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Comment 09 Jun 2019

DESSERT: The Clown Show 

24 scoops of ice cream covered with hot fudge, caramel, strawberry sauce, sliced bananas, toasted marshmallows, Reese's Pieces, chocolate chip cookies, crushed waffle cones, Gummi Bears, white chocolate strawberry shavings, toasted walnuts, whipped cream, giant lollipops, and sparklers.

Warning: Dessert may cause epileptic seizures

Comment 26 Feb 2019

I'd be really careful about that. You don't want to toss up a line of young, over-matched kids who are still developing in terms of strength, weight, and game savvy. All it takes is one blown blitz assignment to put your QB into rehab. Best case, we develop our younger players alongside experienced veterans who put them in a better position to succeed. 

What we really need is for the defense to perform, so we enjoy a few in-conference blow outs where our younger OL get a quarter or more of game snaps.

Comment 07 Dec 2018

This idea is beyond stupid. B1G East teams already have to play through an absolute meatgrinder schedule (Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State). Now you're going to subject the winner to a rematch? The B1G may never field another playoff team again.

If you win the East, there's no shame being fed a B1G West cupcake in the CCG. And heck, every so often Wisconsin gets enough 5th-year seniors on its roster to make a credible run, so there's still that.

Comment 23 Sep 2018

This was to be expected. The zone read was great for creating space for our RBs to run into. Without that, defenses are aggressively keying the running back and forcing immediate contact. We do take advantage of that with the occasional counter play, where Dobbins uses his amazing feet to reverse against the flow and find space. But we seem committed to the zone read look as a foundation of our run game, even when it's clear that Haskins won't keep. Hopefully we've just been sandbagging, and we'll feature more constraints off that zone read look to gash defenses and keep them honest on the hand offs.

Comment 29 Aug 2018

It's frankly amazing how things have worked out for Ohio State to weather Urban's leave and suspension. We have an up-and-coming star in Ryan Day, who really seems to be in command since stepping in for Urban. We have a pair of proven head coaches at the coordinator positions in Schiano and Wilson, who ensure continuity despite all the drama. And when Ohio State finally fired Zach Smith into the sun, we just slid Brian Hartline--former OSU star and NFL WR--into the vacated position. All that, and we even have Alex Grinch on staff as DC (along with Schiano). 

Before the shenanigans, I worried a bit about how top heavy Ohio State's staff was, with Schiano, Day, Wilson and Grinch all effectively at the same OC/DC level. But with Urban out, the top-heavy staff is a major asset.

Comment 06 Jul 2018

Agree on the quality of play at center. There's no shame losing out to Elflein and Price. But really, in 2016, Taylor was passed up by true freshman OG Michael Jordan. When Elflein slid over to fill the OC spot vacated by Jacoby Boren, it left a huge hole at LG. The coaches felt they were better with Elflein at C and Jordan at LG, than they were with Taylor at C and Elflein at LG.

It's been two years since then, and Taylor has had an opportunity to learn and play behind two of the best. Hopefully he'll be fine. But it's definitely a point of concern for me.

Comment 06 Jul 2018

100% right. Remember how frustrating it was to watch Tressel's offense run Dave into massed fronts? If we completely bail on the QB run and the read-option, our ground game will look a lot like that. RPO can only take up so much of the slack. We need the threat of the QB keeping the ball when defenses sell out, and it can't only happen when Martell is in there.

Comment 03 Jul 2018

Yes, Prince, Jordan and Knox are a strong foundation. But Munford at LT is a concern, no matter how much of a surprise he is. He's being thrown into the deep end as the blindside blocker for a drop-back QB. I just hope our offensive staff learned some lessons from 2016 and find a way to help the kid out in pass pro. 

And am I the only one really concerned about Brady Taylor? He's got Jordan and Knox bookending him, so maybe he'll be fine. But I just got a feeling... But as you say, I do think if someone delivers at center, we'll be in solid shape.

Depth wise, Bowen if healthy can be a prototype 6th man who can play guard or tackle, but I'm kind of done expecting things out of Pridgeon (which is too bad--I thought he was gonna be something). As for youth, we're good at guard with Myers and Davis, but it sounds like NPF really needs to get bigger.

Comment 03 Jul 2018

Guys gotta quit giving themselves nicknames and start dominating on the field against our better competition.

OK, this made me laugh out loud.

But yes, receiver has been a frustrating position. We've not had a true star there since Michael Thomas, and he was criminally underserved in our offense. The thing is, I don't see us landing the type of difference makers at wideout that we do elsewhere on the roster. Meyer routinely nabs top-10 and even top-5 positional recruits at DE, LB, DB, RB and OL. We're even doing it now at DT.

At wideout, not so much. We've signed exactly two 5-star recruits since 2002 (according to the Rivals database): Devier Posey and Trevon Grimes. We have tons of 4-star receivers, but most have positional rankings in the 20s, 30s and deeper. Now, the most recent classes seems to be turning that tide. Guys like Garrett Wilson, Blue Smith, and Trevon Grimes are all top-10 prospects at the WR position. So perhaps we'll see some truly elite play from the position in the next few years. Nicknames notwithstanding, of course.

Comment 03 Jul 2018

I have to say, offensive line is my biggest worry this season. Yes, Prince and Jordan are proven vets and I expect them to play well. But our left tackle is a true sophomore who's never started a college game. And our center is a five-year backup who has twice been passed over for the position. These are the two most important positions on the OL, and they are major question marks right now, especially with a young QB who's not particularly mobile.

Knox I expect to be solid at RG, and if Bowen can play well post-injury (not a sure thing), he provides a margin of error at both guard or tackle. Beyond that, our OL is all youngsters (Davis, Myers), conversion projects (Alabi), and enigmas (Pridgeon). There's plenty of talent, but so much of it is either unproven or unrealized.

Make no mistake, this will be Studrawa's money season. If he gets this OL humming, it will be a clear sign of his coaching prowess, and an indication of even greater things to come for this offense.

Comment 26 Jun 2018

Yep, this kid's first two years are going to be all about development and then mastering a position. Best case, the coaches decide early to fit him at either DE or OT, rather than flip-flopping him around (the way we saw with, say, Chase Farris). I do like his versatility. If Ohio State struggles to land two top offensive tackles in 2019, I could see Williams as a welcome filler on that side of the ball, providing a bridge to the 2020 class.

Comment 25 Jun 2018

The main thing Hamilton has going for him is he's a 1 technique nose tackle with the size to engage the guard and center. As deep as we are, many of our DTs are athletic types well-suited to the 3 technique. That's where the competition will be fiercest. But at the 1, the starter is the supremely talented but undersized BB Landers. There's a ton of snaps out there waiting for the guy who can dig holes in the dirt and jam up the middle.

My concern is that Michael Hill's suspension last year opened a huge window of opportunity for Hamilton, and he couldn't take advantage. He was third in line behind Sprinkle and Landers, and it wasn't particularly close. Here's hoping Davon steps up this year and makes noise at the nose.

Comment 22 Jun 2018

You say all he had to do was get in the taxi, but he actually did. It's not like Barton was resisting. He was just so completely obliterated that he couldn't function (unable to give his address, mixing up a credit card for a drivers license). I'm sure that in his state his brain was just trying to get home, and closing the door to the van was the best way it knew to get there.

Unfortunately, a cop's arm was in the way.

Comment 22 Jun 2018

Be careful what you wish for. The OL group may have some depth, but it's brittle at the top in 2018. Prince was unsuited for the switch to LT, so we have a true sophomore protecting the blindside. Brady Taylor at center could be an adventure, and not in a good way. We've really been spoiled with the graceful transitions at the LT and C positions the last few years. but 2018 breaks that pattern a bit.

Hey, this could go well. Munford's earned high praise and Taylor is a 5-year vet, and there's plenty of raw talent behind them. But LT and C are the most important positions on the line, and both are being manned by first year starters. 

Comment 20 Jun 2018

Thank you! This weird narrative of JT Barrett being the cause of the Iowa loss is just nuts. Barrett played like absolute crap. But the OSU defense COLLAPSED, giving up touchdown drives of 60, 78, 80 and 89 yards. Iowa QB Nate Stanley threw 5 TDs! And Nick Bosa personally opened the flood gates when he headbutted Stanley on a 3rd and long play that would have given the Buckeyes the ball with the score tied 17-17. Instead, Iowa scored on the very next play, and the rout was on. 

Iowa was a total team effort. 

Comment 07 Jun 2018

Agree on Haskins, Prince and Fuller. 

Losing Dobbins would be a blow, but we have options. Weber if healthy is a very good back with breakaway speed. And RB is a position where a true frosh (and we have a couple) can come in an excel. We could even take some of the load off with Parris Campbell as a run/flare threat out of the H.

As for Bosa, I'd put him higher. He's a generational talent and you just can't replace that. Also, if we lose him Jashon Cornell (a conversion project) or a true freshman will have to steup up. That's a big drop off.

Comment 05 Jun 2018

For the last time, this wasn't a "serious crime." Barton was obviously not belligerent or threatening, because the cops were happy to pour the guy into a cab to take him home. But he was effectively incapacitated, unable to provide even an address to the driver. Then he closed the door on the cop's arm and earned himself a taser party. But he wasn't trying to assault anybody. He was just blind drunk and trying to get home. 

Comment 25 May 2018

This is a great point. Michigan has been suffering from a decade-long identity crisis in the wake of Lloyd's retirement. The combination of ugly in-fighting and David Brandon's magnificent incompetence did real damage. Damage that is taking years to clean up.

As you note, Harbaugh's record isn't terrible. But it is rather terrible where it counts--against rivals and ranked foes. He's beating up on patsies while getting pwned every year by Sparty, Penn State and Ohio State. The Outback Bown meltdown against South Carolina was an utter debacle and a step back for the program. If I'm a UM fan, I'd be aghast at Harbaugh's consistent struggles against varsity opponents. This is the guy who turned Stanford around on a dime, and four years in he still can't solve Dantonio? Yikes.

2018 could go either way. As you note, the holes at OT could short circuit the offense and lead to a 3 or 4 loss season. But if Patterson stays healthy and upright, a CFP invite may well be on the table. It all boils down to what's going on between Harbaugh's ears. He needs to better manage his defense so it doesn't get gassed late in games against quality opponents. And he needs to stop butchering the job at the QB position. For a guy hailed as a QB guru, what's happened in Ann Arbor the last 3 years has been an unmitigated failure. 

Comment 25 May 2018

They're a legit blue blood. Yes, like Notre Dame they get too much credit for leather helmet-era success. It's maddening. But the run they had in the 90s was legit, and the Ten Year War was the stuff of CFB legend. They have a monstrous fan base, a rich history, a pile of money, and a program that's trending in the right direction.

The thing is, the rivalry with Ohio State is actually a key reason why UM is still considered a top tier program. 2-10-1 was a generational achievement that denied some all-time great OSU teams. The fact that Schembechler was an Ohio guy and Hayes protege turned a regional rivalry into a blood feud. Even in defeat, the Wolverines have brought drama to the rivalry--from the historic 2002 nail-biter to the crazy 2006 Game of the Century to the double-overtime heart attack (complete with delicous Harbaugh meltdowns) two seasons ago. Now under Harbaugh they are playing with trademark toughness (if not always discipline), and in the last two games have shown themselves to be a credible challenger to Ohio State.

The funny thing about being a blue blood program is that it takes decades to earn. But once you've won blue blood status, it can take a long time to lose. The way I see it, UM needed another 5-10 years of David Brandon to get it kicked to the second tier. Man, do I miss that guy.