- The Michigan softball team lost its first home game since 2008 last night. Pitcher Jordan Taylor only gave up one earned run during the game, but Tennessee capitalized on a few Michigan mistakes and ended up winning 5-0. The Wolverines only managed one hit during the game, breaking up the near no-hitter in the seventh and final inning. To advance to the College World Series, Michigan will have to win twice today. Game two of the series gets underway at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU. If Michigan wins and forces a third and deciding game, it will start around 7 p.m. and be shown on ESPN2.
- Bree Evans, who’s had enough injury problems to deal with, hurt her right arm last night when a foul ball hit her in the dugout. Evans was on the ground for a few minutes before going to the clubhouse. She did come back out to Michigan’s dugout with her right arm in a sling, but there’s no word on how bad Evans’ injury is (she was supposed to get x-rays last night).
- The baseball team opened the Big Ten tournament with an 18-4 win over Iowa.
- MVictors took a look at where Bill Martin fits into this whole CARA forms mess.
- Get well soon, JoePa.
- David Molk has been cleared to practice, and depending on how he does this week, he may play against Penn State. Molk broke his foot about a month ago against Eastern Michigan, and he has quickly recovered and is now in position to return to the starting lineup. It would be great to get Molk back not only because he is a great player, but also because his return would allow David Moosman to move back to his regular position.
- Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown will return to the field on Saturday against Penn State.
- James Rogers has switched positions from receiver to cornerback.
- J.T. Turner will for sure redshirt this season.
- Rich Rodriguez shared an interesting story about when he and West Virginia played Penn State back in 1984.
Rodriguez’s wife, Rita, then a cheerleader for West Virginia, went up to Penn State head coach Joe Paterno before the game and asked if he would take a picture with the cheer squad. Paterno agreed. “She kept that picture in her wallet,” said Rich, who often jokes about the story with Paterno and Rita. “May still have it. Kept it right there in the wallet. ‘There’s the big celebrity, Joe Paterno and me, 1984.’ … She never asked to take a picture with me at the time.”
- Michigan, as you can imagine, broke some records against Delaware State on Saturday.
The Wolverines (5-2) set team marks with 442 yards in the first half and 727 total. They matched a school record with a 28-point first quarter and led 49-3 with their second-highest score by halftime.
This would take some research, but I wonder when was the last time that Michigan didn’t punt a single time in a game.
- If you were at the game on Saturday, you probably noticed the new closed captioning on the videoboards. Michigan probably added it to ensure the stadium is ADA compliant and to avoid a lawsuit like the one Ohio State experienced, but it really seemed to get in the way at times during replays and when stat overlays were on the screen. I imagine people that have hearing problems probably appreciated some aspects of it, but at times, as MVictors showed in a picture, it really was pretty useless. It’s here to stay, so this is just another reason I wish Michigan would get a couple new scoreboards/videoboards. That way they could put the closed captioning in its own part of the videoboard, keeping it out of the way of the actual video.
- Jack Kennedy’s dad received a good birthday present in the form of getting to watch his son run the ball on the last play of the game against Delaware State.
- Even though Delaware State technically lost twice on Saturday, they are considering the Michigan game a win on their schedule page.Even though it’s just a typo, maybe they count receiving $550,000 to play the game as a win. (HT: MGoBoard)
- I have to agree with Michael Rothstein, despite their small size, Delaware’s State band was pretty impressive. I especially liked how their PA announcer explicitly explained everything they were doing. I had to laugh when I heard this at the start of the halftime show: “Now watch as the band forms three diamonds! And then watch as the diamonds rotate!”
- Maize and Blue Nation had a press pass on Saturday and took some cool pictures and videos from the game.
- I think Maize n Brew summed up the Delaware State game the best by saying “That’s How You’re Supposed To Eat a Cupcake.”
- MGoBlue posted a feature on David Cone last week.
- Michigan plays Alabama in the Women’s College World Series at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
- Pennsylvania defensive end Jordan Paskorz committed to Michigan on Wednesday. Paskorz is an ideal fit in Michigan’s defense as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker (a “spinner,” as the position is known to most), and is rated as a three-star at DE on both Rivals and Scout. ESPN grades him as a 78 and has an evaluation that talks about his versatility. Paskorz’s other offers are from Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Bowling Green.
- John Beilein is going to be a court coach for USA Basketball’s U19 team trials.
- Votes for the final USA Today Coaches Poll of the college football season will no longer be made public in 2010, giving it even less credibility than it had in the first place. Why coaches, who rarely even get a chance to watch other teams outside of their opponents, get to play a part in determining the national championship game and the BCS is beyond me. I imagine many coaches don’t even actually vote and have someone do it for them, but that just speaks to how little credibility the poll has.
- If the Big Ten ever adds another team to the conference, Joe Paterno does not want it to be Notre Dame. He would prefer Rutgers, Syracuse, or Pittsburgh.
- Memphis reportedly has committed major violations in basketball, including Derrick Rose allegedly cheating on his SAT.
- Michigan picked up its 10th commitment yesterday, as Louisiana slot receiver Drew Dileo verballed to the Wolverines. Dileo only had offers from three other BCS schools (Virginia, Northwestern, and Stanford), and Michigan was the first BCS to offer back in March. He appears to be another one of those sleeper recruits that you just have to trust the coaches on, especially since he is the fifth or sixth WR to commit to Michigan depending on what position some of the other current commits end up playing. I guess Rich Rodriguez wants to get as many WRs to Michigan as possible.
- Joe Paterno thinks the Big Ten needs to expand to 12 teams.
- Chris Forcier, Tate’s brother, apparently hasn’t decided if he is going to stay at UCLA as a wide receiver or transfer to another school.
- Michigan is going to play Western Michigan this weekend at Yost Arena in the second-round of the CCHA playoffs. Western beat Lake Superior State in a third and deciding game on Sunday to advance out of the first-round. Ohio State, Northern Michigan, and Nebraska-Omaha all swept their opponents to move on to the next round of the playoffs.
- The Camp Randall Hockey Classic, featuring Michigan and Wisconsin, has officially been announced. Michigan and Wisconsin will play at Camp Randall Stadium on February 6, 2010. Tickets for the game go on sale on May 4 at 8:30 a.m. and will cost $25.
- This year’s spring football game has also officially been announced. It will start at noon ET on April 11.
- A Q&A with Red Berenson was posted on the Ann Arbor News’ website.
- The Big Ten tournament’s full bracket can be found here.
- John Beilein channeled 16th century Aztec conqueror Hernando Cortez to motivate his team prior to Saturday’s game.
- Michigan preferred walk-on Eso Akunne is a finalist for the state’s Mr. Basketball award.
- The Michigan baseball team swept Sienna in a three-game series before losing to the New York Mets in an exhibition game this weekend. Last year, Michigan almost upset the Mets before they lost the lead in the 9th inning, resulting in a 4-4 tie.
- Three Michigan wrestlers won individual conference titles. Michigan finished in third-place as a team.
- Michigan’s Adam Harris was named the Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year and Track Athlete of the Championships.
- The NCAA put 10 Florida State teams on probation and penalized them for their role in an academic cheating scandal. The football team may have to vacate its wins from the 2006 and 2007 seasons, meaning Bobby Bowden will now trail Joe Paterno on the all-time wins list by much more than only a single game (the difference before the games are vacated).
- Although Scott Shafer technically resigned, there was some speculation that he was forced out by Rich Rodriguez. That doesn’t seem the least bit unlikely given the circumstances, but Rodriguez and Shafer just weren’t on the same page and both knew a change was needed.
Rodriguez announced it as a resignation today, and Shafer did not dispute that.
“Yes, it is accurate,” Shafer said this afternoon. “We just had a mutual decision. We had different thoughts on the way we did things. [...]
The two coaches had differing philosophies from the start as Shafer believed in a base 4-3 defense and Michigan began the season with that before morphing into Rodriguez’s traditional 3-3-5 format late in the season.
“That’s kind of the reason the decision was made,” Shafer said about their differences. “It’s one of those deals throughout the whole deal (we debated.) We came up with that decision that it was time to go our own ways. It just didn’t fit as simple as that is. I wish Michigan all the success in the future.”
On top of those comments, Shafer made another statement that certainly raised an eyebrow.
“Bottom line is, I take full responsibility for the demise of the Michigan program,” Shafer, 41, said by phone Tuesday afternoon. “I accept all the responsibility.”
I’m not exactly sure how to interpret this comment and probably would need to hear the audio of it to do so. Regardless, Shafer either made the comment to raise the point that he was the scapegoat for this season or because he really feels that way. Given his personality, I think the latter is probably the case. If it is, Shafer really shouldn’t be so hard on himself. Although the defense is a big reason why Michigan went 3-9, Shafer certainly wasn’t responsible for the offense’s struggles, the lack of talent, the inability to not fumble returns, and the many other issues the team had.
- MGoBlog put together a list of potential candidates to replace Scott Shafer as Michigan’s defensive coordinator. I expect Jay Hopson, the current linebackers coach and former Southern Miss defensive coordinator, to be promoted. That move would keep some continuity with the staff, which is always important when you’re still in a transitional period. If Hopson doesn’t get promoted, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeff Casteel came over from West Virginia. After a year with Bill Stewart, he may wise up and realize that he is on a sinking ship, leading him to make the move to Michigan.
- As far as who I hope is the new defensive coordinator, I wish Michigan would give Rich Rodriguez a blank check and let him go hire a premier name. That is unlikely for a variety of reasons, so I guess I would be fine with Hopson being promoted if that happens. He is a solid recruiter in the south and his Southern Miss defenses were pretty good.
- Former Michigan football player Rondell Biggs was acquitted of a felony possession of steroids charge.
- John Beilein is “feeling better,” but he is still being monitored on a day-to-day basis. I wouldn’t expect to know if he will coach Michigan on Saturday until we get closer to the game.
- A formal proposal for a basketball practice facility is not on the agenda for Thursday’s U-M Regents meeting. My guess is that a proposal will be presented to the regents sometime in early 2009. It is important that the athletic department shows that it is committed to the basketball program, and there is no better way of doing that than by getting the details of a practice facility finalized.
- Michigan basketball players aren’t really worrying too much about not being ranked, which makes sense considering rankings don’t mean a whole lot right now. As C.J. Lee pointed out, “It’s where you end up at the end of the season.”
- The Free Press caught up with Brandon Graham’s high school coach, who shed light on Graham’s decision to return to Michigan for his senior season.
- Stephany Skrba was named the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Player of the Week.
- Braylon Edwards thinks he is “unappreciated” by Browns fans because he went to Michigan.
- One-time Michigan commit Kevin Newsome verballed to Penn State on Wednesday. He is the second recruit to decommit from Michigan to Penn State. Kicker Anthony Fera did the same thing, except he instantly switched from U-M to PSU.
- Joe Paterno, who turns 82 on December 21, received a three-year contract extension yesterday.
- Buffalo head coach Turner Gill also received an extension, meaning he will not be taking a job elsewhere.
- If you want to go to Michigan’s home basketball game tonight, the first since the UCLA upset, all you need to do is bring is two canned food items and you can get in for $1. If you are a student, tickets will be free like usual.
- The basketball team received votes in both top 25 polls this week. Michigan was ranked 32nd in the AP poll and 40th in the ESPN/USA Today poll.
- According to MGoBlue.com, the rematch between Michigan and Duke in basketball on December 6 is sold out.
- The hockey team was swept by Miami (Ohio). Michigan lost 2-0 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday.
- As mentioned in the Monday presser notes post, Rich Rodriguez expects Brandon Graham to return for his senior season as of right now. Graham sounded like that was his plan following the OSU game, but he has until January 15 to declare for the NFL Draft. If scouts give him a good grade after he is evaluated, it wouldn’t surprise me if he changed his mind. SI.com lists him as a rising player, so it seems that good things are being said about his potential in the pros.
- Speaking of Graham, he was selected to the All-Big Ten second team. Zoltan Mesko was named to the All-Big Ten first team. The full list of Big Ten awards can be found here.
- Also mentioned in yesterday’s presser notes was that Sam McGuffie suffered a concussion on a kick return during the Ohio State game. I fear for the future of his career, as he has now had three concussions since October. That many in an entire career is dangerous, so three in a couple months can’t be good. Here is a video of the hit:
- One final thing from Rich Rodriguez’s press conference yesterday is that Eastern Michigan will play Michigan next September. EMU joins Western Michigan and Notre Dame as non-conference teams on Michigan’s schedule. Michigan still has to find a team to play at home in mid-October to fill out the schedule completely.
- Brandon Minor said this after the OSU game on Saturday:
“You can’t really blame Rich Rod because everybody on the team did not buy in like they’re supposed to. We have a couple of guys not going hard,” he said. “We’ll correct that most definitely. That ain’t going to happen on my watch as a senior.”
My only hope is that the guys that aren’t giving their all are gone by the time spring practice rolls around next year.
- Michigan and Ohio State got together before Saturday’s game just like they did last year. Who is to blame for the small scuffle? It sounds like OSU’s Alex Boone helped get both teams involved.
Ohio State offensive tackle Alex Boone on the pushing and jawing between OSU and Michigan players as they ran off the field following warm-ups Saturday at Ohio Stadium: “I looked over, and they were talking, so I walked over and started talking, and the next thing I know, everyone was kind of pulling me back. I wasn’t going to swing at anybody, I’m not that stupid.”
Are you sure about that, Alex?
- Spawn of MZone recapped the incident that happened on the sidelines in the first quarter of the OSU game involving Charles Stewart and a few coaches.
- Tim Jamison’s jersey got torn against Ohio State and he had to wear a #78 jersey the rest of the game.
- Justin Feagin got in for a series or two against Ohio State and never threw a pass. He will permanently switch to the slot position next season.
- Vlad Emilien, who officially committed to Michigan yesterday, plans to enroll early.
- The women’s basketball team upset #13 Vanderbilt on Sunday by a score of 50-42.
- I tied for first-place with Happy Hour Valley in Big Ten Bloggers Pick’em.
- Eastern Michigan fired football coach Jeff Genyk on Monday, and Lloyd Carr is going to help Eastern in their search for his replacement.
- Not that you didn’t know this already, but Mark Dantonio is a douchebag.
- Joe Paterno had successful hip replacement surgery on Sunday and plans on returning to coach Penn State in their bowl game and next season.
- Not only did Notre Dame lose at home to Syracuse on Saturday, but fans in the student section threw snowballs at Notre Dame players. After the beat down Notre Dame will receive at the hands of USC on Saturday, it will be pretty hard to believe that Charlie Weis will be back next season. I realize that his buyout is pretty big thanks to the ridiculous 10-year contract he was given, but Weis is proving to be a terrible head coach.
- Florida State’s Myron Rolle won a Rhodes Scholarship Saturday evening and then arrived at the Maryland-Florida State game right before halftime. It’s pretty amazing that a college football player is that dedicated to academics and manages to balance being both a student and an athlete so well.
(Note: I bolded the most important items that involve the future status of players, scheduling news, and other things that are worth calling attention to.)
- The team had dinner and a meeting last night and the seniors were excused first after they were reminded to complete their responsibilities like graduating. They were also thanked for laying the foundation for this program under Rodriguez.
- “Naturally there is going to be some (attrition).”
- Rodriguez wants to make sure everybody is 100% committed to the team.
- One player that can graduate right now but still has another year of eligibility did not attend the meeting on Sunday.
- Artis Chambers left the team last week, as did Zion Babb and Jason Kates.
- “We gotta be more athletic.”
- Everything (coaches, players, schemes, etc.) will be evaluated.
- A special teams coach will not be hired for next year.
- “You can hire Knute Rockne and he’s not going to make sure the guy catches the ball on a kickoff return or a punt.”
- Seven to eight recruits are expected to enroll early.
- Patrick Omameh almost played as a true freshman and traveled to away games. Ricky Barnum and Rocko Khoury also nearly played and traveled to some away games. All three were redshirted and will likely see the field next year.
- 20-23 recruits will sign with Michigan for the 2009 recruiting class.
- Rodriguez thinks Brandon Graham is coming back and believes that he should.
- Terrence Robinson would have played this year if he wasn’t injured.
- Cory Zirbel’s injury is probably career-ending. Rodriguez wants him back as a student assistant coach.
- Stephen Schilling’s injury should not require surgery.
- Rodriguez isn’t going to coach until he’s 81 like Joe Paterno or Bobby Bowden. He joked that he would be happy to make it to age 60.
- There is some concern over the health of Sam McGuffie since he’s had more than one concussion this season. (He got another one on the kick return during the Ohio State game where he was sandwiched by two OSU players, which I believe is his third since October. He got one against Toledo, one against Michigan State, and now one against OSU. That is never good for any player during an entire career let alone a span of a couple months.)
- On a more positive note, Sam McGuffie is expected back next season.
- Spring practice starts in mid-March and it is unknown if a true spring game will be held at Michigan Stadium. One will be held somewhere regardless of the venue.
- Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Notre Dame are currently on next year’s schedule. Michigan still needs to find one more team to schedule at home in mid-October.
- Rodriguez doesn’t think there will be a lot of attrition, and he is not worried about it since the players that stay will be fully committed.
- “There were times where each unit played pretty well and there were times where each unit could have played better.”
- Oklahoma coaches visited Michigan last spring to discuss the spread offense. Michigan may make the return trip down there to see them next year. Kevin Wilson, Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator, has visited with Rodriguez and his assistants just about every year. (That’s pretty interesting since West Virginia played Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl last season and absolutely destroyed the Sooners.)
- Rodriguez didn’t say anything about whether or not changes to the staff will be made. He simply said that he will evaluate the coaches like he does every year.
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