Friday, July 29, 2011

Gettin' There, 7/29

With fall camp just a hop, skip, and a jump away, things are starting to take on a new feel. For any experienced fan, this  is something that is palpable and nigh quantifiable, and can either be exciting or terrifying depending upon what lies ahead. We're less than forty days away from the beginning of the Brady Hoke Era, and I'm not quite sure whether to be worried or not. In any case, the shot-in-the-arm of pure Hoke-speak that was yesterday has got me fired up and ready to go (as if I haven't been in that state ever since the final second ticked off the clock against the Bulldogs on New Year's Day). As lame as the concept of "getting it" is and sounds, Coach Hoke clearly does. Now, all he has to do is go out and, you know, win games and stuff.

Big Ten Media Day: As I said before, it was a pretty boring event but one that everyone watches because it's that time of the summer when fall camp is near but we're not quite there yet. A recap of the proceedings is available here.

Pretty general stuff, but the main points:

  • Hoke hasn't yet made a decision on the status of Darryl Stonum. I've written before that it would be difficult for me to feel good about letting him back on the team. We'll see, but from a purely on-the-field perspective, having Darryl in the fold would be, in a word, tremendous. Anything that takes pressure off of the run game (also known as "Denard Robinson") is crucial, and Stonum certainly adds that very thing to the offense with his ability to stretch the field. 
  • He touched on the rationale of moving toward the pro-style, in that development on that side of the ball simultaneously makes the defense better and tougher (of course). 
  • My favorite part of these types of pressers are the names that coaches mention as guys who have done well in the spring/summer. One notable name that stuck out: Jerald Robinson. Assuming that Stonum is back for the 2011 season, we're looking at Roundtree/Hemingway/Stonum rounding out the top 3 wideouts, and after that it gets a little murky. Odoms is of course there too, but his role is something to monitor going forward. Jeremy Jackson showed some ability last season as a strictly possession receiver down the road, and Je'Ron Stokes hasn't quite put it together yet. In short, there are some reps up for grabs (and this becomes even more true if Stonum is kicked off the team, which, for the record, I don't think he will be). Robinson was a pretty non-descript recruit--although not at the same level of a DJ Williamson "track star playing football" type--but he does have some solid measureables. In any case, we are fairly stacked at wideout this year, and any contributions from the underclassmen is gravy. 
  • Kellen Jones is not enrolled at the moment. While the situation here remains unclear, it would be unfortunate to lose a guy like that who many were feeling pretty good about (myself included). 
  • JT Floyd, recovering from an ankle injury, appears to be ready to practice. I have perhaps unreasonably high hopes for Courtney Avery, but I would definitely prefer to see JT out there opposite Woolfolk to start the season. The motto of the defense this season should be assignment football and "solid if unspectacular," and JT fits that bill. I mean that in the least disrespectful way possible. Seriously, GEOMETRY Coach Mattison, teach it! 
EDSBS on Big Ten Media Days: As usual, EDSBS weighs in hilariously on the Big Ten's Media Day:

The best summary of a Brady Hoke speaking engagement is to imagine Lloyd Carr using a gigantic Matt Foley puppet to address the media. The similarity in cadence is eerie, right down to repeated citations of "We're Michigan" as a justification for just about any statement Hoke wanted to make. ("I should have a large pizza up here hot and fresh right now. Why? Because we're Michigan, that's why.")
Yeah, pretty much. In other news, Mark Dantonio called Jim Tressel a "tragic hero." DERP. Brandstatter says "uh, no he's not," Dantonio says "uh, who are you?" Good times.

Recruiting Blast From the Past: Former All-Awesome Names American commit Shavodrick Beaver has picked up his bags and transferred, leaving Tulsa for the beautiful confines of Midwestern State (it's real, I checked). Obviously the best of luck to him in his future endeavors, but this cannot be said enough times...we definitely did well in replacing Newsome and Beaver with Forcier and Denard (even taking into account Tate's transfer). This is basically the college football equivalent of Seward's Folly.

New Scoreboards: 

(HT: MGoBlog user TheGreatDanton)

That is amazing. No longer will you have to squint to confirm whether Armando Allen stepped out or not. It will be interesting to see how the boards will be configured when replays aren't being shown, but either way this is another tremendous addition to the Big House.

Rivals Class Rankings: Michigan comes in at #3. With Michigan looking to be fairly picky as they fill out the rest of this already superb class, it's unlikely that the Wolverines will drop too far if at all by NSD. While we've certainly seen mega-classes bust before in epic fashion (ahem, 2005), it's nice to see Michigan's recruiting brand bookended in the rankings by powerhouses like FSU and UF. It's good to be the king.

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