Monday Quick Hits: More Big Chill News

By · Monday, May 3, 2010 · 2:42 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Close to 96,000 tickets have now been sold to The Big Chill.  It’s only a matter of time until the ticket counter goes over 100,000.
  • Michigan is going to wear throwback jerseys from the 1940s in The Big Chill game against Michigan State.  (Lots more about the game can be found in a great article at Athletic Business.  Hat tip to The Blog That Yost Built.)
  • Three high school hockey games are going to be played at Michigan Stadium on December 5, six days before Michigan and Michigan State hit the ice.
  • The CCHA has essentially adopted the Big Ten basketball tournament’s setup for its playoffs since it will only have 11 teams starting next season.  Like the BTT, five teams will receive a first-round bye.  The 4 and 5 seeds will be scheduled to play each other from the beginning of the playoffs, but they won’t have to do the series until the second week of action.
  • Brandon Graham (pictured here with fellow senior DeShawn Sims) graduated and met President Obama, who spoke at Michigan’s commencement, on Saturday.
  • Donovan Warren, who is going to play free safety for the Jets, is blaming the NFL’s Draft Advisory Board for his decision to leave Michigan a year early only to go undrafted.
  • Anthony Wright’s basketball career at Michigan may be over, but with another year of eligibility left, he may play for one more season at a Division II or NAIA school.
  • Michigan’s lacrosse team is the top overall seed in the MCLA tournament.

Football Quick Hits: Catching Up on Everything

By · Wednesday, April 28, 2010 · 2:32 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Michigan’s game at Penn State on October 30 is going to be at night.
  • Brandon Graham was selected with the 13th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft last week by the Philadelphia Eagles, which traded up to get him.  Zoltan Mesko was picked by the Patriots in the fifth round and Stevie Brown went to the Raiders at the end of the seventh round.
  • The three players mentioned above were the only ones from Michigan drafted, meaning Donovan Warren really shouldn’t have decided to skip his senior season to go pro.  Just like Ernest Shazor, he left a year early only to go undrafted.  He did sign with the Jets as an undrafted free agent, which is a pretty good team to end up with, but another year in college would have helped his stock big time.
  • In other undrafted free agent news, Greg Mathews and Brandon Minor signed with the Bears, Mark Ortmann ended up with the Panthers, David Moosman joined a few other former Michigan players in Arizona with the Cardinals, Carlos Brown got a deal with the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, and Marques Slocum, who left Michigan in 2008, signed with the Redskins.
  • The Free Press recapped what Graham’s draft night was like.
  • Maize n Brew interviewed Zoltan Mesko, and it is a must read.
  • Dave Brandon recently said this about Michigan’s current scoreboards at the Big House:

    “The reality is those scoreboards are old. They’re old technology and they’re old. I’ve already looked at sketches as to what that might look at and one of the scenarios could add a few seats.”

    Brandon also reiterated that construction of the new basketball practice facility will begin as soon as President Obama leaves town following this weekend’s commencement.  Also, while there may be advertising in Michigan Stadium for the spring game and The Big Chill, things will be different for normal football games, as Brandon understands the tradition of no ads in the Big House.

  • Rivals interviewed Elliott Mealer.
  • Troy Woolfolk, who has a split personality named T-Wolf, didn’t play in the spring game because a Devin Gardner pass in practice broke his pinky finger, causing the bone to go through the skin.
  • The Toledo Blade interviewed Mike Barwis.
  • Jamie Morris no longer is employed by the Michigan athletic department.
  • TomVH interviewed Demetrius Hart’s mom shortly after the spring game.  Hart and his mother visited Ann Arbor for the spring game, and he will be back next month for the BBQ at the Big House, where there’s a chance he could commit to Michigan.
  • Braylon Edwards is going to host a charity basketball game at Crisler Arena on June 19.
  • Chris Perry was arrested last week after getting into a fight with his cousin.  His mother is fighting cancer again, which is said to be the cause of tensions in his family.
  • Boubacar Cissoko allegedly attempted to rob a cab driver earlier this month and stole money from two deliverymen last month.  Some people just never learn.
  • Northwestern is going to play a football game at Wrigley Field.
  • The NCAA approved the Dallas Football Classic and Pinstripe Bowl, bringing the total number of bowl games to 35 for the next four years.

Monday Quick Hits: Michigan Will Play Miami in CCHA Semifinals

By · Monday, March 15, 2010 · 9:50 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Michigan’s path to the NCAA tournament will have to go through the top team in the conference, as the Miami Redhawks beat Ohio State last night to advance to the CCHA semifinals.  Because Miami is the top seed in the playoffs, it will play Michigan, the lowest remaining seed.

    The time for Friday’s game hasn’t been set just yet, but considering the second CCHA semifinal will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network, it’s a pretty safe bet that Michigan and Miami will face off at 8:05 p.m.  If Michigan beats Miami, it will play in the CCHA championship game at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday.  That game will be broadcast on FS Detroit as far as I know.  If Michigan loses to Miami, it will play in the third-place game at 3:35 p.m.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, though, because to reach the NCAA tournament, Michigan has to beat Miami and then beat the winner of the Northern Michigan/Ferris State game.  There is no room for error at this point.

  • MGoBlue has a cool video of Michigan’s locker room celebration after Saturday’s win against Michigan State.
  • The men’s bracket is out for the NCAA basketball tournament, and quite honestly I think it was an overall terrible job by the selection committee.  Either way, I can’t wait for the action to get started despite the fact that Michigan is not a part of it this year.  That may not be the case for the women’s bracket, however.  The women’s field of teams will be released tonight, and Michigan has a shot at going dancing.  On ESPN’s bracketology page for the women’s tournament, the Wolverines are one of the last four teams in, so they definitely have a shot.  Hopefully they will get a bid and give Michigan one basketball team in the NCAA tournament this year.
  • The NIT bracket is also out, and Michigan unsurprisingly didn’t make it into the field of 32 teams.
  • Manny Harris opted not to talk about if he will go pro after the Ohio State game.
  • Jimmy King would like to see the Fab Five’s banners put back up at some point in the future.  I tend to agree with him just because it would be good for recruits to come to Crisler Arena and see the Final Four banners, but then again, technically those Final Fours didn’t happen and the Fab Five didn’t exist, so I’m not exactly sure what should be done with them.
  • A new photo gallery of Michigan Stadium is up on MGoBlue.  This particular gallery looks at the entrance to the tunnel, which is being overhauled right now, as well as the installation of speakers in the north scoreboard (they used to be on the press box).
  • Jordan Kovacs will likely be placed on scholarship this fall.
  • Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren are going to work out for pro scouts on April 8 since both have been dealing with injuries.
  • Angelique Chengelis has a great idea for the spring game: play it at night.
  • Jake Long is a large man.
  • Desmond Howard, Jumbo Elliott, and Rob Lytle are candidates for the College Football Hall of Fame.
  • Serious knee and ankle injuries are apparently more likely to happen on FieldTurf compared to grass.
  • Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary last week, has been suspended for the entire 2010 season.

Thursday Quick Hits: Yeah, College Basketball Refs Suck

By · Thursday, February 18, 2010 · 10:49 AM |  Share | 2 Comments 
  • According to Greg Banks, Michigan will attempt to fill the void created by Brandon Graham’s departure with various players, including Ryan Van Bergen.
  • Mel Kiper thinks Donovan Warren should have returned for his senior season.
  • How lame is the officiating of Ed Hightower and company?  Had DeShawn Sims missed his game-tying three at the end of regulation, a foul would have been called.  Because he made it there was no foul.  That about sums up how inconsistent college basketball referees are, especially in the Big Ten.
  • Anthony Wright didn’t play against Iowa because of a forehead injury.  Based on what John Beilein said about Wright, it sounds like he was in an altercation of some sort, but that is just pure speculation.
  • Michigan hockey commit Jon Merrill is ranked fourth in the nation by CollegeHockey247.com.
  • A poster over at mgoblog has a recap of Mock Rock, which took place earlier this week.  AnnArbor.com also has a recap.
  • Frank the Tank has another great look at why Texas to the Big Ten isn’t quite as crazy as you might think.

Tuesday Quick Hits: Josh Furman Commits to Michigan

By · Tuesday, December 22, 2009 · 10:54 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Maryland linebacker/safety Josh Furman committed to Michigan last night.  Well, actually, he announced his commitment to Michigan last night.  In reality he had committed to Michigan a month or so ago, but he was waiting to make the decision public.  Now that it is out in the open, though, Furman is Michigan’s 24th commit of the 2010 class.  He is a 3-star recruit on Rivals and ESPN and a 4-star on Scout.  Each site evaluated him at a different position, though.  In college he probably will play linebacker for Michigan.  He has great athleticism, which could allow him to see the field even if it’s not on defense in his first year in Ann Arbor.  Furman also had offers from Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia, among others.
  • Rich Rodriguez wanted Donovan Warren to wait to make a decision about going pro until his evaluation from the NFL advisory committee came back.  Warren decided to declare for the draft before that information became available, though.
  • Eric Puls is leaving the Michigan basketball team to focus on getting his engineering degree.
  • Some players no longer have a green light to shoot for the basketball team.
  • Michigan plays Coppin State tonight to wrap up the main part of the non-conference schedule.  There is still a game at home against UConn in January, but the Big Ten portion of the schedule gets started when Michigan plays again after tonight on December 31.  Tonight’s game starts at 7 p.m. and can be seen on BigTenNetwork.com for $2.99.

Donovan Warren Will Declare for NFL Draft

By · Sunday, December 20, 2009 · 4:20 PM |  Share | 2 Comments 

Donovan Warren was merely leaning towards going pro earlier this month, but now he has announced his intentions to declare for the NFL Draft and leave Michigan.

Warren does not have an agent yet, but plans to sign with Drew Rosenhaus this week.

“Just trying to do what’s best for me in the long run and for me and my family at this point in time,” Warren said. “I just feel like it’s the right decision and the right move to make at this point in time to take me to the next level and just focus on getting ready for the combine.”

“Coach Rod was real supportive,” Warren said. “Of course they wanted me to stay, but they understood the opportunity I have for my family and to go and live the dream.”

Michigan’s defense just got a lot worse with this news.  Like I have said before, it’s tough to see the defense improving with it losing both Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren.  Now that Warren is headed to the NFL for sure, I’m really not feeling good about the defense’s prospects for 2010.

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.

Donovan Warren Leaning Toward Going Pro

By · Thursday, December 3, 2009 · 8:03 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

As we have learned over the last two or so years, when it rains, it pours as far as bad news involving the football program is concerned.  Today is no different.

Earlier we learned that Vincent Smith tore his ACL against Ohio State and will miss all of spring practice, which is not what you want to hear about the team’s future starting running back.  But while that is certainly bad news, it doesn’t even compare to this:

Warren, a third-year junior who led Michigan with 4 interceptions this year, has filed paperwork to ask the NFL’s underclass advisory committee for his draft status.

He said Thursday their input will play into his decision, but turning pro is “just something that I believe it’s just for me.”

“I’m definitely, I’d have to say heavily, I like the chances of me coming out,” Warren said at Michigan’s annual football bust.

Warren said he planned to make a decision “within 2 weeks or so,” likely before the advisory committee reports back on his draft status.

I can completely understand why Donovan Warren would go pro, but as Rich Rodriguez said, for “selfish reasons” I want Warren to stay one more year.  We all know how much the secondary struggled this season, and it’s tough to even think about how much it could struggle next year without Warren.  Sure, J.T. Turner should become a starter and everybody will have a year with Greg Robinson under their belts, but losing a player as good as Warren is just something I don’t think the defense can afford.

This news isn’t completely shocking, especially after Cullen Christian hinted that Warren may go pro, but I honestly thought he would return for his senior season.  I guess it comes down to how high his draft stock is right now and how much higher it could be a year from now.  I personally think he could improve his stock even more with another year in college, but there are other factors that come into play, such as not wanting to suffer a serious injury and not wanting to worry about the possibility of decreased pay in the future for rookies.

If Warren does indeed decide to go pro I wish him the best, but I think I speak for all Michigan fans in saying that I hope he comes back for one more year.

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