Football Quick Hits: Date Set for Spring Game

By · Saturday, January 23, 2010 · 3:00 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

It had been a while since I did a quick hits post, and since I had so many links saved up, I figured I would do a separate post for each of the main sports to break it all up.

  • The 2010 spring game will be held on April 17.
  • Brandon Graham was honored during the UConn game last Sunday for being the Chicago Tribune’s co-Big Ten MVP.  Rich Rodriguez presented Graham with the award, and the crowd saluted Graham with a standing ovation.
  • After the game and after the crowd stormed the floor the Detroit News snapped an awesome picture of Brandon Graham and Devin Gardner embracing
  • Mark Snyder, once a candidate to join Michigan’s coaching staff, ended up being hired as South Florida’s defensive coordinator.  Rich Rodriguez will continue to evaluate candidates, and as he has stressed in the past, there’s no guarantee that a linebackers coach will be hired.  Instead a defensive backs coach could be hired and other assistants would simply have their roles reassigned.  That is what would have likely happened had Chuck Heater come to Michigan.  In all likelihood he would have been involved with the secondary and Greg Robinson likely would have taken over linebackers.
  • Brandon Smith ended up transferring to Temple.
  • Teric Jones is moving back to running back/slot receiver after playing cornerback last season.
  • Jerald Robinson has wasted little time in bulking up since coming to Ann Arbor.
  • News on the recruiting front: Dillon Baxter has decided to stay committed to USC.  Michigan made a good impression on Demar Dorsey, who visited last weekend.  Sean Parker is visiting Washington this weekend, but it is believed that Michigan and USC are currently at the top of his list.  Michigan seems to be in good shape with Rashad Knight.
  • Rich Rodriguez made the first of three $500,000 payments to West Virginia for his buyout.
  • Denard Robinson won the 60-meter dash last Saturday in the track meet against Ohio State.  A video of the race (shot by mgoblog) can be found below.

  • Via UMGoBlog, there is going to be an event at the Michigan Theater on February 21 titled “The Victors’ Rally – A Celebration of Michigan Football.” Very affordable tickets are on sale for the event, which sounds like it will be very interesting.

    Join us Sunday, February 21, at 1:00 PM to watch football film highlights from games throughout the years, hear great guest speakers and the pep band, get free autographs and pictures with players, and maybe even see a surprise or two… very affordable ticket pricing has been set so that all can enjoy a nice maize & blue afternoon! See you there, and . . . . . . . Go Blue!

    I’m not exactly sure why this event hasn’t been promoted more considering it seems like it will be quite entertaining, but I guess this is your official heads up while tickets are still available.

  • WolverineHistorian uploaded a two-part video of the 2007 Michigan-Michigan State football game.
  • At least one former Michigan player will get a Super Bowl ring.
  • Adrian Arrington was activated this week by the Saints.
  • Tennessee ended up replacing Lane Kiffin with Louisiana Tech’s Derek Dooley.
  • Sonny Dykes replaced Dooley at Louisiana Tech.
  • East Carolina hired Ruffin McNeill, the man who coached Texas Tech to a win in the Alamo Bowl, to replace Skip Holtz.

Devin Gardner Enrolls Early; Boubacar Cissoko Attempts to Transfer

By · Tuesday, January 19, 2010 · 8:21 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

After news on whether or not Devin Gardner would enroll early changed on a near-daily basis, the definitive word is finally in and it’s good news: Gardner has been cleared by Inkster and will start classes today (U-M was off yesterday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day).  For the last few weeks news has gone from Gardner being ready to enroll early to him having to wait until the summer like most of the other incoming freshman, but finally in the last few days Inkster cleared him to graduate, allowing him to come to Michigan.  He actually went on his official visit this past weekend, but that visit is going to turn into a much longer stay considering Gardner is now a U-M student.  He will be a couple weeks behind everybody else, but in the freshman classes he likely was able to get into that just means he has some extra reading to do.

What Gardner enrolling early means for the football team is added depth at the quarterback position for spring practice and a chance for Gardner to have much more time to develop.  I’d say it lessens the chances of him redshirting next season, though I imagine the hope is for Michigan to be in a good enough situation with Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson where Gardner doesn’t have to play in 2010.  Either way, the extra time to develop will be huge for Gardner.  Although he is physically gifted, his talents as a passer are still fairly raw and could use some work.

In other personnel news, Rich Rodriguez confirmed that Brandon Smith is going to transfer.  Also, according to Dave Birkett, Boubacar Cissoko attempted to transfer to Grand Valley State, but that “didn’t happen” for whatever reason.  Birkett mentioned that Cissoko is in “more legal trouble,” which I imagine is a big reason why his attempted transfer to GVSU didn’t work out.

Wednesday Quick Hits: Catching Up on Everything

By · Wednesday, January 13, 2010 · 3:02 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

Apologies for the lack of content lately, but classes got started last week and I’m a little busy, to say the least.

  • Michigan opened up the second part of the CCHA season with a sweep of Western Michigan.  This was exactly what the doctor ordered, because Michigan needed a sweep to get things back on the right track and because Michigan couldn’t afford to lose to Western Michigan.  Friday’s game was a little close, with Michigan only winning 4-3 at WMU, but Saturday’s game was a rout, with Michigan winning 6-1 in dominant fashion.  Hockey was finally fun again, and Yost was rocking.
  • Michigan will look for another sweep when Alaska comes to Yost on Friday and Saturday.  If Michigan were to sweep Alaska, the Wolverines could conceivably move all the way up to a tie for fourth place in the CCHA.  That alone should tell you how important of a series it is, especially with a home-and-home against Ferris State coming up next week and a series with Michigan State after that.  Believe it or not, but Ferris is tied for first in the CCHA right now with Miami, and Michigan State is currently one point back of the top spot.  This will definitely be an important few weeks for the hockey team.
  • Carl Hagelin was named the CCHA Offensive Player of the Week.
  • Chuck Heater was rumored to be a candidate to join Michigan’s coaching staff, but he has decided to stay at Florida.  Now the hot name out there is Mark Snyder, Marshall’s former head coach and a former defensive coordinator for Ohio State.  Snyder interviewed for the linebackers coach job on Sunday, so hopefully we will find out something definitive sometime soon.
  • The investigation of the alleged sexual assault that took place the night/morning after the Ohio State game resulted in no charges, as the accuser didn’t want to press any.
  • Michigan Stadium’s press box is now completely gone.
  • Charles Woodson won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award and had a Michigan sweatshirt on during his press conference about receiving the honor.
  • I think it’s safe to say Brandon Smith has officially transferred.
  • Michigan commit Antonio Kinard talked about his plans to redshirt and the recruiting process (including telling Michigan State to “give it up”) in an article on AnnArbor.com.
  • For quite some time it looked like Michigan was going to land Tony Grimes and Clarence Murphy, who were set on being a package deal when they chose their college.  That plan has changed, though, and now it appears that Michigan may not land either recruit.
  • Delonte Hollowell, a junior from Cass Tech, is close to committing to Michigan.
  • Brandon Graham, Brandon Minor, and Zoltan Mesko were invited to the NFL Combine.
  • New athletic director Dave Brandon was interviewed on the Big Ten Network during halftime of last Sunday’s basketball game.
  • DeShawn Sims was named the Big Ten Player of the Week.
  • Eso Akunne is ineligible for the rest of the season.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry is a much better player on the road.
  • Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer is out indefinitely after breaking his wrist.
  • Notre Dame apparently nearly joined the Big Ten in 2003 but changed its mind at the last minute.
  • Ryan Mallett has wisely decided to come back for another season at Arkansas.  Barring a complete disaster in 2010, Mallett should be able to improve his stock to the point where he could be a top-10 pick in 2011.
  • Michigan State’s Greg Jones is also returning for another season, unfortunately.
  • The World Cup will not be coming to Ann Arbor or Detroit even if the USA successfully brings it to America.

Thursday Quick Hits: Richard Ash Commits to Michigan

By · Thursday, December 17, 2009 · 9:57 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • Florida defensive tackle Richard Ash has decommitted from West Virginia and committed to Michigan.  Ash is from Pahokee, as are current players Martavious Odoms, Vincent Smith, and Brandin Hawthorne.  Ash is a 4-star on Rivals and a 3-star on Scout and ESPN.  He has a pretty impressive offer list that includes Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma State, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, UCLA, and USC, among others.  Ash is Michigan’s 23rd commit of the 2010 recruiting class, and another one could be on the way on Saturday when Maryland linebacker/safety Josh Furman announces his decision (he will choose either Michigan or Virginia Tech).
  • Brandon Graham and Zoltan Mesko were named to the AP All-America second team.
  • Roy Roundtree said yesterday that Brandon Smith missed a recent team meeting and is probably going to transfer.
  • The Big Ten released a statement earlier this week saying that during the course of the next 12-18 months it will look into expansion.  I really don’t think anything will come of it, but the debate about expansion has certainly been reignited this week.  My personal opinion on the matter is that the Big Ten shouldn’t expand just for the sake of expanding.  Some possible 12th teams that have been tossed around include Missouri, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Rutgers, among many others.  Out of the list of schools that would realistically consider jumping to the Big Ten, none really excite me.  I wouldn’t have a problem with adding a school like Missouri or Pittsburgh (I don’t think Syracuse would leave the Big East), but Rutgers, for example, just isn’t all that appealing.  Obviously the best case scenario would be to finally add Notre Dame, but the chances of that happening are beyond slim.

    I guess what it will boil down to are these things: 1) Is there a team out there willing to join the Big Ten that also fits the conference’s criteria? 2) Is expanding going to be a smart business decision? 3) Can the Big Ten fairly divide up the teams if a 12th team does join the conference?  The Big Ten will spend the next 12-18 months trying to answer those questions, and once this “evaluation” is complete, there will either be an invitation sent to a possible 12th school or nothing at all will happen.  My guess is the result of this evaluation will be the latter, but anything could happen I suppose.

  • Both mgoblog and Crimson Quarry took a look at what schools would be realistic candidates to join the Big Ten.
  • Missouri’s chancellor actually released a statement basically saying that if the Big Ten were to contact MU, it would be willing to listen.  I don’t know if that is mainly just a bargaining move with the Big 12 regarding issues with revenue sharing and bowl selection, but Missouri is the only school to actually go ahead and release a statement about the Big Ten’s statement.
  • Bill Martin said that Michigan is “open-minded” about the issue of expansion.
  • Former Michigan defensive line coach Steve Stripling has been named Central Michigan’s interim coach, replacing Butch Jones, who left for Cincinnati.
  • Illinois’ Arrelious Benn is going to leave school a year early to enter the NFL Draft.
  • ESPN has apparently made the Michigan-Kansas matchup on Saturday its “green game.”  What that means is that rather than simply watch a basketball game, we will get this stupid promotion shoved down our throat by ESPN.
  • Zack Novak’s trip to Utah last week really sucked.
  • UM Hoops did another Q&A with David Merritt to get his thoughts on what the team has done since the Old Spice Classic.

Monday Quick Hits: Brandon Smith to Transfer?

By · Monday, December 7, 2009 · 6:56 AM |  Share | 4 Comments 
  • Brandon Smith is apparently planning on or strongly thinking about transferring.  Smith was a redshirt freshman this past season and switched back and forth between safety and linebacker.  He started at safety against Wisconsin, but that was about it as far as his non-special teams playing time went.  Smith was recruited to Michigan initially by Lloyd Carr as a fairly highly-rated athlete.  When he came to Michigan it was unclear what position he would play (LB or S), and that uncertainty continued this past season, as he got shifted around quite a bit.  I hope Smith reconsiders and decides to stay at Michigan, but it certainly doesn’t look like that will happen.
  • UPDATE: The video is now back up on MGoBlue.A video of Rich Rodriguez’s speech at the Michigan football bust was posted on MGoBlue over the weekend, but it has since been pulled.  There were some issues with the video not working at certain points, so maybe they are just fixing it before putting it back up.

    Either way, I finally got a chance to hear the context of what Rodriguez said about New Orleans and hurricanes, which caused some people to criticize him.  Rodriguez was making a point about overcoming adversity and said something about New Orleans and what it went through with Hurricane Katrina.  As mentioned, Rodriguez received some criticism for comparing going through practicegate to being hit by Hurricane Katrina, but he was simply making a point about adversity based on what was originally brought up by a U-M Regent who spoke earlier (her speech was also in the video).  She brought up the Saints and what they overcame as an example of how people overcome adversity.  What she and Rodriguez said was not trying to liken a tragedy like Hurricane Katrina to Michigan rebuilding its football program; it was simply an example of overcoming adversity.

  • The Wolverine has a recap of what the seniors had to say at the bust.
  • Rodriguez opened his speech by making it sound like he was going to talk about rumors regarding his job security, but he instead joked about the Notre Dame opening:

    “There’s been a lot of innuendo,” Rodriguez said about his future. ” … I just want to set the record straight: I am not a candidate for the University of Notre Dame.”

    That got a big laugh from the crowd and loosened things up a bit before Rodriguez spoke with a more serious tone, talking about how proud he is of the team and the seniors and how championships will come eventually.  All in all it was a very good speech, and I hope it is posted again soon on MGoBlue so you all can watch it.

  • Speaking of Notre Dame, how lame are they?  ND actually decided not to play in a bowl game because of what their athletic director called “unique circumstances.”  In reality, ND probably didn’t want to go to a game like the GMAC Bowl, where it would have had to face Central Michigan and probably would have lost.  Sure, Notre Dame is without a coach, but it’s not like that is a reason to not go to a bowl.
  • A full bowl schedule can be found here.
  • I was really hoping that TCU and Boise State would play against BCS opponents in their bowl games, but instead they will play each other in the Fiesta Bowl.  That is a really crappy matchup to me simply because I was hoping to see what each team is really made of.  Playing each other, just as they did last season, will not prove anything, whereas playing against Florida, Iowa, Georgia Tech, or Cincinnati would have given the nation a chance to see how deserving these non-BCS teams are of someday getting a shot at the national title.  Utah and Boise State have already proved that mid-majors deserve to play in the BCS, but this could have been the year where the system was really brought down if TCU and Boise State took care of their opponents.  Instead, it will be TCU vs. Boise State, and while the matchup is certainly intriguing, it won’t do anything to bring the BCS one step closer to making some serious changes.
  • Football commit Cullen Christian has been named a U.S. Army All-American.
  • Burgeoning Wolverine Star took a look at what Michigan’s defense would be like next season without Donovan Warren.  My exact reaction when I read the post was “ahh” due to the scariness of a Warren-less defense.
  • Anthony Wright is now a father.
  • UM Hoops has another commit diary with Evan Smotrycz.
  • Ohio State’s Evan Turner is out for two months after breaking bones in his back on a missed dunk attempt on Saturday.  Michigan plays Ohio State on January 3 and February 27/28, meaning that the Wolverines for sure won’t have to worry about Turner in the first meeting.

Incoming Freshmen Numbers

By · Monday, July 27, 2009 · 2:46 PM |  Share | 3 Comments 

The roster on MGoBlue is no longer from the spring, allowing us to get a look at new height and weight listings, number changes, and the addition of incoming freshmen.  That also means that we now know all of the freshmen’s numbers, which are listed below.

2 – J.T. Turner
2 – Vincent Smith
5 – Tate Forcier
5 – Vladimir Emilien
6 – Je’Ron Stokes (UPDATE: Stokes’ number has been switched from #4 to #6.) (I imagine this will be changed, as it would prevent Stokes and Brandon Minor from being on the field at the same time.  Also, Brandon Smith is listed as being #4 as well, and I doubt 3 people would have the same number.)
7 – Brandin Hawthorne
13 – Adrian Witty
14 – Teric Jones
15 – Thomas Gordon
16 – Denard Robinson
26 – Isaiah Bell
27 – Mike Jones
28 – Fitzgerald Toussaint
29 – Jeremy Gallon
34 – Brendan Gibbons
73 – William Campbell
75 – Michael Schofield
76 – Quinton Washington
77 – Taylor Lewan
84 – Cameron Gordon
88 – Craig Roh
90 – Anthony LaLota

Other noteworthy numbers:

4 – Brandon Smith (as alluded to above, he switched from #28)
19 – Kelvin Grady

Week 10 Big Ten Recap

By · Tuesday, November 4, 2008 · 3:05 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

Northwestern – 24 :: Minnesota – 17

The Wildcats pulled off the upset in shocking fashion. At the time, a scoreless second half resulted in a 17-17 tie, and it seemed like this game would go to overtime. Northwestern had other ideas, though. Northwestern’s Brandon Smith intercepted an Adam Weber pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown with only 12 seconds left in the game. Minnesota is usually the king of turnovers and actually returned an interception for a TD in the second quarter of this game. They got a taste of their own medicine, though, and ended up losing because of the turnover.

Prediction: Incorrect

Wisconsin – 24 :: Michigan State – 25

The Spartans got off to a very slow start and were trailing 24-13 in the fourth quarter of this game. A Javon Ringer touchdown and a field goal cut the lead down to 1 point with around 5 minutes, giving MSU hope. Wisconsin had a chance to put away MSU for good, but a couple of crucial penalties ended up giving the Spartans the break they needed.

Michigan State went down the field in the closing moments of the game, and Brett Swenson kicked a 44-yard field goal with only 7 seconds left on the clock. Had Wisconsin not called a timeout right before the kick, Swenson would have had to rush to attempt the field goal. The clock was running and it was fourth down, so that was the only thing the Spartans could do. Bret Bielema decided to call timeout, though, allowing Swenson to relax and kick the game-winner.

Prediction: Correct

Central Michigan – 37 :: Indiana – 34

The Chippewas were without Dan LeFevour in this game, but that didn’t stop them from beating Indiana on the road. Backup quarterback Brian Brunner threw for 485 yards and 4 touchdowns, and he ran for another TD to lead CMU to victory. This was Indiana’s second loss to a MAC school this season, as they lost to Ball State earlier in the year.

Prediction: Incorrect

Iowa – 24 :: Illinois – 27

Trailing 24-9 in the fourth quarter, the Hawkeyes looked to make a big comeback and did exactly that. A pair of touchdowns and one two-point conversion tied things up at 24 with only 2:46 remaining, but Illinois wasn’t about to let the comeback stand. Matt Eller kicked a 46-yard field goal with only 24 seconds left in the game to give the Fighting Illini the lead and the eventual victory. It was another wild finish that capped off a day of exciting close games in the Big Ten.

Prediction: Correct

Monday Presser Notes (Week 4)

By · Monday, September 15, 2008 · 11:57 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

Rich Rodriguez:

  • The team lifted weights and watched film yesterday and will have a different schedule for this week since there is no game on Saturday. They will have a short practice today focusing on special teams and will practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and early Thursday morning. That will give the coaches a chance to go out and evaluate recruits on Thursday, Friday, and possibly Saturday before they get back to their normal schedule on Sunday.
  • A second season begins when the Big Ten schedule starts after the bye week. The Toledo game is after the Illinois game, so there will be a break in Big Ten play next month.
  • The bye week comes at a good time so the coaches can “step back and do some evaluations.”
  • Turnovers were “the big killer” for Michigan in the Notre Dame game.
  • He didn’t see what Carson Butler did to get ejected in the film of Saturday’s game and nothing was included in the officials’ report. NBC did show a replay of Butler taking a swing at someone, so he could be suspended for the first half of the Wisconsin game if his ejection was for fighting.
  • The wet field was a good thing when Sam McGuffie did the splits once when he was tackled. Since he slid there was some give, possibly preventing an injury.
  • Steven Threet played well enough against Notre Dame to be this team’s starter.
  • Safety Charles Stewart probably will play more.
  • Freshman safety Brandon Smith had his appendix removed last week, so he’s out for a couple weeks and “more than likely” will redshirt this season.
  • Many of the turnovers, especially the fumbles, were “unforced errors.”
  • Carlos Brown will get more reps at running back in practice this week and is learning the slot.
  • Brown is very limited in what he can do at quarterback since the defense basically knows he’s going to run left or right when he comes in.
  • There are a lot of mistakes that are “easily correctable.”
  • Kick and punt returners are still being evaluated.
  • The kick return unit was “awful” against Notre Dame.
  • Terrence Robinson will “possibly” be available for the Wisconsin game. He’s going to be limited this week, but should return to practice next week.
  • Michigan came out of the Notre Dame game healthy. (There were no new injuries)
  • “The sky is not falling.”
  • He thought the excessive celebration penalty Washington got last week against BYU was an error of judgment by the officials.
  • He didn’t think the chop block call against David Molk in the first quarter of Saturday’s game was a penalty.
  • John Ferrara is going to start working out at left guard now to add to the competition.
  • Mark Huyge should be close to 100% by next week.
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