Monday Quick Hits: Brandon Graham Named Senior Bowl MVP

By · Monday, February 1, 2010 · 11:13 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Brandon Graham tore things up all week during Senior Bowl practice and did the same during the actual game on Saturday.  Graham had a couple sacks to go along with a forced fumble and was named the game’s MVP.  He was viewed as a second-round pick with an outside shot at the first-round by most going into Senior Bowl week, but now he is seemingly for sure a first-rounder and could even be a top-20 pick depending on who you talk to.
  • We are less than 37 hours (at the time of this post) away from signing day.  Right now there are three uncommitted recruits still considering Michigan that will be worth watching on Wednesday — defensive backs Sean Parker, Rashad Knight, and Demar Dorsey.  It’s really too tough to guess at this point, but if all goes according to plan Michigan should get at least one of those three players.  Parker seems like the most likely to end up at Michigan based on what Sam Webb has said on WTKA lately, but you never know with USC being the other team still in play.  Knight is down to Michigan and Rutgers, and that one seems like it could go either way.  Finally, Dorsey was rumored to have committed to Florida State last week, and though the Seminoles are on his final list, I don’t believe a final decision has been made yet.  USC and Michigan are the other two schools on his final list.  He is probably the biggest long shot of the three, but signing day is always good for a surprise or two.  (By the way, Dorsey is Denard Robinson’s cousin, so that connection should help Michigan’s chances.)
  • According to Rich Rodriguez, Michigan has room for all three of the aforementioned players if what would simply be an amazing signing day happens and Parker, Knight, and Dorsey choose the Wolverines.  Rodriguez said on Saturday the max Michigan can take is 29, and unless there is an unforeseen decommit, that leaves three open spots in the 2010 recruiting class.
  • Rodriguez also said that this spring some offensive players may switch to defense since there isn’t a ton of depth on that side of the ball right now.  Once the entire recruiting class arrives on campus in the summer depth won’t be as big of an issue, but right now Michigan just needs more bodies on defense.
  • A defensive assistant coach should be hired in the next week or so, but not until after signing day.  I think the reason for that, based on what someone told me, is because Michigan gave recruiting coordinator Chris Singletary coach status so he could go on the road to recruit.  I suppose a coach could be hired now since all of the visits have wrapped up, but Rich Rodriguez probably just wants to get signing day out of the way first.
  • Former commit Adrian Witty, who was set to come to Michigan until the admissions department supposedly prevented that from happening, is headed to Cincinnati instead.
  • Tony Grimes, who was once viewed as a Michigan lean, committed to Ole Miss.
  • Associate head basketball coach Jerry Dunn is expected to return to the team after taking a leave of absence.
  • John Bacon provided some insight into what Manny Harris did to get suspended on the day before the Purdue game.
  • MLive’s It’s Just Sports interviewed Courtney Sims.

Tuesday Quick Hits: Fred Jackson Plans to Return; Adrian Witty Qualifies

By · Tuesday, November 24, 2009 · 4:43 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson is planning on returning to Michigan next season, according to AnnArbor.com.  There were some rumblings that he would be leaving Michigan, possibly for an NFL job, but as of right now he is set to say in Ann Arbor as U-M’s running backs coach.
  • Adrian Witty has qualified and will be coming to Michigan in January.
  • According to Vincent Smith, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson aren’t thinking about transferring or anything like that.
  • Although nothing is official, Donovan Warren is apparently planning on coming back for his senior season.  Things could obviously change, but I don’t think Warren’s stock right now is as high as it could be, leading me to believe he will return.
  • Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and a big U-M donor, thinks Rich Rodriguez deserves more time and that “it will all work out.”
  • There is no new information on the sexual assault investigation other than that the alleged incident happened at Chi Psi, a fraternity on campus.
  • Michigan Stadium is going to get new FieldTurf after next year’s spring game.  The current field was installed back in 2003, and I was noticing earlier this year that it was looking a little worn down.  If you compare how it looked in 2003 to how it looked this past season, you can see the difference just by examining the maize block “M” at midfield.  The “M” is no longer bright maize but instead has a shade of black to it due to the rubber.  Although the field is still in good shape for the most part, I’m guessing Michigan figured that it might as well spruce up everything for when the renovation is complete.
  • Michigan’s search for a new athletic director will be aided by Spencer Stuart, a search firm, and an advisory committee that includes John Beilein.
  • I don’t think I can sum up my feelings about people who sold their tickets to Ohio State fans any better than the Wolverine Liberation Army already did.  It was absolutely disgusting to see so much scarlet in the stadium.  I mean, I know it was bad two years ago, but this was even worse, especially once OSU had the game in check and the “O-H-I-O” chants started.  I realize that OSU fans travels well and the ticket office didn’t exactly make it tough for them to get tickets to the game, but still, quite a few season-ticket holders gave their seats to Buckeyes, and for that all I can really say is screw you.

    Sure, tickets for the OSU game can make you a good amount of money and the team wasn’t exactly doing well coming into the game, but anybody who sold their tickets to OSU fans really ought to have them revoked.  Even if you can’t attend the game, is it really that tough to find a Michigan fan who would want the tickets?  It’s not every day that someone is presented with a chance to go to a Michigan-OSU game, so if you are going to sell them, put in some extra effort and make sure they go to a Michigan fan.

  • Angelique Chengelis wrote a great article that recounted her memories of Michigan’s now-former press box.  The press box was set to start coming down on Monday, and eventually seatbacks will be in its place.  The new press box, which is going to be much more modern and much nicer in general, will replace it officially starting next September.

    I personally spent one game in the old press box back in 2006, and it was definitely a unique experience.  Being so used to watching the game from my usual seats, I gained a new perspective by taking in an easy win over Central Michigan from the press box.  What was really interesting about the whole experience was that that game included the only weather delay in Michigan Stadium’s history.  The timing couldn’t have been better for me, because while the crowd was running for cover and getting soaked by the rain, I was sitting back and relaxing up in the press box.  Like Chengelis said in her article, it has a special feeling of history and tradition, but I can tell you from my one afternoon in the press box that it definitely needs to be replaced by something more modern and more spacious, which is exactly what the new one will be.

  • MVictors has a bunch of pictures and videos from down on the field before Saturday’s game, including a shot of Brandon Graham walking out onto the field with his mom and dad.
  • Cornerback recruit Cullen Christian is going to announce his college decision today at 6:30 p.m., and based on his reaction to visiting Michigan this past weekend, I would expect him to verbal to the Wolverines.
  • Tony Jefferson, ESPN’s top athlete recruit in the nation, really enjoyed his Michigan visit.
  • Maize & Blog has an interview with Michigan commit Kenny Wilkins.
  • Former Michigan basketball player Chris Hunter has been called up to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
  • Despite persistent rumors that Urban Meyer might go to Notre Dame when Charlie Weis is inevitably fired, Meyer again denied that he will leave Florida.
  • Jimmy Clausen was involved in some sort of altercation early Sunday morning that left him with two black eyes.  According to Joe Schad, Clausen was allegedly sucker-punched by a fan, but it seems like there are different versions of what happened out there and not everything is adding up.
  • Members of the Michigan State football team were allegedly involved in a nasty-sounding brawl.

Friday Quick Hits: Michigan Ranked 15th in Preseason Basketball Polls

By · Friday, October 30, 2009 · 3:47 AM |  Share | 2 Comments 

Tuesday Quick Hits: Forcier, Brown to Start Again This Saturday

By · Tuesday, September 8, 2009 · 4:40 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • Tate Forcier is going to start against Notre Dame, though Rich Rodriguez plans on using a rotation similar to the one we saw in the Western Michigan game.  Basically, it looks like Forcier is the starter, and then Denard Robinson will come in occasionally to change things up a bit.  Forcier is a better passer than Robinson, but Shoelace, as we all saw on Saturday, has unbelievable speed.  Rodriguez also said that he “hopes” to get Nick Sheridan some playing time, but really the only time he should play is if there is an injury or if Michigan has the game wrapped up with time left on the clock in the fourth quarter.
  • Although Brandon Minor’s status is “probable” for the Notre Dame game, Carlos Brown is probably going to get the start.
  • Boubacar Cissoko and Junior Hemingway will likely be donning green limited contact jerseys during practice this week, as both are recovering from injuries.  Cissoko is dealing with a nerve problem in his neck, which is not a new injury, and Hemingway has a sore ankle.  Mark Moundros, who suffered a concussion during the WMU game on special teams, will also be limited this week.  All three players are expected to be good to go on Saturday.
  • Adrian Witty was not cleared by the NCAA and will not be joining Michigan this fall, but the coaches plan on recruiting him again in hopes that he qualifies sometime down the road.
  • Tate Forcier got choked up when he ran out of the tunnel before the WMU game because he was so excited.
  • Obi Ezeh, who was named the co-defensive player of the game by the coaching staff, hurdled over a Western Michigan player on Saturday.
  • Michigan has installed “hand sanitizer stations” in Michigan Stadium to help combat the possible spread of swine flu.
  • UM Hoops has a list of basketball recruits who are expected to visit Michigan for the Notre Dame game.
  • MVictors had a media credential on Saturday and put it to full use.
  • In case you missed it, mgoblog has notes from the press conferences after the WMU game.
  • Click here for video of what Tate Forcier had to say after the game.
  • Mike Hart was cut by the Colts, but he was signed to their practice squad.
  • Terrelle Pryor should probably never speak to the media again about Michael Vick.
  • It looks like the Texas Bowl will be added to the Big Ten’s postseason lineup, and apparently there is some talk that an eighth game could be added.  The eighth tie-in would be a new bowl game played at the Cotton Bowl, which really doesn’t make a ton of sense to me.  It seems like the conference rarely puts a team into the Motor City Bowl, its seventh tie-in, so what’s the point of even bothering with an eighth tie-in?  Multiple Big Ten teams make into the BCS on a frequent basis, moving every team up a slot in the bowl lineup.  Considering how often that happens, I doubt the conference would ever fill an eighth game, and even if they did, how crappy would the matchup itself be?

Wednesday Quick Hits: Witty Still Hasn’t Qualified

By · Wednesday, September 2, 2009 · 4:44 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • One of Rich Rodriguez’s partners in the project that resulted in him getting sued is a banned Clemson booster who has racked up five felonies for breach of trust with fraudulent intent.  He allegedly stole money Rodriguez and the other investors, which could help explain how Rodriguez is a victim in this.  The reason Rodriguez is getting sued is because, according to the bank that is doing the suing, he is “the financial strength behind the loan.”
  • Cornerback Adrian Witty retook the SAT again in hopes of qualifying.  He doesn’t know when the results will be out, but even if it was tomorrow and he did qualify, it’s probably too late for him to see any real playing time.  Realistically, if he ends up on campus at all, the chances of him being redshirted are probably close to 100%.  To miss all of fall camp and not arrive until after the season would leave him extremely behind.
  • Mike Patrick and Craig James are the announcers for Saturday’s game against Western Michigan.  The last time Patrick announced a Michigan game was the 2008 Capital One Bowl (Lloyd Carr’s final game).  While he has an interesting personality, I hope Patrick is able to correctly say the players’ names this time around.  If I had a nickel for every time Adrian Arrington was called Adrian Harrington, I’d be rich.
  • Click here for a coverage map of Saturday’s 3:30 games.  Even if Michigan’s game isn’t going to be shown on ABC for you, I believe it will be shown on ESPN or ESPN2.
  • It obviously could still change, but the predicted weather for Saturday looks very promising.
  • Although Inkster got beat by Ann Arbor Pioneer last Saturday in dramatic fashion, Devin Gardner played extremely well.  Gardner seems to continually be improving, at least he is in Rivals’ eyes.  Gardner is now the No. 53 in the 2010 recruiting class, the top player in the state of Michigan, and the best quarterback in the country.  That is quite a list of accolades.  (Highlights of Gardner from last Saturday can be found at mgoblog.)
  • Lloyd Carr was recently interviewed by FOX 17, and it was interesting to see how uncomfortable he got when the subject turned to Rich Rodriguez.  I don’t know if this was shot before the whole practicegate thing happened or not, but Carr’s demeanor definitely changed when Rodriguez was mentioned.
  • The Toledo Blade looked at the friendship Elliott Mealer and Kevin Koger had even before coming to Michigan because of their days of playing AAU basketball.
  • Someone on mgoblog posted a hilarious picture made in Microsoft Paint that shows how David Cone lost his number to Denard Robinson.
  • John Kryk, who wrote a book about the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry, analyzed the presentation of the Free Press’ investigation article for The Wolverine.
  • UMTailgate was featured in ESPN SportsCenter’s Blog Buzz segment.
  • WolverineHistorian uploaded highlights of Michigan’s 38-0 win against Notre Dame from 2003.
  • Michigan’s volleyball team is ranked 7th in the nation after upsetting Nebraska, which was ranked 3rd, and beating Kansas State, which was ranked 22nd.  This is the highest Michigan has ever been ranked in its history.
  • The Pac-10 is officially part of the Alamo Bowl starting in the 2010-11 season.
  • The Motor City Bowl is now known as the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.  It was originally going to be called the Little Caesars Pizza Pizza Bowl, but one “Pizza” was removed, making it sound a little less cheesy.
  • Iowa running back Jewel Hampton is out for the season because of a knee injury.

Monday Quick Hits: Talking Media Day, Quarterbacks, and More

By · Monday, August 24, 2009 · 4:06 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Much was made about this quote from Rich Rodriguez during yesterday’s press conference:

    “In what order and how many, I couldn’t tell you,” Rodriguez said Sunday at media day. “Right now, all three of them look like they’re going to play in the opener.

    “Again, it’s two weeks out. There is a lot going to happen in the next two weeks.”

    Quite a few people seem to be overreacting to the idea that Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson, and Nick Sheridan are all going to play.  I say overreacting because the season is still 12 days away.  If Rodriguez came out and said he wasn’t going to name a starter because everyone will for sure play, then I would be a little concerned.  All Rodriguez said, however, was that as of right now, Forcier, Robinson, and Sheridan look like they will all play.  He followed that up by pointing out that the things can change in the next couple weeks, and to me all he really said was that the quarterback competition is even and don’t expect a starter to be named anytime soon.

    Could we end up seeing all three QBs against WMU?  Of course, but that could happen for a lot of different reasons (hopefully it is because Michigan has the game locked up in the second half and all backups get a chance to play).  I just think people are taking what Rodriguez said as his gameplan or something.  If this quote was a few days before September 5, then I could understand some of the concern, but it isn’t even game week yet.

  • Denard Robinson seemed to be the talk of media day, partly because he told the story of how he got the nickname “Shoelace.”

    “When I was 7, I started playing little league football and never tied my shoes,” Robinson said Sunday. “My coach started calling me ‘Shoelace’ and that has stuck with me.”

    Robinson still doesn’t actually tie his shoes, and considering how fast he is, the coaches don’t plan on telling him to start.

  • Adrian Witty still hasn’t been cleared by the NCAA.  Even if he is cleared for this season he would likely be redshirted because he missed so much practice.
  • Michigan held a full scrimmage on Saturday, and you can find some notes on it at MGoBlue.
  • Brandon Minor missed the scrimmage because of a “minor ankle sprain.”
  • Tim at mgoblog has a recap of what the coaches had to say during media day.
  • MGoBlue has links to video, audio, and photos from yesterday’s media and fan events.
  • MVictors has a photo gallery from yesterday.  Also at MVictors is a look at what Rich Rodriguez had to say about his quarterbacks and a look at why Greg Robinson will be coaching from the field.
  • Maize and Blue Nation also has a photo gallery of Fan day.
  • An estimated 7,500 people showed up for Fan Day.
  • AnnArbor.com’s Michael Rothstein got the story of how Kelvin Grady’s switch to football happened.
  • Being a cornerback from Ohio, you can probably guess why J.T. Turner chose to wear the No. 2 jersey.
  • WolverineHistorian has uploaded extended highlights of the 1989 Rose Bowl.
  • Although Michigan lost one baseball recruit to MLB, another has decided to pass up a chance to sign with the Rays and instead will play for U-M.

Thursday Quick Hits: J.T. Turner Has Qualified, Will Practice Today

By · Thursday, August 13, 2009 · 5:12 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Brandon Minor didn’t practice on Wednesday due to headaches apparently stemming from a car crash a few weeks ago.  Obi Ezeh was limited in practice because of a sore back, but it doesn’t sound like anything serious.
  • After receiving the bad news that two players are going to transfer, Michigan got some great news about cornerback J.T. Turner on Wednesday.  After weeks and weeks of rumors and questions about his status, news broke yesterday that Turner had qualified, allowing Michigan coaches and fans to let out a big sigh of relief.  Turner will practice today after missing only a few days of action.  The fact that he qualified is important enough, but it is also important that he only missed a few days of camp.  It was expected that Turner would get a significant amount of playing time early on, but this whole issue with his eligibility put that in doubt, at least for the start of the season.  Now, though, with Turner set to start practicing today, chances are we will see him quite a bit from the very beginning of the ’09 season, bringing some relief to the secondary.
  • The other freshman waiting to hear if he is eligible or not is another defensive back, Adrian Witty.  I believe Witty needs to get a test score back before he knows if he will be eligible or not, so who knows how long that could take.  Like Turner, he could suddenly become eligible and immediately start practicing, which is the best-case scenario.  The worst-case scenario is that he doesn’t qualify, which would be a blow to Michigan’s secondary.  In between is the scenario of Witty missing a couple weeks of practice but eventually being made eligible.  He would be behind and not contribute early on, but after a few weeks of practice he would likely nicely fit the role of providing added depth in the secondary.
  • The one other player Michigan is waiting to get a ruling on is Jason Forcier.  Rich Rodriguez said we should know more today, so hopefully he will be cleared to play and able to practice ASAP.  The elder Forcier isn’t expected to come in and suddenly become the starter or anything like that, but he would bring added depth to the table.  Considering the chances of injuries happening to the QB are fairly high, the more depth, the better, especially when that depth comes in the form of an experienced fifth-year senior.
  • True freshman Teric Jones has switched positions from running back to cornerback.  Michigan is probably planning ahead and wants to be prepared in case Witty doesn’t qualify.  Plus, Jones didn’t have a great chance of cracking the lineup at running back anyways, so the move for more depth makes sense.
  • The other position Jones may have had a shot at playing is slot receiver.  One of the reasons Michigan didn’t bother moving him there may be the fact that Kelvin Grady is playing well at the position.  Actually, he is playing so well that Rich Rodriguez already said he will get playing time this season.  Some thought Grady might redshirt since he has been out of football for a few years, but I guess playing football is just like riding a bike for him.
  • Michigan got a single vote in the USA Today Coaches Poll, but it wasn’t cast by Rich Rodriguez.
  • Lloyd Carr attended the Lions’ practice yesterday.  A few of his former players are on the Lions, so it’s nice that he got to stop by and see them. (Jeff Daniels was also at the practice.)
  • It appears as though the Pac-10 is about to take the Big Ten’s spot in the Alamo Bowl.  Many of the Big Ten’s bowl tie-ins expire after this season, but the conference doesn’t have plans to negotiate until later this year.  I wouldn’t mind seeing them swoop in and take the Pac-10′s spot in the Holiday Bowl, as that is always a great game and would allow them to matchup against a Big 12 team just like they have done in the Alamo Bowl.

Wednesday Quick Hits: No Red Jerseys for QBs?

By · Wednesday, August 12, 2009 · 3:05 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Quarterbacks are going to be fair game when the pads go on in a few days.  That doesn’t necessarily mean defenders will be able to go after a QB and hit him as hard as they want, as Rich Rodriguez doesn’t want any injuries to happen, but it does sound like they will be taking some hits just like the rest of their offensive teammates.
  • Even if J.T. Turner and Adrian Witty are made eligible, if they don’t have at least two weeks of practice, their chances of contributing in the secondary for the season opener are slim, according to Rodriguez.
  • Bill Martin thinks the whole Justin Feagin situation is a good learning opportunity.
  • David Merritt launched his new apparel company with a video that features cameos by John Beilein and Steve Breaston.
  • Lloyd Carr went to a Browns practice this morning.  That should be the main focus of the article, but I couldn’t get past the fact that this line was in the third paragraph: “Carr was forced out as coach of the Wolverines after the 2007 season.”  That’s some excellent journalism right there.  I guess the writer of this article felt like it was common knowledge that Carr was “forced out,” as he basically mentioned it in passing.  My Internet must not have been working the day that news originally broke, because I certainly don’t remember ever hearing about Carr being forced out.
  • Dave Birkett has video of an interview with equipment manager Jon Falk, who talked about the evolution of Michigan’s facilities.
  • WolverineHistorian uploaded highlights of the 1997 Ohio State game in two parts.
  • Surprisingly, Alabama-Huntsville’s bid to join the CCHA has been rejected.  That means the CCHA is going to have 11 teams when the 2010-11 season gets underway unless something changes from now until then.
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