Archive for the 'Michigan Wolverines' Category

Where can Terrelle Pryor get the most playing time?

If you haven’t seen highlights of Terrelle Pryor playing football, just search YouTube. I have, and let me tell you the hype seems to be accurate. Pryor doesn’t seem to have the same level of fanfare as last year’s Rivals #1, Jimmy Clausen. Clausen was the youngest of a trio of solid QB brothers (joining Rick and Casey). Some say he is destined to become better. I don’t remember enough about ’06 #1 Percy Harvin’s decision or much about ’05 #1 Derrick Williams decisions. Looking back at those two, Williams had an amazing freshman year but has been lackluster since. Harvin seemed to breakout this year as sophomore and could be a Heisman contender this year. Clausen was hurt and had a horrible O-Line so we don’t know what his deal will be. But back to Pryor.

The Vince Young comparisons seem fair. Pryor was a lot bigger than I expected to be and seemed like a much better passer than you would expect an 18-year old who is that big to be. The consensus seems to be he is more “polished” at this age than Young was, but as Brian from mgoblog eloquently put it, Young improved about 1,000x at Texas. One thing about Young that a lot of people take for granted, is that he redshirted his first year (how often does the #1 recruit do that?), then only started 7 games as a redshirt Freshman. Even then it wasn’t until the end of his 3rd year that he really broke out (see the Michigan Rose Bowl as what I consider his breakout game). The rest is history.

Pryor’s situation will likely be different. If he goes to Michigan he will start from day 1. He will take his lumps and learn on the job. The college game is obviously different, but this doesn’t often work in the pros. The thing is, Michigan will be learning a new offense and have nothing to lose. If he goes to Ohio St. he won’t start in ’08 because Todd Boeckman will be using his experience to lead a MNC contender. In all likelihood Pryor would own the job in ’09 after a year as backup (Antonio Henton is his best competition and it’s not a lot). We have heard Florida, LSU, Oregon and Penn St. are still in the mix.

Obviously Florida means he has at least one year to wait behind Tim Tebow. My gut says Tebow comes back in ’09.  Even so, they recruited two solid guys in ’07, Cameron Newton and John Brantley. Newton will be a sophomore in ’08, Brantley a redshirt freshman. Meaning unlike UM and OSU, if he goes to Florida he will have some serious competition in ’09, even if Tebow leaves.

At LSU, he would spend at least one year behind Ryan Perrilloux who has bided his time and earned his chance. He has two years of eligibility left but might be cocky enough to test the pros next year. If he’s smart he stays through ’09. LSU has picked up 4-star QBs in both ’07 and ’08 so there would be some competition here, but Pryor still would be the front-runner as soon as Perrilloux left. Although it’s worth nothing that Perrilloux doesn’t own the job as tightly as Boeckman or Tebow so I guess Pryor could work his way in somehow.

Oregon has redshirt sophomore Jason Roper has the likely QB in ’08. He’s nothing to get crazy about, and they do have a solid 4-star dual threat, Darron Thomas, coming in this year. He is likely the future without Pryor. Pryor wouldn’t be handed the job here but could probably come in and win it, if nothing else by midseason. The downside to Oregon is that they don’t have the same level of talent Michigan does, and they play in a tougher conference.

Penn St. will have a new starter at QB in ’08, likely redshirt junior Daryll Clark is the guy. Redshirt sophomore Pat Devlin is the only other likely option. Pryor would have a shot in ’08, but would have a very solid chance in ’09 to be the starter.

So realistically LSU and Florida seem out due to lack of playing time. Oregon is a longshot because of the talent level and distance. So it’s really the three Big Ten schools.

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Christmas came early!!!

To quote the philosopher Harry Dunn from the critically acclaimed film Dumb and Dumber, “Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!” That’s what I would say to Bill Martin if I could.

Reports are coming in from everywhere that Rich Rodriguez has taken the job at Michigan. It’s kind of unreal that this happened. If you could go back to the day Carr announced his retirement and asked them who their top four candidates are, after you remove the unattainables (Urban, Carroll, Stoops, Spurrier), you would probably get the following four guys. This is how I ranked them personally:

  1. Les Miles – He is a proven winner at multiple places. He can recruit. And most of all Michigan is his dream job meaning he would have been a lifer. You know he would have given 110% too.
  2. Jeff Tedford – Genius X’s and O’s man who won at a  place where people don’t win.  Created  future NFL QBs Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers. He has ties to the fertile recruiting grounds of California. Personally I think he is holding out hoping Pete Carroll bails.
  3. Rich Rodriguez – Another apparent genius at the X’s and O’s. He turned 3-star players Pat White and Steve Slaton into stars. Recruited in a relatively tough place. Won where it didn’t happen much. My fear is that since he is only 44 he might get tempted by the NFL around 50.
  4. Greg Schiano – Won at Rutgers a bit. Seems loyal. Solid coach. But I always considered him a fallback guy (and was stunned when he said no).

So for me we got my third choice. Maisel made a great point in his article, saying Rich Rod had to take this job because it could be the last big job available for a while. Funny, I was saying the same thing last week. This is a major coup for “Bumbling” Bill Martin. When the dust settles and the sailing season is over, he will have gotten the best man for the job. A guy who is going to completely change Michigan football (for the better) and win some freaking ballgames.

Let me also be the second one (after my good friend who should remain nameless) to say let’s see if Rich Rod can bring Terelle Pryor with him. Obviously we know that he already has a connection with the UM basketball coach…

Michigan Freshman: Who got a redshirt?

 Here is the list of  Michigan’s 2007 recruiting class and who has and hasn’t played this year. I used Michigan’s Official website (mostly the player participation pages of each game). I have some notes on the guy’s who haven’t redshirted yet,

  • Zion Babb
  • Artis Chambers
  • Toney Clemons
  • Marell Evans
  • Vince Helmuth
  • Junior Hemingway
  • Brandon Herron – A 3-star LB was probably not ready to contribute yet.
  • Avery Horn – No surprise here, Horn is a 3-star back without a lot of potential as a starter. With Hart, Minor and Brown he had no chance of playing. I doubt he will see much playing time next year either.
  • Mark Huyge – 3-star offensive lineman, Michigan can be counted on to always redshirt OL unless the situation is dire (read: Justin Boren)
  • Ryan Mallett
  • David Molk – See Mark Huyge
  • Austin Panter
  • James Rogers
  • Renaldo Sagesse
  • Ryan Van Bergen – I looked hard to find this guy and was very surprised he didn’t play. Maybe someone has a better idea why. I guess we have 4 other DEs but seriously this is usually the kind of guy Michigan wastes.
  • Donovan Warren
  • Steve Watson – A 3-star guy at a position with tons of depth already. Especially after Carson Butler came back. I thought after Massey went down it might happen but as far as I can tell, he didn’t.
  • Martell Webb
  • Michael Williams – Another guy I thought for sure would play. Recruited as a 4-star safety, I think he might end up at CB because he’s small. If he is going to play safety I thought he would play by now because Adams and Englemon are both gone after this year.
  • Troy Woolfolk

What is on my mind

In the 5 days since I last posted I have been tracking two stories personally…the Michigan coaching search and the (lack of) hot stove action by the Chicago White Sox.

First, the Michigan coaching search seems to take a new turn each day. First Kirk Ferentz was in, then he was out. Then Les Miles was is, then he was out. Then Ferentz was back in. Greg Schiano was in, now he is out. Les Miles re-opened the door today, but Paul Johnson and Jim Grobe have been eliminated. Every day I think that my interest will drop and then something crazy happens to get it going again.

I don’t want to talk about the Les Miles/Bill Martin thing because that has been beaten to death. At the moment I am more concerned that Greg Schiano turned the job down. I know that he has a precedent with this because he turned down Miami job last year, and that was a place that he had coached before. But this is a headscratcher. Is Schiano just that happy at the dead-end Rutgers job or is he waiting for something bigger? I don’t know what could be bigger than Miami (where he was the DC for a couple of years) or the winningest program in history. Even if his goal is the NFL, wouldn’t that be easier from those two places? Rutgers is a tough place to recruit and Brian (from mgoblog) discussed this when he analyzed him. He is probably mistaken if he thinks that he will ever seriously contend for the MNC, especially consistently. All in all something smells with this situation. I am terrified that it’s a sign Michigan is really going to screw this up. At this point I am ready to rule out all the big names being thrown around. They are going to end up with Brady Hoke (from Ball St.) or one of their current assistants.

Meanwhile the White Sox pretty much twiddled their thumbs this week at the Winter Meetings while their division rivals added the best young hitter in baseball. The Sox are in serious trouble. Cleveland has the horses to dominate for at least the next 2-3 years. Detroit added some hitters and with their pitching they have another 2-3 years of battling it out with Cleveland. Minnesota already has a good young team and they are going to add some good young players whenever they trade Johan. What does this mean? In 2-3 years they will be back in the mix. Now the Sox look terribly foolish for signing all these contract extensions. The Sox have Paul Konerko, Javier Vaszquez, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Jermaine Dye, AJ Pierzynski, Mike McDougal, Scott Linebrink and Matt Thornton all signed through at least 2009. That means the Sox either have to overpay like crazy and try to compete, which I personally think isn’t even feasible, or blow it up and try to start over.

The problem is that this is easier said than done. Teams are crazy about holding on to their prospects now-a-days and the Sox farm system sucks at the moment. A bigger problem is that they don’t have a lot of tradeable assets. None of their current contracts are horrible but none of them are great either. Paul Konerko is only making $12 mil/yr and by next season that might seem cheap. Javier Vazquez is $11.5 mil/year for his contract so again it’s not bad. If both these guys have big seasons they could be very tradeable next offseason. Of course there is no way that happens. Instead they will make Aaron Rowand the highest paid position player on the team despite his career average is .286, he has never hit 30 HRs in a season, and he is a vastly overrated fielder. My faith in Kenny Williams is fading…

Is Ferentz my worst nightmare?

I am a big Michigan football fan (which you would know if I actually spent time working on my about page) so the coaching search has captured a lot of my attention lately.

As my friend Brian at mgoblog has been talkingobsessing for days now, all the rumors are pointing to Kirk Ferentz as the next coach of Michigan. This isn’t totally out of left field, as when ESPN TV was talking about possible replacements he was one of the four guys named (along with Les Miles, Rich Rodriguez and Brian Kelly). Now at this point no “mainstream media” has picked this up which may or may not mean anything. As mgoblog mentions at one point, certain sources had said the deal was signed and sealed, but if that was true my gut says someone from ESPN or some Michigan newspaper would have called by now and asked and at least gotten enough info to make it public. Instead I continue to hope this is a sign that the deal isn’t done.

I am pretty against this at the moment because Ferentz is not the guy I want. Truth be told, I don’t know who that is. It’s easy to say Les Miles because he’s with a huge program and has been successful and seems established as a big time coach. At to it that he is a “Michigan man” and he seems more appealing. The fact that he is crazy and maybe often extremely lucky (see the Arkansas, Auburn, or Florida games for examples) doesn’t scare me as much as it does others. I think he should be given credit for not having quite as good of a team as people make it out to be. He has a wealth of talent, but his RB is a 2-star running back with zero speed. His star WR has been hurt on and off all season and has never seemed at 100%. His defensive star has been banged up the last few weeks and his senior QB has spent the last couple of years on the sideline. I am not saying that justifies 2-losses or anything, but it could explain some of the closer losses. Getting back to Ferentz though…

He has had three crappy years in a row (ok two crappy, one mediocre) most recently. Immediately prior to that he had won shares of two Big Ten titles and gotten to a BCS bowl. But in 9 seasons he is only 38-34 in Big Ten games (or about 4-5 wins per season). To put it into perspective, in his last nine seasons the much ostracized  Glen Mason went 31-41. One could argue it’s tougher at Minnesota. Plus I have heard the point made (at least once at mgoblog) that Ferentz had some easy Chicago recruiting during the Willingham era and before Zook came to U of I. I went to check this out and here is what I found (according to Rivals.com):

  • 2002: 0 Illinois recruits
  • 2003: 2 Illinois recruits (one 4-star, both from Chicago suburbs)
  • 2004: 1 Illinois recruit (5-star from Chicago suburb, appears to be from the same school as one of last years)
  • 2005: 6 Illinois recruits (one 5-star, four 4-star, 5 of them from Chicagoland)
  • 2006: 3 Illinois recruits (all 3-star or less, all of them from Chicago)
  • 2007: 3 Illinois recruits (one 4-star, two from Chicagoland)

Weis’ and Zook’s first seasons were 2005.  Rivals only goes back to 2002 so I assume that this coup of recruiting happened before that. It doesn’t look like he was raking in the Chicago recruits before those guys (in fact he did better after). During that timeframe though Ferentz’s recruiting classes only finished in the top 5 in the Big Ten (!) 2 out of 6 times. 2005 it finished 11th overall (again according to Rivals.com). That’s even MORE worrysome though because those recruits from the ’05 class should have been sophomores or juniors this year, which means that this years team shouldn’t have sucked so much. It looks like there have been some injuries but most of those guys haven’t panned out yet. It’s entirely possible that we would have learned more next season, which is ironic since there are people who think next year was Ferentz’s last chance to prove himself. Instead he might be bringing his mediocreness to A2 next year.

My biggest fear right now is that Michigan slips deeply in the middle of the road status. Take a look at Miami or Florida St. to see what I mean. Or the great ‘Bama teams of yesteryear. Is Ferentz the worst choice? No of course not, but this would not be the move you would expect college football’s all-time winningest team to make.