it all on our own. People have to understand the reason we are building premium seating is not that it's the end-all-be-all, but it is a way of paying for renovating the bowl. Look at it this way: 5,000 people are going to pay to give 105,000 other people a brand new state of the art stadium without putting a nickel on their backs.”

He goes back to the old standby “Yost did it, so I can, too.” It works I guess, and as someone who’s not adamantly opposed to the boxes, I have no issue with it.

On potential increased crowd noise in the stadium:
“By the nature of our new structures, the sound will be reverberated back in to the field. We also have an older Alumni crowd. Many want to go to Ohio State game in the late November cold, but want to see the game in comfort, in warmth, and have a nice social experience.”

Getting all the lame old people who refuse to cheer out of the bowl is fine by me. I doubt the acoustics will be drastically affected, but replacing some non-noisemakers with people who will hopefully be a bit more rowdy can’t hurt.

Still, I think of the Notre Dame game. They fit less people into a similarly-shaped structure, with no luxury boxes, and it still manages to be louder than Michigan stadium on a level that’s not even comparable.

On scheduling for football:
“Scheduling is one of the toughest things we do at Michigan and that's because nobody big wants to come play us here, and they often only will if we'll do a return game. Every time that stadium stays vacant on a fall Saturday, there goes 4.5 million dollars that I don't get to pay the bills and fix the place. I'll tell you that my principle objective in scheduling today is to play a complete round robin in the Big Ten… While I'm around we're never going to have a conference championship game.”

The “not able to pay the bills” argument rings a little hollow when the athletic department rings up $16 million in profit every year. A home-and-home with a big school is unlikely to cost us that much lost profit, when you take into account TV incentives, etc. The round robin in the Big Ten is something that I’ve been hoping for a while, though the decrease to 2 non-conference games would lose Bill 4.5 million every year (5 home conference games and 2 potential home non-conference games each year, against 4 home non-conference games and 4 home conference games each year). I am glad to hear that there is no desire from Michigan’s end to have a championship game.

On the feasibility of getting a round-robin conference schedule:
“Well, it takes a vote of 6 of the 11 ADs. I've got a ways to go.”

On his career aspirations:
“My career as an athletic director begins and ends at Michigan. I put my heart and soul into this place because I love it. When it’s time to go into the shuffleboard business or whatever you do next in life, I'll figure it out.”

Bill Martin wants to grow up to be a shuffleboard salesman.

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Long on Lombardi Watch List

by Tim

Please, real-life football news begin soon.

MGoBlue covers pretty much all the bases, except mentioning that the award goes to the best offensive or defensive lineman... or linebacker?

Woodley won the award last year, and Jake looks to make it a repeat for the maize and blue.

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by Paul

There is some great news for all those attending the Final Spring Practice this Saturday at the Big House. In the press release on mgoblue.com there is this beautiful paragraph:
The two-hour practice will focus on individual position, full team drills and feature an offense against defense scrimmage.
As much as I like seeing some 7-on-7 passing drills and the lineman duking it out on the M, seeing actual plays and game-like football is something I'll desperately need in order to tide me over until NCAA 2008 comes out. That usually gets me to August.

If you can make out for the Spring Practice (with some psuedo-game action!) I recommend it, if only to sit in a seat that most of us will never be able to afford during the regular season.

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Football bits...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 by Tim

Just a couple of (as yet unconfirmed) things that have been coming out of spring practice.

1) Kevin Grady has suffered a fairly severe knee injury, and will be out for the rest of the spring, maybe even longer.
2) Carlos Brown is as good as gone.

This leaves the team in the precarious position of having only one backup running back on scholarship at this time. It'll be interesting to see if the Grady injury is enough to convince Brown to stay, since it would mean a lot more playing time for him.

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Spring Position Previews: Defense

Friday, April 06, 2007 by Tim

Defensive Line
Van Alstyne
Van Bergen

The loss of Germany hurts DE depth, but the Wolverines are strong in the middle, and have some real potential in guys coming off the edge. Taylor seems poised to have a good year stopping the run up the middle. There is 2 or 3-deep depth at every position, but the real question is how much quality there is at each of these positions. Sagesse will redshirt unless there is a huge depth problem.

Nobody will be lost to graduation, but Terrance Taylor MAY be able to make the jump if he has a really good year. Still, with depth as poor as it is on the defensive line, expect the staff to go for a couple of defensive ends (including one top guy) and a defensive tackle, maybe two. This year will be a time for the staff to improve the depth, especially losing a couple of guys after the next season.

Or C. Graham
or Thompson


This is a definite rebuilding year for a linebacker corps losing two of three starters. The depth chart will probably not be completely set until after fall camp. Fortunately, the Wolverines are 2-deep at every position. Some of these guys need to improve, and expect both freshmen to take a redshirt. I am surprised to hear that Panter is not practicing all that well, as I didn't think Michigan would bother with a JuCo unless they thought he'd be able to contribute right away. There's the off chance that he takes a redshirt (he has 3 years to play two) as well.

Shawn Crable is graduating after this season, as is Chris Graham. If Graham wins the starting job this year, the team will again have to replace at least two starters. The MLB position seems fairly strong as far as depth, even if Cobrani Mixon transfers to Cincinnati, as has been rumored. A couple of OLBers should come in this class, as well as maybe one MLB to build further depth, since Thompson and Panter both have junior eligibility (unless Panter redshirts).

Defensive Backs
S. Brown




This position, long a subject of much bitching for Michigan fans, looks to be relatively strong this year. If Trent and Sears can continue to improve (reports from spring camp indicate that Sears is looking very good), the corners should be adequate, though still the weakness of the position group. New coach Vance Bedford has helped this position a lot. The nickel back position is a new one for Ron English’s defensive scheme, and Brandon Harrison looks to fill that role, with freshman Michael Williams backing him up. Expect redshirts for Babb, Rogers, and Woolfolk, though nothing is guaranteed.

To graduation, Michigan loses Anton Campbell, a career special teamer (who actually impressed in spring practice), Jamar Adams, a three-year starter at SS, Brandent Englemon, and undistinguished safety. With a bunch of safeties in the past couple classes, Michigan will probably only need to take one or two. At the CB position, nobody is lost to graduation, but Doug Dutch (unrenewed 5th year candidate) is unproven at the position, as is sophomore Carlos Brown. Expect a couple of CBs to be taken, including at least one super (I’m going out on a limb here by saying they’ll land one – wait a minute, they already got U.S. Army combine MVP Boubacar Cissoko).

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Spring Position Previews: Offense

Thursday, April 05, 2007 by Tim

Looks at all position groups, how they'll be in the fall, and what recruiting needs will arise.

Offensive Line
or Moosman
or Ortman
or Zirbel


Others unaccounted for:

The starting line seems to be pretty well-set, going Long-Kraus-Boren-Mitchell from left to right. The only question is at right tackle, where RS frosh Steve Schilling, Perry Dorrestein, and RS Soph Mark Ortmann battling for the starting job. Ortmann is really the future LT, so I’m not sure they want im starting at RT. The OL seems to be at least 2-deep at every position.

Michigan will lose Jake Long and Adam Kraus to graduation, and will probably not renew the scholarship of Grant DeBenedictis for a 5th year. The last couple of OL classes have been pretty small. Huyge and Molk will probably redshirt. Michigan needs at least 2 OTs (they already have one commitment from Dan O’Neill), incluing one more top guy. A couple interior linemen wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Next year’s starting OL probably looks Ortmann-Ciulla or Schifano-Boren-Mitchell-Schilling or Zirbel.

Offensive Backs
or Helmuth
or Threet

Henne is entrenched as the starter. Forcier is gone to Stanford, leaving Mallett as the backup. David Cone is still developing, and is likely to play the career backup role.

Henne graduates after this season, and there is huge need for at least one non-project at the quarterback position to serve as Mallett’s theoretical 2008 backup, and probably another guy to be improved over the course of his career.

Hart will obviously remain the starter here. Minor is the backup, with Kevin Grady out with a torn ACL. Carlos Brown is back on offesne. Avery Horn enters this fall. He will likely redshirt his freshman year. At fullback, RS Frosh preferred walk-on Mark Moundros looks like the probable starter. If this is the case, Helmuth can take a redshirt before his four years of mauling linebackers.

Hart will be lost to graduation. That will leave 4 scholarship backs after this year (assuming Horn qualifies and stays at the position). That means Michigan will probably want to take one, and maybe even two, running backs in this class. There is no need at fullback with Helmuth just a true freshman.

Receiving Corps

or Webb

Others unaccounted for:

Not a ton of depth here, but the starters are pretty good. Mathews showed some flashes last year as well, and all reports indicate that he is looking good in the spring. Savoy looked really good last spring, and ended up contributing almost nothing during the course of the year. He looks good again this year (per reports), so we’ll have to see if he can translate it to the field this time. A couple of freshmen are coming in, and it looks like both might play next year for depth reasons. Will Bass ever play again? That is the million-dollar question.

Nobody is lost to graduation, but Arrington and Manningham may be able to make the jump early if they have breakout year. Manningham needs to prove he can do things with the ball, proving he’s not just a one-trick pony. Arrington has shown himself t be fairly complete, and he has size. If he has big numbers, it should be enough to vault him into potential early-entry territory. If both of these guys leave, depth is absolutely shot, and there will have to be a big WR class. It is unlikely that Bas will ever play again, but if he does, he is a tremendous athlete. Expect at least two WRs taken in this class (with maybe one as a big guy who could split out as a TE), with another taken for each guy who does not come back and exhaust his eligibility.

Losing Butler whacked depth at this position right in the face. Massey is the only guy who even has played in a real game scenario. Watson and Webb are both incoming freshmen who were probably going to redshirt, though one of them might have to play this year, since Criswell and McLaurin aren't very good. Smart money is on Watson, as he is pretty much ready to play, whereas Webb would be well-served by a redshirt year. He is physically a lot like Butler was coming in, though hopefully does not share mental deficiencies.

Losing the starter, who was going to be retuning for yet another year, will force Michigan to take a tight end in this class, though I think they originally had wanted to take a WR/TE tweener. With Webb and Watson both around, they might still be able to just get by with one of those hybrid prospects.

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Beilein Press Conference live-ish blog

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 by Tim

3:55 pm: I cleaned up the typos and things that I typed in a confusing manner. I also got the images to work properly.

11:53 AM The podium looks really lonely. I can tell it is not because I hear inane journalist conversation in the background, and people occasionally walk by it.

12:00 PM Somebody is about to get Bill up in this joint. Sounds like Madej to me.
12:01 Maybe if I get this window out of the way, I can see that it is indeed Bruce Madej (Associate AD for Athletic Communications). He is going to introduce Martin, who will be making a couple of statements and introducing new basketball coach. Beilein will make a couple statements, and the media will be able to ask some questions of him.
12:02 Martin in the heezy.

He thanks Tommy for his service to Michigan, navigating us through a trouble period. Martin is forever indebted to him. The screening committee is also thanked: 2 former players Tim McCormick, and Marty Bodnar; Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Ted Spencer; and Greg Harden, and Associate AD.
12:04 Bill Martin states that he has a crush on John Beilein. Now he introduces him. Beilein left his beloved Eers to come here.
12:05 It's a Beilein!

Big opportunities, big challenges. Put UM back on the national stage as national contenders. Introduces his family, including two sons at WVU (Patrick, who played under JB, graduated last year).
12:06 The people making the decision to move to Michigan: JB and his wife Kathleen. He "believe[s] it is the right decision to make." He expresses admiration and respect for Tommy for putting program back on its feet.
12:07 Talked to almost every player except the ones who were studying [Beilein, you card]. Sense of humor. At least he has SOME personality. Wait, he’s serious. Talked to Manny’s mom, Legion is in Chi-town with his mother [Roundball Classic], but he will get in contact with them today. Talked to KGSr., on vacation in Cancun.
12:08 Beilein's first tasks as coach: Compliance meeting, workout, practice scheduled. 1st question: came here because he believes it’s what’s right for him to do. Same type of student-athletes he’s recruited his entire career. Michigan was a very unique situation/opportunity, which was required to get him out of WVU.
12:10 Bill talked to Beilein on the phone, waited until after the NIT championship. Hit it off right away. Martin said nothing in particular about job and challenge to Beilein: Beilein felt good karma, shared Martin's values and beliefs, and felt good about their future relationship and vision of program.
12:11 Coaching philosophy question. Response: don’t call this a Princeton offense. Don’t want to turn the ball over (hallelujah), and Eers among the top teams in the country in assists. Learn to be versatile as a coach depending on personnel, can dump it inside or "crank threes" in order to win. Adapt style to existing talent and recruit talent to your preferred philosophy.
12:12 JB values players that love their teammates and want to succeed. Love to play and hang out together. Team that fits in with the student body. Doesn’t want team on an island. Wants students to see their friends play, not their basketball team play. No magic formula.
12:13 On recruiting: JB will reach out within state, have coaching clinics and camps. Reach out to coaches within the state. Very hands on approach. “I want Kids to grow up in Michigan dreaming of wearing the Maize and Blue.”

Fighting against MSU, recruiting Michigan will be very hard as long as he is at Michigan.
12:14 Jamie Smalligan is from Michigan, so he has recruited here before. UM is a national university, and can therefor recruit from anywhere, bu they will recruit the state as well as they can. He wants to build a reputation as a coaching staff that knows what they are doing.
12:15 Facilities issue: nothing that bothers him. Beautiful locker room and film room. The facilities give the impression that fans care. He thinks UM was one of the first places he saw where the students jump up and down and wear the same color t-shirts [ed: you'd best be thinking us with a wave before each game, John].
12:16 A practice facility is in the plans for the future. JB has great faith in Bill Martin's ability to get it done. Martin is open to all options, giving Beilein the opportunity to compete with opponents.
12:17 Recruiting includes "recruiting" existing players every day to improve. Public perceptions are that UM football overshadows UM basketball, MSU basketball overshadows UM basketball. Beilein says it’s breath of fresh air. It's a program that competes In the Big10, in a good recruiting area, with tremendous support from alumni and fans. Athletic department gets the best of both worlds with football. Competing against MSU only helps basketball in the area.
12:19 JB is ready to recruit great players from a great basketball area. Talked to Manny's mom and Kelvin's dad yesterday, and will be talking w/ Alexand mother this afternoon. Everything is positive so far with existing players and 3 signed recruits.

12:20 Beilein will set no concrete timeline for NCAA Tournament appearances or Big10 championships. However, he brought his rings, and will earn some at Michigan soon.
12:21 UM has nothing to do with his buyout. Very interesting. Martin gave Beilein enough time to think about decision.
12:22 No system talks in the practice today, instead there will be conditioning and ball-handling drills. This is stuff for guys to do over the summer. If they don’t work over the summer, they will become familiar with the track. He wants self-starters, but ironically will help them start up.
12:23 He is still looking at assistant options. His old staff is still on WVU's payroll. Before determining his new staff, he will determine the needs here.
12:24 Beilein hopes Michigan will be his last stop on his coaching career. He grew up on Lake Ontario, and has made a loop in his coaching career ending back there.
12:25 There ought to be pressure on him to succeed from fans, given the amount he is getting paid. Pressure hasn’t bothered him for 32 years, and he doesn’t anticipate it will anytime soon.
12:26 How to turn around direction of Michigan basketball: university has a lot to offer, needs to evaluate where the program is right now. They can attract students from a fertile area. How important was it to wait to contact him until after the NIT. Third parties do stuff all over the place, but UM didn’t really get involved with that. How to get fans involved: be approachable, have great young men repping the Michigan program. People anywhere in the world will be proud of the way they play and conduct themselves. They will be well coached. Fans all over will be proud to say, “This is my team.” Expect winning.
12:28 Asking impression of other people (i.e. in the media) on UM basketball. Once the serious discussions began, he didn’t want to give up his hand that he was planning on taking the job. OMFG! He will be available to the media. What.
12:29 Alumni relations is part of job, fund-raising for practice facility, etc. Part of the coaching decision “zone or man,” his analogy for traveling to get $$ from alums. He is also a busy husband and father, and one man can only do so much.
12:30 His career goal wasn’t to finish at any certain school, but once he was done coaching his son, he realized that WVU wasn’t “it” for him. He has grown a lot as a coach. He was physically sick before his first gig at a high school JV basketball game.
12:31 His early college days helped form him as a coach, and the 2-guard offense forced him to grow as a coach. Necessity is the mother of invention. “Failure is a fertilizer for a coach” – Rick Pitino.
12:32 Will not return to Morgantown and renege on his decision to coach UM (lol Altman).

Then he is done. Photographers surge over his carcass.

And they lived happily ever after the end.

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Beilein's Philosophies

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 by Tim

Beilein's main philosophy here incorporates elements of Princeton Offense, Swing Offense, and Triangle Offense.
Princeton Offense
Learn from Fraschilla! Part 2!
Swing Offense
More Swing Offense
Triangle Offense
Learn from Fraschilla!

The Princeton Offense is run by Princeton (duh) and Georgetown. Swing is known primarily as Wisconsin's offense. The triangle is famous for being the Phil Jackson philosophy that he ran with the Bulls and Lakers. Tommy Amaker's offense, by contrast was entitled "have Jerret Smith dribble around until a) he turns it over OR b) the shot clock gets below 10, at which time you frantically try to jack up an off-balance 3.

Beilein's WVU teams were known for their 1-3-1 zone defense, mixed in with some straight-up man.
Base 1-3-1 - Zone Pressure
1-3-1- Trap techniques

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Internets tell no lies

Monday, April 02, 2007 by Tim

CBS and Fox both say Beilein to Michigan is official like a referee with a whistle.

Press conference allegedly set for Wednesday.

edit: omfg 2 facebook groups it must be true.

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by Tim

What would Beilein do?

(note: he was offered the job yesterday, and all indications are that, later today, the question becomes: "What will Beilein do?")

Short term:
1) Put butts in seats. Any coaching change is bound to do this, because it generates a little bit of excitement around the program, and people want to be able to see what the new coach will be able to do. Under Amaker, attendance soared to historic lows. I'm a student, and I've never bought basketball tickets. My freshman year I just didn't care, but the last two, I've been looking for an excuse to convince myself to get them. Amaker's departure provides me with just that.
2) Generate a buzz around the program. When was the last time SportsCenter talked about Michigan basketball for a reason other than: a) The Fab Five b) They are playing a legit team (OSU, Wisconsin, UCLA, etc.) or c) They are in the NIT? The answer is not recently, until they started giving updates on our coaching search.
3) Win. Rag on the guy's recruiting all you want. In his first year, that won't matter all that much (disclaimer: except to retain Michigan's current commits, though it's sounding likely that Legion will not stay with Michigan). In the first year, he'll have to win with what is left for him. Fortunately, coaching, rather than recruiting is his strong point. Do I expect him to take the team to the tourney in his first year? No, but I'd give him a much better chance than I would Amaker coaching the same players.
4) Put butts in seats. What? I already said this one? Well, it's for a different reason this time. Before, it was just because of change. Taking the buzz generated about the program, and the potential winning into account, even more people will start showing up. I was embarrassed to go to the NIT games last year, and to find Crisler nearly empty at the first one. However, once it became clear that the team was on a winning track (albeit in the NIT), the fans started showing up (UTEP: 4400, ND: 8554, UM: 8818)

Long(er) term:
1) Make the basketball program profitable again. This goes along with getting people into Crisler. Blame the lack of facilities all you want, but with Martin at the helm, there was no chance of money being spent on a profitless program (note: this is not a criticism; I actually agree with Martin's philosophy on this). With more money coming in, the mythical practice facility and Crisler upgrade will come much sooner.
2) Increase the profile of Michigan basketball. On top of (presumably) not refusing to do a coach's show (cough cough, Amaker, cough cough), the hypothetical winning would increase the
profile of Michigan basketball. It's Michigan. The Fab Five place. With NCAA tournament appearances, it should be able to start recruiting itself.
3) Get facilities upgraded faster. On top of points one and two, Beilein is far more likely to campaign actively to raise funds for new facilities (it's not much work to campaign harder than "not at all"). This, in turn, will lead to a healthy future for the basketball program.

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Beilein Offered Job

Sunday, April 01, 2007 by Paul

The Free Press is reporting that Martin has offered Beilein the job and he should respond in about 24 hours. Brian has noted certain rumblings on the internets that would seem to support the claim.

No official words yet, but hopefully we'll see something soon.


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